It’s easy to associate Amsterdam with sex, drugs and booze – I know I did before I went – but there is tonnes more to it than that. This is what I got up to:
The ferry to Amsterdam is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. We described it as a floating Butlins! However it was surprisingly fun.
For £60 we got an all you can eat buffet, a reasonably sized room, average entertainment and essentially, a night out. There’s a cinema for the quieter bunch, whilst we found ourselves relaxing in the piano bar before heading down to the sunset lounge to enjoy the cabaret!
Eating, eating and eating
In just two days I can safely say that I’ve eaten my weight in Dutch delicacies! First there was the luscious Maple Chai Latte and Peanut Butter/Nutella Cronut. I’d never had a Cronut before and I was blown away – totally worth the calories!
Next there was Stocklist. A very edgy cafe attached to a boutique hotel. With doodling on the walls, wacky decor and extremely polite staff, it was a winner all round. I opted for a tuna sandwich which I expected to be average. However it was more like a tuna crunch with capers, peppers, onions and really dark wheat bread that tasted phenomenal! Definitely worth a visit!
For our mid afternoon snack we thought we’d try out “Design your own Magnum” in De Bijenkorf. You choose your chocolate covering, toppings and extra chocolate drizzle. The results are more than perfection! I had rose petals, pistachios and white chocolate with a drizzle of white and dark chocolate! At just €4 it it’s quite a steal I think!
Our meal out was really the cherry on top! The View Restaurant is hidden among a strip of tall buildings and unless told, you probably wouldn’t notice it. It’s a teppanyaki style restaurant that works with a conveyor belt system. You’re presented with raw meats and sides that you can cook on your personal hot plate. Our favourite were the shrimps and sesame steak! For just €30 (with a discount card) you can have all the food and all the beer and wine you can manage! And it’s not like your typical all you can eat – a tad tacky with amateur chefs- it was really authentic with fantastic cuts of meat and a big selection! Not to mention there’s a beautiful view of Amsterdam at night!
Amsterdam are proud of their cheeses so it was only right that we popped into the underground cheese shop to sample their finest! My favourite was the goats cheese with truffle – amazing. But there’s also flavours like smoked goats, pesto and even marmalade!!! As a part of the cheese journey we tried some cheese filled breads. They’re filled with pine nuts, tomatoes, herbs and lots of deliciousness!! (I ate before I snapped – sorry!)
When in Rome… It was essential I had a waffle whilst in the area, being all Dutch and what not! I opted for chocolate, whipped cream and strawberries – nice, but I wouldn’t say it was anything special! Especially not for €6!
I wanted to cram in as much as I could, so it was two days non stop! This is what we got up to:
The Sex Museum – no, not a live sex show! It was actually quite interesting to see how attitudes to sex have changed throughout the centuries! However the imagery is not for the faint hearted. For €4 it isn’t bad at all!
Coffee Shops – the notorious coffee shops. We only stayed briefly to check out the scene before moving on! It’s a bit like East London with even more edge and less rules!
The Redlight District – it has to be done, doesn’t it? Though it wasn’t as big as I expected and definitely not as buzzing. This might be because we went on a weekday, but it was just uncomfortable to see woman presented in that way. Not for me thanks!
The Old Bell, Grachtengordel-Zuid – a good spot for your evening drinks! It’s lively with a good selection of music, though a tad pricey!
Canal Bike Riding – we initially wanted to rent some bikes but being the shorty that I am, it was a struggle to find little bikes! So whilst en route to the next rental place we saw Canal Bikes (a pedalo) and decided to give that a whirl. The sun was shining and the water just looked beautiful. It was a really fun way to see the city whilst getting a cheeky workout in there!
I love Amsterdam! It’s a stunning city, the people are incredibly friendly and there’s just such a relaxed vibe to it! It’s not like London when you just find yourself walking among commuters rushing to and fro. The Dutch walk, drive and cycle at a relaxed pace and allow themselves time to appreciate their city. That’s how it should be! Although the mixture of trams, cyclists, cars and pedestrians can make it quite confusing to cross roads!