After visiting Amsterdam last month I thought it was about time I get around to writing about my visit. It’s annoying when life gets hectic and you can barely find the time to breath let alone write a blog post. I visited this wonderful city for 6 days and had an incredible time. The city of Amsterdam is such an incredible place and I hope by reading about my visit it will inspire you to pay Holland a visit or give you some hints, tips or travel inspiration to knock your wanderlust into 5th gear and get you itching to hop on a plane and explore.
Flying to Amsterdam from Gatwick was a pretty painless experience. I don’t drive and I’m one of those lucky ducky’s that travels really light so I got the train from my Hampshire home town, changed at Clapham junction and arrived at Gatwick in only an hour and a half.
Airports are a dangerous place to be for those afflicted with Wanderlust. Those departure boards are full of travel possibilities, gateways to destinations across the globe and a list of possible adventures. As I gazed up at the board looking for my flight, I couldn’t help but plan future trips in my head, a Summer in Rome? A glacier walk in Iceland? In my mind I spent all my future money on plane tickets, I guess its time to move on…
After a quick flight of 45 minutes or so, I touched down in Holland. Walking through arrivals gave me my first taste of Holland culture, full shops devoted to cheese, not ideal for a Vegan but perfect for all you cheese lovers out there (my friend had to buy a new suitcase to get his cheese haul home.) First thing I did on arrival was to purchase an Iamsterdam card.
If you are looking to pack in as many things as possible during your visit, The Iamsterdam card is great. They offer various options to purchase, from 24hrs to 96hrs with lots of things included, such as:
- Free, unlimited use of GVB public transport in Amsterdam (bus, tram & metro)
- Free entrance to Amsterdam’s major museums & attractions (including the Van Gough museum, Artis Royal Zoo, Nemo Science Centre and Stedelijk Museum)
- Free canal cruise
- A handy, detailed city map
- Discounts on attractions, concerts, theatre, rental, restaurants and more
- €2.50 discount on entrance to the Rijksmuseum
- Free giveaways, fun surprises & special monthly offers
- Free entrance to a range of attractions at the Zaanse Schans & various discounts
- Free entrance to the major museums in Haarlem & various discounts
- Free ferry trip from Volendam to Marken & various discounts in both towns
- Free entrance to the Zuiderzee Museum & various discounts in Enkhuizen
- Special monthly offers
The first place I needed to go was the hostel to meet two of my travel companions. We were going to meet our other two friends the next day and all travel to our Air bnb apartment together, so we had a night to kill before then. The hostel we stayed in was the Meininger Hotel Amsterdam City West in Sloterdijk. The hostel was so easy to get to from the airport, It was a short train journey and the hostel was right next to Sloterdijk train station so you didn’t have to lug your suitcase around for miles and miles.
The room we stayed in was amazing, in fact the hostel itself could rival any hotel. It was modern, clean and absolutely massive! Our room had two bunk beds and one double bed (guess who blagged the double bed) and the three of us only had to share with two other girls from France.
After settling in we decided to get the train into central Amsterdam to spend the evening having a nice dinner and a little explore. I couldn’t wait any longer, I was way to excited I wanted to see everything the city had to offer. I’d spent weeks and weeks trawling through guidebooks I’d picked up at my local library and browsing google whilst making lists of all the things I wanted to see and do. I looked at pictures of the canals surrounded by quirky buildings and now I was about to see the real thing.
My first thoughts on arrival into the city was one of ore at the grandeur of the stunning central train station. The city was so beautiful at night as the lights from the historic buildings shimmered across the waters of the canals. As trams and bikes cruised by and we walked towards the square, I fell in love with the city and its truly magical atmosphere.
We walked around the city and took it all in, one breath at a time. we explored the main shopping streets that then lead on to cute little side streets filled with small cafes and restaurants. We ate at a gorgeous restaurant called Jackson Dubois. I was drawn in like a moth to a flame to the beautiful interior, like a warm yet gothic lounge. The food here was great and well worth a visit wether you fancy a full meal or just a drink in a relaxed bar atmosphere.
before heading back to the Hostel we stopped at Albert Heijn supermarket, a fantastic place to get your food shopping whilst travelling (and great for Vegan’s and Vegetarians too). We stocked up on a few bits and got some food to make breakfast and lunch with for the next day. once back at the hostel we started planning our adventures for the next day at the bar downstairs in the Hostel. In confidence and good spirits our long weekend In Amsterdam had begun. With so much to look forward to over the next few days, going to sleep was a bit tricky but as I lay there In the double bed of my lovely hostel room, I replayed the day and my head and nodded off with a smile, I was finally here and I was loving it.
(Come back soon to read what I got up to on my second day In amazing Amsterdam)