What a great start to the year! We arrived in Amsterdam on Jan 1st via plane from London, and we were lucky to sit in the emergency exit rows which meant more leg room! and if it didn’t get any better than that, we were greeted at the airport with free doughnuts! Great start to the new year.
Free Walking Tour
On our tour we learnt about how Amsterdam was built. Where at first there were a bunch of marshes and then through foundation building they built houses. And of course since you’re building on a marsh with a lot of water, some of these houses are leaning forwards and to the side.
So why are the houses so narrow? Well because back then the cost or taxation on your house was no based on how much square footage you had but on how wide your house was, hence the narrow houses.
A little treat for us on this tour was the free cheese samples. The cheese here was goat and very young. Of course I love cheese and so naturally I was in heaven. The place that he brought us to also had a cheese tasting and pairing in the afternoons. Sadly we did not attend this.
I guess I need to talk about marijuana eh? Well interesting enough, our tour guide stay away from this topic, he did bring it up however, but only to say that he’s not gonna talk about it and that it’s part of another tour the company does. Go figure. But walking around Amsterdam, you can always smell it, and not to mention some of the top places on Trip Advisor were Cafes. So thats the other weird thing here, if you wanna smoke pot, you go to a Coffee Shop, if you want to drink coffee you go to a Coffee Bar and if you wanna drink beer you go to a Cafe. Which for us was really hard to wrap our heads around.
Anne Frank House
Everyone knows who Anne Frank is so of course we wanted to see the Annex where her and her family plus more went into hiding. The Father, Otto Frank, who lived through the war, latter went on to publish Anne’s diary along with creating a museum out of his office/annex. He made it clear that he didn’t want it to look too much like a museum and wanted to rooms bare. Which they were and well preserved they were. They also still had the original bookcase that lead to the secret Annex along with the original diary on display. It was definitely an unforgettable experience walking through the secret annex.
One thing that took away from the overall appeal of the experience was that amount of people. From opening til about 3pm, you cannot get in without an online booking. So with our online booking, I thought the crowds would be monitored well. Well they weren’t. You were constantly standing in line through out the whole experience. And since it wasn’t too much like a museum until the end, there wasn’t enough to keep you busy.
We never made it to the Heineken Experience, i’m not a big beer drinker and we heard mixed reviews. We also never made it to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, however we did hear great things about both. The area surrounding the museums, like the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign was overly crowded. Our tour guide was even telling us to get into the Rijksmuseum, you could be looking at a 3 hour line.
For me my favourite part was just walking the canals and windowing shopping at all the little boutiques Amsterdam had. We had 3 full days here, which 1 and a half that I was sick, but I really enjoyed Amsterdam and got to see all I wanted to basically. I do regret however missing out on the nightlife.