(Travel Day 9)
My first impressions of Amsterdam were that it was wet. Wet, wet, wet. We arrived at the Busabout drop off point at 8pm, 3 hours late due to unusually dense traffic. As we were staying at a different hotel, we then had a long and cold trek across town, first visiting the wrong hostel with the same name then finally arriving at our hotel half an hour later, soaked to the bone and exhausted from the day. Needless to say we didn't do much sight seeing that evening.
The next morning we went out and got ourselves an "I Amsterdam" card which included lots of free entries and public transport around the city.
We went to "Boom Chicago" Comedy Show, where their hilarity for the evening focused on beards. Quite apt since a number of our fellow audience were supporting healthy face forests. We were all in stitches, and the comedians were hilarious. They even called out a fellow Busabouter we were sitting with about being a "hipster", which turned out to be entirely true.
We called it a night after that, since my cold symptoms just seemed to be getting worse. Note to self: walking about in the rain probably doesn't help... hmmm good luck with that.
On that note, the next day we went biking, and yes, it was in the rain. We went on a "Mike's Bikes" Country Bike Tour. Which took us past lots of iconic Amsterdam sights, of course including windmills.
The owner of the factory gave us a demonstration of how the process works, and had a cracker sense of humour to go with it. Such a "funny little man".
Definitely looking and feeling pretty poorly at this point. Please excuse the watery eyes and red nose.
"Sir, I think your attic is a bit clogged"
|Very multi purpose|
Chris ended up buying a roll of smoked mature cheese, and because I wasn't going to share it with him, he ate it with almost every meal. We carried it in our packs for about a week before the smell got so strong he had to get rid of the rest.
Then it was back out into the rain.
We found the movable "I amsterdam" sign. So a group photo was a must.
Chris getting excited about his cheese.
So after drying off we took a sunset boat cruise around Amsterdam, which was a free perk of buying the "I Amsterdam" card. It was a great way of enjoying the sights when the weather just doesn't want to cooperate.
Tuatara Bro came too.
Stopped in for a quick bite from the nearest FEBO.
We decided to pass on the "Adult" shows, as we had heard mixed reviews about their quality. We weren't prepared to shell out 40euros each, especially since I was feeling poorly.
On the quest to find the smallest car.Café" and a "Coffee shop". "Recreational" smoke drifted down every street, it was more common than cigarette smoke is anywhere else. The difference here is, no one bats and eye. It's just part of a normal functioning life. With the tourists being the ones who over do it. Amsterdam has a way of embracing you no matter what your hobbies or background, which is an awesome attitude to have. Plus, at least I wasn't the only one coughing with bleary eyes.
Another thing that was on every street were bikes. So. many. bicycles! If you are a cyclist in Amsterdam, you are King, or Queen for that matter. You rule the streets. Bells are rung, cycle lanes are highways and everyone is riding. This is great for the environment, the air quality, your health and your pocket. And probably the reason the locals here are so slim. With EVERYBODY riding, also comes congestion. The street sides were FULL of bikes, locked to every point possible. Sometimes even over flowing, with bikes hanging off the side of a bridge. Which does make for some pretty and iconic photos. But watch out, if you get in the cycle lane without looking, you could be in for trouble. After a few days it did become more natural to look out for two sets of traffic and to always be wary of nearby bell ringing.
As a whole, the city was very welcoming. Every local we spoke to said they "speak a little English" but we would then have an entire conversation easily. So either they were being modest, or what I consider "a little" is a LOT less than them. The buildings and canals were beautiful, and the atmosphere was contagious. Amsterdam is one of those cities which I would love to return to, and experience again.
We left Amsterdam the next morning, with a full days travel ahead to Berlin.
Quick Summary (TL;DR)Duration of stay: 2 full days
Was it enough time?: 3 or 4 days would have been nice, as we didn't get to venture outside the city much.
Where we stayed: Quentin Amsterdam Hotel
Time of Year: May
Best memories:"Mike's Bikes" Bike tour and Canal Cruise
Worst memories: Being full of cold the entire time.
Top tip: Lots of companies are doing discount cards, do your research with regards to what you want to do before hand.
Next time: Go see the tulips at Keukenhof gardens.
Amsterdam in a word: Liberal and accepting
Recommended?: Yes, I enjoyed it even though I was sick.
Overall experience: 7/10, it would be higher if we had seen some sun and I wasn't sick.
Next destination: Berlin