“With its picturesque canal network, rich history and vibrant cultural scene, the capital of the Netherlands is one of the world’s most unique city destinations.”
Amsterdam. I fell in love with this city the moment I stepped off the coach outside the Heineken Brewery after a long 15 hour coach journey to reach it, and continued to fall in love with it while lugging multiple bags around on our 15 minute walk to the hostel. (side note. do NOT be fooled into thinking a coach journey to Amsterdam is a good idea like my university did to me. 15 hour coach journey over a 50 minute flight. You do the math).
We arrived at the ‘Hans Brinker Budget Hotel’ which openly sells itself as ‘not the best but definitely the most memorable hotel in Amsterdam’. The rooms are extremely basic, the shower made me feel like I was auditioning for a shower scene in Orange is the New Black and our bunk-beds lacked ladders so an unattractive scramble was required to ‘beach’ yourself on the top bunk. You certainly get what you pay for, a motto they embrace, but because you pay so little & the drinks are extremely cheap in the downstairs bar ($2 for 2 glasses of Rose?!) you can’t really complain.
As a complete newbie to the city of Amsterdam, I was so excited to wander the beautiful streets I’d seen plastered on my Instagram & I completely fell in love with the quirkiness and uniqueness of this capital city. I honestly forgot that it was the capital city, cars are drastically outnumbered to bikes and engine noise is replaced by street performers and the occasional frantic ringing of a bike bell because you’re accidentally stood in the cycle lane.
In true tourist style we headed straight to the ‘I amsterdam’ letters located at the back of the Rijksmuseum on Museumplein to tick off my little bucket list. Thankfully, I think the unpredictable weather had warned everyone off and our 11 strong group managed to get a photo all to ourselves.
The rest of the day consisted a walk around Vondelpark which in the height of Autumn is stunning. One of my biggest regrets while in Dam was never renting a bike, and this would have been the perfect place to do it. Amsterdam has a great mix of indoor and outdoor attractions perfect for dipping in and out of the rainy showers, and while I’d have loved to explore Vondelpark further, the weather wasn’t on our side. Apart from the obvious, most favoured indoor activity amongst fellow Dam goers, Amsterdam also has a wide range of museums in the heart of its city centre. My personal favourite being the Banksy & Warhol exhibition at the Moco Museum. *insert arty photos below*
If you’re looking for something a bit less arguably artistic and perhaps more traumatising maybe? then the Sex Museum is something that I’d definitely recommend. I left feeling like a knew a few strangers a lot better with the masses of photographs proudly displayed, but for only $4 entry it’s a cheap way to kill an hour and have a laugh doing so. And I suppose if you’re feeling hungry and fancy something completely unique, free entry to the cheese museum just up the road from Anne Frank’s house allows you some free samples & a cheesy (excuse the pun) photograph in some weird attire.
So what else is there to do? Unfortunately, my time in Dam was extremely bittersweet. I didn’t leave feeling disappointed but 2 days is not enough to explore the city in its entirety. Upon my hopefully soon return I’d love to go to the Anne Frank Museum (we never pre-booked and a 3 hour que is not appealing), Visit the Heineken experience & the Van Gough Museum. Until next time Dam! – Jess