When most people think of Amsterdam they immediately think of the legalized drugs and the Red Light District. I went because I heard it was a beautiful city with amazing architecture and entertaining people. While traveling in Peru in March I met Dutch guy that threw out the offer of something like, “If you are ever in the Netherlands, let me show you around.” I took him up on that offer and was able to crash on his couch in Haarlem which is a city a short distance outside of Amsterdam.
Going through a city with a local is much different than site seeing and exploring on your own and just following the recommendations of the hostel. I was able to spend the days exploring the city on my own and the evenings being taken out to cool restaurants and bars!
Since I was staying in Haarlem I decided to spend a day exploring the city to see what was around. It was a lot more local and less touristy and according to my friend, what I should expect from a typical Dutch city.