|Canals, boats and bicycles...AMSTERDAM!|
It is such a beautiful place and I adored the feel of the whole city. I knew as soon as we got there I would be back!
But first, this trip.
I got up at 4.30am on Saturday morning and it was already daylight. I got used to that in the summer in the Gold Coast but I didn't really expect it here. Especially when it's not dark until after 10pm!
|On the airport bus at 5am|
After an easy flight with Easyjet (ha) I met up with Carys and we negotiated our way on the train into the city. Which really just meant we went to the counter and asked for tickets because we failed at using the automated machines...
I knew we were staying in the museum district and I had the directions to our hostel, so we jumped on a tram and got off at the first sign we saw that said museum. Of course this wasn't actually anywhere near where we were staying so we ended up deciding to walk the rest of the way, which worked out because it's well signposted and we got to do some exploring and know our way straight away!
|Carys on our walk to the hostel|
|So many bicycles!|
Our hostel, Inner Amsterdam, turned out to actually be a rather nice hotel type room, including flat screen TV, safe and ensuite, so we were happy! It was also in a prime location by a couple of different trams (although we mostly walked), the I Amsterdam sign, the Van Gogh museum, a park, numerous eating places and a supermarket.
We set off straight away to have a look around and had a drink and a bite to eat on tables outside next to a canal.
|First drinks in Amsterdam|
|First time sitting on the classic outside tables in Europe|
|Carys near the Jordaan District|
We then managed to walk all the way to the Anne Frank House, via the Jordaan area where we had planned to explore at some point anyway. We left it too late to secure online tickets for the Anne Frank House, and everything I had read online stressed to arrive early before opening or later in the evening in summer, because the line was very long. While it did look rather long we decided to line up and see how fast it moved. It turns out it only takes about half an hour, and this was at 2pm in the afternoon, so I really wouldn't worry about it!
|The front of the business. The Secret Annexe is hidden behind.|
|The factory address|
I can't remember exactly when I read Anne Frank's diary, but I think I was about 12 or 13. Going through the museum was an almost unreal experience. You see the office space and then go through the small door behind the bookcase to the Secret Annex. It is very claustrophobic and chilling in there, and I have to say I nearly cried walking around. It's awful to think of those people living in that space for over 2 years, never once going outside, and with the constant fear of discovery.
|Outside the factory|
|From across the street. It's the one with the tree in front of it, but the one to the right is part of the museum too.|
After that we made our way to Dam Square to have a look. That area of town isn't as nice as where we are staying and by the canals.
|Houses near the Central Station|
|Stop for a drink!|
We went back to our room to relax and get ready to go out. We managed to walk back past the I Amsterdam sign at the exact right time when hardly anyone was around! Unfortunately it started raining so we headed into the first bar which saw which was an Irish Pub! Typical. We ended up watching the football and having some drinks before heading to another bar. The barman there was awesome and made us delicious shots!
|On top of Amsterdam!|
|Managed to get a photo alone!|
|Out in Amsterdam!|
I also had an amusing conversation with a guy for at least 5 minutes that involved him speaking to me and me saying "WHAT?!" at the end of every sentence. I couldn't tell if I couldn't hear him because of the music or couldn't understand his accent. Finally I asked him if he was actually speaking English...to which he replied, "Oh, no, I was speaking Dutch, I thought you were Dutch!" in perfectly legible English...
|Delicious drinks and shots|
On Sunday we were slightly worse for the wear, so we went for brunch at a pub near our hostel which I didn't think was that great, before heading to the Van Gogh museum. All I could remember was that Van Gogh had cut his ear off. I was surprised how much of his art I recognised, and I particularly liked his later work with colour.
|Park near our hostel|
|One of Van Gogh's most famous paintings|
|A version of the Sunflowers|
|I found V for 88c!!!|
|Walking around Amsterdam|
That night was a quieter one with a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant in Leidse Plein, and area not far from where we were staying where we ate most of our meals, where I ate an ENTIRE pizza.We went for a walk to find the Red Light District and ended up getting lost but stumbled across it eventually. I think because it was a Sunday night it was a bit quieter. It wasn't what I expected at all though! It was as though the girls were in the rooms getting ready to go out, putting makeup on, txting, straightening their hair etc, but just in their underwear and they had forgot to close the curtain...and their light was red of course.
|Delicious free pre dinner food|
|Amsterdam at night|
Carys left on an earlier flight than me on the Monday, so we got up and went to the pancake house where we had intended to go since we arrived. I had a delicious apple pancake with raspberry sauce. It was HUGE and YUM.
|A pancake in The Netherlands!|
After seeing Carys to the train station I walked to a market but it ended up being stuff I had all seen before. All the markets I have been to over here have disappointed so far because they are full of stuff I have seen in Asia...some things I even already own!!! I miss the unique markets around the Gold Coast.
|Too cool for school|
|Getting lost in Amsterdam|
I managed to get lost and so just kept wandering around. I somehow ended up in the University I think and just outside of that I found the best cafe I had seen. A little hole in the wall place decorated in my favourite kind of vintage style, with windows full of quiche's and cakes. The best part was the tiny little courtyard out the back overlooking the canal. There were wooden crates on end with cushions to sit on and some with trays to use as tables. I spent an hour there eating a delicious frangipani cake with berries and having a coffee while people watching.
|How could I walk past this??|
|From across the road|
|My cake and coffee|
|Cute seats outside|
I still had time and there wasn't anything in particular I wanted to see and it was a beautiful day, so I ended up in the Rembrandt Plein and lay on the grass for an hour listening to music. Then it was time to get my bag and head to the train and on to the airport.
|Relaxing in the sun|
|The beautiful sights of Amsterdam|
|Delicious chips in a cone with dutch frites sauce and ketchup|
I had a minor catastrophe at the airport where I lined up for the wrong flight and had to run to the complete opposite end of the airport because I was so worried I would miss boarding for my flight and Easyjet would strand me in Amsterdam. I ended up making it in plenty of time, but lesson learned to check my flight time and number properly! You'd think I'd be a pro at that by now...
|Flying across the English Channel to Edinburgh|
I absolutely loved Amsterdam and will definitely be back again!