My Weekend in Amsterdam

Monday, 26 September 2016
I may have only been there for 3 days but I am in love with Amsterdam! It’s such an interesting and beautiful city; I was in awe of the architecture and thought it looked so quaint with all the wonky buildings overlooking the boats on the canals. There's something so pleasing about standing in the middle of a bridge and looking out at the perfectly symmetrical landscape of buildings, trees and water; it looked especially stunning in the sunshine which we were lucky to have most of the time.

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I have given thought in the past about cities that I would be interested living in and Amsterdam is definitely up there. It had such a vibrant atmosphere, especially at night where the whole place was lit up, I felt there was always somewhere to go or something to do. It is also full of such a varying mix of nationalities that English is spoken quite regularly. I know I’m so bad it does make us brits lazy when English is spoken so much in other countries. I will learn another language at some point. Maybe. However, with regards to moving there, it does make me feel a little more at home when I can hear a few English accents throughout the day; some people may not like that but I definitely couldn’t move somewhere where I felt completely cut off from home.

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I’ll get the more controversial points over with. Yes, Amsterdam is home to the famous Red Light District, and yes, Cannabis is legal there. I will admit at first I was a bit uncomfortable walking past door after door of women in their underwear, only because I had never come across anything like it before. However I did get used to it after a while and after doing some research (I always need to know more about things I’m not used to) these women clearly are very proud of their status in their chosen career and put a lot of effort into their jobs, and if they’re happy, who am I to judge? I’ve always found it very strange how Cannabis can be a class A drug in the UK yet be legal in other countries. To be honest you don’t actually notice it too much, other than walking through the occasional cloud of smoke or walking past someone who smells like they've been smoking it for the past 20 years straight. I didn’t feel there were any bad “vibes” or that people behaved any differently then the regular drunkards back home. If you want to look at rowdy behaviour than look no further than my fellow brits abroad. The loudest by far, especially after a few drinks with the “lads”, the British could be heard a mile off! Although as long as they’re not causing any trouble it doesn’t bother me, they’re just enjoying Amsterdam after all.

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Our hotel was the West Side Inn, which, to be honest, we went for because it was one of the cheaper ones that still looked half decent. All in all I was happy with the room, we didn’t spend a lot of time there as most of our time was spent in the city centre but the room itself was very spacious with high ceilings and large windows. It also had a tv with a few english channels, which I like because it gives you something to watch or some background noise when you’re getting ready to go. The beds were so comfortable as well I had some great nights sleep there. The staff were also very welcoming and helpful, we didn’t eat anything there as we wanted to eat out but the restaurant area looked nice and there was also a bar. The hotel itself is located a bit further out of the city so we did have to travel a lot but luckily the tram system is ridiculously efficient, I don’t think we waited longer than 5 minutes during the day, late at night a bit longer but that’s because the trams are less regular. We also bought a 72 hour tram/metro/bus pass on our first days for €17 which is crazy cheap compared to UK prices.

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There are so many things to do in Amsterdam, we wanted to get a good mixture of culture and entertainment so decided our big excursions were going to be the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House and the Heineken Experience. FYI you can purchase tickets for all of these places online and print them off before you go; I would definitely recommend this as some of the queues were crazy long and I couldn’t quite believe that all the people in these queues hadn’t thought about purchasing them beforehand. There are other museums and galleries to go to but we didn’t want to go overboard and I’m happy with the ones we selected as I did enjoy them.
Anne Franks House is a must, it also had the longest queue for people who needed to buy tickets. I’ve been to many war museums and find that part of our history very compelling so really enjoyed learning more about the Frank family. The Van Gogh museum I would only recommend if you have some sort of interest in art. I quite like wondering around art galleries so I found it enjoyable but not sure how people who aren’t into that sort of thing would feel about it. We also did pop into the Sex Museum for €4 per person, which is a laugh but definitely not for the faint hearted.

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I have to say one of my favourite parts of the weekend was definitely the Heineken Experience. Not being a huge fan of Heineken I was unsure how much I would like a brewery tour, but, as it turns out, it is so much more than that! They’ve really made it into a proper “experience” with so many things to do and see, there were Heineken photo booths, karaoke, lots of interactive games and even a “become the beer” ride which takes place in a simulator to make it feel as though you are a bottle of beer going through the production process. Overall a really fun outing.

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For those of you who really aren’t into the museums or tours Amsterdam can definitely keep you busy. Some of my favourite times were when we were just chilling in Vondelpark or sitting by the river having a beer soaking in the general buzz of different city. There is also a great variation of food available, I suppose it’s a bit like London in the sense that one street can be filled with numerous restaurants offering different cuisines. When I go abroad I always like the to try local food however sometimes I just feel like pizza okay!

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I am in such a fortunate position that I (or my boyfriend) can afford to go on these amazing trips away, I never take it for granted. I think it’s so important to explore other countries and see what they have to offer. You never know, you might prefer them to where you’re living now...

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