Hello all, I am pleased to release this new segment of my blog where I will be documenting all of my travel experiences! So it was my 24th birthday on the 14th February and one night in December I just decided to book a trip to Amsterdam to celebrate my birthday in a new environment for a few days with the help of Skyscanner. This was honestly one of the best decisions I have made. Luckily I had my brother from another mother Stephen to accompany me.
*Fast forward to February*
Our flight was in the evening so as soon as we landed we were starving. We stayed at the Ibis City West Hotel in Isolatorweg which was a bus ride away from Centraal, the centre of Amsterdam. Luckily there was a Burger King attached to our hotel to help with this; it’s always nice to have familiar food and see the differences within other countries.
Wednesday 14th February
It was quite a chilly day for my birthday but nonetheless there were sunny spells as we set off to complete our packed itinerary for the day. I opted for a blue wig for my 24th birthday look inspired by my Me, Myself and My Hair post. We caught brunch at one of the many Breakfast Club branches in Amsterdam which are affordable and I must say quite the English breakfast was quite filling. I also forgot to mention the impeccable lighting; great for your selfies!
I can honestly say my appreciation for beer was ignited thanks to all the free beer supplied at the Heineken Experience plus the extra cheeky one I was able to get because it was my birthday. The purpose of this was to gain an insight into the history surrounding the famous worldwide Heineken beer drink and the location of the attraction was where Heineken beer used to be manufactured before being moved to another site in Amsterdam. You received an insight into the ingredients that make up Heineken which are water, barley, hop and ‘A’ yeast; specially crafted for the purposes of the beer-making process. In addition to this, you also see a run down in the history of the Heineken family and how the different generations continued this tradition on in order for Heineken to be renowned in the beer industry. You also get to see the evolution of the bottle design which I must say was very very drastic from the signature green glass bottle we see today. Sadly I didn’t take many pictures but the few snaps I was able to capture are here.
Amsterdam’s answer to the infamous London Dungeon (that I am yet to visit); which took us through the darker side of Amsterdam’s history (from shipwrecks to witch hunts). I must say the actors were very committed to the cause in bringing the history of Amsterdam to life and it helped that there were a few undercover comedians in the group that we were assigned to during our time there. There was also another opportunity for free beer to add to the 3 I had already consumed previously (I am clearly a lightweight now because I was slumped at this point).
We then set off for a 1-hour cruise along the canals of Amsterdam taking in all the lovely landscapes and sights. We also saw many of the museums that we sadly didn’t get to visit during this particular trip but nonetheless it was nice to see where they are situated. Again I was truly able to appreciate the beauty of Amsterdam whilst going through the canals and it is especially beautiful at night time when all of the lights come on just glistening against the water. Our cruise ended just as it became dark so most of the cruise was in daylight on the verge of nighttime.
We intended to catch dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Leidesplein but the queue and waiting time was super long and the hunger was real. Alas, we had to settle for Wagamama’s which was opposite. Again, it’s always nice to eat familiar food. It also happened to be Champions League night so we managed to get a spot in one of the sports bars to catch the PSG vs real Madrid match (that ended 3-1 and now PSG are out lol). The night was still young so after a phone recharge break at the hotel we set off for the Red Light District to take a stroll and chill around the various cafes and coffee houses. I must say the aesthetics at night with all the lights and the various bridges to walk over the canals are pretty (sadly I didn’t get a picture to capture this). But nonetheless, my birthday was wrapped up with a calamitous trek back to our hotel in heavy snow rain to locate the night bus stop that was in a completely different location to the daytime one.
Thursday 15th February
In addition to the popular and formidable Red Light District, Amsterdam is also notorious for is a wide collection of museums hence why there is a portion of Amsterdam suitably named Museumplein. We only visited a small selection of museums but honestly, tourists are spoilt with a choice on where to go. But firstly, a late breakfast serving of pancakes from Pancakes Amsterdam like 2 days after Shrove Tuesday but nonetheless I was pleased with the pancakes. It was impressed with how they infused sliced bananas within the pancakes to compliment the range of sweet toppings to go on top. It was the energy needed before attempting to pack in 3 museums within a 5-hour time frame bearing in mind the Amsterdam Museum isn’t located within Museumplein.
The 1st stop of the museum tour was the Rijksmuseum; which displays art and general Dutch history from the years 1200-2000. I was particularly drawn the art and sculptures relating to aspects of Christianity.
Van Gogh Museum
All of the famous work and life story timeline of the famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gough all under one roof. I remember having to study him during primary and secondary art lessons so it was nice seeing his famous paintings and gaining an insight into his life in the museum. The gift shop as also lovely ad the products were inspired by his famous pieces however they were pricey (€49 for a scarf). I didn’t get to take many pictures of the artwork or even the general timeline but I managed to snap pictures in front of a pointillism portrait of Van Gough.
Luckily, we managed to arrive with sufficient time to explore the museum before the 5 pm closure. The Amsterdam museum solely focuses on the history of Amsterdam from until the present day and looks into all aspects such as sport, music, politics and the like. I quite enjoyed the room where they showed a short film about the history and evolution of the football team. They also had a cool wireless device that allowed you to hear an audio description of a piece of artwork or a TV presentation as a means to describe the visuals just a little something to add to the overall experience.
Overall, I loved my experience and I honestly can’t wait to come back to explore the places I didn’t get to explore this time in Amsterdam and also the neighbouring towns of Rotterdam and Zaandam. I recommended planning your itinerary thoroughly before you even board the plane. I used Ticketbar to purchase an Amsterdam City Pass which included a return train ticket to Schipol Airport, Fast track entry to the Van Gogh or Rijksmuseum and a ticket for a 1-hour canal cruise. In addition, you are entitled to a 20% discount on further attraction bookings on Ticketbar as well. Travel wise, I would say that Amsterdam is similar to London in terms of the variety of transport means to get from one attraction to the other and also the night bus services which allows for ease but don’t neglect Google Maps it has your back. We purchased a 48-hour pass which was valid on the metro, tram and bus from our hotel for €12.50. It has a nice busy city feel to it that I really loved and can’t wait to experience again in the future. Lastly, I personally recommend visiting the museums BEFORE attempting to get high don’t miss out on taking in the artwork because you feel did some kind of way lol.
Until my next adventure
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