Travel Essence - AMSTERDAM


The joys of being a tourist...


A short break seems like its always needed and I got the chance to take a uni trip to Amsterdam in November 2015 with a few of my colleagues and of course my lectures came.

I've heard so many things about weekend breaks to 'Dam and finally I got the chance to go. As soon as most people hear Amsterdam the first thing is the Red Light District or weed cafes, but obviously there's more to the Dutch lifestyle - the classic bike rides and canals, traditional beers and the people you meet! I will do my very best to share this trip with you recommendations and hopefully you'll be paying a visit to AMSTERDAM too!



Accommodation

We stayed at the Meininger Hostel, City West. A great location which is very close to the Sloterdijk railway station (five minutes walk). This hostel is definitely ideal for students or if you're looking for an affordable and accessible place to stay. The staff are helpful especially as a lot of students stay here, and a lot of recommendations are needed. The rooms are huge enough to have 5 people stay in with bunk beds and single beds and the bathroom facilities are very modern and clean.


Places to visit

Amsterdam Arena
This arena is the largest stadium in the Netherlands. Its home to the Ajax FC. Its also hosts matches by the Dutch National Team. Being part of a uni trip, we were obviously there to learn as well as play, but it was such an interesting tour. I'm not a football fan but the things you learn about from the care for the grass on the field, to the over 50,000 seats in the arena, down to sitting in the press room can be interesting. This tour is a recommendation. There is also souvenir shop for you to buy some goodies for friends and family. 


The Heineken Experience
For all you beer lovers, this is the famous brewery located in the heart of Amsterdam! Home of Heineken. I don't drink beer but after The Heineken Experience, I must say that Heineken is quality! . The experience is the ideal interactive tour for how Heineken (beer) is made. You are in a setting where everything around you is green bottles, You have a chance to be the beer and go through the process which is hillarious (4D experience)! You'll also be able to have a few beers, enter a trivia competition and  you can personalise your own bottle of Heineken at their souvenir store (great gift ideas)!



Canal Cruises
This is such a relaxing way to end an adventurous day out with friends, as a couple or even alone taking in the city. The cruises are safe and affordable at 14 Euros - its definitely worth it. The canal cruises are a great way to learn about the history of Amsterdam and there are some fascinating facts. You would be surprised to know that a large part of The Netherlands is actually built below sea level or just near sea level; this is why some of their land are uneven and their houses/buildings lean awkwardly  The canal cruise also has an option for you to combine other attractions such as the museum, dungeon, or Heineken experience as part of your tour so make the most of it. I would definitely recommend this just before the sun sets as you take in the history and the beautiful architecture. You've even got the choice to have day and night cruises.


Bars/Cafes/Restaurants 
With the restaurants in Amsterdam, from what I remember I didn't feel like I experienced the traditional dishes of the city. Should have done more research on traditional foods to try out in Amsterdam. Soon enough, I would love to travel back to try their cultural food. We did have a look around and came across a restaurant called 'At James' which serves steak meals, burgers and sandwiches. The steaks and ribs were succulent ( cooked well-done) and the fries even though they were just fries; were quality! Also, a nice cold ice tea to go with the meal went down well. 


Icebar Amsterdam
This is definitely one of the coolest places I've ever been to. The experience of being in freezing temperature of -10degrees celcius is terrifying but the experience is amazing. It doesn't start off in freezing temperatures though. Ticket entry is 18euros decently priced with whats included while there. You have 3 free drinks with tokens from the entry bar (delicious cocktails - TheAmsterdam FAV!) plus drinks inside of the actual icebar which is served in an ice cup! You must be inside waiting for the icebar experience to start as there are time slots. You are provided with coats and gloves but also dress to keep yourself warm for the icy conditions. Its absolutely crazy casually having vodka and orange juice chatting away in -10 degrees. This is definitely recommended for a night out!
WARNING - do not eat weed cake and drink alcohol together, trust me! =[! DRINK RESPONSIBLY


Walks in Amsterdam - Red Light District 




We couldn't come to Amsterdam and not have a walk through the narrow streets that lead to the  famous Red Light District. It is prohibited to take photos while walking past. For sure everyone has their opinions on that particular area of Amsterdam but its not only the sexual setting that you will find while there. In fact there are some nice cafes and global restaurants alongside the canal and clubs and pubs. Also, make sure you stay safe in this area as there are a lot of things happening at once. 

So that's more or less the recommendations that I have to share for now in Amsterdam. Hope to travel back there! I would love for you to let me know other places to visit in The Netherlands!

Leave your comments too on your experience in Amsterdam!
& Don't forget to share LondonLove x

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