Amsterdam, more than coffee shops & sex shops

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in Europe, its canals and charming streets are rich with history. So when my friend asked me if I wanted to take a road trip with her and her old classmates I automatically said, yes! I’ve been to Amsterdam twice before and was excited to go back and explore it again 6 years later. 

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The first time I went was with my parents when our flight got delayed from Prague to Boston, and we had to spend the night in Amsterdam. We took the canal river boat cruise which was a nice way to explore the city and learn about Amsterdams canals and Dutch architecture. At night we explored the Red Light District, don’t know if its kid appropriate but that’s European parents for you, teach them at a young age. 

 

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The second time I went to Amsterdam was when I was studying abroad in Monaco. My roommate and I planned a fall break trip that included two days in Amsterdam. Together her and I took a free walking tour with Sandeman's which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to see the city and learn the history of gold old Amsterdam. We spent the day touring Amsterdam in the cold rain and at night warmed up in Baba coffee shop located right down the street from our Hostel. The second day we spent the day exploring outside the city center at Vondel Park and touring the Van Gough museum. At night we relaxed at Dampkring one of the coolest decorated coffee shops where a scene from the movie Ocean's Tweleve was filmed. 

 

If you’re looking for a fun place to stay with a great Dutch breakfast in the city center stay at Hostel Dirty Nelly’s.

 

Having great memories of Amsterdam, I was excited to visit it again. This time taking a road trip from the Czech Republic. Our journey began very early in the morning and in just a little under 10 hours we arrived to Amsterdam by mid afternoon, thank goodness. Not very comfortable to be in a small car with five people, two of which werre males over 6 feet tall, if you could imagine we got to know each other quite well during that ride.

 

img_4773The sun coming up over Zeeburg Camp – friendly staff, camp ground, colorful campers and eco-cabins

Upon getting settled in at our accommodation Zeeburg Campwe made our way to the tram a short walk away where we headed to the city center. First stop was to get some food, if you travel with boys you know they have an appetite and love food. So lucky for me and my friend Nicole, we were able to try all the goodies with them, Dutch French fries, waffles and so much more. Amsterdam has quite the selection of street food and is open late for those that get the munchies. 

By that time the sun went down and it was time to explore the red light district. Still the same as I remembered it although some of the girls got better looking and some of them worse. But then again there’s someone for everyone’s taste. It was interesting yet disturbing to see how it all works and see the type of men that engage in prostitution. It was pretty funny walking behind our guy friends seeing the girls eyeing them and flirting with them from behind the windows trying to get them to engage in a good time. And no they didn’t go. After walking for some time through the red light district we stumbled upon a 1 euro pee show. The guys wanted to check it out so my friend Nicole and I waited outside, I think still eating some of the boy’s snacks. They came back telling us all about it and what they saw so we were eager to see something as well. Her and I decided to go in it together. We walked into the shop and it was like a maze of doors everywhere. You insert your 1 euro and the door opens. (although you’re not supposed to go in pairs we did anyway). You enter this small, dark space and wait. Then the lights turn on and in the middle was this middle aged women rolling around topless on this round routing cushion. Literally to me it looked like the part in Taken where the girl is being sold and the guys are sitting behind stained glass bidding for her. It was funny to us because we could see the other people watching through the glass, one of which was a couple who had the same look on her face as us. This peepshow lasted a few minutes and then the lights turned off and that was the end. We were a bit disappointed and grossed out by what we saw. Some of the guys had a more interesting experience, but I’ll keep this post PG so you’ll just have to go and have our own peep show experience and find out what its about. 

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The second day we rented bikes from Zeeburg Camp and headed into the city center. (about 12 euros for 24 hrs) The weather was a bit cold and drizzly but it didn’t stop us from our little adventure. Our first stop was the “I am Amsterdam” sign located by Rijksmuseum.

 

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Note: this place is always crowded but you may get lucky like us and have everyone disappear for that split second while your friends take a picture of you and make it look like you’re the only ones there. Patience is key.

 

The rest of the day we spent exploring the city's canals and streets.

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Along the way we found a Czech and Slovak bar, where we stopped to have a drink. The Czechs love their beer even in Amsterdam, na zdravi. Thats cheers in Czech. 

 

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In the beginning cycling in Amsterdam is overwhelming as there are cyclist everywhere but once you get a hang of it, it’s so much fun and it’s the best way to explore the city. Cycling the streets at night when most of the tourists were gone was my favorite. This was when you could experience the streets of Amsterdam in peace and take it its charmful architecture. 

 

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On Sunday we were ready to head back to the Czech Republic. On the way back the boys decided we should make a pit stop and go see the North Sea, since we were only about 40 minutes away.  

 

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If you haven’t been to Amsterdam, you should. Its more than just coffee shops and sex shops. Rent a bike and explore the city, taking in the architecture and cute little shops along the way. If you’re into art visit the Van Gough museum or spend the day relaxing in one of the city’s parks. If your a lover of chesse be sure to stop by one or all of the cheese shops for some free samples. 

 

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Have you ever been to Amsterdam?

 

How did you spend your time there? 

 

What was your favorite part of the city? 

 

Share your stories or experience in the comment section below. 

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