Often when traveling, when visiting new places, we feel that we must do everything. Fit everything in, when will the opportunity present itself again? What if we never get the chance to return? If we miss that one amazing sight, that one great museum, that one historical building? It’s unacceptable, what would we tell our friends and family back home who ask about it, will we have wasted the vacation, the time, the money, by missing it? What’s the point then?
My answer is this: FORGET IT! It’s totally acceptable. The people back home don’t care, or else they’ll deal, or it’s not their problem. No, it doesn’t mean you wasted your time or money or vacation days. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t see everything. All that matters is that you ENJOYED yourself, in whatever way works for you.
My first trip, even the first couple, abroad with my mom were very jam-packed full of seeing every sight, visiting every museum, experiencing everything possibly possible. That’s okay. We had a great time. I don’t regret it in the least. I saw so much. Learned so much. It is thanks to those first couple trips that I have such a love of traveling now. However as we continued to travel we slowed down a bit. We enjoyed strolling. Stopping for a coffee, a soda, a glass of wine, people watching, and even ordering a second drink. Getting lost, finding our way home, taking a nap, and going out again. Picking a museum or two, skipping others. Sometimes hitting the top rated must-see sights, sometimes spending the day in the flea markets or the park. Exploring the city and getting a real feel for it, but not running ourselves ragged either. I don’t think one way of traveling is any better or worse than the other. It is all about you, what you want, what you enjoy.
After leaving Rotterdam, my mom and I went to spend our last day together in Amsterdam. Early the next morning she had a flight to London and from there back home to the States. We have both been to Amsterdam before, together and separately, but there were still certain ‘touristy’ things we were hoping to do. We decided after discussing it, though, that we would focus more on simply enjoying our last day together and hope that time (and the crowds) would permit us to also have our tourist experiences.
The Van Gogh Museum was top on my mom’s list, having never had the chance previously. We knew we would have to get there early to beat the crowds. However, after dropping our luggage off at our hotel all either of us could think about was coffee and a snack. Relaxing over our hot, caffeinated drinks the sky, quite truly, opened up upon the other tourists and passers-by outside. Words were not needed, we were not going outside anytime soon. It was a mutual decision (that the weather clearly agreed with) that we scratch the tourist plans and see where the day took us.
As if it were meant to be within the half hour the rain cleared and we set forth. Strolling, we made sure to keep our eyes peeled for safe havens should the rain return. Luckily it did not. We spent the afternoon strolling and window shopping in some neighborhoods neither of us had ever been to (terrible blogger as I don’t remember the name of the area). It was broken up by a small lunch sitting at the bar in a small corner restaurant.
Always wary of the ever possible returning rain (although it never did) we discussed our options to stay dry and entertained. Somehow we decided a movie might be a good way to spend the early evening hours. We had seen one while still in Aix, and I can’t help but smile at the parallel as we ended our vacation together with another cinema trip. We saw Woman in Gold which I highly recommend. In fact, it is so highly recommended by both of us that it was actually my mom’s second time to see it. She had seen the film in the States already and had on several occasions since told me I had to go watch it. It is about a famous Klimt painting that was seized by the Nazis during WWII and the efforts to return it to the family of the original owner. Not only was it an amazing film, but my mom and I had been lucky enough to stumble across a Klimt exhibit during our day in Paris back in April.
Not only was the movie wonderful, the cinema itself was a sight to behold! From the outside, it hadn’t stood out as much special, but within we found a gorgeous building. It appeared to have originally been an actual theater house. You could see small details like the bathrooms in the basement, small statues in the corners, and elegant decorations. The screening room was complete with balcony and boxes, as well as a stage beneath the film screen. Added a special little something to our movie experience, that’s for sure!
After the movie, we went for one last nice dinner together at Sluizer down the street. It was a very nice seafood (seemed to be a common theme for us) restaurant that had, on separate occasions, interested us both in the hotel’s list of recommendations. Even though it was only a Thursday night, and so we didn’t expect the most experienced waiters, the staff was all courteous and did a magnificent job making us comfortable. The food was perfect – even if I had to remind myself how to debone a fish the work was worth it! You won’t hear any complaints from this one about it, if every you’re looking for a nice, delicious meal in Amsterdam I recommend giving it a try (especially after a movie in a beautiful building!)
One thing that was especially nice on our walk home after dinner – and that I’m glad to say I’ve adjusted to relatively easily – is the fact that even at almost 10pm it was still light outside. What started as a rainy day where we thought we’d be stuck in a coffee shop for hours (forgot our umbrella in the hotel) ended up full of pleasant strolls, a good dinner, and a beautiful, hidden building. I would say overall a perfect way to spend our last day together.