Amsterdam

Image courtesy of conscioushotels.com

Across the world, Amsterdam is most famous for all the wrong reasons; soft drugs, prostitution and it’s Red Light district.  But Netherland’s capital city has lot to offer those who are looking for more than just a huge weekend followed a lengthy hangover.

The city centre is literally a maze of canals and cobbled streets which makes it the perfect city to see by bike (which explains the huge bike parking lots).  It has it’s fair share a world renowned art galleries, museums, markets and events (many of them free).  Amsterdam certainly does not pull up short for the art lover, as home to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, but I skipped out on both so I don’t have anything to report.  All I can say is that both are expensive, so if you plan on see a lot of museums, you should look into getting the I Amsterdam city card.

Image courtesy of unoemilio.com

I did however, go to the Anne Frank museum.  At under 10EUR it’s reasonably priced and tells a very interesting story.  It’s only small so it won’t take you a huge amount of time to get through but make sure you come early because the queue builds up quickly.

If markets are your thing, try Albert Cyup selling produce, clothing and lots of ethnic food, or Noordermarkt in the Jewish district (Mondays and Saturdays only).  But one market that you won’t want to miss is, of course, the floating flower market.  Around since the 19th century, this market offers a huge variety of tulips and stalls are situated on boats up and down the canals.  The market runs all year around, and bulbs are packed and ready for export so that you can take them home with you.

Image courtesy of antonhein.com

For trendy and unique shopping, I recommend the Jordaan Area (Jewish district).  Formerly an overcrowded slum, it is now home to many boutiques and hip eateries.  If you’re wanting to escape chain restaurants and clothing labels, this is your area.  And even if you’re not into partying hard until you forget the night away, a visit to the red light district is a must.  Just remember, do not photograph the women in the windows unless you wish to be greeted by a cup of pee to the face, and your experience is not complete until you’ve been offered “the good stuff” by a very dodgey stranger.

Despite it’s reputation, Amtserdam has been one of my favourite cities so far.  Hopefully you enjoy it too.

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