For my first holiday of the year, I’ve decided to finally go to Amsterdam. Pretty much everyone I know’s been and I’ve only ever heard good things about it, so a short stay has been on the cards for a while. So, worth the fuss? Here’s my review, along with some pictures.
First thing that hit me is how small the place is. While there’s a lot to do, we found ourselves pretty much walking the full length of the city several times. Try that in London. I also really like the old school architecture- the traditional houses, the lack of tall buildings, the little canal bridges, etc.
Our hotel was nice. We stayed at the Revolution, which is conveniently located just outside the Centraal station, at the heart of the city. It felt pretty luxurious, even though we got a good deal with the flights. Having said that I’m pretty sure we had breakfast included, and the trainee who checked us in forgot that. Not that I’m still bitter about it..
The transport facilities are good, albeit not cheap. We found it easy to get around using the trains, metro, canal boats and even the tram – we didn’t really need to if I’m honest, but I’d never been on a tram.
On the subject of transports, we all nearly died about 3 times a day thanks to the reckless f*cking cyclists, so do watch out.
Anne Franck’s House
As far as museums are concerned, there’s a lot going on. We managed to visit both the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseumon on our first day despite waking up at 4 am to get there, which was a pretty good effort.There’s plenty more to see, including Rembrandt’s house. In a slightly different style, the sex museum was quite funny (if not a little creepy).
Out of all the museums, my personal highlight was Anne Franck’s house, an incredibly moving place to visit. Everyone who visits Amsterdam should see it. We also had to check out the Ajax football stadium, the Arena. We tried to get tickets for the mediocre Europa League midweek game, but failed and did the tour instead. We were gutted to miss out, though in fairness the stadium did look packed when we watched the game in a bar.
It turns out Ajax Amsterdam is so popular there are apparently plans to increase the stadium capacity from the current 53,000 seats to about 70,000 (can’t remember the exact figure, just quoting the tour guide).
Red Lights crawl & hen do
On our final day, we went on the Heineken experience tour around the brewery. The whole thing was really good, especially the free drinks along the way and the free boat trip at the end too. I even got a bottle with my name of it (probably will save this one for my birthday).
The night life’s good, and there’s a lot of pubs, coffee shops and bars to go round, as well as bar crawls to jump on. We went on a ‘Red Lights’ crawl, which was great. Plus being pissed makes constantly getting stopped by hookers or drug dealers significantly less awkward.
We didn’t really get the chance to meet too many locals. In fact, I don’t think I ever met so many people from Northern England as I did in Amsterdam. That being said, overall there’s a pleasant mix of people from different places. We even managed to meet West London girls on a hen do. Small world..
Ultimately, we never made it to a club though, as the drinks are ridiculously expensive (as is the food), and I pretty much drank away all my souvenir budget over the course of one night. Oh well..
To sum up, I’d definitely recommend Amsterdam. There’s so much to see, and it’s a great destination whether you’re up for a bit of a break or a crazy party weekend. I’d advise making sure you’re located near the centre, know what you want to do and take a lot of money if you’re planning big nights out.
Oh and make sure you look left, right, left and right again before you cross the road..
Here are a few more shots from my holiday. Special thanks for my friend Hanan, who takes far better pictures than me: