Sunday, 5 October 2014

Hi(gh) Amsterdam


Amsterdam is one of those places that everyone wants to visit. Mainly for its well known law regulations. But Amsterdam has so much more to offer other than smoking a joint in a Coffee Shop and wandering through the Red Light District.

First thing you must know about Amsterdam (before you cause an accident) is that there are bike lanes everywhere! Everyone here gets around by bicycle - therefore you must rent one! It's the best way to see the city, but just be careful to stay to the right side of the path/roads. I know that I still have an issue with this being Australian as we drive on the left side of the road. You'd be surprised how embedded this is in your head.

Amsterdam was the first stop for my Contiki Tour. This tour was great for me because it allowed me to see all the main attractions with extremely helpful tips and tricks from our Tour Manager Steve. 

Our first Amsterdam experience was the well known Red Light District. It's defiantly a must do simply because it's an eye opening experience and holy moly it was an eye opener or a 'eye closer' (depending on how conservative you are). We were all booked into watch a Sex Show. Yep take that literally, that's exactly what it was - enough said. I walked away from it feeling somewhat violated and rather squeamish, but hey I guess it's one of those things you've got to experience in the Red Light District.

Moving on... The next stop was to experience some of the nearby Coffee Shops. Just a little heads up, in the Netherlands 'Cafe's' are where you purchase coffee products and 'Coffee Shops' are where you purchase marijuana products. Also, if they say 'only eat a quarter', for your sake only eat a quarter.

The next morning I woke with some seriously sore feet. NOTE TO SELF: Do not wear high heels in the Netherlands, this place is layered with cobble stones.

Although that didn't stop me from exploring this wonderfully picturesque city.
We went to the Van Gogh Museum which had no waiting line if you purchased your tickets from the right stall (thanks Steve). On arrival we purchased audio headsets, which was the best 5 euro I ever spent as it tells the emotional story of Van Gogh's life.

We then made our way to The Anne Frank House. It is by far the eeriest place I have stood inside. The history and the story of Anne is absolutely heart wrenching and standing inside of her house just takes you to another place. Unfortunately we waited in line for 2 hours and only had 15 minutes to get through the house before missing our meeting point - but we weren't going to wait all that time to not get inside.

While in Amsterdam I experienced the most amazing cheese flavours I have ever encountered! Along with the most amazing sweets called "Stroopwaffles" which translates as syrup waffles. You have got to try these but I promise you - you won't be able to control the intake of these tasty little suckers! If you're wanting to experience a 'foodgasm' get yourself either or both of these.

A photo of tourists... oh and the I Amsterdam sign.
Bike Tour = Amsterdam Must Do
People in the Netherlands are still wearing their clogs, I'm not kidding.
"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together" Vincent Van Gogh.