A bit of a late blog post this week, because I embarked on an awesome trip with Jonatan to Amsterdam, this was something I booked a few months ago as I wanted to travel for my 18th instead of having a party. I have never enjoyed parties and thought the money would be better spent exploring a new culture and gaining valuable life experience.
05.30 | The Journey Begins
The journey began quite early in the morning but no where near as early as the trip to London which started off at 4.30am. The bags was all packed and the clothes were put to one side, it was just a case of waking up, getting changed then heading out. First was the taxi to the train station, then the train journey to the local airport before a very lengthy delay of 2 hours for the plane. That was a very long, boring and slightly frustrating wait… On the plus side at least we fled through security with no queues.
13.30 | Flying High
Ahhh… After the wait it was finally time to board the plane, it was quite a nerve wracking experience but overall it went smoothly and the views was just amazing. The plane was quite small in size so it was a little shaky. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be but I think I prefer to keep my feet on solid ground. As the plane got higher it dawned on me that I was actually mid air for the first time in my life and I was looking at the world in a whole new perspective. After years of looking up at planes above I was finally in one of them looking down at the houses and people below.
After flying over the sea and watching the ships sail by below the 50 minute flight came to land in Schiphol Airport. Honestly it was such a a surreal experience to fly through the clouds and then be above them. The airport was massive and a little daunting at first but after following the signs and asking for a little help we finally made our way to the ‘I Amsterdam‘ visitor centre. This was where we purchased a Travel Card which was for the full 3 days and meant we could catch public transportation pretty much everywhere in the city. We definitely got our moneys worth out of the card and at €26 it pretty much paid for it self the amount it was used and the distances we traveled.
I was quite amazed at how brilliant the public transportation was, as nice as all of the Mercedes and Tesla Taxis looked, there was no point for us as we could get anywhere in the city almost as fast as a taxi could for a fraction of the price. Admittedly it was a little crowded at times but it really gives you a sense of the city.
Bikes are an option for transportation as you can have a more personal and idyllic experience but be warned it is quite dangerous. Even walking on the footpath and trying to navigate a way across the road was stressful for me with mopeds and bikes speeding past. I was looking all around to make sure it was safe and at times I needed to run in between gaps of bikes because they won’t stop for you. All I can say is I am thankful I am learning to drive in the UK, after comparing the two, it is definitely less hectic in the UK with fewer bikes and crowds to deal with, even in city centres.
15.00 | Checking In and Heading Out
After safely making our way across the city it was time to check into the hotel rooms. Check in time was 3pm which fell just right after our plane delay so we didn’t have to wait before we checked in. The hotel which I decided to book was called Citiez Hotel, it is a little bit out of the central city on the North West side, but with easy transportation links and a regular tram (Number 17) to and from the city, it really wasn’t an issue. Plus the hotel was really nice at a fraction of the cost of hotels in the city centre so this made it value for money. The area it self was less ‘touristy’ so it made it feel more authentic and was nice getting a sense of Amsterdam away from the crowds. There’s also a good selection of shops ranging from clothes to food.
After quickly dropping off the bags we was eager to explore the city as we had lost a bit of time because of the flight delay. So once the bags was safely in the rooms we caught a tram straight into the city taking us past Sloterplas Lake, there was some amazing views, it was lovely to go past there as it is a really peaceful part of a city that is very, very busy. There was a sunset on the second day and the view that was reflected on the lake was stunning but sadly we got there a bit too late to take pictures, from getting off the tram to walking to the waters edge, the sun had fully set by then.
When the tram arrived at the destination we decided to explore a bit of the Dam Square area going into a few shops to kill some time and just have a look around. We didn’t go to Amsterdam to shop so we spent a very short amount of time actually having a look around the stores. Plus it was so crowded we couldn’t really enjoy the area that much as everyone was in each others way.
After going to a few shops of interest we then caught the tram in the direction of our restaurant, but made an impulsive stop off at Rembrant Square. This looked really interesting as the tram was going through so we decided it was worth exploring for a little bit. It had a really nice atmosphere to it as there was restaurants and cafes around the sides with people relaxing and drinking a few beers as well as bubbles being blown into the air which children was playing with.
19.00 | Tea Time
This was a short journey out, which required us to get both a tram and a metro but let me tell you, that journey was worth it! The place was called Drovers Dog and the food looked phenomenal online so I was very excited for me and Jonatan to try the dishes. This Australian-Style restaurant offers a wide range of food and beverages in a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
I planned the whole trip and sorted out the activities and meals so this was a bit of a surprise for Jonatan as he didn’t really know what to expect. We was seated upstairs, this had a really cosy atmosphere with dim lighting and candles, the tables upstairs had a view of the restaurant below which was nice to see people chatting and mingling away in their groups.
For my meal I had the Angus Beef Burger which had ‘crispsy bacon, caramelised red onion, cheddar cheese, beetroot, fresh tomato, pickles and rocket served on a brioche bun’ and a side of seasoned chips. This meal was delicious but it was just so much food I struggled to finish it. Jonatan had the days special which was a similar sized Chicken Burger and Seasoned Chips. It looked amazing, and the burgers tasted just as good too. After filling our stomachs to the brims it was time for the journey back to the hotel.
As we got closer to the hotel I wanted something to settle my stomach down for the night after having such a heavy meal, so it was an evening trip to the good old classic McDonalds for some British Breakfast Tea. We got there just in time as the restaurant shut not long after we ordered the drinks. Then it was the short walk to the hotel and off to bed ready for another day exploring.
It was a perfect end to a good first day in Amsterdam. Be sure to lookout for my travel diary blog posts for Days 2 and 3. Have you ever been to Amsterdam if so what was your favourite part.