For my 2017 travel challenge, I am going to a different country every month for the rest of the year and keeping my full time desk job. The top of my list was Amsterdam! I’ve never been and always wanted to go which makes this blog so hard to write as my time there wasn’t as good as I had built it up to be. To be fair it wasn’t anything to do with the city itself, as Amsterdam is as beautiful as I knew it would be. I had a very unlucky experience during my time there and this is why…
This trip started off great with an excellent flight with British Airways which is one of my preferred airlines! I get proper tea, great service and I got a to have a checked bag for free. I also used my Avios points to get the flight so I also paid next to nothing to get it! All those trips to Tesco and getting petrol points from them were finally paying off!
GETTING TO THE HOSTEL
I arrived in Amsterdam mid afternoon. The airport conveniently also has the train station attached which was apparently my first mistake. The directions to my hostel advises to get a shuttle from outside the terminal which took me forever to figure out. All the signs are in dutch (obviously) but I’m usually really good with public transportation. I just couldn’t find the right bus stop. Then, I couldn’t figure out how to get a ticket when a nice staff member pointed out a van selling tickets (it looked like an ice-cream truck so that was confusing!). I got off at the right
I FORGOT MY MAP TO THE HOSTEL – IDIOT!
In an age of modern technology, with Google maps at the touch of my finger tips, you would expect this not to be a problem. Firstly, I wanted to find my way to the hostel on my own without using my phone. Secondly, I didn’t want to spend any money on my phone roaming. I was on a strict budget!
I tried asking for directions but everyone was directing me to the wrong place. I was staying in at the Van Gogh Hostel but everyone kept directing me to the Van Gogh Museum. Didn’t want to go there yet thanks! I finally gave in and turned on my 3G and found the hostel with the wonders of technology.
MY HOSTEL ROOMMATE
I’ve said on other blogs and vlogs that I have had amazing luck with the roommates I’ve had in hostels rooms. Amsterdam through me a curve ball and a break in my lucky streak. I met this girl in question on my first night. She came into the room at 2am and turned the lights on waking everyone up. Who does that? I believe it is just good manners and hostel etiquette to respect other in your room and just use the light o your phone but no, no, no, not for this rude gal. She didn’t just turn the lights on, she gave us a strobe lighting show. Turning them on and off every couple of minutes.
TURN THE LIGHTS OFF! IT’S 2AM!!!
For the nights to follow, my other roommates and I joked about this girl’s rude habits towards the night time ritual. She not only thought she was a nightclub lighting manager she was also quite something from a horror movie with the lights off. Not trying to be horrible but she did scare me and some of the other girls at times. She was like Samara from the Ring! She has long dark hair and she would just stand my our beds. Honestly, don’t know what she was doing. We thought she might be sleep walking but I don’t think she was. It was quite unnerving.
IT STARTED TO SNOW
I can hear you all thinking this now, “She’s complaining about it snowing? In one of the most amazing cities in the world!”. My response is, “Damn right!”. I HATE being cold. I would pass snow for a warm beach any day! However, I do want to go to Alaska one day and learn to ski. I would have to invest in a very, very, very warm clothes if I would to step foot in another country will snow that wants to freeze my toes off.
ONE LOCAL SAID THEY HADN’T SEEN SNOW IN AMSTERDAM FOR 5 YEARS!
Amsterdam is a beautiful city but I came at the wrong time to see it. I wish I had waited a few months to tick this off my list but I was so eager I didn’t think about the weather being this cold. I took part in walking tour which I had to leave half way through as I was so cold. I immediately went shopping to buy more layers and took shelter in a coffee shop till the feeling returned to my body. I’m a wimp really! I did get some amazing photos in the snow though but I brought more layers with me. Bad timing. Bad weather. Bad experience.
One of my main reasons for going to Amsterdam was to take photos. I love taking photos and want to get better at it so I am using each trip to improve my game. I wanted to find a windmill which I was Amsterdam as that is a very Dutch icon for the country. I found a few on google maps around the city and picked one to the East of the city. Seemed the closest.
IT TOO NEARLY 2 HOURS TO WALK THERE AND IT WAS SURROUNDED BY PUBS!
It wasn’t exactly visually pleasing on the bottom. The pubs didn’t make it a good shot and it wasn’t a working windmill either. More of a center piece and something for the punters to look at while they have a beer. Quite disappointed. I should have researched it a bit better. My own fault.
ANNE FRANK MUSEUM
It was a few weeks before I was going to Amsterdam when a friend told me I should book my tickets to the Anne Frank Museum in advance. I honestly underestimated how popular this museum would be.
ALL THE TICKETS HAD SOLD OUT WEEKS BEFOREHAND!
The pre booked tickets are only for the morning. You can line up and pay to get in on the door after 3:30pm. So I took this as my only option. I arrived briefly after 3:30pm and the queue stretched down 3 streets. I overheard some of the people in the line saying they had been there for hours. I was not going to stand around in the snow for that long. I wouldn’t be able to cope. I had to bail on seeing the famous Anne Frank House which I was very disappointed about but all down to bad planning again.
To be fair, the hostel I stayed in was ok. The staff were lovely and helpful. The location was close to public transport and a short walk to the centre. The rooms were nice and clean. I had one slight problem with this hostel. One teeny tiny event during my stay which ruined the whole experience.
I GOT STUCK IN A LIFT FOR 10 MINUTES!
I laugh about this now but at the time it was quite scary. I have watched too many horror movies in my time to know what can happen to a broken lift. However, it was the lack of attention and the lack of knowledge that the lift was broken. It was my accident that the lift seemed to fix itself and I was brought safely back to the ground floor where there was a lot of people waiting for it. I had been pressing the alarm bell constantly for 10 minutes and the staff were just like “Yeah, it breaks all the time!”. Well, thanks for that!
Don’t get me wrong! Amsterdam was an amazing city and I did enjoy the most of my stay. I just had a bad travel experience which could have happened in any city in the world. Unfortunately, this unlucky experience which occurred in a city I had been dying to see for years. I still had some highlights! I had some amazing food. Some of my favorites was a cute coffee shops which has amazing bagels and tea called Bagels and Beans. I had some delicious pancakes at Old Dutch Pancakes and the staff were really lovely. Lastly, I obviously got some famous Dutch Gouda! I explored a few shops and got some from the Amsterdam Cheese Company. I also went to the Red Light Secrets Museum which is a very interesting tour about the prostitutes that work in the Red Light District. I got a cheaper ticket through City Sightseeing tours so save yourself some money and get it online before hand or drop into one of their stores in Amsterdam. I definitely want to see this city again but when it’s just a bit warmer! See you again Amsterdam! Save me a ticket for Anne Frank!
If you want to see more on my adventures in Amsterdam, please check out my travel vlog below:
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What did you think of this amazing city?