The Place: Amsterdam

Following on from my previous post, I've done the outfit, now onto the rest of my Amsterdam experience. I thought I'd lay out my highlights of our trip and what I thought we potentially could have missed out so that if you're there for less time than we were - we stayed in the Dutch city for 3 nights - you know what to definitely do! Whilst some of our trip took a bit of organisation and planning, we were able to book a lot of the activities on the day, but don't worry, I've also set out a few little hints and tips on the way...

THE ACCOMMODATION
We ended up staying in two hostels, both of which we booked through hostelworld.com and each had their pros and cons. Luckily, both of them were in the same area to each other and so it wasn't much of an issue to cart our stuff across the city and I think it was a great location! We could walk every where (we did A LOT of walking whilst there) without feeling too tired or it taking too long, plus it was really near a tram line (and a tourist information place) so when we did take the tram, in order to get to the zoo, we knew where we had to go! Personally, The Amsterdam Hostel Centre was better as we were in a room of 4 rather than 8, however The International Budget Hostel was on the same street as The Fault in Our Stars Bench and had better storage facilities... either way I'd stay at both again and would highly recommend either!

THE HIGHLIGHTS
Anne Frank Huis
By far the best part of the trip for both my friend Liz and I. Not just because it was emotional and thought provoking, but the way the museum had been laid out and guided you through was seamless and really well done. If you want to get in here though, you NEED to book online as they only let pre booked tickets in before 3.30pm and the queue to get in on the spot starts growing at about 2.15pm!



Canal Cruise
This was a brilliant way to see parts of the city we hadn't managed to walk to yet (mainly the harbour and near the station) and you get to find out a lot about the history of the city and see some gorgeous bridges... plus did you really go to Amsterdam if you don't go on a boat?!



Bloemenmarkt
When someone told me I should visit this, I kind of looked at them weirdly, however I must admit that this is a great spectacle to see. The little flower shops are actually on the water and the atmosphere in the area was one of my favourites in the city - it was just bustling with people and there were so many bright flowers everywhere! Even if it isn't a place to spend too much time at, you need to walk through the Bloemenmarkt, for sure!



Dam Square and I Amsterdam Letters
The classic tourist photos emerge from here (guilty!) and so it has to be done, plus the area is extremely beautiful and you get a great view of the Rijksmuseum's amazing architecture...
Cycling through Vondelpark 
We walked to the park just to have a look at what it was like and having realised how vast it was, we decided to hire some bikes. We used a rental that's just round the corner from the gates called A-bike Vondelpark which not only was convenient, but was good value and the service was great - plus, the shop was open until 9pm so we didn't feel like we had to rush if we didn't want to!
Van Gogh Museum
We were actually going to try and visit the Rijksmuseum instead  on our first afternoon in Amsterdam, but when we got to the front of the queue there was only 40 minutes left of the museum actually being open (although if you have time, the gardens of the Rijksmuseum are definitely worth a peek!)... Fortunately for us, the VG museum doesn't close until 6pm so we opted to give it a go - thank god we did! I'm not a massive art lover, but it was super interesting to see how Van Gogh developed as an artist, his life story and struggles as well as seeing some pretty great artwork, including the infamous Sunflowers, of course! 



Red Light District Pub Crawl
As there was only a small group of us in Amsterdam, we didn't really know if we wanted to go on a night out (especially as we didn't know where was good to go etc.), however when we saw that the Tours & Tickets had their own pub crawl - link to the info here - we knew it would hit two birds with one stone... we got to experience the craziness of the red light district at night whilst also witnessing the Dutch city's night life. I definitely would recommend this to anyone as it was pretty good value for money, we got to meet a lot of other people and we had a great night!

COULD GIVE IT A MISS
The Zoo
I don't know whether this was because we unfortunately had pretty rubbish weather - torrential rain showers at one point meant we ran for the aquarium part of the zoo - or if it just wasn't as amazing as the rest of the things we did, but for me I think this was my least favourite part! I've done a fair few zoos this year (see my post here for my opinion on the Hamburg zoo) and this one for me lacked a little lustre...




Heineken
I know that when my brother and dad went to Amsterdam back in February they loved this and I guess if you're an avid beer-drinker then this is a must, but for me finding out how they made Heineken wasn't exactly the most exciting thing! Maybe in a larger group this would have been a lot more fun as when you get your 2 free beers at the end, it was definitely a great way to socialise...

If I went again I'd definitely try and manage to have some Rijstafel (Indonesian cuisine) as that's meant to be something worth trying, as well as a trip to the Sex Museum and maybe Madame Tussauds as we didn't have enough time to fit them in! We found the Tickets & Tours shops that are dotted all over the city really helpful (plus they give you endless free maps!) as you are able to ask questions, book things for that day or in advance, plus get discounts - it's definitely what made our lives so much easier and our time really enjoyable! 
As some of you will know, I didn't have a phone when I went to Amsterdam, and whilst a lot of these were taken on my friend Liz's phone, I also took a disposable camera - I LOVE how this picture came out!
Have you been to Amsterdam? Have you got any tips? Make sure to catch up on my Amsterdam Outfit post here... I hope you have a great rest of the week!
Becky xx

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