We were a bit confused about what we should do with the blog when we came back from Canada. We thought it was a shame to just leave it so we’ll continue to update it with our (non Canada related) travels!
A few weeks ago it was 7 months since we moved back from Canada and what better way to mark it than to leave the country again…for a few days! We decided to go to Amsterdam to soak up a bit of different culture!
We flew Easyjet there and back and the flights were pretty reasonable, although I was shocked at how cramped the leg room was, at least it was a short flight!
We bought an iamsterdam city card from the iamsterdam shop in the airport, which is a pass that allows you to use the GVB public transport for free, gives you free entrance to most of the museums, and gives huge discounts on others as well as a free canal cruise! You can buy it for 24, 48 and 72 hour durations, and can buy it in loads of places in Amsterdam, as well as online before you go. We bought the 72 hour one and it cost £54.
Once we had our iamsterdam cards we made our way into the centre towards our hotel. We had to get a bus, which annoyingly our city cards didn’t cover. We then changed at Museumplein and got on a tram (which the city card does cover). Tram/bus info: you need to scan your card as you enter and exit the tram/bus. And watch out on some trams, as some only let you enter/exit on certain doors, which we embarrassingly found out!
We stayed at the Easyhotel on Ferdinand Bolstraat. We’ve stayed in the Edinburgh Easyhotel a lot, and found it to be good, although very small! The one in Amsterdam was a lot bigger than the Edinburgh one, and although it was a little way out of the centre, it only took about 10 mins on the tram to get there.
Once we’d dumped our bags we walked to the Heineken Experience, which was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel. We got a small discount on the ticket price by showing our city cards and included in the ticket price was 2 beers and a gift. We were halfway through the place learning about beer when I realised I’d left my city card on the ticket desk! Once we’d been through the place I asked at the ticket desk if it had been handed in but of course it hadn’t! So within a couple of hours of me buying it I’d lost it! Much to my dismay, I had to buy another one. Not a good start to the holiday!
On a side note, the Heineken Experience was good, it wasn’t amazing but the tasting was good, as was the section where you learn how beer is made. I don’t really like beer, but I enjoy it more now after this!
After that we got the tram to Leidesplein, which is where my brother, Mark recommended to us. It’s a square with loads of cafes and outdoor seating, I imagine in the summer it gets really busy. We had lunch a drink and then went for a wander, feeling a bit lost. Amsterdam is full of narrow alleys which make it a bit confusing to navigate yourself around!
In the evening we went to the Red Light District for a few drinks. Obviously we’d heard what it was like there, but I actually felt really safe as there’s so many tourists around! We actually really liked this area, there’s loads of cool cafes and restaurants here. Don’t be put off! Carrying on the ‘losing things’ theme, I managed to lose one of my favourite earrings, ones I got from a market in Canada last year, totally irreplaceable 🙁
We even saw a few car2go’s! Haven’t seen these since we left Vancouver!
The next day we headed to the Anne Frank House and were so shocked by the queues we didn’t go in! I was so disappointed that we couldn’t go but honestly, we would have been queuing for over 2 hours probably! We should have booked in advance really or turned up first thing in the morning. After walking around for what seemed like ages we went for breakfast at a waffle and pancake place in the Red Light District, then we headed up towards Centraal station as we wanted to go to the NEMO science centre. We realised after 5 minutes in the place, however, that it was purely for kids! We do museums fast, but this has got to be the fastest ever! We left there and then headed to the sexmuseum which was hilarious!!
That night we went drinking near the Red Light District again and ended up in the Hill Street Blues Café, which was really cool. The walls are covered in graffiti, the music was amazing, and they have a cat!
The next day we went back near the Anne Frank House as there was a pancake place there I really wanted to try. We were there even earlier than the previous day, but saw that the queue for the Anne Frank House was just as long!
We had breakfast at Pancakes! Which was AMAZING. I’d say as good, if not better than the ones we had at Mama’s in San Francisco. Plus they gave us a clog keyring as a souvenir, haha.
Then we went to the Zoo & Planetarium which was brilliant! The zoo is the third oldest in the world apparently, and unlike other zoos, the animals seem like they have much more freedom to move around, most of them weren’t in cages, just loose in their enclosure. The planetarium was good too, although the show was in Dutch!
After that we went across town to the Van Gogh Museum. The queue was long but, as we had a city card, we got in to one of the shorter queues. It was amazing to see his art so close up, but there were too many people there for our liking, so we didn’t stay long!
We flew back early the next morning home to two kittens who had missed us! I then went for a quick trip up to Scotland to see my mum graduate from her Counselling Diploma, I’m very proud of her!
And then it was back to work and the holiday is already a distant memory! We are planning another trip there next spring with my brother and sister-in-law, and we’re also planning a driving holiday around Scotland around that time too 🙂
Bye for now!