–by Angelina Morino, World Traveler–
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Well….This country is the Netherlands, its people are Dutch, they speak Dutch and they sometimes wear wooden clogs. There is no country called Holland exactly (rather a region), but there are provinces of North and South Holland. What the heck is Amsterdam? Well, Amsterdam is a city within North Holland which is the capital of both North and South. Get the complicated uncomplication low-down here.
All you need to know is it’s the perfect mixture of naughty and nice.
Languages: Dutch and many folk speak English
Amsterdam woos you in, a sweet little songbird with a killer smile and in an instant you are hooked line and sinker. The fabulous folk are ridiculously attractive. Flitting about footloose and fancy-free, perched atop their perfect bicycles their bronzed skin glows in the afternoon sunshine as they zip around this curious city, The architecture, the landscape, the canals and the zeitgeist is peculiar yet whimsical, the essence of Alice’s adventure.
Day Trips (not that kind of trip)
There are tourists hubs scattered across the city and for less than $50AUD you can board a bus and traverse the dutch countryside bearing witness to their famous windmills! Drive through idyllic landscapes criss-crossed with canals, see authentic wooden houses and old-fashioned cheese-making in Volendam. Watch a shoemaker make clogs in Marken, and capture photos of the windmills the Netherlands is famous for in the picturesque village of Zaanse Schans.
Cheese Heaven ensues as the locals whip up their latest offerings –
Head straight to Amsterdam Kaashuis ( Address :Haringpakkerssteeg 10-18) They are affiliated with Henri Willig an incredible cheese shop producing and selling both classical and unique fromages. Taste the myriads of samples ranging from Gouda through to pesto, Truffle, goat, sheep, cow and even garlic cheeses! Here you will also find licorice, mustard, honey and of course traditional Dutch waffles.
Look for something to satisfy that sweet-tooth?
Not only a crowd favourite but also widely available at the many markets in the city, Poffertjes are a very traditional dutch dessert. Little fluffy pancakes that are expertly flipped in in their custom created pans and are served with butter, icing sugar and sometimes honey. These delightful morsels of happiness are a must for any traveller.
Bagels & Beans is a franchise that began in Amsterdam offering freshly squeezed juices, enormous coffees and delicious bagels with every condiment and variation of ingredients you care to conjure. A great cafe to enjoy breakfast as you pore over the city map figuring out what to explore next!
The best way to see Amsterdam is to live like a local. Hire a bicycle and explore this bustling little city on two wheels. (Good luck finding a parking spot).
Amsterdam LOVES Bicycles. NO, BUT REALLY, REALLY LOVE BICYCLES.
You might be familiar with the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ tourists bus zipping around other European cities, however, In true Dutch fashion things are done a little differently here. The canals of Amsterdam are a great way to see the city from a very unique angle and the canal cruises allow you to do just that – float past the many houseboats, spot the museums, artisan stores and cute cafes as you conjure the perfect itinerary. Sit back, relax and disembark on your own agenda. It is a fantastic introduction to the city to gain an overview of the essence of Amsterdam. Check out the variety of Canal Tours here.
Feeling Fancy? Hire your own private boat, pack a picnic (don’t forget the vino) and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city as you float down the river enjoying the local fare and of course, your fabulous life.
Amsterdam is a little city littered with many museums and galleries – Most famously the Anne Frank House which is an absolute must-see, second on the list should be The Van-Gogh museum. A full list of museums and galleries can be foundhere.
Marvel at the homes built on the canals. Balconies, entertaining areas, kitchen, bedrooms, BBQ’s, outdoor areas It certainly gives a whole new meaning to the term House Boat!
Amsterdam is infamous for the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, well, more sex and drugs than the rock ‘n’ roll, but nonetheless, it certainly has a reputation to be the place to explore alternate universes. Traipse the red-light district bleary eyed and you will soon find ‘coffee shops,’ post-joint munchie heaven, novelty sized bongs and dicks for days.
The walking tour of the red light district is incredibly interesting as you gain an insight into how the debauchery all began. The city is littered with tourist info centres where they will be more than happy to provide you with details about joining the tour.
Never fear! Novelty sized stoner pizza is here!
Don’t bother buying narcotics from the fluorescent junk shops, they are a clever money-making ploy for stupid tourists (and the drugs don’t work) instead go old school, buy a big fat joint, a brownie and a freshly squeezed OJ and wind down in one of the myriads of coffee shops.
If its truffles or magic mushrooms you’re looking for – head straight to a ‘smart shop’ chow down on some Fungi and let the good times roll.
PS- Don’t take photos of the girls in the red windows, they will not hesitate to soak you and your camera in a pre-prepared cup of urine and before you tell me you’re into that…I don’t think the wee belongs to them.
Please Note: Don’t be a jerk and wander around the streets toting the toke – it’s illegal and when you’ve finished with your third hamburger and fries, please don’t throw your rubbish on the ground. That’s what bins are for.
Dick bowl? Gags aside (unless of course you’re into that kind of thing) the Sex Museum was super interesting – the shooting vagina at the entrance was a crowd favourite.
After you’ve managed to break-free from the haze, don’t forget to look around and appreciate the glorious architecture, the stunning people, the curious culture, the delightful food and the warm sunshine as Amsterdam wraps you up in her tender arms.
Do not leave Amsterdam without spending a day at VondelPark – explore either on foot or better yet, on a bike. An incredible lush and very greeeeeeen park in the centre of the bustling city, Vondel will have you feeling at one with nature and gawking at all the mega babes on their bicycles.
I’m sure by now your tootsies need a rest and your bum is probably erring on the side of tender from the seat of the bicycle so the questions stands…
Where shall I rest my head?
Being there twice, I have been fortunate enough to relish in both the insane-ness that can only spawn from a party hostel and in contrast, living like a real local in a gorgeous apartment which was located in the Uber Cool De Pijp – Both were incredible yet very different experiences.
Beautifully styled, cosy and quirky, Janke’s apartment was perfect for our stay in Amsterdam. Located in lovely De Pijp we were able to walk and cycle to see the delightful sights of this uber trendy city. The people, the sunshine and the atmosphere all made for a wonderful three days and returning ‘home’ to such a fabulous apartment was the perfect way to end each day. Janke was a wonderful host, check out her apartment here!
Want to party? Look no further than the mecca of debauchery and disco, the Winston Hostel where the motto is ‘Party Hard, Sleep Easy’ offers cheap and basic rooms, great counter meals, friendly advice and service and the opportunity to go completely and utterly bananas – without judgement.
Let me know if the guy with the epic ginger beard and beanie is still sitting inside (you’ll know exactly what I mean when you see him) I met him in 2010 and also when I returned in 2013.
Don’t leave the city without this cheesy photo in your hot little hands .
With a career spanning Design, Aviation and now Health & Fitness, Angelina is never satisfied sitting still. When she isn’t squirreling away at another zany idea she is trekking the globe on the pursuit for the path less traveled …
Visit Angelina’s store The Haus of Health