Last September I went to Amsterdam for the very first time. Normally I meticulously plan my trips but this was very spontaneous. We literally decided to buy tickets during our flight back from Paris a month earlier. I have to say this was one of the best random decisions I’ve ever made.
A quick side note; as I don’t get into it much below, the people of Amsterdam are amongst the friendliest and most chilled I have ever known.
We Stayed at a rustic and quirky hotel called Mr Jordaan . It was a little different from the hotels I usually book but I really liked it. It was clean, the environment was very welcoming and the staff were really helpful and friendly. It’s located near Bloemgracht, a 17th century canal and it is within walking distance of the Anne Frank house and other famous attractions. One criticism I have is that the room was a little cold and there was no air conditioning. I may stay there again, but in the summer.
Red Light District
One of the things Amsterdam is famous for is legalised prostitution and the urban area that is known as a red light district. There are several of these in Europe but I think when most people hear red light district they think Amsterdam. I went to the Museum of Prostitution and I went to the Sex Museum, the latter of which is not located in the red light district. Both places were ummm… interesting.
Before I was a tourist I had an idea of the sex culture of Amsterdam that had been displayed in so many pieces of pop culture. When I got there I was amazed at how woven into the fabric of the city this culture was. It’s something you have to experience but I do remember my shock at the first woman I saw, dressed down to her underwear, smoking a cigarette while sitting in a large store front window. It was very weird.
Though tulips are native to Asia and Turkey they became quite popular in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Today the country is known for their tulips and even have tulip festivals. I was not able to visit one of the beautiful tulip gardens but I did visit the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.
Amsterdam is a city filled with history and culture and there are so many museums to visit. From the Anne Frank house, Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Museum and the Rembrandt museum just to name a few. You can also go and see your favourite celebrities at Madame Tussauds.
There is a misconception about cannabis being legal in the Netherlands. A fun fact I learned while I was there is that it is actually illegal and can only be consumed in coffee shops (Not just any coffee shops guys but specific establishments that sell cannabis for personal consumption) and also in your own private residence. My curiosity took me to one called Amnesia and it was an interesting experience to say the least. Tip: Do not sit inside one of these coffee shops if you are not a cannabis smoker, I’m speaking from experience. You will find yourself devoured by the plumes of other people.
Amsterdam has more than 100 kilometers of canals so when in Amsterdam I’d definitely recommend going on a canal cruise. I went on an hour long cruise on the last day of my trip and it was fantastic. I love history and I learned so much about the city on that last day that I know I will go back to explore more and see all the things I missed the first time.
Amsterdam is known as the city of bicycles for a reason. These things are everywhere in this city and over 60% of trips are made by bicycle in the inner city. If so inclined you can just rent a bike while you’re there but if you’re like me just take a walk and take in the beautiful scenery. I asked my boyfriend Brian to proofread this for me and he seems to remember me complaining about all the walking I had to do when I was there. I remember things differently.
The Ice Bar
I also went to The Ice Bar which is a really unique – 9.3 degrees Celsius bar. There is also a Willem Barentsz impersonator which is pretty cool. The whole experience makes you feel like you are Dutch explorer in the 1500s
For my first Dutch breakfast I went to Pancakes Amsterdam which is right next to the Anne Frank House and the food was delicious. However as a word of warning, they do not take cash, which I learned is common in Amsterdam, so don’t withdraw all your vacation money as soon as you arrive.
If you’re looking to have a romantic elegant dinner a really good restaurant to go to is the Duchess. They have the most incredible desserts.
One of the cutest most instagramable cafes is a place called Sticky Fingers where I had a watermelon milkshake.
This holiday was different from all my others because I didn’t plan everything. We just had an idea, booked flights and the hotel and showed up. I recommend you do too.
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