we love a good city break, don't we? a chance to jet off somewhere in less than two hours, just for 48 hours...unwind from work, experience new things, spend a bit of cash, and feel like you're on your holz.
i recently jetted off to amsterdam with my pal for a couple of days away to celebrate my upcoming birthday. i'd never been to the dam before, and had a premonition it would just be weed and prostitutes. well, i was very wrong indeed. it has certainly become one of my favourite cities in europe, and here's why!
so first off i should tell you it's super cheap and easy to get to amsterdam. return flights can cost £60, and a flight is under an hour. yes under an hour. if you hate flying (like me) this is top notch. we flew in, and stayed in an ibis hotel about 20 mins bus ride out of the city. this hotel was, again, very cheap - and we got what we paid for. it was very clean, modern, and basic. but for us this was ideal as we only used this room for sleeping. there are swankier hotels, but we wanted to spend our money on the important things (cocktails and food).
getting around in amsterdam is super easy. buses and trams are pretty much 24 hour, and on the regs. we didn't have to wait for longer than 2 mins for a tram, and there's even a night bus to take you home safely if you make a night of it. i would recommend purchasing the 24 hour travel card, as this covers you all over the place! i should also say that i felt so safe the whole trip, never felt like i had to watch my bag. we got a night bus home after a night out (at around 2am) and it was so slick and safe.
we opted to take a walking tour of amsterdam on our first day, as we wanted to get all the tourist stuff out the way. i would recommend this, as we got museums, red light district, canal tour and the best bit...skip the queue tickets to the anne frank house. this cost around 50 euros, but was worth it!
i loved wandering around the red light district, and the prude in me was a little stunned when i first saw a woman pretty much twerking naked in a window at 1pm. the feminist in me was pretty agz, and i'm not going to lie i'm still not entirely comfortable with the premise...but the fact it's regulated it fascinating, and if i visited again i would probably visit the museum of prostitution to learn more about this strange culture. a massive whheeyyyy to all the lads popping in those windows at 2pm on a friday afternoon though. afternoon delight indeed.
the canal tour was gorgeous, seeing amsterdam's famous canals in the best way possible. it was a great way to see the city, and feel very relaxed also. my favourite part of the tour was anne frank, partly because we skipped the four hour queue outside. srsly. book ahead. the tour was quite bleak, but fascinating nonetheless..although, not so sure a gift shop is entirely necessary? just me?
so we need to talk about amsterdam's food. my god. it's literally heaven. there are a million and one places you could eat, but we picked (in my opinion) the best. we ate at the pancake bakery, which is situated near the anne frank house. there was a queue out the door, so we knew it was good. we ordered a cheese, bacon and pineapple pancake and also a nutella one. my mouth is watering thinking about it. i don't know whether god exists, but if he does, he had a say in this recipe. it literally melted in your mouth, with gooey cheese, crispy bacon and a perfect sweetness of pineapple. the nutella was melted onto the amazing pancake also. i literally can't talk about it without wanting to cry. please go and tell me again of it's excellence.
we also tried the best apple pie in winkles 43, again near the anne frank house. this place is famous for its pie, and it's easy to see why. with gorgeous chunks of fresh apple mixed with cinnamon, and a moist pastry - this is not one to be missed! for savoury lovers, i would recommend a trip to the foodhallen, an inside market that's a lot like spitalfields - take a visit to the butcher for a damnnnnn good burger. uch. i miss it.
we also ventured out at night, enjoyed tequila, shots, shisha... and had to venture into a famous coffee shop for a bit of their infamous space cake. this was a funny experience, not the massive hype people make it, but the actual cake was delish. i could have had two more, without the extra ingredient..
i would definitely recommend beautiful amsterdam for a short city stay. with its picturesque backgrounds, millions of bicycles, amazing food and naughty but nice culture - it's definitely one of my favourites. let me know if you do visit!
until next time xo