Well it’s to Holland this time, to the stunning city of Amsterdam. This trip all came about one afternoon having some lunch and a drink in a pub in my home town of Lincoln UK, when I was checking my emails, I received an email from Ryanair advertising one of their many sales, so I fired up the iPad looked at some dates and prices to the various locations on offer and it was unanimously agreed that we should take a trip to Amsterdam, and so with a tap of a finger flights and hotel were booked. We found our accommodation on the trusty Booking.com website, and after viewing a few possibilities we settled on the Blue Tower Hotel. The hotel was just on the outskirts of the main city centre but in a great location for transport links and was very nice indeed.
When we arrived it was pouring with rain as it was when we left the UK but undeterred and with bags dropped in hotel it was off exploring. We took the tram to the city centre. “Top Tip” A good option if you intend to travel around the city is to buy a 24hr travel card which can be used on buses, trams and metro the cost at time of writing is €13.50 and is much cheaper than paying for individual journeys. After a stroll around the harbour area and as the day was getting on we decided to find a nice restaurant bar to have a meal and plan our next couple of days in Amsterdam.
It was decided that our first full day in the city a must visit would be the House Of Anne Frank Now its worth mentioning if you don’t like queues you can book tickets online to the house but as it was May we thought we would just turn up but in the summer months I would advise anyone to book in advance. When we arrived the queue was fairly long but not horrendous but moved very quickly and as the weather had turned out nice it was quite pleasant to admire the surroundings and to people watch. The admission ticket also includes an audio guide. The whole tour was excellent but very sad and thought provoking as you can imagine. One thing to point out that when you reach the top of the house there are some very steep stairs to the attic where the family hid, this could be a problem for the less mobile it.
After our visit it was time to head off explore some more of the city. Now as you can imagine Amsterdam has some amazing architecture, very tall and narrow buildings, beautifully designed, and if you look up they all seem to be leaning forward , in fact they are but this is not because of bad workmanship or subsidence but in fact a very clever inherent design, you will notice all the buildings have a wooden or steel girder protruding from the top with a pulley attached, this enables items of furniture or goods to be hauled up the outside and enter the building through the very large windows as bringing the items in through the front door and up the internal staircase would be virtually impossible as the staircases inside are very steep and very narrow.
Another must do whilst in the city is to sample some of the excellent gouda cheese, I did not realise there were so many different varieties, “Top Tip” visit one of the many shops selling the cheeses, most of which offer small pieces to sample.
Another thing Amsterdam is famous for its cycling, although it is impossible to say city authorities estimate this figure to be around 600,000 other sites on the web suggest this figure could be as high as 1,000,000 who knows, all I know is there seems to be as many cycle routes as there are roads, and the cycle paths even have their own traffic lights, and its the first place I have seen on my travels which have multi story parking just for bicycles, amazing.
Finally a visit to Amsterdam would not be complete without a trip on one of the cities glass roofed canal boats we took a trip on one which we boarded in the Rembrandt area of the city near the Hard Rock Cafe, tours last approx one hour and are a great way to see the cities canal ways, our trip was made especially good-by the fact we had glorious spring sunshine.
Finally, I know I’ve already said that but I do mean it this time, I have to mention Amsterdam’s nightlife now I’m sure everyone is aware of the famous of infamous red light area of the city for nightlife amongst other things but there is more to the city in the way of nightlife other than the reeperbahn, we found a great little bar/club called Bourbon Street, the club is situated in Leidsekruisstraat 6-8 which is in the Rembrandt area which is near to the Hard Rock Cafe, Live music is played most nights, entrance is free on a Monday, coincidently the night we was there, a great night was had by all
Well that’s it for this trip, next up is the big tour of India, so watch this space. So its bye from me, stay safe, keep well but most importantly keep following
You can find many more photo’s of our trip to Amsterdam along with lots from our previous exploits on my Flickr photo stream, just click on the link at the top of the page.