Amsterdam, Netherlands | Interrail

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


Amsterdam is one of those places. You know, the kind that everybody has been to, are going to or want to go to. The kind of place where you either head there for a sole reason or for no reason at all. Honestly, I just wanted to go to see what all the fuss was about.


Upon arrival, the weather was dismal. It was pouring with rain and we had no idea where our hotel was. In that state of mind and in that weather, any place seems crap.
But, refusing to be disheartened, we waited till the rain ceased, and made our way outside to have an evening wander.
I’m not even going to lie, the first things that amazed me were the customisable magnums, the burger vending machines and the amount of low-flying planes flying overhead. The canals and bikes were probably the lowest things on my mind on the first night. And have you SEEN the apple store?! It’s beautiful!

The highlight of the night was when I saw a woman on the bridge (that people had decided is Amsterdam’s equivalent to the love lock bridge) doing what I thought was ‘holding padlocks in the air trying to sell them and looking really happy about it’ – she was actually taking a selfie. A found it way too funny, but it definitely looked like what she was doing.

As the sun began to set, we decided to head back to the hotel to have some food, eat a bit of Belgian chocolate and head to bed fairly early ready for the day ahead.


The next day, it was as if it never rained. The skies were blue and the sun was shining – a perfect day to explore.
Our hotel was situated right next to the concert hall (Concertgebouw) and so we were right next to the Museumplein, the I Amsterdam sign, and the rows of Miffys.


We stuck with exploring by foot, which was probably a bad idea considering how many bikes nearly hit us and how many times we looked the wrong direction prior to crossing roads. I’d like to say it was a relaxing walk, but when you’re constantly aware of being potentially knocked down by bikes, it’s definitely an on-your-toes walk. They are lethal!

We began our day by having breakfast at Pancakes! I chose the apple and raisin breakfast pancakes, topped with jam. They were amazing, but extremely filling! They even provide a little clog keyring as a gift when they bring you the bill, which put a smile on both of our faces – the little things hey?



From pancakes to prostitutes, we decided to head to the Red Light District.

Famous for ‘window shopping’, it was still a shock to turn to the left and see a half-naked girl stood in the window presenting herself in a way that is unimaginable to majority of people. Some of the girls were beautiful, as in, Barbie doll beautiful. I even contemplated paying for the six minutes that they usually spend on ‘customers’ asking what products that they use on their face. Probably only slightly inappropriate…. Maybe.
Other sides of the district, girls were more honey boo boo than Malibu...and I’m pretty sure one part should have been labelled ‘big black and beautiful’ – half of them looked like they couldn’t be arsed though, which is bad considering they pay about 150 euros for 8 hours rent of the windows.

The Museum of Prostitution was recommended to me, and despite it looking absolutely terrifying to walk into, I’m really happy that we went. It was so interesting to read and watch about the lives of prostitutes, what they do, how they ended up in that position, and whether they like their jobs. It definitely provided insight into their lives that you’d never expect. It was really, really interesting. But don’t worry, I’m not contemplating changing any future aspirations just yet.

From prostitutes to pot (hahahaha), we visited what Amsterdam is most famous for – Coffee shops.
Surrounded by happy stoners, I went wild and ordered a sparkling ice tea. The whole experience was very strange, it’s as if it all shouldn’t have been happening, but it was. Bar staff and customers were just talking about marijuana freely, and the man that would be called the ‘dealer’ over here, was happily dishing out grams of weed at crazily cheap prices. Watching all of these things happen in front of my face, when it’s usually viewed as shifty looking people standing a bit too close in a park, was bizarre. But, when in Amsterdam, hey!


After that experience and half (including a trip to a condom museum – yes, really), we carried on wandering. We spent a bit of time in the Dam, which is the main square bit. I decided to go and see the famous flower market, because it said famous, and flowers are pretty. It was terrible. The only flowers there were wooden, and the whole market was just flower bulbs and seeds. It wasn’t entirely a waste of time though, we did get some frites (chips) which are apparently famous in the Netherlands – they were pretty good.

The last mission of the day was to get a photo with the I Amsterdam sign. Alone. Mission impossible? Almost.


SUCCESS!

Proud and sleepy, we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before a quick trip to Vondelpark in the morning.

Amsterdam verdict? Little bit strange. Bikes are lethal. It’s ridiculously expensive. I want to go back and visit the Ann Frank Museum. Stroopwafels are the bomb. They have burger vending machines. BURGER VENDING MACHINES. It's best when the weather is lovely :)

Little bits of advice:

  • The flower market isn’t worth it. The only flowers you’ll see are wooden and 95% of all stands are just seeds and bulbs.
  • Book the big museums in advance. You’ll skip the queues and get a cheaper rate
  • Bike hires do not accept debit cards as a form of ID – you’ll need a credit card or passport in order to hire.
  • If you want a solo ‘I Amsterdam’ photo, head over at sunset hours when tourists have all head back.
  • Respect the girls in the windows – they aren’t any lower in humanity than you are, they just have an unconventional job.
  • Everything is expensive. Be prepared – a cup of tea is approximately 3 euros and it’s so upsetting.
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