Amsterdam-Red Lights and Canals
Your first holiday may be nerve wracking; will you forget something, lose something or possibly run out of money. These are all things I was worried about when heading to Amsterdam with my boyfriend, for the first time, ALONE! However, I was filled with excitement and I couldn’t wait for the independence that would come with this.
Top tip; Don’t underestimate airports … they will cause arguments.
When undergoing the stress of actually getting from your house to the hotel in Amsterdam there is more than likely going to be a few ups and downs. Me and Alex defiantly saw this… Although, ensure you don't allow this to get in the way of the adventure you are about to undergo together. Just remember you are both tired, probably hungry and bored of waiting around .. it does pass almost automatically when you sit down on the plane.
2. You don't need to smoke weed to have a good time in Amsterdam … Both times neither of us actually stepped foot in a cafe but we had an amazing time where we got to see the city and fall in love with Amsterdam as a whole. Plus there are plenty of clubs (which I got kicked out of for being too ‘drunk’), bars and pubs to enjoy yourself in. One of our favourites has to be ‘The Flying Dutchman’ in which you can be witness to a drunken cat named Garfield.
We arrived pretty early in the morning in Amsterdam. This is probably the best way to go about short city trips as it means you have the rest of that day to not only sight see and get to know your surroundings but also to settle in and actually relax for an hour or two without feeling like you are wasting the trip.
On the top of the must do's list is defiantly the Red light district. Here you get to see the life of Amsterdam and the different style which is lived out by many in Amsterdam. We decided the best idea would be to go at night, although it being our first time in Amsterdam we decided to book ‘The Red Light District tour’. This was one of the best decisions we made, not only did it give us more of an insight to one of the most famous places in Holland but it also allowed us to find our way around the maze that is the red light district. The knowledge we learnt from this tour may be life saving in some aspects … such as the fact that red lights = woman, where as blue lights = Transsexual. So DONT get them mixed up unless you're into that sort of thing.
It being Valentine’s day on our first trip there (our first one together) Alex organised a canal ride with free wine and a three course meal. Although you may not want to have a meal on a boat I highly recommend taking a canal ride both at night and during the day. At night you get to see the canals lit up where as during the day you get to see the places along the canals, such as Ann Franks House. (If you plan on going to this house and know your trip is coming up… BOOK IT ASAP .. we have been two times to Amsterdam and both times have not been able to go in due to it being booked up at least 4 months in advance.)
The Sex Museum… If you have ever wanted to see a MASSIVE penis or even better sit on a massive penis this is the place to go. This is a cheap and cheerful thing to do with a hangover and doesn't take much out of your day. If you have a couple of coins left over (like we did) and think why not it’s 100% worth. Even if the only reason you go is to get a picture with the numerous amount of penis’s within the building.
Although this may seem like a completely random option the zoo has to be on the list of must do’s. Both times we visited Amsterdam we went to the zoo.. This was mainly due to the fact that my boyfriend loves animals but i actually thoroughly enjoyed it. The enclosures are a lot more open then those in England and they also offer events in the Zoo in the summer. We attended one of these which was better than i expected it to be. They have a selection of life music, stalls and stuff for children as well. I know that when we do go back to Amsterdam we will be going back to the zoo for the third time and will still see things we never had a chance to explore the first two times.
Volendam to Marken is also an unusual find that we were told about. This was a little harbour town which is about 30 to 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam which had lovely views and amazing food. We would not of known about this unless a local bar lady (Timeke) in the Flying Dutchman had told us. It was fascinating to see that the town was in fact still old fashioned and defiantly added something different to the holiday. It’s something to do once you’ve ran out of the tourist, city things attractions and want a change of scenery and to actually feel like you're on a relaxing holiday. We spent the whole day there, walking along the harbour, getting lunch and getting the ferry across to Marken.
Getting around the City;
The main mode of transport within Amsterdam is trams. A tram ticket for 3 days comes to around 17 Euros each if bought anywhere but the airport. This is what we learnt from our first trip and this helped us on our second trip … The airport attempts to charge you ridiculous amounts for a train and tram ticket when in fact it probably turns out cheaper to get the bus or taxi to your hotel and then later on buy the tram ticket from one of the station stops.
To get in and out of Volendam and Marken you will need to buy a bus ticket, however you can buy a return on the bus or at the bus stop which is also not very much for the day out you get.
DON'T PANIC …. they have Uber in Amsterdam as well … so if in doubt of what tram to get but you have the address you can in fact get an Uber. We found this incredibly useful getting from clubs/ pubs at 4am to our hotel/BnB.
Just remember Amsterdam is a city of fun and relaxation. There is no stress there and everyone is lovely, but that doesn't mean don't be careful. However, after your first day you come accustomed to getting around so just enjoy the independence that comes with travelling.