Amsterdam had me dumbfounded and the first day my mouth was hanging open, like a teenager confronted with a pop star. Its a city of pleasures, and sins. Cycling and food. Walking and museums. There is a museum for everything – Handbags and purses, Hemp and Marijuana, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. We did not visit any museum. The three short days were spent discovering the streets of Amsterdam, and cycling all over the city. Its great, because the amount we ate, we put on no weight.
We stayed in the Hotel Okura. It’s a little away from the heart of the city, slightly secluded but by no means boring. In fact the bars and pubs near the hotel were buzzing with mad FIFA spectators. (Holland was playing again’st Australia.) The crowds were dressed in Orange and they were all out on the roads. Our hotel had the most happening bar. Great music and great drinks.
Coffee Shops. This according to me, is the biggest draw. Joints are available everywhere. I mean you have to go to a coffee shop, which are everywhere. This hilariously sells absolutely no coffee. Only joints of various kinds. From the mild to very severe. We took one the last day. The mildest one. With great great apprehension. Nothing really happend, but as I was told by locals later, for a good high, one should go towards the local areas and get one there. It was very peculiar experience for us. Standing on the road and smoking a joint – legally.
Condomerie. Forget the kids, even we were educated. Massively if a bit inappropriately. This shop has only condoms, usable and unusable. They have a window display they change often. You must go in and buy one. http://condomerie.com
Window Shopping. Amsterdam is known for window shopping. You must have heard of the women, dressed up– um! actually dressed down and displaying themselves behind windows. We did not enter any of these. There the kids put their foot down (much to our relief). In fact we were having an inner fight between embarrassment and intrigue. They are to be found in the red light district. Unfortunately I have no pictures. It was’nt allowed.
Cycling. Cycling is a must in Amsterdam. It’s the best way to see the city. We cycled every where. All hotels provide cycles, or you can hire them. Everyone drives almost the same type of cycle. 50,000 cycles are stolen per year, so the fancy ones are taken out only for recreation. The only problem we encountered was quite hilarious actually. We had trouble finding parking for cycles! It’s safest to lock them again’st poles, and poles were normally taken!! Everyone in that city is armed. The cycle locks are so huge heavy and vicious, one twang across the head and Whoosh!
We saw beautiful houses by the canal. Small but so gorgeous. One day we bought some cheese and wine and saddled up, and cycled to Vondel Park.
You must pick up Cheese. Amsterdam is known for it. The shops themselves are very interesting. They offer free tasting. I loved the “old amsterdam” variety.
Heineken Experience. The old brewery has been turned into a museum of sorts. (This is the only one we went to) One gets a nice 4D experience, water sprinkles and all.
We ate in road side joints as well as 5 course meals.
Maoz. Must eat. Located all over the city, a super duper cheap and massively filling meal.
Hotel Okura. Five course meal. Fabulous. Even more fabulous for non vegetarians.
The bar in Okura is very lively too.
Cooking Class. If you like cooking, book a class in Taste Of Okura- Hotel Okura. Even if you are not staying there. And if you prefer vegetarian, let them know before hand. They accomodate.
And that’s the summary of our memorable Amsterdam trip.
NOTE : If going with kids, make sure they are adults or atleast somewhere on the way there.