The travelling/adventure season has begun for me and it reminded me of all the places i was lucky enough to visit last year. This being said i decided to do a review on a few of them in-case anyone is looking for some inspiration.
The first location being Amsterdam
Whilst on an inter-railing adventure last year Amsterdam featured as one of our first destinations. Many people know this picturesque place for one reason: cannabis, however that didn’t feature in my visit and there is so much more to the city than that.
This was also my first experience of staying in a hostel, which i was really apprehensive about, but was so much fun. Stayokay Is where we chose and it was fab, booked through Booking.com. It was massive, clean, had all amenities and a lovely continental breakfast.
There is a particular story that i think will stay with me forever and i feel its only right to share it with you guys. We were staying in a shared room with 3 bunk beds – out of the 6 of us it turned out i was the only girl, again something not worth worrying about in the slightest. 2 of the lads we didn’t see hardly at all and the other 2 were from Germany on a stag do and were really nice. We stayed for 2 nights and during one of these we were awoken by an almighty bang; turns out the German guy on the top bunk had tried to go to the bathroom (whilst highly intoxicated) and had fallen from the top bunk all the way to the floor – and i have to mention he wasn’t the smallest of men. This resulted in a good 10 minutes of fits of giggles into the duvet so he couldn’t hear. Of course the next day Jam just had to ask about it and he denied all knowledge, bless him. Even whilst writing this i am struggling not to giggle out loud.
Anyway onto the touristy stuff; the hostel we were at did a bike hire service so that’s exactly what we did; hired bikes and rode round the entirety of the inner city. We were lucky with the weather, sun was shining and it was warm enough for shorts.
Attractions we visited:
Anne Franks – definite must see. Highly recommend booking a time slot online as the queues get ridiculous (talking hours) and you can do this for the same day if there is spaces.
Ice Bar – This is called XtraCold and they aren’t exaggerating, after 5 minutes you cant wait to feel warmth again. Although was a fun experience I wouldn’t make it a must do. You do get to choose from flavoured vodka shots or beer whilst in the ice chamber; defo go for the shots to warm you up. We found that a lot of people couldn’t hack the cold so we ended up with way more shots than we should have – result.
Red Light District – It was quite strange to walk around with naked girls in all the windows and it does mean that you get a lot of drunk lads littering the side walks as well but it is interesting. We visited a museum to learn the ins and outs of what its like for a working girl – Red Light Secrets – it doesn’t take long but helps you gain an understanding of it all.
Rijksmuseum – I loved it here! it is absolutely huge, you need a good 4 hours to get round – more if you like to read every little plaque. It has everything from paintings to statues and Egyptian monuments to a miniature ship display. Definitely worth a visit and just outside is a massive park with several other tourist destinations to visit and a hotdog van – of course i had to mention the food. Dam Square – This is a lovely area to sit and take in the scenery whilst enjoying a hot chocolate in one of the many cafes. It is surrounded by tourist attractions (Madame Tussaud’s to mention one) and shops, if that’s what your into.
Amsterdam itself is a really nice place to bike round; it is made up of loads of canals with streets and bridges all along. Although the bike paths can get a bit crazy – people seem to have no fear – once you get used to it its a breeze.
A place that we came across by accident was Artis which is actually Amsterdam zoo. However whilst biking along a street we were drawn in by loads of fairy lights hanging and had to check it out. Turns out its a garden full of water features and trees with lights and a restaurant. It looked a bit posh for our shorts and trainers so we sat outside and enjoyed a hot chocolate and coffee underneath the fairy lights.
On our back to the hostel we noticed that the surrounding streets were full of people and we could hear loads of music; turned out there was a food festival going on; it made for a great atmosphere and an added bonus.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Amsterdam. It’s an easy place to manoeuvre round and there is tonnes to do. You don’t necessarily need to plan anything in advance but as I said previously it may be worth booking Anne Franks if that’s something you’re looking to do.
Tips: Weather wise it is similar to the UK; i went at the beginning of September and it was shorts and t-shirt weather. There was light rain for a couple of hours here and there. I’d highly recommend bikes as a source of transportation but do be careful as there are hundreds of people biking around like maniacs.
Unfortunately all my Amsterdam photos that i had stored on a memory stick have all ended up corrupted. Hopefully this is fixable and i can provide some more snaps at a later date!