Did I ever mention that I love to travel? Europe – all of it, is my particular favourite. Sure I’ve been to a lot of other places, but there is something about this little continent that keeps bringing me back for more. Travel for me is pretty stress free (except flying) and lengthy airport stays – a very good thing according to Dr. Oz. Jet lag, on the other hand, can be really unbearable. Part of the issue was that they 6 of us took a 5:30PM flight, not a true overnight flight, and we got into this beautiful city at 6am Dutch time – a recipe for my worst jet lag nightmare otherwise known as #firstworldproblems. There wasn’t much that I could do other than stumble through the day, but me and my 5 other travel companions still managed to squeeze in a lot!
Before I get into all of the great things there are to do, I have to confess, I’ve been to Amsterdam before, in my 20’s. I saw a lot then and that meant I could skip the Red Light District (I didn’t find staring a poor prostitutes fun, even then), the “Cafe’s”, the Rijks Museum and a few other highlights and concentrate on what I wanted to do. Here is a list of what I did if you only have a full day and a half like I did:
- Take a Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour to orient yourself, and to be able to take a nap if you’ve just gotten off of a plane. I totally fell asleep every 3 minutes, but still managed to see quite a bit and get a better idea of where I wanted to go back to
- Take a nap in a well located hotel (we stayed at the Marriot Stadhouderskade – try saying that 5 times 5) and then go for crepes!
- Enjoy a canal cruise – it was a great way to see the City since it has over 100 kilometres of the watery little bodies and it’s a good way of killing 90 minutes
- Go to Vondelpark – very quaint, but don’t spend too much time there – especially when you only have a day!
- Head Museum Quarter – come on, you know you want to take a cheesy picture with the Amsterdam sign! It’s really beautiful – take your time and walk around, we found these weird, yet cute “Hello Bunny” type of statues. It’s a really nice part of the city and great for people watching.
- Check out the Van Gogh Museum, but just don’t be disappointed, a lot of his more famous works are in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and MOMA in NYC. We went at night and there was a huge line up, but it was still better than going during the day and it takes about 45 minutes to do the whole thing if you aren’t loitering. Not the most exciting thing that I did, but I always wanted to see it….and I did.
- Last, but not least, it’s important to visit Anne Frank House. If you don’t book a tour, you’ll find yourself waiting in at least a two hour line and that’s at 9:30. You don’t want to waste time in line ups, so if you are planning on visiting, PRE-BOOK THIS!!! Different people have different opinions about the museum. Be prepared for two things – there is absolutely no furniture – this was at the request of Anne Frank’s father Otto and you have to be able to go up some very steep staircases that get even steeper the farther up you walk. If you aren’t able to climb, don’t do this tour. The steepest staircase is basically almost a ladder. I still found it moving even though this was my second time. The rooms are big, but they could never open the blinds, so it was always dark – they still have the blackout blinds up. Seeing the diary is also pretty special. Several people though, found the lack of furniture a little jarring, although it didn’t bother me and this was my second time.
I hope you like my day and a half guide to Amsterdam – and I’m not boring, really – I did all of the fun stuff before…in my twenties when it was appropriate! Check out some photos below for your viewing pleasure.