There truly is so much to love about Amsterdam, from the amazing canals and the 1,281 bridges to the fact that you can hop on a bike and visit the whole entire city in a handful of days. In comparison to some of the sprawling cities in Europe such as Paris or London, to me this European capital seems more like a village and I just love that you can see the majority of it on a bike or a walking tour in just a few short days.
The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein square, whilst the outrageous Red Light District is unlike anything that I have ever seen, it’s a must visit if only so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences that I have ever experienced whilst travelling and the Van Gogh Museum boasts a sensational collection of works.
Anyway lets start from day 1 shall we?!
We travelled to Amsterdam via the train from London and in only a short few hours we found ourselves transported to a whole other world of adorable brick houses with square windows and lots of little canals everywhere!
Our first step once we had arrived was to find our accommodation that we had booked! We were renting a room from a lovely young couple in a stunning, quiet area of Amsterdam and I couldn’t be more excited!
When we had arrived at the correct address we found ourselves a little lost and the hosts weren’t answering our calls or messages either… uh oh bad start we automatically thought.
As we stood aimlessly outside of the apartment front door, a little Chinese lady approached us from the coffee shop next door to the apartment and handed us a key, although she couldn’t speak any English, we gathered that this was the key to the house! What a fun adventure?!
When we first stepped into the apartment we were pleasantly surprised, it was spacious clean and well decorated, but the best part about the flat was the view from the window – it was honestly like looking at a typical painting of Amsterdam or opening up a child’s story book – a gorgeous canal with little long boats and typical dutch houses. AMAZING.
Once we had unpacked a little and freshened up, Lewis then got out the maps that we had been handed at the train station and started planning our days itinerary (he’s just as organised as me and really would make a fantastic tour guide if he didn’t work in finance!)
We wandered towards to metro in the glorious sunshine and found ourselves staring out at canal after canal! Needless to say, we took a million photos. It’s funny because as tourists – we tend to take a lot of photographs of everything and anything that appeals to us, but often we have said to each other, “what must the locals think of us? Taking pictures of supermarket sign?!”
As we had already eaten lunch on the train to Amsterdam we decided to save some time and have some street food for a little snack! When walking down the main street we saw a lot of people holding cones and wondered what it was that they were eating. We then came across a huge queue of people waiting for some fries and soon found out this was what was inside the cone!
This little street eatery was branded as the “No. 1 Fries in Holland.” And yes they were really that good! They were quick, fast and very filling with tens of different toppings to choose from – we went for their famous mayonnaise (so good that people were buying it directly in bottles from the stall!) and lashings of cheese on top. So goooood!
After our quick snack we then wandered down the street to find none other than the SexMuseum… Now usually this isn’t something that we would typically go and visit, but then again this isn’t your average museum, nor would you ever find this type of museum on a normal high street! But that’s what is so great about Amsterdam, it’s so different from anywhere else I have ever visited. It’s loud and outrageous and breaks a million rules but that’s what makes it so unique.
Needless to say we paid the small fee of 6 euros to go have a look inside! Once inside the museum we found it to be a good laugh and surprisingly there was actually some interesting bits of information too! The museum is pretty big and the building itself is lovely. All in all if you’re up for a bit of fun and some laughs, then I would recommend visiting this museum, it’s like no other museum you’ll ever see, that’s for sure! And get a photo sitting on one of the large penis statues! It’s a must!
Onto dinner time and we had a lot of good restaurant recommended from Trip Advisor written down, but we soon realised that they were all pretty far away in location so we both agreed on a quick dinner so that we could visit a few more places before an early bed time!
Our hosts had given us a handy little folder filled with recommendations and one of the restaurants they mentioned was an Italian just around the corner! We popped in and were greeted by a very friendly owner and waiters. Lewis ordered a large pizza and myself, the seafood spaghetti which was fantastico!
After dinner we wandered along to the Red Light District of Amsterdam. A lot of people are so against visiting this area, but to us, we felt that it was a must. After all it is a huge part of Amsterdam that has made the city so well-known around the world and what a lot of tourists think about as soon as they hear the city name.
The Red Light District is definitely NOT child or family friendly, that goes without saying. It’s not dangerous either but you definitely will see some things that you won’t see in any other city! It was a pretty crazy experience and not really one that can be explained, but if you visit Amsterdam, do try to take a visit here – it almost reminds me of Temple Bar in Dublin and it’s very safe and well organised which surprised me! You might like it, or you may not, but it’s worth a visit to see such a huge symbol of this crazy and vibrant city!
After visiting the Red Light District, we decided to call it a night and began wandering home chatting about all of the bizarre things that we had seen on our first day in Amsterdam. We somehow managed to take the wrong turn during our walk, but maybe it was fate because we came across the most amazing little area, with a stunning canal all lit up, it was such a contrast from what we had just seen in the RLD. This basically sums up Amsterdam, it is a city filled with contrasts and differences and that’s probably what I admire most about it.
Be sure to check out days 2 and 3 of our Amsterdam adventure blog! 🙂