Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Travel Diary: Everything I Loved About Amsterdam

These are a series of posts covering my 5 weeks in Europe, and each country I see in bite sizes. Or as my best friend likes to say, “speed touristing.” I visited most places for 4 days, with the exception of Germany and some day trips. This is my way of taking you guys on my adventures through Europe, giving you guys my thoughts on each place and any tips I’ve picked up!

Everything I Loved About Amsterdam


Amsterdam was without a doubt one of my favourite places I visited - such a highlight to my trip. The city has these chilled vibes and the weather was so nice that it was fun just ambling around in the streets. I am well aware that people visit Amsterdam because weed is legal there, but being someone who doesn’t dabble in that area, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time and will 110% go back. It was only one of 3 place I stayed at for more than 3 days.



Accomodation

Well worth the stay! The Flying Pig is a really homely hostel, and I felt so comfortable staying here. I met some awesome people as well, who were friendly and open to get to know one another. It’s a 5 minute walk from Central Station and is located within close proximity to majority of the tourist attractions including the IAmsterdam sign, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank Museum and Vondelpark. 

Being A Tourist


Amsterdam is set out so you can knock out a lot of tourist attractions in a day or two. The rest of my days I spent enjoying the weather - I had a day in a park just reading and another pedal boating around the canals, or heading out at night with some friends to discover what Amsterdam's night life was like.


I ticked off the Anne Frank museum the first day I got there, and was one of the favourite things I did that week. It is such an intuitive experience, with each person having their own audio guide synced to the required language. When you’re walking through the house there are numbers to scan and the audio guide starts - everyone is listening to and experiencing the same things, but in different languages. 
Tip: Pre-book your ticket! This is very important!

Another thing I surprisingly loved was visiting Spa Zuiver - a spa and sauna centre 25 minutes away from Amsterdam. It’s actually attached to a hotel if you want to stay away from the city for a day or two! The place is decked out with an indoor and outdoor pool, multiple saunas, steam room, jacuzzis (both indoor and outdoor), aroma bath - the list goes on! There’s also a restaurant and bar. Do note though, that this place is usually a naked spa but Tuesdays and Thursdays are bathing suit days if you’re not super comfortable being in the nude. Highly recommend!

Surprise, surprise I did a walk through Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light district. I can definitely understand the fascination behind it amongst tourists, but didn’t feel like I wanted to revisit it every night. I also visited the I Amsterdam Sign, Moco Museum and Westerpark. The Moco Museum had two exhibitions on - Roy Lichtenstein and Banksy.

Places To Eat


I’m fairly sure I brunched at least once in every country I visited, and hey I’m not complaining. Bakers and Roasters are known for eggs. They have an abundance of different egg dishes you can choose from, and my choice was salmon and hollandaise sauce. You can sit outside right next to the canals, super cute!

If you love meat, and having a huge steak, hit up this place. It isn’t cheap though so do expect to be paying a bit, but well worth it. 

De 3 Graefjes
Yes, this is another brunch place. Don’t judge me.

Satellite Sports Cafe
Oh wow, I just realised my pattern in eating. Again, meat lovers, you want to eat all that you can in ribs go and find this place. We paid 12 euros, but after 10PM its 10 euros! 


Gartine is a really cute cafe that serves high tea, which is exactly what we ordered. We kind of splurged a little and went for the set that encompassed everything high tea could offer, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This restaurant was recommended by a local for authentic Dutch food. It’s semi fancy and there was a line when we got there, but I thought ahead and made a reservation. To be quite honest, we didn’t really know what to order so just chose somewhat randomly, including Dutch Hodgepodge. 

Quick Tips


You don’t really need to catch public transport in Amsterdam because everything is so easy to walk to. However, you will see, and fairly sure everyone knows this, a ton of bikes. Both locals and tourists fill the roads with bikes and is most likely the easiest way to see the entire city. 

If you’re trying to make your way to Amsterdam from London, Paris or somewhere nearby, definitely look at booking a train ticket because it makes it way easier to get right into the city. I booked a seat with Thalys from Paris to Amsterdam and it was only 3 hours.

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