The first thing I did in Amsterdam was nearly get hit by a bike.
Shortly after arriving at the hotel, we stepped outside in search of food and after taking a few steps forward Am let out a panicked incoherent sentence which should have been “Rhiannon, you’re about to get mown down by a cyclist!”
She managed to muddle out the word “MOVE”! before yanking me by the elbow before the cyclist flashed past.
I knew that Amsterdam had cycle lanes but I had assumed they would be part of the road, not the pavement, and that they would probably warn you of an imminent collision by ringing their bell or yelling at you. Alas, not the case. It was to be the first of many close calls with cyclists that week.
We grabbed lunch and coffee from a cafe that was like stepping back into the 1970’s.
We nipped back to the hotel for a bit to pour over pamphlets and brochures for ideas on what to do.
We ended up hopping on the tram and getting a 42hr ticket and googled the stop that we needed.
We wandered around, stopping for a drink here and there before going to a Thai restaurant for dinner…
and then heading for another drink en route to the Amsterdam Ice Bar for Nutella Vodka and in Am’s case, extremely cold toes.
You can read about whether the ice bar is worth a visit here.
We walked back to the tram stop, still trying to adjust to the fact that it smelt of marijuana pretty much everywhere.
The next day we headed to the “Happiness Project” Bodyworlds exhibit
Followed by Amsterdam Dungeon
The Torture museum
and the Flower Market.
and ending the evening with drinking whiskey by the canal.
It’s generally not advised to take photos of the prostitutes unless you’re very sneaky with a camera or are happy with the prospect of being chased down the road and having your phone thrown in the canal.
Eventually we got back to the hotel, having walked for miles and met some random Scottish lads that we got drunk with, we crashed out and slept through breakfast.
After grabbing food elsewhere, we headed off to the Heineken experience, and after hopping on a tram and walking for 10-15 minutes or so, the heavens opened and we got very, very wet.
A lady gave us some Europride pink plastic ponchos, which made us feel delightfully sexy
After a while the rain seemed to stop and so we ditched the ponchos, only for it to come back with a vengeance some minutes later.
By the time we found the Heineken experience, we were drenched. A member of staff made his way down the queue outside and handed out green ponchos, which made me feel like a soaked moody little goblin
We made our way around the tour in wet clothes and slightly dampened moods to boot.
I must profess my disappointment that the experience didn’t include a Willy Wonka style cruise down a beer river. Heineken, take note.
After the tour we proceeded as quickly as possible to the hotel so that we could have hot showers and get into dry clothes.
Not wanting to brave the rain again in our unsuitably weather proof-less clothes, we stayed in the hotel for an overpriced lack lustre dinner.
The following day we decided to make an attempt to find Anne Frank’s, although we hadn’t seen it advertised anywhere and since the booking website had said the pre-booked tickets were “Sold out” we figured we’d have to get them at the entrance.
After we got off the tram, the first thing we did was look for food and coffee.
We went to Sara’s pancake house where I got a cheese and onion potato pancake and Nutella milkshake, Am got a coffee and a bacon potato pancake.
They do sweet or savoury and a hell of a lot different kinds of pancakes, but it was packed and service was pretty damn slow.
Back on track with full bellies, we began our search, and saw one very vague sign saying “Anne frank house.” After wandering up and down the canal on both sides of the road and walking around in circles, we eventually found it was actually only a few feet away from where we had started , having deceived us with it’s modern exterior.
On the door tickets were not available for over an hour or so, not including the amount of time that would be spent in the already horrendously long and ever-growing queue. We weren’t sure whether to give up or not. So instead, we headed down the road to have a beer. Am was scrolling on her phone and happened to check the website to see there were suddenly a small amount of pre-booked tickets available in half an hour.
We snapped them up and headed back, bypassed the queue and were in within minutes.
It was slightly different to what I had anticipated, but poignant nonetheless and worth the visit.
Afterwards, we went for a few drinks and made a plan to meet up with two girls we knew that were also in Amsterdam. We went to a Turkish style coffee shop that had window booths filled with inviting looking cushions.
We left and ended up wandering in the wrong direction into a part of the city that we did not recognise at all, and had to get a cab back to the hotel.
Most days, inbetween checking out the tourist attractions, we spent hours wandering up and down the canals, eating good food, drinking, browsing random stores and shouting “Oh look, a cheese shop! I haven’t seen one of those yet!” every time we passed one (which was pretty damn often).
The last day, we didn’t have a huge amount of time after check-out to explore so we stayed in the neighbourhood of the hotel, wandered around the shops, grabbed lunch and then chilled at the hotel until pick-up.
Time to kill, food, and a few cheeky purchases in duty free.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been Easyjet if the flight hadn’t been delayed both there AND back!