Getting lost on bikes, finding the best gin down a hidden alleyway, eating delicious pancakes on the roadside, checking out the largest sex museum in Europe – just a few of the things we experienced during our trip to the Dam!
This place has been on my bucket list for years and it’s amazing that it took me this long to take the 55 minute plane ride from the UK to check it out. Our trip to England was the perfect opportunity to work in a few days in this beautiful city.
Having booked this trip back in ‘Straya, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After a late flight into Amsterdam from Manchester we arrived at our destination and even at the airport it didn’t disappoint! After landing we quickly saw that cheese and wine we readily available and we were in heaven! After picking up a late night snack we were on our way…next stop, De Pijp.
Our awesome accommodation was once again sourced on one of our favourite travelling resources, Airbnb. Our host, Valentijn, gave us a few tips about where to go in the local and super trendy neighbourhood of De Pijp. His amazing apartment was just a stones throw away from the must see sights of Amsterdam including The Heineken Brewery, Van Gogh Museum and the prettiest canal in all of Amsterdam. The great location of our digs made it super easy to explore.
Much to our surprise, there’s much more to the ‘Dam than semi naked girls in red lit windows and smoked filled coffee shops. I know! We couldn’t believe it either. It’s a seriously beautiful city. With a new camera in tow, day one saw us walking aimlessly around the city soaking it in. Beautiful old buildings line picturesque canals, the perfect place to road test the new camera.
Not that we condone drug use, but as they say, “When in Rome”! So, we did what any good tourist does and completely immersed ourselves in the local culture. In the case of Amsterdam, that means getting completely baked! First stop, space muffins. For anyone not accustomed to this, basically a chocolate muffin infused with marijuana. As this is not a normal practice for us we weren’t sure what to expect but wow was this stuff mellow…chilling on the couch was the order of the day!
Next we braved the preferred method of transport in Amsterdam – bicycles. Literally everyone rides bikes in Amsterdam. From commuters in suits to mums on the school run pedalling the kids in a box on the front, two wheelers are everywhere. In fact, there are more bicycles that people in this place. If Sydney was as flat as the Dam, I’d be cycling everywhere too!
Having two wheels for transport means you can get everywhere super quick so we cycled our way through the streets, narrowly missing a few trams along the way. We headed West to some of the oldest and most beautiful streets and parks in Amsterdam. Simply pushing the pedals and taking it all in was an experience in itself.
After dark there’s only one thing that most people want to see. Red light windows. Like every other tourist we too headed to the red light district to see what all the fuss was about. Quite honestly, these ladies seemed more interested in playing Candy Crush than inviting in prospective clientele. Sex shops, sex shows, sex for sale. Sex everywhere. Definitely an experience. In fact, Amsterdam is the number 2 destination for British blokes who choose to have their Bucks Party abroad… a whopping 16% of them head to the Dam. We can totally understand why they would choose to spend their last days of freedom here!
So, besides getting baked and perving on chicks, what else did we love about Amsterdam? Here’s a few of our highlights…
Wynand Fockink – a little piece of gin history in Amsterdam!
This tiny piece of history is hidden down a back street and unless you knew it was there you’d probably never find it. In 1679 Wynand Fockink opened his spirits and liqueur distillery on the Pijlsteeg in the bustling city centre. Today you can choose from an extensive menu of gins and lquers. House specialities like ‘Half en Half’ and ‘Boswandeling’ (The Walk in the Woods) have made Wynand Fockink world-famous. Here you’ll need to take a it slurp from your glass before picking it up as they fill them up right to the brim. Love it!
The Sex Museum – the history of erotica through the ages!
Putting the seedy stuff aside we decided to get educated on the sex culture of this place and checked out the world’s first and largest sex museum in the world. This place covers off everything from chastity belts to old school porn, you really have to see it to believe it!
A rainy day and a wrong turn lead us to Rembrandt’s house which actually wasn’t on our radar but we were well impressed with what we found. The rainy day allowed us to step back in time and discover why one of the most influential artists in history chose Amsterdam as a place to work and live for over 20 years.
Van Gogh Museum
Unfortunately, Sunflowers was on tour when we visited the Van Gogh Museum but thankfully, this guy painted heaps of other cool stuff! Hot tip from us, book in advance and skip the queues!
Cheese, cheese, everywhere! Literally heaven for us as self confessed cheese lovers. From Gouda to Camembert, Stilton to Brie, Amsterdam delivers everything a cheese conoseuir could want. Our favourite place to sample a few cheeky samples was De Kaaskamer – our favourite? Wasabi Gouda, delish!
So, that’s it, our top tips for a trip to Amsterdam! Our experience in the Dam was amazing. We can’t wait to go back! If you’ve visited Amsterdam and have any tips or advice we’d love to hear from you…comment below and let us know what to check out next time!