03/09/2017

A TOUR GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM

First of all, I need to start off with an apology for how scatty my blog posts have been. Sometimes... life happens and I'm sorry!
So...Amsterdam. Why are you so pretty? Why are you SO expensive to get to? You are just 1 hour flight away!
A few years back I stopped over to Amsterdam and didn't really explore too much, this time I wanted to pack everything in to the 4 days that I was staying for. (Thursday - Sunday). I found the travel there quite expensive (£270pp) but Amsterdam itself neither cheap or expensive. I stayed in Casa Hotel and truthfully I was really lazy and got an Uber in to town more often than not (avg fare €7) but I walked it once..for 45 minutes. I dare not get on a bike! But if you are brave enough, I'm sure your hotel has cheap bike hire.
This will be my tourist attraction guide because I did quite a lot in such a short amount of time. Part two will be based on food and drink (which will follow this post). I hope you don't mind!

Day 1 - Exploring
After arriving quite late in the afternoon, my friend and I decided to drop our stuff off at the hotel and walk in to main town, purely because it is so beautiful. If you have never been, imagine every single old town house with flowers, greenery and a pretty bike outside. That is Amsterdam. Truthfully, we spent most of the time walking around and eating. We did venture in to the Sex Museum on a whim (I think this is €5) but I am trying to keep this blog very PG, so I will not be posting photos from that. I recommend that every one goes in there if you're passing by. It's on the main street and right next to a food attraction. The museum quirky, old fashioned..and kinda creepy. What it contains is in the title, obviously!

Day 2 - Museums and constantly eating
Our first stop on the second day was Van Gogh museum (€17) We had woken up quite late so there was a crowd around the popular paintings but still early enough that we waited in the queuing system for about 5-7 minutes before we got in. It was quite surreal being up close with those paintings. Having more interest in his Landscapes, I really enjoyed the museum and may have left with a post card or two.
Kattenkabinet (€7) A strange little house/museum that we discovered by me spotting a large black cat symbol on the front of a house. Filled to the absolute brim of images of cats (but no real cats unfortunately!) this museum was perfect to increase my status as a crazy cat lady. My friend and I were the only ones in the museum apart from the lady at reception so it was eerily quiet and creepy but well worth the money if you are passing by (and love cats!) This place also has a little accidental shrine to cats who have passed away in peoples lives and love letters to their current ones. Of course I did one, try and find mine if you go!

The Flower Market & Christmas Shop
The flower market has changed quite a lot since I last went, unfortunately it has got smaller and quite strict on photos but still worth a visit. If you turn around, just behind you is the Christmas Shop. Now, I love Christmas but there was something really creepy about hearing Jingle Bells at the beginning of June. This shop is also very strict on people taking photos and I definitely didn't risk any in there. Of course I managed to sneak photos of the market because it is so beautiful and well..yeah, I did it for you guys, obviously!
The rest of the day was eating if I am honest! (Which will be shown in my next post) Also, there is a quirky museum that I think is worth checking out. I didn't get to go in because it was closed but you need to give 2 hours warning that you want to go. It's called The Electric Lady Museum. One of our tour guides also said that you need to knock on the neighbours to get him to open up! There is also so many other independent museums that might be worth visiting: The Torture Museum, Tulip Museum, Hash Museum, Museums relating to the Red Light District (if you're going there for those sort of things..)ETC.
Day 3 - KOPJES & Anne Frank Museum
Fuelling my image even more for crazy cat lady, we headed to a Cat Cafe just out of town. Although you can walk in, it is really not recommended. I got so excited and was hoping to walk in and get a place..wrong. Luckily for us though, a walk in was just leaving so we managed to get in after being told to come back in the evening tomorrow. I can't remember how much entrance fee was but you pay at the end of the experience (like a normal cafĂ©) and I only paid €18 for both my friend and I and we had Tea, Cake, Pepsi and the entrance fee. So quite cheap and the cats are all so lovely.
For the Anne Frank House (€9.50) we did not pre-purchase any tickets. We waited in the queue for about an hour and a half. (Tip: If the queue is by the pattern on the floor in the square, this is about the average wait time) I'd recommend buying your tickets way in advance if possible. I cannot put in to words how surreal and amazing this was. This was the one place that I took in completely, studying every single detail, listening to the audio guide and I couldn't quite believe I was there. I didn't take any photos in there, I'm not sure if it is allowed but I really wanted to take every thing in. I've been a big fan of Anne and her diary for a while (who isn't?) so to see her photos still on the wall of the room she stayed in.. unreal. I really would recommend a visit.

Amsterdam Night life
I am going to be a complete loser and confess something to you. I didn't really go out out. I went out in the evening maybe twice? I enjoyed a few bars and then returned back to my hotel at about 11. We had walked SO much during the day that I was just too tired. If you are not going too much for the touristy things and you're going for other reasons, you will definitely enjoy your self. There is so so much to do. A friend recommended to me a roof top bar on The Hilton Hotel. We went and checked that out and I definitely recommend if you're in the area. Maybe make a reservation for a table though so you really enjoy the view!

That is it for my touristy attraction version of Amsterdam. However, that place is such a foodie place so I have had to do a separate post for food and drink! This will be my next post and it will also be a long one.. oops!
Where are your ultimate places to go in Amsterdam? Have I missed something? Let me know.

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