I went to the beautiful city of Amsterdam as my first proper city trip and it was awesome (but a bit of a learning kerb) and I definitely wanted to share the experience with you guys! I went away with my lovely Uni friend Lara in our first year so we were both about 19 at the time and we messed it up a bit (oops hehe).
First off, you need to do your research when it comes to food, it’s surprisingly expensive to eat! You know how I feel about eating local and this trip was a lot of the reason why! There are a lot of local places to eat with wonderful food but you do need to seek them out or you end up eating over priced and not-that-great burritos when you can’t find anywhere!
In Amsterdam, the cheapest, quickest and easiest way to eat is to order chips! They’re often freshly cooked and come in a paper cone with a choice of toppings- tradition dictates that you eat them with mayonnaise and they are delicious.
Something that might seem strange in The Netherlands is that the shops open at very ‘traditional’ times, even rather large stores don’t open late and on Sundays. We arrived really late on a Friday I think and none of the shops were open to buy food so keep this in mind so you don’t end up sad and ‘foodless’ because it is the worst feeling ever and I have serious hanger issues.
it’s not the end of the world if you can’t find anywhere to eat because Amsterdam has… BURGER VENDING MACHINES! You read that correctly… burger-vending-machines. I’m not a huge fan of the food but its such a fun and weird idea, I loved it so much!
Now let’s move on to things to do. The I Amsterdam is a must, I’m not even sure why but it is great. But be aware, people do climb all over it and people fall off all the time. Don’t be silly if you do feel the need to climb on it, it is actually higher than it looks.
We were lucky enough to go when the football/ soccer world cup was on and they held a HUUUUGE event for it, you could just walk into this field and sit down with a drink and watch the footie on these large screens they set up. It was awesome. The photo below is Lara and me at the Australia vs. The Netherland game. It is such a nice vibe, people brought their young children, everyone stood up and danced when The Netherlands scored (I wish I could upload my video) – completely unlike the hooligan culture we have in the UK.
One of the best things to do in the city is the bar crawls. They are so worth the ticket price and they take you all around the city- you will get hugely drunk. Really really drunk. The drunkest. The company we used was Ultimate Party Amsterdam which takes your through the red light district and you get a free T-shirt! -A warning though, don’t take photos of the ladies working, they will chase you down the street and probably throw their pee at you.
As an added note, the Ice bar is pretty cool (not a pun) but it’s absolutely freezing and I think it’s a little overrated, if you really want to go I’d go for it, but if you’re just toying with the idea I wouldn’t bother- it’s free drinks once you get in but it’s so cold you can’t actually stay to have more than one or 2!
It’s important to note as well that you have to book a visit to the Anne Frank House way in advance, we didn’t get to go because there were no tickets left by the time we tried to buy some.
The best time I actually had in Amsterdam was actually just wandering around the outside markets. It’s a very small city so you learn your way around very quickly and having a wander around the markets, in my opinion, is the best way to spend your time. It definitely helps you to see the real Amsterdam.
Finally, I’ll answer the question you’re all probably wondering…did I sample the marijuana delights that Amsterdam has to offer? And the answer is (drumroll please) YES! To be honest, I don’t really like weed, it smells pretty disgusting to me and although I totally agree with it being legalised for medical usage I think it’s a pretty lame thing to do. However, when in Rome! I don’t smoke (anything) so Lara and I bought a muffin each and took it with us to watch the football obviously taking care to eat it in 1/4’s over 2 hours and it was pretty great- we did get the giggles though and ate a massive pile of pretty disgusting nachos.
Amsterdam is an awesome city, I hope you all go and explore and Love it as much as we did!