Last year we visited Trondheim (very far north, in Norway) in the middle of winter. We had a 7 hour stopover in the Amsterdam airport. The airport is quite close to city, so we were able to leave our luggage and visit the city, which we had never been to before.
Our flight back home also flies through Amsterdam, and we thought we had a 5 hour stopover, which is just enough time to walk around a little and get lunch before returning to the airport.
In Florence a few weeks ago we took a Tuscan cooking class (which I think we didn't write about, but it was a lot of fun). There was a 40ish couple in the class that randomly brought up that they had been to Amsterdam for a week. I give it a 50% chance the guy was in finance because he was dressed nicely and they lived in Connecticut. (ha!) He also had a slight brooklyn accent that he hid pretty well, until I asked him, "Are you originally from new york?", after which he got all excited and launched into "fuggedaboutits" and demands for "kawfee", Anyway, we kept trying to pump them for tips about other things we could do in Amsterdam. Our conversation went something like this:
Couple: "Of course you have to walk around and see all the canals"
Us: "Right, we did that."
Couple: "You have to see the marijuana parlors"
Us: (Nodding, we already saw that.)
Couple: "You have to walk through the red light district."
Us: "Yeah we saw that too."
At this point they were stumped and we shifted conversation. Later I steered it back: "Did you do anything else you'd absolutely recommend in Amsterdam?"
Couple: "Oh, the Anne Frank house was really interesting."
Us: sighing, "We did that too!"
Apparently we are power travelers because in our five hours in the city we did everything they could remember from their one week trip to Amsterdam. (Maybe they were doing a lot of drugs and didn't want to tell us and were too drug addled to remember anything else.)
The odd thing about Amsterdam is that despite its reputation to Americans (because of the marijuana parlors and the red light district), we thought it was quite beautiful and a charming city. I was actually unimpressed with the "seedy" areas since there are much largier and seedier areas in American cities.
It seemed like such a nice cityl We're sure there were other things we could have done.
Unfortunately when we checked into our flight this morning we found out we only had a 2 hour layover, so now we're stuck in the airport.