Amsterdam wasn’t on our destination list at the very beginning, but we thought we’ll have a wonder and see how we go. So where do we start? A lovely and walkable city with no shortage of interesting sights and streets to make us wander whether we made the most of every minute.
We flew from London and arrived just before midday. We grabbed an uber to our hotel, located at the Leidsesquare (Leidseplein), near to all Amsterdam’s highlights such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, Flower Market, shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. Our room was beautiful, perfect for our 2 night stay, with a large fireplace by the bed and our little balcony overlooked one of Amsterdam’s grand canals. We dropped our bags, and immediately set out to see what the city had to offer.
The Red Light District. Let’s be honest with it. You can’t write about a visit to Amsterdam and not mention the Red Light District, so let’s just get this out of the way… The truth is, it was on our to do list while in Amsterdam, as we’ve had friends that they’d visit before us and they kept saying “make sure you go”. Even though we both were just giggling at the thought, we were curious too. Talking and walking, looking at everything as all tourists do, we turned into a little street and… Oops! Suddenly instead of retail shops, many of the windows had red curtains hanging in them, but only the occasional few had someone standing inside. Women dressed in tiny outfits or underwear.. quite uncomfortable and unsure where to look.
The little street lead us to the Red Light District right on the heart of Amsterdam, De Wallen. It felt as a movie scene, where you see a main character running on an empty alleyway and all of a sudden ends up to a crowded main street. Funny enough it was the window displays in the “toy” shops, that brought out the giggles in the adults… There were people everywhere and the most disturbing part, it wasn’t the adult shops, the Sex Theaters (peep shows) nor the “coffee shops”, but the parents with their children of all ages. For obvious reasons no photos were taken at Red Light District, however we did go just after dinner and we did enjoy our time around the area.
Always looking for a fun photo opportunity I was excited to visit the I Amsterdam sign! You can’t miss it as the red and white sign is 2 meters tall and crawling with people. The city’s catch phrase, I Amsterdam, represents not just the city itself, but a state of mind and is a symbol of inclusion. It’s hard not to fall in love with such a positive message and it was clear from the crowds swarming on, in and around it that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. As soon as we arrived at the sign, it started raining. Luckily and thankfully it only lasted for a couple of minutes and everyone jumped straight back at it taking as many photos as they could.
Our next destination, the Heineken Experience! I have been to a few breweries before as the husband loves his beer. I am not a big fan of beer myself though. I am more into wine/champaign myself, so I wasn’t too keen on the experience but I was openminded about it. I LOVED IT! What did I love the most? Hard to pick one thing. Let’s just say if you head to Amsterdam and you like beer go ahead and visit. It is such a unique and different brewery experience from any other we’d been to. The tickets are only 15euro per person and you get your moneys worth with all the beer you end up drinking by the end of it. Check out the pictures from our visit.
One of the highlights of our visit was the many walks we took. In fact, we literally walked everywhere. I know you’re wondering why not bike? Isn’t Amsterdam all about bikes? It was quite ridiculous how bikes were more dangerous than cars for pedestrians in Amsterdam… Unfortunately, I wasn’t confident enough to ride a bike in such a big city. Neither was Ben confident of me riding one.. I’m not very good at it.
We wish we were in Amsterdam for more days so we could have visited some of the so famous museums, The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum and of course Anne Frank’s House. However, we did enjoy The 9 Streets shopping, cafes and restaurants as well as taking a 2 hour boat tour around the canals, getting educated on the Hollandaise culture and history, quite fascinating.
Our 2 day stay in Amsterdam was over before we knew it and we were off to our next destination.