Amsterdam - is it Canals and Tulips or Weed and Hookers?
Our plan was to travel straight from England to Germany, but as we'd always wanted to go to the Netherlands and as it is kind of on the way we decided to go via Amsterdam. We got a coach from England to Amsterdam, spent nine fantastic hours there and then caught the train to Germany. Should you make that journey? That's a whole other story, find out about it here.
This post is all about what you can do in Amsterdam and how much of it you can fit it into a day, because despite the fact that we will definitely be going back, I'm here to tell you:
Amsterdam can be done in one day (or night)
Don't get me wrong, we absolutely loved it and didn't do everything, but in one day you can get a really good taste of Amsterdam, and we did everything that we really wanted to do (or almost).
So what did we see/do?
Below is a photo of a tourist group doing a bike tour. We considered doing this, but a friend who lives in Amsterdam warned me against it as the dutch are very aggressive riders. I'm glad we took her advice, I'm not a great rider at the best of times (I always get distracted looking at things and fall off).
Walking along the Amstel
Albert CUYP Markt
they also had clog slippers!:
When I say impressed, I mean that we were impressed by the outside of the building. We didn't go in because we were already pretty tired from the journey, and museums always send us to sleep.
I'm sure it's great though, so if you have a spare 15 Euro why not go in??
We just contented ourselves with taking touristy photos of the I amsterdam sign:
I even went as far as hugging the T, because I have a lot of love for Tanbay and TravellingWeasels (both of which begin with t..)
Right next to the Rijksmuseum on the way to the Van Gogh Museum are a few pretty (if not touristy and probably overpriced) shops:
I love a bit of Van Gogh.
We also didn't go in the Van Gogh museum, because again we were still tired, and again it cost 15 Euro. We would have rather gone there than the Rijks, and intend to go there once we return.
It was cute!
The food we had in Amsterdam was epic. So epic in fact that it deserves it's own post.
We hadn't planned on doing a Canal tour (we're too snobby for touristy tours), but in the end we were so eager to sit down we decided to suck it up and just do it:
It was definitely worth it to see Amsterdam from another angle. The tour was in Dutch, English, German and French and it was fun to see how much of each bit I understood (a little bit, all, most, basically nothing - respectively).
My favourite bit was seeing Anne Frank's House. We'd planned on walking there and viewing it from the outside (apparently if you go in it's boring and you're shepherded around like a sheep) but when it came to it we were too tired to do that, so it was great to see it in the same way, but from the boat:
Church of Saint Nicholas and Amsterdam Centraal
Just outside the station (bottom photo) is the gorgeous Church of Saint Nicholas (top photos):
What have I missed out?? Oh yea the two infamous pieces of Amsterdam:
weed and hookers. Did we go to the red light district? Yes. It was a bit weird. There were loads of explicit sex shops and every now and again (especially in the smaller alleys) there were windows with women dressed scantily and looking bored. It was kind of embarrassing. One of the weirdest things was the families walking their kids around the red light district! (What?) We walked past a peep show shop thing, and I looked (peeped) in the entrance. There were 5 boys waiting to go in, looking really excited and sheepish.. I didn't take any photos because I've heard if you do that you get your camera thrown into the canal/smashed up or something. I wasn't going to take that risk.
As for the weed? Again I felt like it was a really lame touristy thing to do... The only people that seemed to be doing it were again sheepy tourists who were so excited to be doing it in public.. I heard somewhere that Amsterdam had made weed boring (probably from Family Guy - that's where I get most of my wise thoughts from) and it's so true!
Anyway here are a couple of photos of coffee shops (easily distinct from the classic coffee shop by the smell) and a few weed like souvenirs:
But all in all we absolutely loved Amsterdam, especially me - I think I'd go as far as saying that I could actually live there. Tanbay found it a bit similar to Germany but for me that was part of the appeal.
You may have noticed that the theme of the day seemed to be 'tired' and that's definitely true. We do intend to go back to The Netherlands, and I think that time we will give ourselves a bit more time and sleep! It just worked out well for us this time to do this crazy sleep on the bus - day out in Amsterdam - train it to Germany type thingy.
The other theme of the day seemed to be a 'snobbish I'm not a tourist I'm a traveller' type thing. I'm sorry but it's true. Before we went to Amsterdam I read a lot of travel blogs for tips on what to do, and I read a lot of 'Amsterdam is more than weed and hookers, don't go there just for that see the real Holland' and I thought 'okay calm down, we get it you're not a tourist, you're a proper traveller. Well done'. But now I've been there I AGREE WITH THEM SO MUCH!! The Netherlands is excellent and so much more than weed and hookers. I mean where else can you sit in a gigantic clog?
The Netherlands is fantastic and we really love it loads! We can't wait to go back, but we are glad to be in Germany now :)
We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same!