Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Saturday, 20 February 2016
Hello everyone! If you follow me on Instagram then you'll know that I've just returned from a trip to Amsterdam. I jetted off on Valentine's Day with my good blogging friend Morag and we were there for 3 nights/4 days. We stayed in the ClinkNoord Hostel which is in the north of the city. The communal areas were really nice(and I totally geeked over the chemistry themed bar) but our room was a bit basic and pretty cold(a wardrobe would be nice please). We had a private twin with an ensuite and we got it on quite a good deal! You have to get a boat to the hostel from the main part of the city but they're free and leave every 10 minutes so it was really accessible. 

We arrived at around 5-6pm on Sunday so it was already dark and as we left Amsterdam Central Station we were a bit disorientated. We eventually got to the hotel after getting lost in building site(don't ask) and settled down before heading out for dinner at a restaurant in the China Town area and it was really nice but I'll be doing a separate post on food later on so keep your eyes peeled. We really wanted to go to the Red Light District and thought it would be funny to go on Valentines day as it would be a great story to tell but we were a little lost and as it was freezing and raining we went back to the hotel after searching for about an hour. 

The original plan was to get up very early on our first morning so that we could beat the queues at the Anne Frank House. We ended up snoozing until 9 so by the time we got there the queue was massive. I'm not kidding, we waited two and a half hours to get in. It was totally worth it. I read the diary a few times whist growing up and it's something I've wanted to see for years. Truly humbling and something you can't really understand until you see it in person. After this we walked to the Rijksmuseum so that we could take photos with the Iamsterdam sign. That night we headed out again in search of the Red Light District(or De Wallen as it's known to the locals) and this time we were a bit more prepared. It was definitely weird but generally more positive than I expected it to be. I'll write a whole post about my thoughts soon. 

Morag and I actually split up as we wanted to do some different things and I spent most of my Tuesday in Leiden, a smaller town 30 minutes south of Amsterdam via train. This was actually my favourite part of the trip. I did like Amsterdam but there was something about it that I couldn't put my finger on. I enjoyed going but I don't think I liked it as much as I was expecting to. Leiden felt calmer and more authentic and is just a beautiful city in general. But I will be blogging about my trip to Leiden as well and talking more about it then. When Morag and I reunited we went to the Sex Museum which was certainly an eye opener. Morag and I are both very sexually open people so we found this to be really interesting but if you aren't prepared to see some pretty weird stuff then maybe give it a miss. I have some absolutely amazing photographs from it but they're a bit weird to be sharing on my blog! At €4 a ticket it's also one of the cheaper museums! At night we went on another walk around De Wallen and then headed back to the hostel to enjoy a cocktail in their bar before going to bed early. 

Thankfully the hostel had a luggage room so we could leave some stuff there whilst heading out for our last day in the city. We didn't go to anything big in particular, just made our way around parts of the city that we hadn't seen yet. We went into a lot of shops including the Condomerie which is pretty famous. They had some pretty weird options. Including hand painted and patterned condoms. We never bought anything but it was definitely worth going in for a look. We split off again and I took another walk around the city before going back to the hotel to pick up our stuff. We both fancied doing some duty free shopping so left the city around 6pm for our 9:40pm flight. We ended up with about two hours to kill in the airport which was quite nice as we did some shopping and then just chilled. I bought a bottle of vodka and a copy of #girlboss in duty free so I'd consider that successful!

And that was our trip. As I said, I didn't quite fall in love with Amsterdam as much as I thought I would. I much preferred the authentically 'Dutch' feel that Leiden had to it. But I'm so glad that I got to go and experience it myself and it will be a trip to remember!

Hmmm.... where to go next?

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