I recently shot off to Amsterdam for a wee get away. I have been living in Europe for the last 2 years and really only travelled to Copenhagen so I thought what better time to go and visit one of the world’s favourite cities. During the month of September, the weather is good, there are lots of tourists around and the flowers and trees are blooming and lush green.
I visited Amsterdam years ago, and as you do when you visit a place for the first time I did the standard tourist things – museums, churches, coffee shops etc. Now that it’s been a few years and I know myself and the place a little better, I think I hit Amsterdam in a different way.
Stepping off the plane my first stop was the sim card shop inside the airport. As Wi-Fi is essential for me and my job I got the 45-euro package that would suffice for the next 5 days.
As I don’t yet use Uber I caught a taxi from the airport to my hotel close to the centre of Amsterdam. The taxi cost me around 55 euro which was a bit of a fuck up on my part as I could’ve had the hotel arrange a taxi at a standard 45-euro rate.
The hotel I stayed at is called Zoku. It is a new generation hotel that has amazing reviews; rated one of the world’s top 25 hotels by Forbes magazine. You essentially book a mini apartment, great for traveling business people or bloggers as each room contains a mini kitchen, amazing loft style bed, heaps of storage and an office nook. The communal space/reception/kitchen/ hangout on the 6th floor is breathtaking with amazing views of the surrounding city. The 6th floor is where you check in, hang out, eat and drink cocktails and can of course smoke in their hammocks and outside garden areas. Room rates start from 110 euro which I think is an amazing price for what they offer. Their food is also of an exceptional standard and you could happily eat there every night during your stay if that’s your buzz.
I had some very specific spots I wanted to visit on this trip, the most important being the avocado show. If you haven’t heard of this place and you’re an avo lover; what rock have you been hiding under?! Anyway, it’s a café where every meal is based around avocados or has them somewhere in the dish. I read somewhere they go through 300 avos a day which is fucking crazy. I’d been dreaming of going to this place since it opened and it didn’t disappoint. The food was so amazing and the staff and way they decorated the restaurant was perfect.
The avocado show is located in De Pijp, a trendy café area full of amazing eateries. This area had to be my favourite. My top restaurants to hit up would be:
- Bakers & roasters – NZ breakfast spot
- The Avocado Show
- Sir Hummus
- En Japanese kitchen & sake bar
- Pho 91
Although I didn’t get to visit all of these places I did research them for a while before traveling to Amsterdam and they will be on my list for next time I visit.
The rest of my time I spent getting lost in the labyrinth of small streets, finding crazy little shops filled with antiques, crystals, and quintessentially Dutch things.
Indianaweg 10 and Stenelux were two of my favourite finds. The first is a sweet little vintage shop (Amsterdam has many) – I particularly liked the jewellery they had and bought a necklace from here. The second is a crystal and small scale taxidermy shop with the most beautiful stacked shelves. There are also markets on quite frequently in the dam so check online to find your closest one.
You also can’t really visit Amsterdam without checking out its two main attractions, its coffee shops and red light district.
I believe marijuana should be legal so it’s pretty cool for me to visit a place where is isn’t a criminal offence to have a wee smoke. Bulldog café is a nice safe mainstream one to check out but they are all good. If you’re not a heavy smoker like me, take it easy. The bud is STRONG so don’t go all typical NZ styles on it and roll a straight weed cigarette. Use some rolling mix, usually provided in most stores. This is a mix of smokeable herbs a healthy alternative to tobacco which you can’t taste at all.
The red-light district is an historical place as Amsterdam used to be a port where boats that had spent months at sea would dock. There became an apparent need for some industry to relieve those lonely sailors and so the red-light district was born. You can simply walk the street or go and check out a live sex show, whatever tickles your fancy.
I had the most amazing holiday in Amsterdam and highly recommend it as a place to travel to. I hope you found some of these little tips helpful.