Travelling to Amsterdam introduced me to a lot of things. It was my first time visiting this new country, I tried some great foods and it was my first experience staying in a shared house rather than a hotel or entire home on airbnb. We explored the city throughout the two days on foot, by tram and on a canal cruise. On Day 1, we visited museums, parks and of course, the famous Red Light District. It was an exciting and eventful weekend and an excellent spontaneous adventure.
First of all, the accomodation was really great. Although we stayed in Zuilen, which is an hour away by public transport, and we had our fair share of transport issues. It was worth it for the low price and the kindness of our host family. The host of our airbnb stayed up until 2am to welcome us even when our flight was delayed and she made breakfast for us both mornings of our stay. It wasn’t just breakfast. It was practically a feast.
We walked from our appartment to the Utretcht Zuilen station, which was unfortunately closed for the day and had to get a replacement bus service to Utretcht central. We realised on the second day that it was more convienient to get a bus straight to Utretcht central from the bus stop near our airbnb. However we would have missed out of these wonderful pictures if we hadn’t have walked for so long that we found a park.
When we eventually got to Amsterdam Centraal station, we went straight to the I amsterdam visitor centre. We actually only went there so my friend could go to the toilet, but we noticed all the leaflets. The staff were very helpful and we booked tickets to the Van Gogh museum and a canal cruise.
TOP AMSTERDAM TRAVEL TIP: The hop on hop off canal cruise is wonderful. We paid about 20 euros for a day ticket and we used it frequently throughout the day so it was definitely worth it. The ticket covered 2 different routes and the boats came regularly to lots of stops around the city so it was really convienient.
We started our journey at the Centraal station stop and stayed on until the stop near the Van Gogh Museum. It was so chilled out just sitting back and relaxing on the boat. It played all the information about the surrounding area out loud which had some interesting facts. The lady driving the boat was lovely and gave her own extra commentary.
When we arrived in the Museumsplein area, we enjoyed walking through the gardens of the Rijksmuseum and taking our obligatory tourist photos with the Iamsterdam letters. It was incredibly busy so we only really got clear pictures of the “dam” part of the sign, but it helped with my incredibly witty “amsterDAM” post on Facebook. We also walked around Vondelpark for a while and it was a lovely day.
TOP AMSTERDAM TRAVEL TIP #2: There are no rules for cyclists in Amsterdam and if you are anything like me, you will nearly get hit by a cyclist every 2 minutes when you are walking. My friend had to pull me out of the cycle path on more than one occassion.
Then we hopped on a tram to get back from Vondelpark a bit quicker because we just wanted food as soon as possible and the canal cruise is quite slow. We went to a pancake restaurant near Centraal station and it was wonderful. I decided to try something from the “traditional dutch” section of the menu and had a cheese and apple pancake. Yum!
Unfortunately the pancakes very nearly made us late for the Van Gogh museum and we didn’t have time for any more chilled out canal cruising like we originally planned. We got the tram there and got there just in time. I enjoyed the Van Gogh museum and found it very interesting. I bought a compact mirror with the Almond branches in bloom painting on one side and it’s very cute.
After the Van Gogh museum, we had the time to get back on the canal cruise! We decided to continue the blue route from where we got off the first time. Our second canal cruise driver was, in the nicest way possible, absolutely nuts! He was hilarious and it felt a bit like I was back on the Jaws ride in Universal Japan, especially when he pretended to crash into a wall. After another hour of slightly less chilled out but still fun canal cruising, we got off at Centraal once again.
Then we decided to walk to the Red Light District. It was a slightly weird experience, turning to talk to your friend and seeing making accidental eye contact with the lady in underwear behind her. It was very very crowded so we didn’t stay for very long except for getting our Wok to Walk noodles which were great.
Day 1 in Amsterdam made me realise how much I love travelling. I love exploring a new place, being surrounded by a different language and getting lots of new experiences. We started to plan our journey the next day on our train home and our host arranged to wake us at 8am with pancakes for breakfast.