Positive Vibes in Amsterdam

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Amsterdam had been on my radar for some years, and I had every intention of making the trek this year. Imagine my surprise when the stars aligned perfectly, and a flight deal from my regional airport revealed itself to me. Getting a deal out of my home airport was such a rarity that I almost didn’t believe my eyes when I saw the price. Average ticket prices to Europe from my home airport were usually in the range of $1,200, but flights were priced at less than $400 at the time. I booked for my birthday week without even thinking in case the price increased before I had an opportunity to take advantage of it. If it didn’t work out, I had the 24-hour cancellation policy for protection. Book now, think later has been my travel motto.

I stayed in the Old West section of Amsterdam at CityHub. The hubs were cool, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m too old for community shower areas. I enjoyed the location for its closeness to the tram stop and the fact that it was right next door to de Foodhallen. Foodhallen is an indoor food market that was a great spot for eats. There are several vendors serving a variety of cuisines. I hit up quite a few spots in de Foodhallen while I was in Amsterdam, and really enjoyed le Big Fish, Baowowow, and The Butcher.

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fish buns at le Big Fish

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ramen at Baowowow

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A Trip to Keukenhof Garden

Now I won’t even sit here and pretend I know a thing about species of flowers or how to plant them. I don’t think there is a single person in my family with a green thumb, but I heard that Keukenhof Garden was beautiful and that was all I needed to hear in order to add it to my itinerary. While I was in Amsterdam this past April, I took my allergy medication then made the trek to the garden.

The Keukenhof is an enormous flower garden only opened seasonally from March to May. There are millions of flowers blooming during the peak season, and hundreds of varieties of flowers are planted on the nearly 80 acres of land. I booked a combination ticket that included a bus ride to the garden from Amsterdam and the entrance fee. I would recommend getting on the first bus there. I decided to sleep in a bit that day, and arrived at midmorning to a long curving line at the airport bus stop. The buses seemed to arrive every 10 minutes or so, but the number of people arriving to catch the buses kept growing as well so the lines weren’t decreasing at all. Luckily, I got a seat on the bus, but several other people had to stand during the 25-minute drive west of Amsterdam.

The crowds at the Keukenhof was bearable, even for someone like me who can get overwhelmed by extremely large crowds. I didn’t get anxiety over the amount of people because there was a lot of space to walk, and people weren’t really in my way. I was handed a map at the entrance, and I just started wandering. The garden was widespread and there were several areas for food, drinks, and restrooms. I only had a snack, but I believe they served real meals in certain areas. There was also a gift shop selling typical Amsterdam souvenirs.

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CityHub Amsterdam

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While I was in Amsterdam, I stayed at a cool hotel named CityHub in the Old-West section of the city. I don’t know if I’ve ever said it before, but my ass is old. I’m too old to be staying anywhere that requires a shared/community bathroom because humans are nasty and act like they weren’t raised right. I took an exception for CityHub because the hubs looked so cool, and I was all about the ambiance.

My flight to Amsterdam was cancelled several times, so I arrived a day and a half later than expected. The host who greeted me as I walked in with a million pounds of luggage was so warm and welcoming, and she just knew that I was exhausted since I had a long journey after dealing with four flight cancellations. She rushed me over to my hub location so that I could get my rest. In a normal circumstance, I would have selected my own hub, but one of the hosts checked me into a room when I notified them of my late arrival. The hub was tucked away in a quiet corner all the way in the back of the facility, and I was grateful for it. I would have been quite annoyed to be on the main hallway amongst a lot of foot traffic.

There were 50 hubs, and I had a bottom hub that included a double comfortable bed, Bluetooth speakers to listen to music, and usb outlets to charge one’s phone. The room had storage shelves, but there were extra large lockers available for anything that didn’t fit. My large checked luggage and my carryon were both able to fit in the hub, and I still had room to stand and take a few steps.

Sure, the hub was small, but the beyond the hub was the commons area that allowed me to hang with other guests.

The room also came with a comfortable kimono to wear when heading from the hub to the shower. The coolest aspect of the room for me was the mood lighting, which was controlled with the use of the CityHub app.

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