‘Dam’ in all it’s glory!
It’s been just over a year since I last graced my vagabond boots with the cobbled streets of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Prior to the last time that I spent a sweet little trip there, I had been in October 2015 with my Mama and her friend and daughter! Needless to say, each time I am more and more besotted. From the most narrow streets, I have ever squeezed myself down (note ‘squeeze’ because as soon as I touch down in Amsterdam I fill my face with Stroopwafel) to the history that is so delicately laced through the city- ‘Dam’ is a constant Pandora’s box. Here are just some of the surprises you’d find if you went rummaging:
The history: The Anne Frank museum …
Amsterdam is weaved together with incredible historical events such as the attack on the Jewish quarter, Anne Frank’s annex, the Jewish Historical Museum, the Red Light District and so much more to explore. Surprisingly I experienced far more of the historical aspect of the city when with close friends from UNI rather than the weekend I had ventured on with Mum! When you purchase a ticket for the Jewish Historical Museum you can visit 3 other neighboring museums with it over a period of two days!
When you purchase a ticket for the Jewish Historical Museum you can visit other neighboring museums with it over a period of two days! The tickets range in cost starting with a children ticket price of €3.00 and an adult price of €12.00. Along with the incredible architecture and highly educating interactive exhibitions within the JHM, there are also the Children’s Museum and the Hollandsche Schouwburg which became a derelict theatre employed as a Jewish deportation center amidst the horrors of WW2. All three museums are enriching, educational and harrowing at the same time. Nonetheless, all ages can gain something. More than anything you are able to realise the sheer strength Amsterdam has held throughout history. When going to these historical treasures you briefly forget the city for it’s chilled, going out antics and remember instead the intense determination held by all quarters of Dam’ throughout the decades!
The Red Light District is not an attraction neither a show, it’s a piece of Amsterdams culture that when there reveals itself as a saucy sector that needs to be considered with careful tourist behavior no matter how naughty things appear! I learned that the hard way!
The first time around I visited the district with my Mum, I stepped through with a very naive approach. It feels as though it is a historic attraction but it is still an industry that provides a living in Dam. I whipped out my iPhone 5 with all the innocent intent to take a landscape snap, do the usual VSCO cam shenanigans to it and share to everyone on my insta that I had been to this landmark. As I went to snap away… obviously more than once because the lighting is EVERYTHING… one of the females dancing against the window pane pulled away sharply and followed with a very abrupt and angry middle finger toward my direction. Why? Because she was at work and I just didn’t think.
So the tip you can take from this is… when you visit the red light district just bare in mind that there are workers there earning a rent and if you take a pic right up in their eye line I guess it is intimidating and a little unfair! You’ll remember enough through memory!!
Nightlife: Club Up rocked my world …
The nightlife was not as intricately explored as when I visited with Mum than it was when I paraded the narrow streets with my close friends. It really is a question of where to start?
First things first. CLUB UP. We were two messy days into our Dam trip and we began to feel a hunger for somewhere we could let loose with bar amenities and at last a cloakroom. With the assistance of our expensive data, as the hotel wifi just didn’t cut it, we used Google to discover the club. The discreet venue is described as ‘quirky’ and ‘cosy’ and it really is. Just with a strand of recklessness running through its vibe. I simply did not want to leave. I actually remember thinking, ‘I have to come back to Amsterdam just for this place’. Now I can sincerely pop CLUB UP at a 1st place if I had to rate things to do for a ‘goodun’ of a night out.
An odd discovery that was stumbled upon whilst being guided by whether the price of a pint was outrageous or not, was a rock bar by the main square. To my own major dismay, I cannot find the link or name of the place so for now, it’ll be the unknown bar with a strong sense of integrity, cheap (ish) drinks, a magnificent music repertoire and the dirtiest yet most edgy loo going. We all acknowledged that we stayed in there longer than expected but as it got super crammed we realised it was for locals more than tourists. And that my friend, tends to be a moment of realisation that is a red signal for ‘time to go’. Nonetheless, it was a night to remember. IF you know what this mysterious musical venue is called then let me know. The curiosity is holding me in suspense.
I have to admit I would like to return to Amsterdam even more clued up on where to go and what to do. It is so so near via a flight so perhaps it’ll be a venture in the next few years (not perhaps… DEFINITELY).
But where do I stay?
Now if you are anything like me, as long as you have a moderately comfy mattress and a toilet that doesn’t frighten you so much you hold the fullest of bladders then Dam’s cheapest hostel selection is sort of suitable. I wish I could remember exactly where we stayed but it is hard to recollect the name!!! For this obscene lack of memory, I will place a link below to a list of the top 10 hostels! My main criticism was it was mixed dorms and for me, I just didn’t feel I could let myself relax enough to have a decent kip! Now I know you might be thinking I am a prude so and so for feeling that way but it is just the difficulty of changing and putting PJ’s on etc.
The best place I have stayed is on the outskirt of the city WHICH is the only fault with this hotel. AND it is one I remember the name of to … HOORAH!
When both Mama and I decided to parade Amsterdam in all its glory we stayed at a hotel chain called NH and our one was called ‘Zuid’. The rooms were beautifully clean with a minimal and stylistic feel rippling through. The window was wide and open allowing the searing sunset to wake your weary eyes naturally.
The bed felt as though many clouds had been compressed and placed beneath to make a Matress Monarch. Obligatory and very exotic smelling shamps were in the shower waiting for use (or popping in the suitcase for home when you run out of the blooming good stuff). It felt such a luxurious treat to be staying there and at a simply affordable price. I would 100% go back to Hotel Zuid. If you’re asking me? This hotel is the place to be if money is a dilemma.
All you have to do is book the flights right?
So so so, I hope this little SHORT but SWEET guide (or sour, depends on if it rocked your boat or not!) aids any eager explorers of Hollands city treasure. If you are contemplating going… DO IT! You come back feeling rejuvenated and educated at the same time. If you do hop on that very very short flight then please let me know how much fun you had!
That link I promised: