Amsterdam

People might say I’m a little bit crazy concerning the time I spent on thinking about my last two trips (USA and Amsterdam) which in the case of Amsterdam was less than 5 days. In less than 5 days the thought of going to Amsterdam popped into my mind, I told my friend who lives in the city that I was going to come visit, I started looking for cheap ways to get there and back, and I went to Amsterdam. It’s that easy. How much more preparation does one need for a weekend-city-trip?

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So I found this travel company called “Jomo Tours”. Those guys offer a wide range of bus tours to many big European cities, mostly all-inclusive with accommodation and a set programme. However, “Amsterdam for backpackers” was exactly what I was looking for. On a Thursday morning the bus left from a city close to my place. On the bus we were provided with useful information about the Netherlands, Dutch people, and Amsterdam in particular and I got to know some other travellers (who were all travelling in small groups – a bit of a disadvantage if you ask me). We arrived in the Dutch capital in the afternoon and were left to our own devices.

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That’s how I like travelling. You step out of the bus, out of your comfort zone and embrace the adventure that’s waiting for you.

This time however, it wasn’t all uncertainty and being on your own since I was going to stay with my friend. On the other hand this meant a deeper insight into Dutch everyday life. So here we go:

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Day 1, Thursday: I spent most of the day on the bus before I went straight to my friend’s place and got to know her family. They all speak English incredibly well compared to the rather poor knowledge of my own parents 🙂

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Day 2, Friday: I started my day with a 1 hour guided boat tour on the countless channels of the city. We passed the harbour, went through the main canals (Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizersgracht), saw the wealthy quarter, admired the unique architecture and a parking lot only for bicycles. I loved it!

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Boat tour DSC03162

Seeing a city from the water is just so different from the usual guided walking or bus tours you get. And it gives you a great impression of a city that wouldn’t be Amsterdam if it wasn’t for all that water 😉 The rest of the morning I walked through China Town, got my Hard Rock Café jersey and escaped from the never-ending rain into the Heineken Grand Café.

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I met my friend at lunch time and we went to one of the best shops for fries (Vlaamse Frittes) in town. She insisted on me ordering the fries in Dutch, which I managed acceptably judging from the result we held in our hands a minute later 😀

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Our next stop was the Anne Frank Huis. We hadn’t been sure whether to go inside or not but seeing hundreds of people waiting in the rain, we continued our journey to the Rijksmuseum. I am not the biggest fan of museums. I go there if I want to and if it’s not too expensive. The reason for visiting this one was the art work in front of the museum, the huge “I amsterdam” letters.

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I Amsterdam

We got there just in time to see about 70 Frenchies wearing “movember” shirts dancing to “I don’t care” in front of the letters. Funniest thing ever!

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Day 3, Saturday: After a night out we went into the city in the afternoon. I only spent a week-end in Amsterdam but ate my way through quite a lot of typical Dutch food. Most of it was sweet and sugary just like the poffertjes (small “pancakes”) with powder sugar we had for early dinner in a restaurant called the Carousel. My plate looked like a winter wonderland and it tasted just the same. 

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poffertjes peppermint tea

The menu told me I ordered a cup of peppermint tea, however they served me a glass of hot water with a whole fucking plant in it! We all know the Dutch are not the best at soccer, however they do know how to make tea 😛

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The rest of the evening we spent walking around Amsterdam admiring the special atmosphere the city has at night. Before I had to catch my bus we visited the most famous bridge, Magere Brug, and the legendary red light district with all its crazy people and attractions and window-girls and the smell of the coffee shops and so on.

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night

Amsterdam is an incredible and unique city with loads of weird stuff to discover and experience. I am definitely going back, there is still so much to do 😉 Since it’s quite a small city, it feels like there are tourists everywhere. For a small town girl like me it is nice to hear so many different languages and accents though 😀 Moreover, Dutch people are really nice, speak excellent English, pretty good German and their own language sounds SO cute!

Related Post: Some things are just too cool to be true. Or legal.

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