Neither of us was sure what to expect from Amsterdam. As most people are aware it is a very liberal City and it has its underlying seedy tones. We had a great couple of days, there is a lot to see and do. It has definitely made the ‘return to again’ list.
We bought a 2 day travel pass for 28 euros each which gave us use of all public transport (trans, trains, metro and buses) from our Aire which was just outside Haarlem.
Amsterdam was one of the most important ports in the world in the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century and soon became the leading centre for finance and trade. Nowadays the canal network has UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Unfortunately and a little naively we hadn’t realised it had been Gay Pride a day before we arrived and when we tried to book tickets for Anne Franks House and the Van Gogh museum there wasn’t any available. So our top tip would be if you visit in the summer pre book your tickets in advance! Never mind we didn’t allow this to dampen our spirits.
There is certainly a lot to do in Amsterdam from art & beer museums to a range of markets. We mooched around the flower market and we were really surprised how gorgeous all the flowers were and so fresh.
Fresh flowers are lovely but only last a few days so we bought some painted wooden tulips as a keepsake.
Colin loves to try the local food delicacies and highly recommends the raw herring and pickle in a bap, for 3 euros it was also good value. I happily stuck to my selection of vegetarian nibbles!
We had both decided that we wanted to take a canal boat trip around Amsterdam. There are so many different tour operators to choose from and prices vary tremendously. The cheapest we found was 12 euros each for 60 minutes and the most expensive was an open top boat for 24 euros each for 70 minutes.
We didn’t want a boat with a roof as we wanted to be able to easily take some pictures and we stumbled across http://www.boatamsterdam.com We took the premium boat trip which took 70 minutes for 20 euros and this included a free selection of drinks. It was a great tour and very informative, we certainly had a good time and got some great shots.
The canals are lined with house boats and the most expensive one recently sold for 2 million euros. The one below is currently on the market for 1.3 million euros.
The picture below is of the oldest house boat. It can not be removed as it doesn’t fit under the bridges and its a legal requirement to remove it in one piece.
Our canal trip took us along Reguliersgracht canal which is one of the most picturesque canals in the city and is also the location of ‘Seven Bridges’.
Many of the houses are suffering from subsidence as a lot of the buildings were built on wooden stilts and are now having foundation issues. The houses below are known as the dancing houses as they all lean in different directions.
Below is a picture of the most leaning building in Amsterdam which is currently a pub. It apparently leans more than the leaning tower of Pisa.
If you fancy a Chinese meal the restaurant below is in a prime location on the canal. Apparently the higher the floor the more expensive the food!
We couldn’t go to Amsterdam without visiting the red light district. The area we visited is known as De Wallen and is the oldest and largest red light district in Amsterdam. It consists of a network of alleys containing approximately 300 one room cabins which are rented to prostitutes.
Legend has it that couples who kiss passionately crossing under the skinny bridge or otherwise known as the ‘kissing bridge’ will be in love forever!