I had been to Amsterdam quite a few years’ ago but I went for a gig and didn’t really get to see much of the city except from some bars and a coffee shop so I wouldn’t have said I had properly been there. Last weekend I headed to the city with a friend as she wanted to catch The Weeknd live there so we made our three day trip around this.
We had a super early flight from Luton on the Friday morning which caused me to get up at about 2.30am *yawn*. After a 50 minute flight and a quick bus into the city centre we dropped our bags at our hotel and headed out on our day. We knew we would need a nap after we had checked in due to the early morning, and the fact that the gig was that night so we wanted to stay close by. Fortunately, our hotel had an awesome location and there was loads to do around there. We started off by taking a canal boat tour by the Blue Boat company which was a great way to see the city without having to walk around too much. With thousands of bridges and so many canals it’s crazy how unusual this city is and our driver was fantastic telling us facts about the city including the fact that very regularly the city go around fishing bikes out of the canals and they pick up thousands each year.
Fortunately, the weather was on our side for the canal trip and when we debarked the hour long tour we headed to the Van Gogh Museum which is a must do in Amsterdam. It was an interesting museum with plenty of his paintings that I recognized including the Sunflowers and his bedroom which I knew straight away. Alongside the paintings, there was a lot about his life, how he ended up in a mental asylum and all about the dreaded ear cutting incident. Straight after the Van Gogh museum, we decided to head to the Moco (Modern Contemporary) Museum which was showing a Banksy and Dali exhibition and this was amazing. I had no idea Banksy did indoor art yet there were loads of his iconic paintings there including some real outdoor artwork which was done in Amsterdam and had been the foundations for the museum.
By this point we were knackered so checked into our hotel, had a nap, had a quick dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe which was opposite our hotel and headed to the gig. I won’t talk too much about the gig but The Weeknd was fantastic live and I always like to see how crowds are in different countries and everyone in Amsterdam loved it.
Saturday was our other busy day so after a well-deserved lie in we headed towards the Anne Frank House – which we had booked for 12.30 – in the search for pancakes. Right next door there was a pancake house which despite their rushed and slightly unfriendly service had awesome pancakes so I had a savory cheese and bacon one which set me right up for the day before heading into the house. As we had booked tickets – which I’d recommend doing – we went straight in during our allocated time slot and it was such an eerie yet incredible experience. Not only did we stand in the actual house where Anne and her family hid out we saw the original bookcase, the original artwork Anne put up on the walls of her room, her original diary and so much more. It was a harrowing experience but one I could not recommend enough.
Next up we headed to one of the main streets in Amsterdam to go to the Body Worlds exhibition. Now Body Worlds do have locations around the world but the Amsterdam location was showing the Happiness Exhibition which was much needed after the days earlier activities. The exhibition showed really human bodies and the impact on happiness on the body and despite being a little freaky as there were loads of real body parts around it was incredibly interesting. Did you know that only 10% of your happiness comes from your situation such as if you’re rich or poor, married or single, healthy or unhealthy etc?! A whopping 50% comes from predisposed genetics amd 40% from our thoughts, acrtions and behaviours.
Next up we visited the Sex Museum which despite only being 4 euro’s wasn’t really worth it in my opinion. A novelty to say I’ve done in Amsterdam but I wouldn’t rush to go back again. To end our day we headed to the Red Light District to go to Red Light Secrets which is a museum on the prostitution industry and it was so interesting. You saw the conditions of the rooms where the prostitutes work, regulations and the safety of them, you got to stand in a window to see what it would be like and much more. When we came out it was roughly 7pm and we didn’t want to leave until we saw some girls, when in Amsterdam of course, but we couldn’t find any so we headed out for dinner close by. When we came back about 830-845pm the street was all lit up. It was so interesting to just watch the girls interact with the men on the streets and even see some guys go in (and back out). Did you know unlike a brothel where you pay for a certain amount of time if you go to a window you pay for sex so if you’re done in 3 minutes that’s your lot?!
As we had pretty much done most of what we wanted to do in our first few days we had little plan for the day other than knowing we wanted to head to the Pancake Bakery for breakfast. We had both decided to go for sweet pancakes and in the end chose the Dutch pancakes as we felt it made sense to and wow what a decision. Baked inside the pancake itself was one of the dutch waffle/ cookies then it was topped with cinnamon ice-cream, whipped cream, chocolate shavings and powdered sugar. My god it was incredible and now makes me really want cinnamon ice-cream all the time.
That’s pretty much it for my Amsterdam trip. It was a fantastic three days (other than an hour delay getting home- thanks Easyjet!) It’s a city you can easily cover in 3 days and makes for a fantastic long weekend.