I was visiting a good friend of mine, Carina, over the last days. She lives in Belgium but we met in Amsterdam and took the chance to explore a bit of the city.
What do I have to say about Amsterdam?
It didn’t impress me in any way. One thing that did not help at all: the weather. Really shifty and most of the time it was windy, grey, cold and rainy.
Besides that, the only highlight for me was the Anne Frank House. It’s worth a visit.
It’s very difficult to buy the tickets online in advance. However, it’s possible to buy them online on the very same day of your visit. You will be able to buy the tickets that are still available. You must be quick, obviously. The tickets fly away! I bought mine around 11:00 with the help of a friend in Oslo as for some reason I was unable to buy them using my phone.
The other option is to go there and wait in a long queue. You might get lucky and get to see the house.
I stayed at Stayokay Hostel (Vondelpark). It’s close to Van Gogh’s museum. The best about this hostel:
- Very good Wi-Fi connection in the entire hostel;
- Good breakfast;
- A cool bar with good food options for a reasonable price.
What could be better:
- The staff should know Amsterdam better. When asked about the must-see attractions in the city they all answer the same – ‘It really depends on what you like to do.’. Seriously?
- Whatever you might need you must pay for it. Towels, lockers, etc.
- The possibilities to charge your phone/computer are rather limited. Especially in the dorms.
In addition to Anne Frank’s House, I visited the Van Gogh’s museum with my friend. She really wanted to do it and since it was a cold, rainy Friday… What else can you do outside in such conditions? It felt like a bit of a shame to leave Amsterdam so early on that day. Therefore I decided to just go with the museum.
For those who are into paintings, I guess it’s a good place to visit. I like the strong colours in some of his pieces, but in general, I’m not a fan of Van Gogh. Taking photos is not allowed inside the museum, except in places where there is no art exposed.
As for the rest of Amsterdam… It’s very crowded, overpriced – even though we randomly found some cheap places to have a meal – and very international. In addition, you have a big ‘problem’ – for the lack of a better word – as a pedestrian: the bicycles. If you walk 5 minutes without anyone honking at you consider yourself lucky. They are crazy.
On the positive side, you will get around with English pretty much everywhere.
I didn’t love the city. I didn’t hate it. I am still confused when I recall some people comparing it to London or Barcelona. I can’t talk about London, but Barcelona is definitely superior to Amsterdam in every way. Food, museums, monuments, etc.
On Saturday we visited Hasselt (Belgium). I like it a lot there. It has a very cosy city centre. I love one of the coffee shops there. It’s a paradise for coffee lovers. I still have some of their coffee beans at home.
Sunday was the day when we took the train to Bugge. What a beautiful city! If you visit Belgium you should definitely stop by Brugge, Antwerp, Gent and Hasselt. These are my top 4 cities so far. I’ve never been to Brussels, ironically. Unfortunately, our schedule was a bit tight and we spent about 3 hours in town. Totally worth the long trip (2.5 hours each way) though.
Yesterday (Monday) we had a couple of hours to kill in Eindhoven before my direct train to the airport in Amsterdam.
All in all, it was a good trip. I had a great time with my friend and I hope she can visit me someday in Gdansk.
At the airport, I went to a bookstore and I couldn’t resist buying a book ‘Do less, get more’ by Sháá Wasmund.
I haven’t read in such a long time… What a shame. I should read more.
This book is addictive and It’s all about becoming the person we truly want to be. I’m loving all the good tips the author has to share. Recommended!