A Rainy Day in Amsterdam

A Rainy Day in Amsterdam

When we are going on vacation, our excitement and happiness leads us to think that the weather will always be on our side, broadcasting our feelings to the universe. We are there so the sun will shine, the birds will sing, the picturesque famous places and things will have no crowds and the perfect lighting for all our pictures and moments smiling for each and every social media platform we are part of.

Unfortunately, mother nature is not so kind and many of my travels have involved rainy afternoons, thunderstorms that close places down and heat so smoldering you barely want to be anywhere but the sea. Our day in Amsterdam unfortunately was not blessed with our desired weather and we found ourselves with a day full of plans with biking as our chosen mode of transportation… and rain in the forecast.

BUT, we actually had an amazing day and with only a few changes to the original plan, it will still go down as an amazing day in Amsterdam:

5 Things we did on our Rainy day in Amsterdam

  • Walked: Amsterdam has some pretty spectacular bike lanes, and for those living there travelling by bike is definitely the main type of transport – but for tourists, taking a bike can sometimes cause you to race past buildings and statues worth taking a second glance at. Especially on a rainy day, where your hood would be tightly on and the rain would be darting into your face.. walking was the way to go. We found ourselves an umbrella and got to really take in the beauty of everywhere we went. The canals scattered with bikes made for all the bike photos we could dream of, while avoiding the hazard the rain would cause. We actually walked over an hour to go from central station all the way down to the Van Gogh museum, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
  • Amsterdam Central Station: We were staying just outside of Amsterdam in an adorable town named Leiden, so we took the train into Amsterdam, arriving in the beautiful building that is Amsterdam Central station. Immediately outside you are welcomed with the famous canals of Netherlands and the flat sided houses and beautiful detailed European buildings. From central station you can get just about everywhere in Amsterdam, as well as take the train to anywhere in Netherlands! A great starting point for the day.
  • Anne Frank House: If you want to include some history in your trip, the Anne Frank House will provide you with a heartbreaking story of WWII and the life of a Jew while Hitler was in power. Being from Canada, with such a young country, we learn very little on the impacts of the war on the people living and breathing during that time. Museums like this throughout Europe give you a history lesson better than any classroom will. It was also conveniently on the way to the Van Gogh museum providing a great stop on the way. (On our particular trip the line up was insane and we did not go through it, however I have since visited similar ones in Berlin and had many friends inform me it’s worth the visit)
  • Van Gogh Museum: For an outdoor adventurist like myself, a rainy day is the perfect thing to pull me into the museums, that perhaps would be lower down on my list if the weather was nicer. Spending 2-6 hours indoor on a beautiful day can sometimes be a shame, but on a rainy day, sign me up! The Van Gogh museum is not to be missed if you’re in Amsterdam. Such an interesting backstory as well as some very famous, extraordinary art. The museum is set up beautifully and I did not find it too long nor did it drag out – perfect blend of interesting history and beautiful art projecting the struggles Vincent Van Gogh encountered throughout his life. You can also find Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Musum Amsterdam adjacent to the Van Gogh museum, which I have heard are also amazing, however did not get to experience myself. We were able to snap a shot on the Iamsterdam sign behind the museum as well – but it has since been removed end of 2018.
  • Restaurants and Cafe’s: It wouldn’t be a trip to Netherlands without some CHEESE. From the Brie in our morning sandwiches to the Gouda with.. everything? Europe has found a perfect blend of cheap alcohol prices mixed with inexpensive cheese to set us up with nothing but hangovers and lactose intolerance to worry about ! There’s not a processed – much too orange – cheese in sight, just smelly cheese with crackers and bread or fruit and marmalade to eat until you’re ill. Amsterdam is also not complete without a slightly sketchy, yet tourist filled and questionably acceptable visit to the Red Light District. I will warn you now, the cafes in Amsterdam.. are not selling your morning coffee and pastries. We actually struggled to find a Cafe where pastries could be bought, but yet passed many cafe’s full of more hash than I knew existed. It was sold similar to the way I would buy tea, with different strands and mixtures with varying smells and effects. The whole red light district was an interesting culture difference than our own and a place worth checking out… as long as you’re not with your kids or grandparents.

So don’t let bad weather stop you from doing what you want in Amsterdam! Alter plans slightly or change days if you need but take advantage of the indoor activities available as there are many.

Those who say only sunshine brings happiness have never danced in the rain

It’s not Bad Weather

It’s not Bad Weather

YOU’RE JUST WEARING THE WRONG CLOTHES

This is a classic Danish line. Much opposite to the Brits, Danes dislike ever giving the weather bad credit, as it is what it is and you simply need to adjust accordingly. I once spoke to a woman after a terribly rainy weekend and brought up the weather, naturally, as that is the main focus of my small talk. She retaliated with informing me of the importance of fresh air and told me she took her children to the beach. She simply wrapped them up and then they went and threw stones in the ocean. While that sounds lovely in theory, all I could picture was two children wrapped up in marshmallow snowsuits, having to throw the rocks in with straight arms as their arms would not bend with the amount of layers they had on. I will have to remember to take a walk to the beach next rainy day just to see if my predictions are correct, as I am certain she is not the only Danish mother doing this with her children.

Now, more to the point of this post – PACKING. The struggle to pack can sometimes have people leaving it to the very last minute then stressing as they throw insane amounts of clothes they will not wear in a bag that’s much too big for the amount of time they are spending away from home.

I have a permanent packing list on my phone, and most of my toiletries bags are simply travel bags ready to go – whose surprised? I find the list to be quite universal however, with only small changes needed each time, and I’ve sent the list to others to help them back as it covers the essentials that should not be forgotten. Depending on the occasion and the destination some items will have to be altered, but this should help start you out!

RULES

Read your baggage allowance prior to packing

No liquids over 100ml in your carry on – and have all liquids in a transparent baggy

No sharps or firearms (come on guys)

No explosives (Don’t joke around at the airport about it)

Check the weather before you go and pack accordingly, winter gear will take up much more space in your bag but remember you can wear a good amount of it on the plane to save space in your luggage – big things being winter coat and boots.

If you’re going somewhere hot then a light sweater and one pair of averagely warm pants should all you have for warm stuff – don’t waste your space.

If you’re going for more than a week, only pack for a week, if you’re going for more than a month, pack for two weeks. Any amount under a week you can pack for every day but only have one outfit per day – simply bring extra underwear and socks

Recap:

Traveling under a week = pack one outfit per day only

Traveling for 1 week – 3 weeks = only pack a week worth of clothing

Traveling for 4 weeks + = only pack for two weeks’ worth of clothing

Packing list:

  • Passport (and Copy of Passport/drivers license)
  • Paperwork – visa – vaccination form (have everything printed – sorry trees, but phones die and get lost)
  • Phone chargers/cords (Don’t bring broken cords, buy a new one if needed)
  • Back up battery pack (and the charger associated with them)
  • Socks / underwear (don’t want to forget these – EXTRA socks if you’re hiking or if it’s cold)
  • Jewelry & Make Up (don’t bring anything you’re not willing to lose, and only the bare minimum)
  • Bathing suit (depends where you’re going but seems to be high on the forgot list for people)
  • Pillow (optional- If you want a plane pillow, buy before the airport)
  • Plane snacks (All airlines allow you to bring food and snacks on the plane – WAY CHEAPER)
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, etc)
  • Mouthwash (depending where you’re going there is not always safe water)
  • Hand sanitizer & baby wipes (essential – everything is dirty)
  • Razor (depending how long you’re going for – disposable razors are allowed in your carry on)
  • Hair brush and ties, oil & dry shampoo (bring what you would use on a daily basis at home)
  • Shampoo/conditioner (little – remember nothing over 100ml in your carry-on)
  • Cream (Hand, face cream, after sun cream – in different climates you may find your skin is dry)
  • Small first aid kit (band aids, medical cream, after bite, ibuprofen, Imodium)
  • Pills (vitamins, prescriptions etc. don’t forget puffers or any medication you could need)
  • Shoes (remember these take up tons of space – other than flip flops, so choose wisely)
  • Rain jacket (I have this amazing one that rolls up into nothing – couldn’t recommend it enough)
  • Water bottle (Fill once you’re PAST security)
  • Headphones (for the plane and general life)
  • Purse (handbag or small backpack for everyday use)
  • Laptop/case/cord (If needed, have it accessible as you’ll need to take it out at security)
  • Adapters (Know which adapters are needed for the country you’re travelling to – essential to have at least one prior to arriving, universal ones are great)

Start packing about a week before you go to give yourself time to remember things and to see what you use on a daily basis and what you don’t. Check the weather but use the wise words of the Danes and don’t get bummed out if the weather isn’t calling for all sunshine, just wear the right clothing and take whatever comes your way.

While I know most of the Danes speak of this quote quite literally I like the think it also has a beautiful metaphorical sense that is worth remembering for those stressful days of travelling – or simply life!

It’s not bad weather you’re just wearing the wrong clothing

Remember my beautiful friends, you must find peace with what’s happening around you and adjust. For the things we cannot change – death or new life, rain or snow, natural disasters or financial downfalls – sometimes in life we have to recognize that we can change ourselves – our current form or clothing, in order to adjust to what’s around us and make peace with it. We must prioritize our mental health but recognize things will happen beyond our control and once they have happened, sometimes there is nothing, but ourselves and our clothing that we can change. Sometimes life will hit us with a hail storm when we’re only 5 minutes into a 30 minute bike to work, but giving up and sitting on the street will only leave us more wet.

“Wear Sunscreen”


My father showed me this song and I remember having it on my Ipod when I was 12 but writing this post made me think of it, and hearing the song again I feel like there is lots of advice in it that perhaps helped to make me who I am, and still helps me to become a better person today. I am great full for things like this that he left for me to think of all the life lessons he had for me and happy I can share it with any of you reading this.

NOW START PACKING