Discover home exchange with stories from our members.

Yvonne and Mike, home exchangers from the UK, are back in the Netherlands. This time they decided to share with us their trip to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam…Something around every corner!

Summertime in Amsterdam! There’s so much happening in this vibrant city, that you can go with the loosest of itineraries. This is what we discovered on our recent swap with Liselotte in Amsterdam’s De Pijp area.

Yvonne at a local market

In the past, we’d found that travel can be hard work if you let it – with packing, planning, and sightseeing sometimes leaving us feeling like another holiday to recover from the one we’d just had.
But this time, as we’d heard there were lots of festivals in the city and around about – we picked a place to stay that was central and left the rest to chance.

Without the pressure of a fixed itinerary, we’d have more time to relax and perhaps let the city decide what our days should hold. And this turned out to be a great way to experience the city. We followed our noses, (and sometimes a helpful text from Liselotte,) to discover festivals and concerts both big and small.

We had always wanted to see the town of Haarlem, one of The Netherland’s most beautiful cities and were not disappointed – especially as the culinary festival was in full swing in the Grote Markt. Moving from tent to tent, sampling a dish here, or a glass of something there was a great way to soak up the Dutch atmosphere as the town came out to play.

Enjoying a nice lunch during his home exchange

Back in Amsterdam, in the garden of the Hermitage, a jazz trio soothed a mellow audience as they sat in the bright sun, while just a step away through an arched gateway, the canal thronged with excitement as dozens of decorated barges celebrated the Gay Pride Parade with half a million onlookers. The city had organised street parties on almost every corner – and yet somehow, the atmosphere, in spite of the crowds remained friendly and welcoming.

Sunday morning brought another change of scene – a cycle through Vondelpark leading to more music – an open air classical concert.

When we took the free ferry from behind Amsterdam Centraal Station to the regenerated NDSM wharf and the glorious Pllek cafe and beach, surprise, surprise! We found the NDSM free summer festival in full flow just next door!

Of course, not every visit to this great city will be so busy. But we know Amsterdam has plenty more to share no matter the season. We know we’ll be back.

Live like a local in Amsterdam