Reminiscing about my most recent trip to Europe, there is one city in particular which I felt was the most liveable city. It is a city that is just as famed for its bicycles and canals as it is for its colourful nightlife district. A magical place at any time of the year, I am of course talking about Amsterdam.
My trip to Amsterdam was earlier in the year during Spring. I had visited Amsterdam in the past briefly but this time around I felt a new appreciation for the place. This time I was here for 7 days, which initially seems like a long time for your average sightseeing trip. After all, most visitors spend about 2-3 days on average in Amsterdam as part of a wider European adventure. This is especially true of Australians who travel long distances to Europe because they’re going to visit more than one country in a short period of time. The reason for such a long visit was that my boyfriend was attending a conference at the RAI and I tagged along for the trip.
Given our long stay, we chose accommodation that was a little out from the centre of town to keep costs down. We stayed at the Atlantis Hotel in a quiet part of the city. There isn’t anything extravagant about this hotel, the rooms were clean and small, and the staff were very friendly and helpful. It was just what we were looking for considering we planned to spend very little time at the hotel. The location of the hotel being close to public transport was the real draw card for us. We were right on the tram line which made getting around incredibly easy. The trams in Amsterdam were efficient and very easy to navigate and purchasing a 6 day transport pass was the smartest thing we did. These were purchased just opposite Amsterdam’s central station and the ideal way to get around. The pass allowed us unlimited access to trams, buses and trains and proved useful as we caught multiple trams every day whether it was to go sightseeing, go out for dinner or for my boyfriend to get to the convention centre. Needless to say, I was impressed by the public transport there. I’ve only ever lived in Sydney so all I’ve got to compare it to is Sydney trains which are not the greatest.
When it came to sightseeing there was plenty I wanted to see and do in Amsterdam. On the itinerary were the usual attractions to the city:
- Van Gogh Museum
- Heinekin Expereince
- Anne Frank Museum
- Canal cruise
- Exploring the many parks of Amsterdam such as Vondelpark
- Meandering the streets of Jordaan
- Perusing the Flower Market and Albert Cuypmarkt
- Cheese eating and windmill watching
- Eating plenty of waffles
- Indulging in a Dutch favourite of hot chips with mayonnaise
- General exploration of the city via foot because it’s good to get lost some times
Given the among of time that I had in Amsterdam I could do all this and more quite comfortably. I feel that my experiences were enhanced because I had the luxury of spending as much time as I wanted with each activity.
I believe what made exploring Amsterdam quite easy for me was the fact that nearly every single Dutch person can also speak English. How I wish to be multi-lingual (I’m trying!). Getting around is really not that difficult when there isn’t much of a language barrier. One of the most lingually impressive moments during my stay in Amsterdam was when I took a day trip out of the city. There were several different nationalities in the tour group with no one single common language so the Dutch guide decided to do the commentary in English, German AND French! I was (still am) genuinely impressed. I don’t recall much of the commentary on that tour however, because every time the guide switched between languages I just sat there in awe.
I felt very comfortable in Amsterdam and was sad to leave it behind. My week long stay made me feel like I had got a taste of what it would be like to live there. It was enough time to work out where the best waffle stand in the city was and what routes certain trams serviced. I fell in love with the city and look forward to returning.
Have you been to Amsterdam? What was it that you loved about the city?