A weekend in Amsterdam

oatmeal cookies

Back in 2013 we took a trip to Amsterdam to celebrate my birthday and I’ve been a bit obsessed with it ever since. It was the first city abroad that I could see myself living, full of canals, cheese, beer and history. What more could you want!?

You can also see from the quality of the pictures that we have made some serious improvements to the camera kit over the last couple of years!!!

We only had a couple of days so wanted to hit up some of the most well known sites, I haven’t included everything here mainly because at the time I was rubbish at taking notes but here are some of my must see’s!!

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Canals

You can’t come to Amsterdam and not experience the canals that make the city what it is. It is near impossible to actually not see the canals and the whole city is encircled and criss crossed by them. I love a canal, I like that it brings water into cities and I like that they are relaxing. Amsterdam’s canals are pretty cool and are essentially the roads with people and goods being ferried along them.

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Take time to wander around them as well as take a boat trip on one to get a real feel for the waterways. We took a tourist boat which took a route around several of the canals and gave some good commentary on what we were seeing.

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Museums

As with most European cities there are loads of great museums in Amsterdam. From the Anne Frank house, Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum. We didn’t have nearly enough time to visit them all and I tended to favour the smaller more unique ones.

We did visit the Anne Frank house, I don’t seem to have any pictures from the actual inside building and I’m not sure if this is because you can’t take pictures or if I just didn’t. It was an interesting experience, the history is plain to see. I remember being a little underwhelmed by the whole thing, we had to queue for 45 minutes or so to get in and then you get herded like sheep through the building. It was small but not as small as I was expecting.

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I think people should go and visit the Anne Frank house but if you are short on time it could easily be missed.

I am always on the lookout for the strangest museums we can find and I managed to find 2! The Tulip Museum and The Cheese Museum.

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Tulips and the Netherlands go hand in hand so it was only right we learnt a little bit more about the history of tulips. The museum is small and only takes about 30 minutes to walk round, it explains to you about the way tulips have become so much a part of dutch culture. They were even worth more than gold at one point in history, the bulbs were traded around the world.

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We also visited The Cheese Museum which is a mish mash of cheese shop and small one room museum about cheese. Being a lover of cheese I was in my element with free tasters dotted around the shop, Stuart not so much. The museum part of the shop is small but informative and even included dressing up!

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There are also plenty of other types of museums in Amsterdam which are a bit more notorious, think sex and drugs. Amsterdam is obviously famous for its red light district and legalised cannabis use. There are lots of attractions geared up to this and if we had more time we may have delved a little deeper.

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Churches

Amsterdam is also filled with churches, many of them in the older red light district area which is a little strange when you’re wandering around looking for a church and find it circled by rooms with red lights if you catch my drift.

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One of the best churches we visited is the Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder or Our Lord in the Attic. It’s a Catholic church which dates back to 1663. During that period in time it was illegal to celebrate mass in Amsterdam so the church was hidden in the roof of a canal house. If you didn’t know it was there you still wouldn’t. It is one of my top attractions in Amsterdam as a whole because it is so well preserved and so interesting. You can walk around the pews and see the altar, learn about why and how people worshipped here. Definitely worth the ticket price!

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There are plenty of other things to do in the city even just walking around is interesting enough. It’s friendly, accessible, has trams, is familiar yet unique all at the same time. I can’t really believe it was so long ago that we went and that we haven’t yet been back. *Checks cost of flights*


 

 

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