The Netherlands – Amsterdam

Bus Rides, GoT and Ricky’s First Vegetarian Meal

Our bus ride from Hamburg to Amsterdam was about 6 hours, and due to our poor life choices of doing an all nighter we both fell asleep drooling on the bus. Our hostel in Amsterdam was a bit far away so we had to get a train out and walked about 1 km. We checked in, unpacked, showered and watching GoT. We got hungry so we walked around the neighbourhood until we thought we found a gem of a Italian restaurant. We were both pretty excited (owner Italian and there were only a few things on the menu). Ricky ordered the parmigiana and I ordered the lasagne.
The look on Ricky’s face was priceless when the lady brought out our meals, it was a vegetarian restaurant… he had ordered eggplant parmigiana for 8 euros. I liked my potato lasagne, but it was cold in the middle.

Free Walking Tour, Dutch Food and Red Light District

In the morning we did the Sandeman’s Free Walking Tour. Amsterdam is insane. If you ever cross the road in Amsterdam you need to watch out for:

  • Cars,
  • Cyclists,
  • Trains
  • Trams
  • Motorbikes
  • Mopeds

Because mopeds can go on the pedestrian walkway and there is a lot already going on in the street; it can be very daunting. Ricky would check left while I would check right before we would cross the street, it’s hard to check by yourself. On our tour we had an Irish guy who was hilarious, I think his name was Mark. He showed us:

    1. The main monument
    2. Some of the Red Light district (not a lot was going on at 11am on a Monday.
    3. He taught us about drug laws/prostitution. Marijuana is actually illegal, however; if it ticks the city’s 3 boxes, then they close a blind eye to it [Is it good for business? Is it quiet? Is it no hurting anyone?]. Sex workers are legal, they even pay taxes.
    4. The attic catholic church (allowed to stay because of three rules),
    5. The Jewish district and why it’s 60’s buildings (torn down at end of WWII due to freezing cold winter, needed wood to burn),
    6. VOC building,
    7. The widest canal bridge in Amsterdam (including the cheese shop and writers monument which means something completely different in Finnish),
    8. The most narrow house in Amsterdam (1.5m)
    9. Picturesque bridge with roses,
    10. Church with homosexual equality art / place of first gay marriage.

We ended the tour at a nice Dutch restaurant (Eetcafe Sonneveld) after walking past Anne Frank house.
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After the tour we explored a bit for the rest of the afternoon. We watched GoT and had dinner at the Dutch place (great food and big portions!). Ricky had the schnitzel and I had the damppot.
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We were curious about the Red Light District so we wandered around trying to find all the different zones that our tour guide was talking about e.g. “Nannas”, “Big Mumma’s”, “BDSM” etc.
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On our tram ride home I massaged Ricky’s lat until his armpit and a guy interrupted us to see if I was okay – apparently it looked like I was trying to get Ricky away from me haha it definitely filled me with confidence that if I was in trouble, someone would help me.

Vondelpark, Stroopwaffles and Windmill Brewery

In the morning we watched GoT again (we hadn’t seen any episodes while in Germany – downloading is illegal and being cracked down on). We researched Anne Frank House, but we realised the tours were only for 15minutes, it was expensive, there weren’t actually any furnishing in the house and the lines were absolutely ridiculous.
Instead we explored Vondelpark for about two hours, it wasn’t as big as what we thought, but it was a nice walk and had lots of dogs!
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After the park we went to the Condomerie, which is a crazy condom store that has EVERYTHING. They even give you a measuring tape for free, so you can measure your umm… and then check their website to see what size condom would fit you best.
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Ricky had a Physio appointment in the afternoon, so we went to that, they weren’t very helpful and he didn’t get his full 45minute session. It was called Amsterdam Fysio. We got some stroopwaffels from a small bakery after looking at Dampkring and deciding to not buy pot brownies. We also checked out American Book Store, it was actually really cool store and it was massive.
We got the tram to the Windmill Brewery and had really good beers (Ricky had the Triple and I had the wheat beer). They were relatively cheap and were some of the best beers we had so far. We played Briscola for a bit and met some Canadians (Kendra and Dagan). We taught them Briscola then we played countdown Uno with normal cards. They invited us to drag queen bingo but we didn’t make it out because we left the pub too late.
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We smashed the Hostel dinner buffet that night; we couldn’t be bothered walking around trying to find somewhere and we didn’t want to be hungry after. We just did some bookings and that was it.

Notes:

AccommodationStayokay Zeeburg. It was okay, nice rooms, but there wasn’t really a great hostel atmosphere. I think because it used to be a school, they layout was quite uninviting. We loved the breakfast and dinner though.
Getting around – we bought the 48 hour pass, which you can use on trains, trams, buses etc. It is well worth the money if you’re out of the city centre. It cost us about 12.5 euro and we would definitely do that again.
Hiring Bicycles – personally, I wouldn’t recommend it. Even locals have troubles cycling around because of all the obstacles. It’s easy to get public transport and you aren’t in danger of loosing a limb.
“Coffee Shops” – Our guide recommended Dampkring (famous shop from Oceans 12) and Grey Area; which is owned by Americans.

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