Every year I try to visit somewhere new.. this year I’ll be ticking two off in a surprise trip for my friend’s 21st in April. 2016 was the year of poor planning, following a dislocated knee which brought my Interrail dreams to an abrupt end, resulting in a one night stint in Amsterdam (I was high on morphine at the time of booking).
We flew very early from Liverpool – Schiphol and got the train to the centre of Amsterdam and dumped our bags at our hotel – The Times Hotel, Herengracht Canal. We then headed off to Bodyworks Museum and the Heineken Experience. We tried to walk as much as possible to see as much of Amsterdam on the way but – typically – the weather was against us so we (disastrously) had to navigate the Dutch trams – not the easiest task in the world after a few free pints!
I’d booked my friend tickets to the Ice Bar for her birthday so we headed out for dinner to Rib’s Factory and then to the bar. I’d been to ice bars before in Liverpool, Chester, London and Berlin and had to say this was the best value for money. Tickets get you two free shots each and two free drinks – and if you’re sneaky enough they leave the bottle of vodka out which you can easily swipe. We then headed along to the Red Light District before trying out a few of the infamous coffee shops, which resulted in me sitting on the edge of the canal outside our hotel trying to convince my friend that I was definitely not Jesus…
Keen to make the most of our limited time left, we headed out early to the Sex Museum before Rijksmuseum to see the Amsterdam sign before a walk around Vondelpark. Had we have had longer we would have loved to hire a bike to cycle round but we wanted to make it back to Anne Frank House in time to join the ridiculously long queue. Tickets for this book up months in advance and they only let non-ticket holders in after 3.30pm, resulting in a queue snaking around Westerkerk from 2pm onwards. Luckily we were towards the front as we had to leave by 5pm to catch our flight home but I would definitely recommend visiting if you can – and even more to book tickets first! The museum has so many readings playing from Anne Frank’s diary it’s hard to leave without feeling like you have a whole new perspective on things. To end the trip we headed back to the canal by the hotel and drank our Heineken’s after we realised we couldn’t take them back on the plane with us!
Top Tips for Amsterdam:
- Get tickets for Anne Frank House as soon as you book your trip
- Heineken Experience is definitely worth the visit
- Hire a bike if the weather allows but be prepared to not have a clue where you should be going
- If you don’t hire a bike.. be prepared to come close to colliding with one at some point
- Make time to just sit in Vondelpark
- Try poffertjes at least once (a day)
- Go for more than one night…