Last weekend I visited the city of Amsterdam (something I had been meaning to do for a very long time!) and it was a real treat to look around the city. Unfortunately the city has a reputation for its Red Light District and ‘coffee shops’ and although this is a significant part of Amsterdam, there is so much more to the city. My weekend involved seeing lots of clogs, lots of bikes and a very thin house…this will all be explained in the following account of my adventure in Amsterdam (which I have decided to spread over two blogs)…
Friday 8th: After a 13 hour journey by coach (including an extremely bumpy ferry ride) we finally arrived in Amsterdam around midday. Although a few us had been awake close to 30 hours we were still determined to make the most of the little time we had there, so we headed straight out to explore.
First things first, we bought a tram ticket. This allowed us access to all the trams for 24 hours. The tram took us to the Dam (the square) which is the place we used to navigate ourselves to and from, it became our base camp! The buildings in the square are stunning. The Palace (formally the town hall), for instance, is a huge and beautiful building which is wonderful to look at (you can pay to look round it but we were quite short on money so missed this out). We then set off exploring. We quite simply just wondered around which was absolutely fantastic. There are so many pretty sights- particularly the canals. The houses along the canals are each unique which makes them very intriguing to look at- they are all different heights, widths and colours (they also all lean to one side slightly). By one of the canals there is an the worlds thinnest house which I think is something like 1.8 metres in width- so tiny! One of the most amazing things I found was a cow shop. Ok so they weren’t actual cows, but it was filled with tons of miniature cow ornaments all painted with different patterns and themes. I absolutely loved them! Although I refrained from buying one because I feared I would end up collecting them because they were all so nice!
After some wondering we decided to do the Anne Frank House (which costs 9 euros). We had to queue for about 45 minutes (so it would be well worth getting there early in the morning if you want to avoid the queues) but it was totally worth it. I was an emotional wreck when I was looking round. You learn everything about the family and everything they went through and it really is such a sad story, especially when you think that this happened on such a large scale- so many families went through similar experiences. I am so pleased we looked round the house, I learnt a lot and it really puts your life into perspective! There is no doubt that it’s a must-see if you go to Amsterdam.
We then had dinner in a really lovely little restaurant. You are quite spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where to eat because there are so many nice looking place which makes it hard to choose. The place we went to was round by the walls which are filled with spectacular graffiti (which is worth a look, we looked at this the next day and I’ll explain more about it in the next blog) which is out of the way of the touristy part of the city so it was nice and quiet. It was such a relaxing meal and we really enjoyed ourselves.
After a bit more exploring (including a short trip into the Red Light District, I wouldn’t advise going here at night because it was extremely loud and busy. We looked at it a bit more during the next day) we were so tired that we headed back to hostel to get a good and well-earned night’s sleep.
Day 2 of my adventures will be explained in the next blog!