Amsterdam

“Come on, 20 Euros for the private show?”

So we spent the weekend in Amsterdam. It was one of those weekends where you did a lot, but at the same time, you felt like you relaxed a lot too. Our hostel, The Flying Pig Downtown, was a 5 minute walk from the train station, located on Nieuwendijk. We arrived Friday evening; after we’d dropped off our stuff and said hello to the 8 others we were sharing the dorm with, I realised I still loved staying in hostels and I especially loved staying in those dorm rooms. I’m quite happy I haven’t grown out of it yet!

The first coffeeshop we visited was called The Doors. We each tried a spacecake; I didn’t know what to expect taste-wise, but it was amazing! Just like eating a normal chocolate brownie. Coffeeshops don’t serve alcohol, and I found it interesting to see what types of ‘soft’ drinks people went for when alcohol wasn’t available on a Friday night- a husband drank Ribena whilst the wife drank pineapple juice, a group of lads drinking coffee, a man on his own hunched over a coca cola.

Spacecakes can take up to 2 hours before you feel the effects, so in the meantime we went to a bar for a beer. Afterwards, we stopped off at another coffeehouse, then went on to find somewhere to eat. We ended up in a quiet Dutch restaurant that had a few romantic and older couples in, so immediately we felt out of place! We just giggled our way through dinner- we were eating in complete silence, and that was comedy gold to me at the time. Afterwards, we navigated our way back and returned to our dorm.

 

We started Saturday with a big breakfast, before walking to Dam Square and then through towards the Red Light District. We watched a peep show- you go into a small booth, put a couple of euros in and watch through the window. If you’ve seen The Danish Girl you know what I mean. When your time is up, a light flashes up and the screen goes blurry- you can put in more money to carry on watching, however we just giggled and swiftly left.

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That afternoon we walked to the Anne Frank house- unfortunately due to the size of the queue we didn’t go in, however we did take a look at the plaque and also walked around the block where the house was. I suppose it does still feel quite surreal that what happened, happened there- and now it has attained so much interest, for all the right reasons- having read the book it just felt ‘weird’ (I can’t think of the right word) to think that she was up there, writing her diary, that would influence and help us understand so much more.

The weather seemed to be getting colder every time we left a building- and so we retreated to another coffeeshop. After dinner, we went back to the hostel and stayed in the social lounge for the evening. I did feel a sense of vulnerability when it was just me and my friend walking through the streets later at night. So we thought it would be best to socialise still but in a familiar area, and our hostel was the perfect place for that.

On Sunday we were up earlier and went on a canal cruise, which we bought from the ticket hut next to the canal and cost 16 euros. We were shown all the different buildings, talked through the architecture, history, and lifestyle throughout the ages, and passed Anne Frank’s house again. That was really fun and something different, too, as I had never been on a canal tour before! So I thoroughly recommend this.

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The barge was so warm, which was so nice- but like I said before, the more places we left, the colder we felt outside! We dashed across the road into a steakhouse and treated ourselves, it was almost 0 degrees after all. We visited 420 cafe and then went to another peep show (we’re not obsessed, promise) but this time it was an older lady and I just felt awkward, she was trying to get us into a private show and was grinding all over the windows! So yet again we left the place giggling like the immature girls we are.

We also walked through the Red Light district in the evening, and with all the lights… not just the red ones… it actually seemed quite scenic haha. It was all pretty interesting, especially some of the stuff in the windows of sex shops we passed! Like how does some of that even work!

This (Monday) morning we were up at 5.30am and jumped on a direct train to the airport. Amsterdam was a beautiful city- I loved the history and architecture of it all, and the canals of course, but I also loved the ‘alternative’ side, which because of its legality has sort of escaped a stigma that it receives over here. All in all it was a great trip, and if I were to go again I’d probably hire a bike, because they have separate bike roads over there, again they just have a modern and productive way of thinking. A long weekend was enough for me, but it’s definitely worth the visit!

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