We planned to go to Amsterdam for NY after we got the idea from a tour we saw advertised at a travel expo. All I had heard about this city before visiting was that you can smoke weed without getting arrested, and they had a red light district where girls stood in the windows like manicans waiting to service the needs of drunk tourists. Well Amsterdam you proved me wrong. Not only can you sit in bar & smoke a joint, and pick a girl of a window to suit your desires BUT there is an endless list of attractions many of which we managed to tick off the list, but still a few left for my next visit.
We decided to fly to Amsterdam the morning of the 31st at 6.20am to ensure we got 3 full days in the city. This meant getting up at half 3 to catch a taxi to drive to the train station, to catch a train to the airport! Well, I don't think I will be doing that again, I did not cheer up till at least 8.30am when we touched down in Amsterdam! Very quick flight though!
Upon arrival the weather was dismal, but I got the usual rush of, new place, new sites, new experiences to be had and didn't seem to mind so much.
We checked into our hotel and made our way via tram to the Heineken Brewery, which ins't actually where Heineken is brewed anymore and is quite touristy but it was still a great thing to do. Plus you get free beer so you can never complain!
After such an excursion it only seemed appropriate to head to a pub where we enjoyed some banter and pub food... And more beers.
An interesting Tram ride halfway back to the Hotel. When the tram came to a halt we hear over the loud speaker, 'you Tourists drinking the beers, get off my tram, you are on camera I can see you'... We didn't mind the walk from there anyway were all in good spirits.
We headed into the city, in the Red Light District area and found a bar where you can smoke and drink, apparently you can easily find bars to smoke or drink but ones with both licenses are a bit harder to come by to so we stuck with the one we found till it was time to head to Dam Square for the non existent count down and fire works that made you think you were in a terrorist attack in Syria.
Absolute Carnage, it was amazing. You would never be allowed to have this sort of thing in London or even NZ, the rules are to strict, with good reason, if you didn't keep an eye on what was going on around you you'd soon find yourself in a garden of live fireworks and broken wine bottles.
After such an early morning, early drinking and long day I was ready to call it Pizza then quits by 2am!
A slow start on the 1st, the crew gather for breakfast then we headed to the Sex Museum, if you ever get the chance to go through it, don't sit in the middle seat...
It was again a dismal day for a canal ride. Although I personally thought it would have been a bit better if the boats went a bit faster and trip only took 40 minutes instead of an hour (granted patience is not one of my virtues and I can't sit still for long), it was great to see the city from a different angle and learn about the city... And see a mooner and experience a minor boat crash.
We went to China Town (yes Amsterdam has it ALL) for one of the best Chinese meals I have ever had.
The next bar we found was quite the score, we were treated like VIP's upstairs in our own room where we enjoyed drinks and smoked some shesha. When in.... Amsterdam..
Up birght and early to get in line for Anne Franks House. I had never read the book or known much about her other than that she wrote a diary and fell victim to the tragedy that was World War 2, but came out appreciating the masses of freedom I've got.
One of the things I was looking forward to most was the Van Gogh Museum. Man, it is one thing to see your favorite artists beautiful art work in books, prints and on the net.. But to see them in real life, brushstorkes, cracks of the paint and all is something else. A life time of work, seeing how it changed over time, that was a highlight of this trip. I must say though, was quite disappointed to learn the yanks own my favorite piece, will have to pay New York, NY a visit sometime soon me thinks!
Dominic and I left the others to pay Chinatown a second visited and opted to stroll the city and canals a bit more, came across a Chinese dragon and more fireworks, lots of boutiquey shops and thousands of bikes.
A short and sweet visit, was quite sad to leave.. Until the plane was delayed a little bit, then I couldn't wait. Personally thought it was colder in London than Amsterdam. Over all although the city is very busy I found it quite relaxed, very easy to get around with the trams and if you have the time you can just stroll to your destination.
I think Jessica Rice can pick my next trip...Berlin? Salzburg?