I got to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Amsterdam, city of houseboats, bicycles, legalized marijuana use, and, oh yeah, prostitution! I was in the city less than 5 minutes before I caught the first pungent whiffs of weed, passed a pot shop, and wandered by a brothel which a business man was just leaving. Nothing like a little lunch break pick-me-up, amiright?
An absolute must when visiting Amsterdam is, of course, taking a canal cruise! I opted for a BoatAmsterdam tour because it was €15 inclusive of drinks! It was highly enjoyable, if lacking on decent historical commentary. There are plenty of options from which to choose. The weather was absolutely glorious, perfect for sitting back and relaxing for an hour on a boat drinking.
Something rather uniquely Amsterdam is all the houseboats – the canals are full of them, and they’re not just derelict (though I did see a few rather dilapidated specimen) but a viable way to live. Before you drop everything to live on a boat in Amsterdam, however, keep in mind it’ll cost you just as much (if not more!) than one of the brick-and-mortar places in this historic city. Not only do you need to pay for the boat (and they can get faaaancy!), but also the mooring space (if there’s any even available) which is priced depending on canal/neighborhood/size/etc. Prices for THAT can exceed €200,000! Whew…While the thought passed my mind with fleeting fancy, I think I’m good
By far the most popular mode of transport around Amsterdam is biking. I read a statistic on the hostel wall (super reputable, I know – I should’ve taken a pic!) that there are 881,000 bikes in Amsterdam! Honestly, I can believe it. They. Are. EVERYWHERE! However, I was wary about navigating the streets by bike and with traffic (I saw one terrifying near bike/bus accident and I’m like, nawp!), so I opted to hoof it nearly everywhere, and spent most of the two-ish days I was there simply exploring. And boy, is there a lot to see!
Museums and culturally historical sites abound – though take note, oft times tickets are required in advance via online. I toured the Anne Frank Huis, Van Gogh Museum, Moco Museum for the Banksy Exhibit, and the Prostitution Museum.
Prostitution Museum Highlights
Moco Museum and the Banksy Exhibit
Unfortunately photos weren’t allowed in Anne Frank Huis or Van Gogh Museum, but I absolutely recommend visiting them. I didn’t make it to the Rijksmuseum but would definitely have liked to!
If you do make it to Amsterdam, I highly recommend a meal at Ivy and Bros. I had a terrific roasted veggie sandwich on GF bread with a homemade ice tea. The decor is quirky and the staff are excellent.
Amsterdam is full of outlandish experiences – from street fairs to a house boat cat shelter (de poezenboot) to your choice of 75 museums (ranging from torture to purses), you won’t be lacking for cool things to see!
Do note that you really ought to book things (accom/museums) in advance. I am always so lax on this front and it near bit my ass this time. Also, Amsterdam accommodation prices triple on Friday/Saturday nights. So, bear that in mind.