Europe · Netherlands · Recommendations · Study Abroad · Travel

Amsterdam: Risky Business?

Amsterdam is a place of interest for nearly everyone my age. Why? Well I know it can be a magically colorful place (sadly not so much in the winter). Or maybe, it’s because things that are frowned upon in most societies are legal there (rebellious freedom). Or maybe, for people like me, you want to experience as many countries and cultures as you can. So why not Amsterdam? That being said, I do have to admit I found the city didn’t live up to the hype – perhaps because the winter made it quite grey. Still a fun trip though! Check out my recommendations for the city below.

Amsterdam

Stay

Durty Nelly’s Inn: is where we stayed. Nothing special other than in a really great location. There is a bustling bar attached which may interest you – very Irish!

Flying Pig Downtown: this is the one most of my friends stayed at when they went. They recommended it for my trip but it was fully booked for the weekend. I believe it’s more social.

Do/See

I Amsterdam Sign: Got to get that classic tourist shot – which is not as easy as people made it look! The place was crowded! We were lucky to get a picture with even one letter without being photobombed. It’s actually located in Museumplein, which…

Museumplein: is a beautiful park to wander/take a breather from the bustling canals. There are also museums to discover, as the name indicates.

 Museumplein I Amsterdam

Shopping: to my surprise there was a lot of great shopping areas in the city. We dedicated a couple hours looking for new clothes and window shopping.

Canals: are pretty much everywhere you turn! We did a canal river cruise, which was a huge let down. Didn’t see anything special. To discover the canals, I suggest walking or biking (it is Amsterdam after all)!

 Amsterdam Amsterdam

Only in Amsterdam: Hide yo kids, hide yo wife

Red Light District: I saw the comedy movies Deuce Bigalow European: Gigolo and Eurotrip at far too young an age, so I’ve always been aware of the famous Red Light District. That awareness, however, didn’t make it any less shocking when I unexpectedly ended up in the area, looked to my side and BAM there’s a prostitute, in next to nothing, staring at me through a glass door. It was interesting to walk through the district and see what goes on (not what ACTUALLY goes on, but you know) though it was also sad. Like a typical girl, I was thinking “are they happy?” “is this what they want to be doing?”. If you are seriously offended by the idea of innocently walking past a prostitute, don’t seek out this area – though you’ll probably end up there by accident anyways!

The Bulldog Amsterdam: is the coffeeshop we went to. If you aren’t aware, coffeeshops in Amsterdam aren’t for drinking coffee, they are basically hubs for people to get high. Scandalous, I know. Before you start judging anyone who walks through those doors; it is legal to smoke marijuana in The Netherlands. If you are going to try it, might as well be somewhere where it’s legal. Just make sure you are safe and with people you trust – in case you don’t react well. My friend and I bought a space cake and only ate a quarter each (another friend told us they had a bad trip on half). We ordered smoothies and sat there for a while waiting for it to kick in. “Now what?” It was 11pm nothing happened and we decided to call it quits and just go to bed. No space cake trip for us.

 Amsterdam Bulldog Cafe

Interesting Shops: Not actually recommending you go to these stores but don’t be surprised to see people selling sex and pot related things everywhere. Especially in Amsterdam, sex sells! This condom shop was right by our hostel and I found the colourful wall art quite amusing. How could you not be amused? They look so happy (pun intended).

Condom Shop in Amsterdam

Eat/Drink

Amsterdam Cheese Company: we happened upon this store as we were shopping for clothes and it was perfect timing, since I was getting hungry. This store is full of samples of the most delicious gouda cheeses. I probably did 3-4 rounds of the store’s samples (shh). I ended up buying the Arugula Gouda – so tasty.

 Amsterdam Cheese Company Amsterdam Cheese Company

More Food!: here’s a Buzzfeed post about all the food in Amsterdam you should try!

Amsterdam Ice Bar: this was a really cool experience! We bought our pass from a tourist shop before going and when we arrived we got a free cocktail (included in the price). Before you are let into the actual ice bar, the lights dim and an epic video (think Game of Thrones) pops up to transcend you into the experience. We then put on our special coats and went into a -9°C room. We received 2 free drinks in there as well. With a cup made completely of ice, we got refills of a vodka orange mix that tasted like an Orangesicle. There are sound effects of a creaky ship and a scary/entertaining surprise.

 Amsterdam Ice Bar Amsterdam Ice Bar Amsterdam Ice Bar

Have you been to Amsterdam? What was your favourite thing about it?

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6 thoughts on “Amsterdam: Risky Business?

  1. Amsterdam is such a beautiful city. I, too, have seen Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, but it seems I did not pay enough attention to the plot. I had no idea it was set in Amsterdam, though the images are starting to click together.

    The Ice Bar sounds particurally exciting. I remember reading something about an ice hotel in Russia. Not sure if that is just the standard of living, however. Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck.

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  2. I really liked the cheese (pretty sure we went to the same cheese shop, along with a local farmers market). The canals and museums were great, and the red light district was definitely unique. I’m glad we did a walking tour of it because we learned a lot about the history and culture of it.

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    1. Interesting. I’m sure learning about the history and culture would have been really insightful! I was hoping the river cruise I took would teach me more about the history of Amsterdam, but sadly all I learned is that all houses have hooks to lift furniture through the windows! lol

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      1. Haha. The tour focused on the history of the red light district and of prostitution in Amsterdam. Definitely really interesting and not what I expected. You should do it if you ever go back!

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