This summer I went InterRailing. It was a post-uni adventure for me and my three friends who also graduated from the same degree.
I meant to write a blog for each place as I traveled around but I had some technical issues with uploading images.
I have decided to write retrospective blogs for each place we visited just summing up what we did and my tips for visiting each place.
AMSTERDAM: 16th-18th July
Amsterdam seemed like a good place to start as it is easy to get to from the UK by a Eurostar to Brussels then a train onwards to Amsterdam Centraal.
We stayed at a place called Meininger Hotel which cost us £28.43 per person per night for a four person room. The hostel was out of the centre which was okay for us, especially as it was the cheapest place we could find and we could get a number 22 bus into Amsterdam in just 15mins.
It was a lovely room, with comfortable, clean beds and a nice shower and toilet as well as air con (the windows don’t open). There were also big lockers in the room. The view was of another unoccupied building. Downstairs there was a bar area and a small kitchen which was relatively well equipped. There is a small food shop nearby which also sells alcohol.
On the first day, we went out and has some lunch at a place called Bagels and Beans, which was very nice and not particularly expensive. We then had a walk through the picturesque canal streets.
The inner part of Amsterdam is very pretty with canals, little bridges and tall houses. We walked for quite a while and went down a very narrow street, where we discovered some red-lit windows. As it was daytime the windows were mostly empty, but we had stumbled upon one of Amsterdam’s seedier offerings. We found ourselves near the main station, so headed home to have dinner at the hostel.
We got up early to go to the Anne Frank museum. We had booked in advance online, which is recommended, else there are very long queues. You are not allowed to take photos in the museum, but it is a very chilling place. To walk through the rooms where the family actually lived and read Anne’s eloquent descriptions of her life in the annex, was very sad. but a worthwhile experience. There were also videos to watch around the museum – including an especially emotional one of Anne’s father discussing reading her diary after her death.
To lighten the mood after the Anne Frank museum, we visited the cheese museum along the road. It had information about how cheese is made as well as cheese samples. After this we headed to the Red Light Secrets museum, which was an eye-opener into the world of prostitution in Amsterdam. On the way we found a giant clog in Dam Square.
The prostitution museum was very interesting, especially an installation of a “window” you could sit in front of, which showed video of people walking by, leering, talking photos and laughing.
We then went for lunch in a cute yellow hut which sold incredible burgers – called Het Stadspaleis. It was lovely. After this we headed to a pub which had a neon/ UV mini-golf course in the basement. The installation/ statues were stunning.
We had a pint in the pub then walked to a panorama point on top of the NEMO science museum which has fountains on it. There were views over the whole city!
We only had the morning before we had to leave for our train, so we briefly went down to the museum quarter and took a photo with the “i amsterdam” sign. If we had had more time I would have liked to have visited the Van Gogh museum, Vondelpark and perhaps the Rijksmuseum – turns out that only one full day in Amsterdam is not enough.
Tips for Amsterdam:
– Go for at least three full days.
– Book early as accommodation is quite expensive.
– There are loads of amazing museums to see – the Red Light Secrets and Anne Frank museums are especially worth a visit.
– There is a strong smell of marijuana, just to warn you. Also the red light district is very overt and sex shops display products very obviously in their windows.
– Go to Het Stadspaleis for lunch if you like perfectly cooked burgers.