I recently visited Amsterdam for a cheeky weekend city break! I’ve never visited but have heard many a drunken story from guys I know that have been on the obligatory Stag do so wasn’t sure what to expect. I can confirm that Amsterdam is a city with so much more to offer then just the seedy side of the Red Light district.
Sure there are the scantily clad women in the windows and the groups of rowdy men dressed in super hero costumes getting drunk outside some British pub, but there is also a plethora of art galleries, fabulous cuisine and cool little districts to visit.
My boyfriend and I stayed in The Westcord Fashion Hotel (www.westcordhotels.com/fashion-hotel-amsterdam), situated not far from the airport it is around a ten minute tram journey into Amsterdam. I highly recommend this hotel. The rooms are spacious and nicely decorated, they have a fab Sky bar and Wellness centre and the staff are beyond friendly and helpful. They even left us a bottle of Prosecco and some other goodies to help celebrate our anniversry.
Our first day centred around the art scene. I’m a sucker for modern art and Amsterdam has plenty to offer. I f your a gallery goer I would recommend buying a I am Amsterdam card (www.iamsterdam.com) from the tourist centre by Central Station. The card cost’s around 50 euro’s for 48 hours but gives you access to loads of galleries and museums, free tram and bus travel and discounts in lots of restaurants and shops. We started our day at The Eye Film Institute which had a fab exhibition on Federico Fellini. Be sure also to visit the basement to experience the interactive pods.
Amsterdam also has a strong street art community and NDSM Wharf (take the free ferry from behind Central Station) had been recommended to us as a must visit area for checking out some of the best street art around. We were not let down as the area is packed with cool graffiti art adorning disused buildings and nice little art galleries where you can check out some new artists work.
Don’t miss the brilliant Noorderlicht cafe where you can grab a beer and some of the best Nacho’s I’ve ever tasted, while looking out over the bay back towards central Amsterdam.
Other highlights include Foam, a small photography gallery with some excellent exhibits including one on Duffy’s photo’s of Mr Bowie and The Stedelijk, a huge modern art gallery that had some amazing modern art pieces.
We also visited the famous Pancake Bakery, though at 27 euro’s for two pancakes and two coffee’s I would probably give this a miss and dine al fresco at one of the lovely cafe’s (not Coffeshop!) dotted all around Amsterdam.
Day Two saw us discover some fantastic shop’s and restaurants. Firstly you must go and have a look in The Otherist, a quirky little interiors shop that sell’s everything you never realised you wanted.
Dome with a rabbit skull in for instance.
Purchasing some very cool illustrated postcards we let our noses lead us to the delectable Puccini, a chocolate shop to die for. Just the smell is enough to get your mouth watering! With an interesting range of flavours we opted for a cranberry and white chocolate vanilla duo, among a couple of others (please note only two made it into the photo before we snaffled them)!
Finally if your looking for a fab place to eat visit Max Amsterdam, a indonesian fusion restaurant in the back streets. If your in doubt just look at the reviews in Trip Advisor, this place really is a gem of a restaurant. We tried the sample menu which was very resonable for the price:
Pancetta and asparagus salad
and Scallops in a creamy vanilla and cinamon sauce
Followed by the most tender lamb in a spiced sauce
and Sea Bass in a lemograss sauce with coconut rice. The food was so good we didn’t want it to end!
All in all Amsterdam is a wonderful place to visit and I would recommend it to anyone. P.S. I wish I’d kidnapped this cat and snook him home on the plane with me!