Before I start, a quick word to say that while I have travelled to all these places I have only spent a limited time in each place, and I highlight the bits that I find particularly enjoyable. Naturally there is more than can be covered in a blog post, but I aim to give a feel for what each place is like. Enjoy!!
When you get to Amsterdam it hits you that everything people say about all the canals is true. They are everywhere!! But canals mean bridges, and I for one love pretty bridges. Not the bog standard “Let us cross and get it over with”, but ones with elaborate carvings and what nots. It also means cruises!! A cruise tour is a great way to have a quick look around and learn about the place if you don’t have much time.
When you look at the houses along the banks, you will probably notice that they are all tall and narrow. This is because the houses in Amsterdam were taxed based on how wide they were. Naturally every one wants to avoid taxes, so they built up instead. So how do you get your furniture in/out? At the top of each building is a pulley system that is used to hoist up (to this day!) anything that can’t easily fit through the front door. How devious is the human mind!
Holland is synonymous with tulips, so naturally the flower market ( or Bloemenmarkt ) is an attraction to see. If you have time, and it is in season, Keukenhof will have a far more impressive array of flowers to see. Unfortunately the tulips were not in season when I went, but the seeds were readily available; as were other flowers.
One of the best things I did during my visit was to see a live classical music concert at the Concert Gebouw. The acoustics were great (but hey what do I know?) as was the architecture (again I’m a noob but it looked great) and the energy of the orchestra was amazing. I thought it was absolutely brilliant and something you have to experience for yourself. The website is in dutch, but you can use Google translate to book tickets online, and it is definitely worth the hassle. Also, you can get half price entry to certain museums on the day of your concert.
Another place that I quite enjoyed was the Van Gogh museum. (Hint: Learn from a local how to pronounce it properly so that you don’t make a fool of yourself.) I don’t know that much about art, but Van Gogh is probably my favourite artist (thanks to Dr. Who!) and the museum is laid out in an easy to understand way. It has probably been the only art museum I have learnt so much from. For example, did you know there are actually around nine paintings of the Sunflowers??
A place I had been really looking forward to visiting was the Anne Frank house. This is the actual house she hid in, and it is very well preserved. You can still see the collages she put up on the walls of her room. No pictures are allowed inside, but if you have read her diary it is surely a place worth visiting.
Bottom line: A great place to visit, no matter what your tastes!! If you are going to be travelling to other places in the Netherlands by train etc, it is probably worth taking your mastercard credit card and plenty of coins as many places do not accept visa cards (unless it is touristy). Amsterdam also has a large Indonesian population, so be sure to try out some Indonesian cuisine too!! Happy travels 🙂
Until next time, Love, Me 🙂