I hope you enjoyed part 1 of ‘what have I been up to in Amsterdam’ and that it gave you some ideas on less-typical things you can do here! I may create this into an ongoing series as the year goes on if I find many more things to do (i’m sure I will) but for now, here is part 2!
Equestrian events – Polo, Dressage:
If you’re into horses, like myself (or even if you’re not), this weekend I discovered that Amsterdam hold an annual three day event of polo right in Museumplein! I was excited beyond belief to learn that it was free entry, particularly because polo is considered a sport of the wealthy. Not only this, but Olympic winner Anky Van Grunsven treated the crowd to a performance of her current freestyle, dressage routine. There was beer available, lots of adorable dogs to see and some phenomenal horses to watch. I was there all three days, and learned the rules of polo! It happens at the end of September every year if you’re interested. And finally, Amsterdam also have an annual show jumping event in January and the tickets are cheap in comparison to other events!
Visit other cities:
The Netherlands transport system is exceptional, especially when you compare it to British transport. Recently I visited Utrecht and was astounded at how pretty it was! It is definitely a visit-on-Sunday type place. Endless amounts of cute shops to explore, endless amounts of riverside bars and restaurants, markets with lots of street food, and so many trees! It looked idyllic. It cost only 7 euros from Amsterdam to get there and it was such a lovely day. I plan on visiting The Hague, Rotterdam and Maastricht soon!-
– What did I tell you about cute dogs? They’re everywhere in this country!
So since beginning the editing of this post, I did indeed visit Maastricht. I am fortunate enough that my boyfriend is studying in the Netherlands for a year too! Though unfortunately not in Amsterdam, but at the other end of the Netherlands. I visited the past weekend and I think it is similar to Utrecht. It is a lot quieter than Amsterdam and I have to admit there isn’t much in the way of tourist attractions, though it is a very pretty city nonetheless! The weather was also dire, it rained 90% of the time so the idea of pottering about wasn’t appealing. However there was a lovely market and lots of lovely restaurants. It is a small city, the furthest I had to cycle was 15 minutes to the train station, I would also really recommend it as a study abroad destination!
I think I prefer Maastricht to Utrecht. Utrecht, though quieter than Amsterdam (where isn’t?) was still very touristy and busy and when you have to go about your daily life, the busy-ness gets tiring really quickly. The cobbled streets are cute, although I have to say, it’s not really comfortable when cycling. I think the highlight of my trip was finding a nice burrito place (highly recommend, visited twice) and an Irish pub (it seems I only end up in Irish pubs these days – they’re the best though, right?) and learning to play darts. (I won 1/2 games).
As Maastricht is a lot further than Utrecht, it is about 25 euros one way, but, if you are planning on travelling a lot in the Netherlands, I urge you to purchase a Dal Voordel card (40% discount card) OR you can also purchase NS group tickets (you find people through the Facebook page) and travel anywhere in the Netherlands for upto 7.80 euros!
Enjoying my balcony:
Oh, I was overjoyed to find out that I had a balcony in my room. I love spending time outdoors and having a cool room so this was wonderful. It’s a simple thing but it brings me great joy! – My favourite thing to do is sit on my balcony with a glass of wine with friends or just alone. I’ve also purchased a table for my balcony so I’m able to sit out and do work when summer rolls back around (can’t wait already).
– The view from my balcony
Museums/ Art galleries:
Now I’m not somebody who’s really big into art galleries but there is currently a Banksy and Salvador Dali exhibition on at Moco Museum, also in Museumplein. I think street art is just as worthy as any other art and so this was definitely something I wanted to visit. I feel Banksy’s art is so relevant to today, and really speaks to a lot of people. I’d recommend buying tickets in advanced, online and not going on a Saturday… but other than that it is definitely worth a visit, I really enjoyed it and after, there are plenty of places near to purchase a coffee and waffle!
(- you were allowed to take photographs)
Little did I know, Amsterdam has an abundance of rooftop bars, and some have hot tubs within them also! I think in summer these will be more enjoyable when sitting outside, but even when it is a bit chilly, it’s nice to sit so high up and admire the view of Amsterdam below. I would have thought they would have been expensive for food and drinks but honestly this is not the case! I am looking forward to summer for these!