I love to travel, exploring new and beautiful places is a big passion of mine. I’ve started to appreciate Europe more and more over the years, so I thought why not book a weekend away! I chose Amsterdam because its been on my travel list for a few years. Yes, it’s known as being the place to try space cakes or smoke a little cannabis but it’s also an incredible scenic and cultural city to visit.
I was originally travelling alone but my friend Barbara decided to come along and meet me there. Since she lives in France we rarely get to spend time together unless we travel. This was the best opportunity, especially since both of us hadn’t visited Amsterdam before.
Thursday 10th December:
I decided to fly from Birmingham to give me more time to explore everything Amsterdam has to offer. East Midlands was my first choice but considering I wouldn’t have arrived until 6pm, Birmingham seemed like the better option as I arrived at 12 midday. Thursday was an early morning as I had to wake up at 5am to drive to Birmingham at 6am. I was so excited I woke up every hour thinking its time to leave!
Normally I’m good with flying but this flight wasn’t one of my favourites. It was one of those little planes with propellers which meant you felt everything. Although, I arrived at Amsterdam in one piece! 🙂
I arrived at 12pm bright eyed and ready to explore a new and wonderful place but first I needed to find my accommodation. There are a few options for transport to the town centre, I went for the cheaper option and caught the bus which took about 30 minutes and cost 5€. Since Barbara booked the accommodation I didn’t have all the details, I thought it was called Vondel Park Museum B&B, I wondered why they didn’t have a booking for me and it’s because we weren’t staying there! Silly me… I then found our accommodation which was called Vondel Park B&B … I wasn’t far off!
The room was decent for our weekend away and the staff were very friendly!
Hot Chocolate at Ovidius Grand Cafe
After Barbara arrived we explored the city and stopped for a coffee, in my case hot chocolate at Ovidius Grand Cafe in the centre. It was reasonably priced and they made delicious drinks. A little warning for hot chocolate lovers, in Amsterdam it’s chocolate milk heated up not what we English would consider a hot chocolate but still hit the spot! 🙂
The Red Light District
If you’ve heard stories about the Red Light District then all of them are most likely true! Prostitutes behind windows waiting for that lucky person to pay for anything really. I haven’t got any photo’s because I believe it’s something you need to see with your own eyes!
Friday 11th December:
We were on a mission to get into the Anne Frank House bright and early to avoid standing in the cold for hours. Luckily we only waited in a que for 15 minutes. The museum was inspirational and emotional, I only knew a little bit about Anne Frank before I visited the house. Everything she and others had to go through was terrible, after finishing our tour around the house I wanted to know more so I purchased the book to educate myself further. I would defiantly suggest this if you’re taking a trip to Amsterdam.
Lunch at DeVergulde Lantaarn
This was a relaxed place to eat and was very festive inside, being Christmas its good to decorate! The food came fairly quickly although they did forget about my soup, oopsie daisy! I got it in the end though so no harm done!
So what do the Dutch class as their traditional dishes, apparently its Soup, Rookworst (sausages), Butterballen (potato with beef coated in bread crumbs), StroopWafles, Poffertjes (Small pancakes) and Appletaart. From this list I tried a few soups along with a Butterballen, Rookworst and of course StroopWafles! They all were delicious and I would eat them again if I visited Amsterdam or anywhere Dutch!
Amsterdam Sex Museum
I believe the title is self-explanatory. This was another first experience for me and was one of the cheaper museums I visited at only 4€ entry. There were photos, sculptures amongst other things… I got a photo with the giant penis as you do when you visit the museum!
You can buy your space cake or a bong whatever floats your boat really. Plus you are able to fly home with all the cannabis products except for actual cannabis, so you can take some cookies or lolly pops home and apparently it’s “legal”. I think that is a weird concept because its illegal in the UK but we are able to bring cannabis products from Amsterdam? It’s a strange world we live in with laws that don’t make sense!
I love souvenirs, I used to buy a lot of bits and bobs but my room is very cluttered and since I’m moving in the new year I simply don’t have the space capacity! I started buying a postcard and stamp from every place I visit, this way I have something from each country but it’s lightweight and doesn’t take up room. Although it doesn’t mean I wasn’t temped by the wooden clogs or mini houses statues!
Saturday 12th December:
Do as the tourist do and take a photo with the Iamsterdam sign! We arrived at 10.30am but there were so many people and it was impossible to get a decent photo, so after several failed attempts we called it a day and went back on Sunday morning around 9am. At this time we managed to take a few selfies and great shots with only 1 or 2 people in the background compared to 20/30 people behind us!
Van Gogh Museum
I personally love museums, I find it relaxing to look at great art. The Van Gogh Museum was one of the highlights of my trip, he was and still is an inspirational artist who influences the artists of today. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to explore all the floors in the museum, it took us about 3 1/2 hours to do the entire space but it was well worth the time spend.
Edward Munch 1927 The Girls on the Bridge
Lunch at Blushing
We finally finished at Van Gogh at 3.30pm and had a late lunch across the road from the Museum at a cafe called Blushing. There were so many delicious choices on the menu, I wanted to try and remain healthy while away so I made decisions with that in mind. If you do eat at this cafe I would suggest the Tomato and Meatball Soup, I’ve never had homemade soup like that! Just yummy! 🙂
Dinner at Rancho Argentinia Grill
Surprisingly Amsterdam loves it’s steak houses, after being offered a free drink and a discount on the food we were more than persuaded to have dinner here. I’m not much of a steak eater but I enjoy the occasional one, I ordered well-done with no blood although it did have some blood in the middle but in the end I decided to give it a go. Guess what, I actually enjoyed it. It pays to try new things.
The Bulldog Cafe
The Bulldog Cafe is Amsterdam’s chain “special cafe” I believe I saw about 3 of these on my travels but there could be more! This atmosphere is not for everyone with the special menu and products it supplies. Down stairs is a cafe where you can have a coffee with some space cake and relax, whereas upstairs sells alcohol and you can smoke as much “herbal mix” as you like. Although there is one rule which they like to uphold …
No Tobacco – Yes Herbal Mix.
It’s space cake time!
Sweet Treats and Cheese!
If you love Cheese then Amsterdam is the place to be! There is a shop on every other corner so plenty of opportunities to buy something yummy to take back home, plus there are FREE samples so you can try before you buy! I fell in love with so many of these delicious options.
Amsterdam is also the best place in indulge your sweet tooth with all these amazing choices. I love cake, chocolate, macaroons anything sweet really. Although I was good and only had one brownie during my trip, simply because I’m trying to be good and stay healthy! But … just look at these! 🙂
Sunday 13th December:
I love walking through anywhere with greenery, the cool crisp air made it the perfect walk as we were wrapped up in our coats and winter warmers. A great way to wake you up in the morning!
All this walking around builds an appetite, I needed some good food because airport food isn’t the best! We both had been craving waffles and pancakes so the Pancake Corner was the perfect fit. I had a savoury Mexican Pancake filled with a mixture of Pineapple, Chicken, Tomato, Onion, Sweetcorn and Sweet Pepper. I would recommend! Plus they do real hot chocolate, not just warm chocolate milk. REAL HOT CHOCOLATE 🙂
The Beautiful City
Walking around the city was an experience in itself. Amsterdam may be known for its unique cafes and specialised shops but its a beautiful city with history and architecture. You’ll also notice where there is a wall, lamp post or any surface really there is a bicycle, they love bicycles! Be careful not to be run over by one, it almost happened every day for me!
Time to leave
As I made my way to the airport I thought about the amazing weekend I had. No, I didn’t get to do everything on my list but that list was extremely long to begin with 🙂 I still had a great time being a tourist, eating great food and catching up with Barbara.
One thing I was disappointed about was the lack of Christmas markets, when I researched it online I choose Amsterdam not only because it’s a beautiful city but also for the Christmas markets. It was rated under the top 10 European markets. Unfortunately, no Christmas markets, I asked locals and shop owners but no one knew of any. Although I went to explore a new place and enjoy my time which I did!
So would I suggest Amsterdam? Yes, it’s a great place to escape life. If you want to try something new then it’s your decision, you have the freedom to let go and enjoy yourself. Whether that be exploring “herbal mix” or being a tourist with your camera around your neck like me!