Amsterdam – city of bikes, chips, weed and red lights

This post is possibly going to be a bit disjointed, much like our Amsterdam visit. We arrived in Amsterdam with Top Deck and stayed one night before getting up at 4am and flying out to the cruise. After the cruise we flew back for another couple of nights.

Night one with Top Deck and we stayed at the Hans Brinker which prides itself on being the worst hostel in Europe. Personally I didn’t think it was that bad, no ladders for the top bunk was certainly interesting. We had about 20min to grab some dinner before the evening’s entertainment started (I’ll leave you in suspense). Mystery DIY Man and I headed down the road, past a few coffeeshops (smelling suspiciously unlike coffee) until we found some food places. What we found was a Dutch obsession for hot chips. We ended up having a cone of hot chips with mayonnaise from Chipsy King. We were astounded by the huge shelves and vats of chips. Chips, chips and nothing else.

After feeding our tour guide then lead us off through Amsterdam, dodging bikes and trams as well as pointing out the sights. Magically, without too much fuss we had made it to the Red Light District. It is obviously quite a popular place because it was teeming with people. We had a booking for our evening’s entertainment at Moulin Rouge. I’m convinced that seeing a strip/sex show is some sort of odd rite of passage for Europe bus tours. It is everything you can imagine it is, but more awkward and extremely funny. I managed to end up sitting in the front row, at times it was almost a game trying to work out where to look. Once the show was over we headed back to our hostel via the Red Light District and all the evening ladies in their windows. Apparently they use red light because it is the most flattering.

We went on the cruise for next 7 nights and then came back. This time we started at the Amstel Botel, a boat hotel. It is across the harbour/canal from the central railway station. We had a much less eye opening visit this time. We started off with pancakes for breakfast, the Dutch are big fans of pancakes and do them just how I like. We walked around Amsterdam and found the palace and a cool shop called By Popular Demand where we managed to waste a few minutes before heading to Anne Frank’s house. Anne Frank’s House is completely empty, Otto Frank wanted it to remain empty to remind you that there were people missing.

After Anne Frank’s we walked around to the Rijtsmuseum and also found a diamond polishing museum. I found some diamond studs to replace the ones that fell out, but at €1999 I couldn’t convince myself it was a good idea. Next stop the highly commercialised Heineken museum/brewery. More walking more walking and we finally found the Amsterdam Museum – it was quite cool to visually see how far below sea level everything is. Crazy Dutch. Since we still hasn’t seen enough museums we also stopped in at the Erotic Museum, it wasn’t as seedy as expected.

By now it was fully pouring down and we had no warm tops or umbrellas so we went back to our Botel to grab some. We came back into town to go on a canal cruise. Bought tickets then hopped on a boat. As we were hopping on the captain asks Mystery DIY Man if he’s Russian, he says yes. Why? Why would you say yes? Turns out we’re now on a canal cruise all in Russian for a Russian Coach Tour. Not amused. It was reasonably amusing when some of the Russians followed us to their bus (we had walked in the opposite direction).

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