Way back in January 2012, Michael and I went to Amsterdam for my birthday. My birthday falls around Australia Day every year, so Australia Day is usually the day I spend with other people – whereas for my birthday I’m normally at work, or recovering from the aforementioned Australia Day.
This year I was suffering, from a totally awesome party at El Camion, a Mexican restaurant & bar in Soho – a totally new experience for me! Maybe I am too old for tequila shots, but flying into Amsterdam from Luton was not at all a pleasant experience. However, after eating my weight in waffles and drinking hot chocolate, I soon perked up and we explored the city.
Amsterdam is quite something – the window shopping takes some getting used to, if, like me, you grew up on a farm and always associated window shopping with bags, shoes etc and not ladies showing off “their wares”. The flower market is worth seeing, the canals are endless, and the amount of bikes even more so. Amsterdam actually boasts more canals than Venice.
My top tips for Amsterdam are:
Prebook the Anne Frank Museum.
You might get slightly disturbed by the crazy long line, and you will get even more disturbed by the amount of smiling tourists grinning next to the sign, posing for their photos. Even if you haven’t read her diary, it is a really important part of history, so do go and see the museum – and try and block out the tourists!
The Vincent Van Gogh Museum. The man was a genius, and since the gorgeous painting, Starry Night has always been a favourite of mine – I decided to buy my own print. After all, it WAS my birthday!
The Rikjsmuseum – the biggest collection of treasures in Holland, absolutely stunning pieces. We had learned a few pointers about art two weeks before when we were in Copenhagen with our Kiwi buddies Andrew and Paul, so it was nice to get out of the cold weather and really appreciate the beautiful pieces of royal furniture, giant dolls house and paintings. Not as big as the Louvre, but really easy to spend a good afternoon there.
Catch a train out of the city – Amsterdam is a stunning city, but what really is awesome is the country side. After only an hour on the train, we ended up in a cool little town called Delft, and wandered around their old town for some time. It was truly a whim that we jumped off the train when we did.
We then caught another train up to Leiden, which is closer to Amsterdam and checked out the inside and the top of a windmill, which gave us some wonderful views of the town.
Unfortunately it was too early for the tulips, but seeing the windmills in action just sums up for me what Holland is about and was definitely the highlight of our trip.