July 8th – 10th 2016

Arriving late in Amsterdam is the way to go. It’s dark and there’s an air of anticipation that encapsulates the whole experience. Get the train from the airport for a €20 return from Schiphol Airport. It’s a 40 minute train journey into the heart of Amsterdam.

We used AirBnB and got a great studio flat on the outskirts of Amsterdam near Houthavens which was a 20 minute bus journey from the station. The views were incredible, even if it was in the industrial district of Amsterdam, it definitely gave us a view of a different side of the city.

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Our host Sofia was incredibly accommodating and gave us some great advice on where to visit. There was a map in the apartment with pins to notable places which really helped us know where things were and how to get to them from our home. She offered us the opportunity do it the Dutch way and travel like they do, on bikes.img_4650

We ventured out more or less straight after arriving, we headed into the city after a VERY long walk of getting there. Once there, we accidentally (no, really!) stumbled upon the Red Light District which was very.. different. Doused in a soft red glow it stood out from all the other narrow streets which usually contained various shady looking coffee shops and bars. Please note: there is a difference between coffee ships & cafés) We found ourselves quickly identifying several stag do’s and naked ladies trying to invite Luke in! If we’re honest it was more or less over before it started, the Red Light District, although having a huge reputation is actually quite short in length.

By this time, it was probably around 2AM, and after almost 24 hours of being awake we called it a night, after one quick drink in a seedy looking bar with disgusting toilets, which Abbie doesn’t want to talk about, we left.

img_3225The first morning arrived and first thing was first, it was time to hire the bikes, Sofia sorted us out quite a cheaper deal than it would’ve been to rent them from a bike rental shop. Although not too expensive, you can only hire these for a day, it gets quite expensive to hire for multiple days.

We rode to a small cafe outside the city centre (which is cheaper of course) and had a full continental breakfast. Abbie got a brownie that she was super happy with! img_0505

A short 10 minute bike ride later and we were in the heart of Amsterdam. It was clear by this point that cycling was not Abbie’s specialty and we had a little bit of a problem navigating the crowds, when people say this is the cycling capital of the world, they’re not wrong. It’s insane.

After locking up at one the many picturesque canals we ventured on foot to the Rijksmuseum and iamAmsterdam sign which was perfect for capturing some great photos.

Going through Central it was clear to see that the West side of Amsterdam is definitely busier than the East, there’s a lot more here and would definitely recommend finding your feet here, once you get to Vondelpark you will find yourself hitting the southmost part of Central Amsterdam.

Vondelpark was definitely one of the highlights for us, think Hyde Park in London, but bigger, cheaper and a lot more fun. You could easily spend a whole day here and still find things to do.

Anyway, coming back to the first full day, evening was approaching and we went to a small restaurant next to Amsterdam station called the Grasshopper which was great for a quick meal. We had tickets to the Ice bar and didn’t want to be late! This was Luke’s first time of being in an ice bar and I can safely say that he made the most of it, like a little child! Running about all over the place and being one of the first in line for his free beverage! It was a lovely experience and we would definitely recommend.img_3279

Day Two:

Nothing better to start a Sunday morning than a trip to the sex museum. Not before having a full dutch breakfast and Abbie sticking to her roots with a full English…

Anyway, arriving at the sex museum was pretty easy, its essentially right on the main road exiting the station. Entering the sex museum you’re greeted with various images and videos of what can only be described as antique porn. Definitely keep an ‘eye’ out when you’re climbing the first staircase. Also make sure you sit on the penis. Great photo opportunity.

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img_0601After getting our shots we quickly made out of there and headed to the Heineken museum. This was probably one of the most interesting parts of the trip, you get the chance to see inside the old brewery factory and also get some free beer which is always appreciated!

Looking back, the Heineken museum was quite close to the Vondelpark so if you’re looking for a couple of things to do quite close together, this is probably the way to do, and then after both of them make your way north back to Central and grab some food there.

To top off our final day, we headed near to the station to go for a cruise round the canals of the city. Seeing Amsterdam through this light, it all started to make sense, this place is a city of two halves.. a beautiful historic area with so much to offer architecturally and a plethora of cultural experiences that give you a sense of just how far Amsterdam has come to where it is now. We will definitely be coming back. Two days wasn’t enough.

Now for Wales..

 

About The Author

Wanderlust Lab is a collaboration between Abbie and Luke for the sharing of travelling knowledge to help backpackers and travellers all across the globe. Live Wanderlust.

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