During my study abroad programme in the UK, I went to Amsterdam trip with Erasmus student network (ESN) which is basically a network for exchange students. We went there by an organised coach from my university to Dover then we took a ferry to Calais in France, and we took a coach again from France passed by Belgium and arrived in Amsterdam. We basically travelled through 3 countries within a day!
“Amsterdam For a Weekend”
On Friday morning, we arrived in Amsterdam and my first impression for this city was to see people riding on bicycles everywhere! Even though back then I had been living in Japan for couple of years and saw people using bicycles, but number of bicycles in Amsterdam is countless! Whoever doing bicycle business here in Amsterdam must be really rich!
Since we only got 3 days, here is what I did back in Amsterdam.
Day 1: Walking around Amsterdam, Sex museum, Coffee shop
In Amsterdam you will smell marijuana everywhere as people can smoke marijuana legally. Despite the Amsterdam smell, canals after canals as you walk by are the real beauty of the city as well as the Dutch style houses.
There are interesting museums like Ann Frank House and a famous painter Van Gogh museum, but there was so crowed when I was there so I just visited Sex museum. Inside this museum, you will find lots of naughty adult photos from past generations and interesting adult stuffs. I was giggling the whole time I was there.
Some licensed coffee shops here aren’t just ordinary coffee shop. They will first ask for you ID if you look younger than you are supposed to. If you order their special muffins, be sure to share with your friends. After a visit to coffee shops I am sure you will be so happy for the rest of the day!
Day 2: Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken, Red Light District
On a second day, I decided to visit a city outside Amsterdam and to escape a smell of marijuana.
Located in Zaandam, Zaanse Schans is a small village where you will find windmills, houses, and museums. You can reach there by train from central station to Koog-Zaandijk. You can smell cocoa everywhere here.
Volendam is a fishermen’s village where you will find many shops and seafood food trucks which herring is famous for. Take 312 bus from central station to get there.
If you still have time, you might want to visit it neighbouring city Marken which is like an outdoor history museum.
Prostitution in the Netherlands is legal and Red Light District is also a famous attraction. Be sure to keep a camera in your bag while walking there as cameras might offend the showcase ladies.
Day 3: the Heineken Experience
On the last day in Amsterdam, I decided to visit Heineken Experience. This is where you will discover more about the history of this proudly present world recognised Heineken beer. The ticket includes a free souvenir and 3 tokens for beers.
I couldn’t do much for today because we had to go back to the UK by the next day. We had a quick visit to a chocolate factory in Belgium then headed to Calais in France again to cross the Strait of Dover by a ferry back to the UK.
-If you want a picture of you and I Amsterdam sign, try going there early in the morning as not so many people were there.
-Unlike some other destinations in Europe, I find people in Netherlands speak very good English. So don’t worry much about language barrier.
-Say “Bedankt” (thank you) to impress local people.
-Never walk in the bicycle lanes!
-Pre-purchase online tickets for museums you wish to visit, so you won’t waste your time queuing.