Friday, 12 August 2016

Charmful Canals of Amstel - Travel Review and Advice

Epilogue                                                                Amsterdam

Leap of Faith Travel Review

What a fantastic weekend break this was for Sam and I to the breathtaking city of Amsterdam. It was so full of the weird and wonderful offering a traveller something special day and night. As I mentioned before plenty of people have stereotyped this place stating that it is all about drugs and prostitution. That was clearly not the case with Amsterdam as there is a lot more specialty here than meets the eye.

For the past 4 days Sam and I had visited:

1.     Heineken Experience
2.     Torture Museum
3.     Madame Tussauds
4.     Maritime Museum
5.     Red Light District
6.     Erotic Museum
7.     Nicolaaskerk church
8.     Westerkerk church

The Heineken experience was a phenomenal place to visit showing you a sensational interactive tour through the vast world of Heineken. Go through the ages and machinery used to make the golden drink and experience it to the fullest. Immerse and enjoy the smells, the sounds, the sights and even taste of the museum to your fullest. This is one of many top sights to visit on your trip to Amsterdam. The staff were more than happy to help you with any questions as well as the information screens scattered throughout the factory. A standard ticket will cost you 16 Euro.

The Torture Museum was a whole different experience but incredible nonetheless. It is a very small museum set in one of Amsterdam’s many households bringing you into a scary setting of pain and torture techniques and equipment used to extract information or for spiritual reasons. We were incredibly happy we stumbled on this place as it was something unique to visit. An adult ticket costs 7 Euro 50 cents which is well worth the money.

Madame Tussauds is very popular around the world with each one with its own design and sculptures. There are countless mannequins all very recognisable to everyone past and present. There are also a few mannequins where you can dress up as some of the characters such as Donkey from Shrek (like I did). Again this place has so much to offer adults and children. Deeper into the museum there is an area where you can create a personalised handprint for you to take home which is definitely worth trying. An adult ticket costs 16 Euro but think of all the incredible sights within the walls of Madame Tussauds.

The Red Light District (this is the section where I would love to tell you the ins and outs of this district but what happens here stays here). What I can tell you that it is definitely a hotspot for all ages. It is spread across a stretch of canal full of women in the windows with several exotic bars and shows for you to enjoy. There is even a museum which is great to take a visit too called the ‘Erotic Museum’. Again I would love to tell you in great detail about what it is all about but I think the clue is in the name.

If you have read my diaries then you may have noticed the one bar Sam and I visited at the red light district was called Excalibur bar. This place was extremely thrilling especially if you are a hard rocker. The décor in this place is fantastic with its metal armour and swords hung on the walls, old metal American style number plates and advertisements as well as beautiful motorbikes high up the walls. They did a lot of brilliant drink deals such as the 4x Heineken bottles for 10 Euro. The larger than life barman was extremely outgoing and would interact with everyone at the bar catering for their needs which was very welcoming. I can’t remember who he was but he was brilliant. 

Our favourite place to eat in Amsterdam was of course the famous Hard Rock Café. I was completely won over with this place serving top quality food at a well deserved price. You were never hungry after visiting the Hard rock. The workers were extremely helpful and friendly even sparing a moment of their busy time to ask you questions about your day. Sam and I loved this place; even more so Sam as he had bragging rights against me about free refills on his coca cola. If you have never been to the Hard Rock Café, get yourself to one because they’ll always fail to disappoint you. 

The Hampshire Hotel – Eden was our hotel for the 4 days. We also loved this place as it was smack bang in the central area of Amsterdam. It is located along the beautiful Amstel River with easy walking distance to the main attractions. We both had single rooms each on a room only basis which was all we needed as we would be venturing out into the beautiful streets. The rooms were perfection, comfortable and simple which was brilliant. The one thing I had trouble with was the fact that we arrived in Amsterdam at around 9am but we could not check in until 3pm. However it was kind of the concierge at the hotel to place our heavy rucksacks in the storage rooms. For a 3 night stay in this luxury hotel it would cost £530 including Bed and Breakfast should you wish. Im sure there were cheaper options but for the luxury and location this was definitely not a bad price to pay. 

We booked our trip away with the company called Dawson and Sanderson. I am a regular with this company and for good reason. The agents are very sufficient in helping you with what you require and are always smiling and friendly giving the sense of care to the customer. 

Finally the company we used for our flight was KLM. Again very sufficient and cheap as for 2 suitcases, free hand luggage and return flight back to Newcastle for 2 people was £306. Air hostesses were very friendly which was expected. We were very happy to be flying with KLM for the very short trip 55 minute trip to Amsterdam from Newcastle. 

Yet again Amsterdam is a diverse city with a lot more to offer you than meets the eye. We had a fantastic 4 day break here and we are still fond of the memories we shared in this fantastic place. Be warned though, if you read my diaries take note to

1.     Wear shoes that have no holes in them
2.     Wrap up if you are going in February like we did
3.     Watch your back for cyclists as they have right of way
4.     Have free refills at the Hard Rock Café
5.     Take advantage of the wonderful Amsterdam City pass to gain free or discounted access to top attractions.

I’d like to thank Dawson and Sanderson for helping us on our way to an incredible journey to Amsterdam. I’d also like to thank Sam himself for sharing this experience with me despite the bragging free refills. I’d like to thank you all for taking a moment of your time to read my stories. I leave you with this:

"Live life to the fullest
It’s the best way
Live every moment intensely
Because life is too short
And the moment comes when we are going to die
And we’d have wished to do so many things we didn’t
That is why we have to enjoy every moment
One must enjoy life
Try not to acquire so many things
But instead have experiences
Accomplish everything you want to do
No matter the effort it deserves 
Life is too short and one must relish it"

Author: Shaun Davison
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