Bikes and... Amsterdam!
Walking down a small alley I look around me and all I see is bikes and canals… Yes ladies and gents I officially arrived in Amsterdam! Walking around you can easily forget your problems and troubles. Everyone here looks happy to see you, and they probably are, Amsterdam is dependent mostly on tourist visits. This crazy and super liberal city brings in many tourists each year and with good reason! It's full of history that tells the birth of this amazing floating city. Why floating you may ask? Because Amsterdam like much of the Netherlands was built on a bog, land that many deemed unfit to build on. But not the Dutch! Here they come and build where no one wanted to and created a nation that is incredibly open and accepting of all different types of people. Did I mention they love the color orange? This is due to the royal family that inhabits the Netherlands. Like many countries in Europe, the Netherlands used to have a monarchy which is now just there to look pretty. But I digress, more about me and my trip! We arrived here on Wednesday [insert date]. We dropped off our bags at the hostel, StayOkay Zeeburg (5 stars if you ask me! I definitely recommend it) and headed out to explore.
So now I am just going to give you some DO’s and DO NOT’s for Amsterdam in case you ever decide to go you can have an upper hand on the canal city:
DO buy a multi day tram pass. If you are visiting Amsterdam for any length of time and you are staying on the outsides, I would recommend looking into the pass for the tram. It will save you money in the long run.
DO book hostels or hotels on the outside of Amsterdam. The price difference makes a real difference in your pocket.
DO book a bike tour. Whether its a tour of the city or a tour of the outskirts, these bike tours give you an amazing perspective that you don’t really see when you walk. Also, you can get your exercise in for the day! My personal recommendation would be Mike’s Bike Tours (of course I am biased because I did a tour with them already and I absolutely loved it!).
DO go to a museum. Amsterdam has many amazing museums such as the Van Gogh museum and the Rijks Museum. And definitely visit the Anne Frank House (buy tickets ahead of time so you can avoid waiting in the long lines).
DO stroll through the Red Light District. Don’t waste money on tours or anything like that, just take a stroll. Honestly, its not that revolting and not that shocking. I live with three other girls so there is nothing I haven’t already seen. It’s also very interesting to observe how different the dutch culture is from ours.
DO try some poffertjes (equal to mini pancakes but way better) you will not regret it!
DO NOT go crazy with the nightlife. I’m not saying don’t go out, I’m only saying you don’t have to over do it. You will end up exhausted and you might miss out on precious daylight.
DO NOT miss out on seeing the large windmills that are famous in the Netherlands.
DO NOT eat all the cheese! eat some but if you eat too much you might get a stomachache. But this region is famous for its gouda so by all means buy a wheel of cheese it will last you a while (unless you are my roommates and I, then it will only last you a few days.
DO NOT buy flowers or seeds! You will find out that you cannot bring them back to the US and that will just make you sad.
DO NOT be embarrassed if you find yourself at the "I Am Amsterdam" sign. You are a tourist after all so go at it and leave your shame behind.
Amsterdam was absolutely amazing and I can't thank my amazing friends enough: it wouldn't have been the adventure it was without you guys!