I was beyond excited for this part of my trip especially because I would be meeting up with my friend Courtney so I would no longer be the lonely Canadian. Her bus from Paris picked me up in Brussels and then we were off for what we thought would be a quick drive but the traffic was horrible so we ended up over an hour later than expected. Thank god I’m still able to borrow ebooks from my home library, that’s all I can say.
Once we were off the bus we found a taxi to take us to the hostel area and of course like every other taxi in Europe we’ve found they don’t take cards. Advice to anyone travelling in Europe; always make sure you have at least 20 euros in cash to be safe in situations like this one.
First thing after we dropped our bags off was to find our way to the bar, pretty self explanatory i think. We were approached by some people to go on a pub crawl but we were “too tired” to go out or so we thought. Fast forward a few drinks and we were apart of the crawl after following the crowd to a couple bars in the red light district. We ended up meeting a lot of people and I snagged a free t-shirt somehow; can’t beat that.
Our plan for the second day was to wake up around 8:30 and discuss our plans over breakfast. After we ate we weren’t any further ahead with making any specific plans than before so we set out to wander the streets with our snazzy old school paper maps. Looking through the papers we had found earlier in the lobby we came across the Sandmans Walking Tours flyer and the free tour was going to be starting within the hour so that’s exactly what we did.
Advice to anyone going to Amsterdam for the first time. Do the Sandmans free walking tour. We ended up finding a flyer for the tour at our hostel and figured it could be an informative thing to start our weekend off with especially because we had no idea where or what to do.
Check out there tours HERE
Our tour guide Lars was honestly one of the best guides, and the fact that I could actually understand what he was saying was defiantly a plus. He included so much humor throughout the whole tour. I swear he could turn anything into a reference to a song. I’m going to be completely honest and say that before doing this tour thoughts on Amsterdam was just that it was known for prostitutes and marijuana. Needless to say, there’s so much history that made this amazing city what it is today.
Apparently the first stock exchange in the world was the one in Amsterdam, who knew. I studied finance at college and I sure didn’t which actually is quite surprising.
The term “going dutch” at a restaurant was actually derived from the Netherlands because of how frugal and profitable they are. I swear I must have some sort of Dutch in my blood. If you know me well enough I am all about getting the best deal for my money, that’s not saying always the cheapest but saving the most money possible.
Half way through the tour we stopped for a coffee break and no, not at a coffeeshop because as we learned you will not find coffee in Amsterdam at one. I’m a huge foodie and seek out the best places to eat wherever I go and this place is one of my favorites I have been to in Europe so far. So good we ended up going back the next day. It’s called La Place and it located along the canal near Dam Square so very central. Basically it’s a 3 story restaurant/cafe with the main floor filled with stations from all types of cuisine and the upstairs having seating and even private rooms. The food was all so fresh and they literally cut up the veggies/fruit/bread/meat up in front of you so you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s a fairly large area so it didn’t take long at all, to be honest we didn’t have to wait at all. Okay I’ll stop my food talk now and just end with if you’re in Amsterdam and love a good meal, go here and you won’t be disappointed.
Since we loved the free tour so much we decided to buy tickets for the Red Light Chilled and met Sam in our hostel room who ended up being a freelancer from California.
We went on our second Sandeman tour of the day which was the Red Light District tour.We didn’t have any specific plans and for the small price of 10 euros it seemed like a good deal. I don’t know how we got so lucky but this tour guide was even more hilarious than the first. If you’re in Amsterdam I hope y’all get Kendra from Alaska as your tour guide. First things first we were given low down on the rules of the town.
*Do not take pictures of the prostitutes in the windows
– There’s a kindergarten located in the red light district, literally next door to where women have windows
– The oldest prostitute just retired this year at the young age of 74
Day 3 – Happy Halloween
Today marked a pretty special day of accomplishments, or at least I can say I checked something off of my bucketlist I’m going to be honest and yes I am one of those people who wants to do all of those typical touristy things possible, so of course when in Holland I had to attempt to ride bikes throughout Amsterdam. Somehow we Rode bikes successfully from the red light district to the I AMSTERDAM sign and back without:
1. Running over someone or getting run into
2. Getting lost without the use of technology, boo yeah!
When I booked this trip I was petrified knowing the fact that I couldn’t use my google maps every time that I didn’t know where I was, especially in an unknown city full of tourists. I was forced to revert back to ancient times and use a paper map, weird eh?
Actually, I’ve realized that this way of travelling is 100 times better. Not only did I get the satisfaction of finding my way around a city but I found so many interesting things that I know I would never have been able to see. Google Maps is great don’t get me wrong, without it I wouldn’t have seen half of the things I have in Paris but being away from having technology at the swipe of my finger was refreshing.
Being as touristy as possible and bought some Amsterdam hats
When we got back to our hostel room we found everyone else there as well and did the good old introductions and quickly made plans for the evening. Sam and I headed to the grocery store a couple streets over for some good old wine for some Pre drinks and games before hitting the town. The town being the bar attached to our hostel, great coincidence. Belushis was doing make up for free which worked out perfect for us, so my nerd costume ended up turning a bit more on the deadly side.
Let’s just say by the looks of the streets the next morning it looked like Amsterdam had a pretty good Halloween.
The best thing about this trip was that we didn’t have any set plans so we just went with the flow; my new preferred way to travel.