Walking tours, Amsterdam and You
By Erik Adofo-Mensah
Have you ever traveled? Well I know that was a stupid question because you wouldn’t have stumbled on our tour guide page if you weren’t interested in traveling. A lot of times people wonder why in the world did I get into doing tours, or why should you take a walking tour in Amsterdam, or any city for that matter. I’m the adventurous type, and I’ve never taken a walking tour in Amsterdam, or any other city before. I have explored Paris, Oslo, Helsinki, Munich, Rome, Strasbourg, and Tunis all by myself and never ever used a walking tour, a tour guide or anything like that. I got the idea to start taking them, and even to start doing them myself after a visit to Barcelona in 2011. I was 26 years old, and excited to see a new city. There were walking tours near by, and activities posted, but I always felt like tours are filled with old people, and large groups of tourist walking around, well, wasn’t cool, or for me. I just want to roam, and figure everything out for myself.
This was all well and good, except I couldn’t pronounce the street names correctly to ask for directions on the street, had no idea where to even cross the street (cross walks in Europe are VERY different than in the US) , and ended up stumbling onto two national monuments that I (in my current ignorance) had no idea about; The Segrada Familia, and the Arche de Triompe, located in the heart of the city. I was lucky to stumble on these sites, but anyway, I was happy with what I found.
Fast forward two years later, I tried a free walking tour in Amsterdam because I was sick of getting lost consistently. The tour guide was GREAT! Funny, young, charismatic and just made the city really come alive. There were so many buildings I walked passed in Amsterdam, and just ignore because I simply didn’t know what it was. This tour guide let me know that these buildings were a crucial part of the history of Amsterdam. So, ok I still felt a bit uncool, because it was a tour group of about 30 people. So I didn’t really want to ask questions (some people asked some really dumb questions) and really just sunk into the “group think”. Well now I’m a tour guide, and I help run a tour guide company, and I decided, no large groups, no awkward questions, no…..” Not cool”ness. If i was going to do a walking tour in Amsterdam, it has to be exciting, filled with adventure, and information that helps the other person naturally navigate themselves without having to just ” stumble” upon whatever they find.
I imagine, if I’d had a tour guide in all of those places, I would have discovered much more had I not gotten lost frequently, or if I’d known the secrets each city had to offer.