Friday, 24 June 2016

48 Hours in Amsterdam

Ever since I can remember I've always had a dream of travelling. I've been to Spain and France when I was younger but I don't remember them very well at all and I was way too young to appreciate the places I visited. I decided that 2016 was going to be the year that I begin to travel and explore our incredible planet. I mentioned it to Becky and Amsterdam was our choice for a little city break.

After a delayed plane ride with a terrible landing, we headed to our hostel which was a short 5 minute walk from Amsterdam Central. We dropped our bags and jumped on the tram to Leidseplein for food and cocktails at the Hard Rock Cafe. I've never visited a Hard Rock Cafe but Becky has visited them in a few countries and wanted to carry on the tradition. Once burgers and cocktails were mentioned I was sold. I had the Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of onion rings, which I ordered thinking there would only be a few but it turned out to be a whole stack! It's safe to say I was about to burst after eating it all.

We spent around an hour and a half eating at a table with a gorgeous view overlooking one of Amsterdam's many canals, whilst trying to find a Dutch tinder date to take me on a tour. After a day of heavy travelling, we decided to spend the rest of the evening walking along the canals before stopping in a pub to refresh a little. We then headed to the Red Light District which I must say has to be one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I had so many questions so google became mine and Becky's best friend for the evening. 

Day two of our trip was welcomed by a much needed, unplanned lie in. We didn't really have set plans of things to do but we knew we wanted to take some kind of canal boat tour. After spotting some canal bikes we thought that would be a perfect way to navigate ourselves round so we had control of where we went and what we looked at. If you haven't been on a pedalo before they're harder than they look to operate. As Becky can drive she took over the steering at first but we quickly realised that she was pretty useless and I took over to prevent us going round in circles for an hour. 

It was a gorgeous sunny day which was perfect for exploring the canals. I think the best place to see all of Amsterdam is from the water as you really get to appreciate your surroundings. Amsterdam is full of beautiful and distinctive architecture wherever you look. We couldn't have picked something better to do and the canal bikes may just be the highlight of my trip.

After the canal bike we decided to jump on a tram and take a trip to the Heineken Museum. I am not a massive drinker of beer, I much prefer my spirits but it was so interesting to find out the history of Heineken and how it is made. As a horse lover, I was delighted to seethey actually have some of their horses at the museum so I spent a while finding out about their training and how they are used in the process. The second half of the tour was so fun as it was completely full of photobooths and other photo opportunities! If you like beer, then you'll love this tour as you get 3 free complimentary glasses of Heineken. Who can say no to free alchohol?

After finishing off the tour, we headed out in search of food! We stumbled upon a cute little cafe called The Carousel and ate waffles in the lovely warm evening sunshine until a man sat on a bench near by and started blowing his nose so loudly that everyone on the patio including the waitress couldn't stop laughing! When the sun began to set we headed back into the centre of Amsterdam and took a leisurely stroll back to our hostel, discovering on the way that we were staying opposite a brothel, oops!

Most of our last day was spent relaxing on the patio of Dan Murphy's Irish Bar in Leidesplein, but we had so much fun on the canal bike the previous day that we headed back for another hour. This time we were greeted by a lovely man who helped us navigate our way by giving us a map and instructions on how to work the pedalo perfectly, if only we'd had that the first time round! We were so lucky with the weather over the 3 days as it was warm and sunny every single day but it wasn't so warm that you didn't want to go outside which was perfect. 

Not long after that it was time to head back to the airport to fly home. I had such an amazing time in Amsterdam with Becky and I will definitely be returning again on my travels.

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