So it’s finally here! After 18 hours of flying we arrived in Amsterdam at the crack of dawn (not that you would of guessed it with how bright the morning was), we were lucky that out hotel (The Apollo Ramada Amsterdam) provided a free airport shuttle when we landed. With some sweet talking by my wife we got an early check-in allowing us to have a hot shower before hitting the streets of Amsterdam.
The hotel itself is a little out of town but incredibly modern with a roof top restaurant and bar over looking the town. To get into town we used the tram service (which stopped just outside the hotel). The public transport system is really easy to use with English translations at every stop (although beware that you don’t run out of credit on your ticket. I did and to Bec’s embarrassment I imitated the “BEEP BEEP” noise while checking on and off on my last tram ride).
The main part of town is absolute mayhem with trams, bicycles, people and cars moving in every direction. The sheer volume of people reminded me a lot of Times Square New York and at times making your way through the crowds can be a challenge. Like any new city this all added to the excitement and got the senses flowing (one of which is the smell of marijuana which is stronger throughout the alleyways where all the “cafes” can be found”we utilized the alleyways to get away from the tourist traffic jams which lead to some interesting people watching.
Finding your way around the city is extremely easy to navigate, in fact we didn’t feel the need to read a map the first day we were there and just explored. Stumbling upon the “RED LIGHT DISTRICT” is inevitable and doing so during the day was a good way to introduce ourselves to something that was a little out of the ordinary for us. Night time is really when the action starts and can be a real eye opener to someone that hasn’t spent the day drinking in a pub (keep an eye out for the “gentlemen” negotiating in the doorways with the working girls!)
Amsterdam seems to be the place to go for stag and hens nights, you can’t roam the streets of Amsterdam in the early afternoon to night without seeing one.
The people of Amsterdam are really friendly and were always happy to help and did so with a genuine smile. They seemed really relaxed and have a culture where they seem to love to sit on the canal have a coffee or beer and just watch the world go by.
One of the best days we had was on the Saturday where we visited the Anne Frank House. We were advised by many people to get to the Anne Frank House early to beat the lines (tip: pre-book a ticket online in a time slot so no queuing is necessary! This makes it much easier to plan your day without wasting your time lining up for 3 hours).
We did lots of researched about Amsterdam and read a few reviews of people mentioning not much to do around the Anne Frank house but we found this untrue finding ourselves on some of the nicest canals and even stumbling on a little local markets selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to fish, meat, cheese (don’t get me started on how good their cheese is there) you could literally do your whole food shop there.
All in all Amsterdam is a striking city with beautiful canals and busy streets. My tip would be to walk away from the main areas and find little local spots that’s where the canals and streets are cleaner and cafes are cheaper. Also try a night dinner canal cruise and watch the city transform from day to night (which occurs at 10:30pm, way past my usual bed time!) from the water..
Once we sort out some software problems I will upload some images for you all till then look me up on Instagram and Facebook to get a quick look at what’s been happening.