Amsterdam: it’s so much more than sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, before our trip Dave and I crunched the numbers and we decided that it made better financial sense for us to stay in Rotterdam and take the train back and forth. It made for a bit of a longer day but worked perfectly for us. While it did cut down on our time in Amsterdam, it did allow us to stretch our travel budget just a little bit further.
Intercity trains run frequently between Rotterdam Centraal and Amsterdam Centraal, depending on the day/time there can be up to five trains an hour that run between the two cities. The Intercity Direct trip takes just 42 minutes and costs €7-€11. There’s also an option for a less direct route, which we took on the way back, the trip is a bit longer, but you have the opportunity to see more of the surrounding countryside.
What to See/Do
Sandemans Free Walking Tour
Because we were only in Amsterdam for a day, we decided to take part in the SANDEMANs Free Walking Tour firs thing in the morning. Over the course of two hours, our guide lead us throughout the city sharing the legends, facts and fictions that make Amsterdam such a unique and exciting city. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding, we knew that by taking part in the hour we’d be able to see all the major must-see sights in a relatively short amount of time (and without getting lost and wandering in circles).
Some of the highlights from the tour included:
- Walking along the canals: We couldn’t get enough!
- Explore the Red Light District: Our guide took us through the red light district (De Wallen) where we learned the history of the area, how the canals helped shape the area, and how it has been integrated into modern culture.
- Begijnhof: A late-medieval enclosed courtyard with the houses of beguines, Roman Catholic women living in a semi-religious community (source). It was a quiet break from the hustle and bustle of the city surrounding it.
- Hidden Churches: Because there’s no way we would ever be able to find these on our own.
- Seeing the wooden houses and learning about Dutch architecture, and why all the houses have got their lean on.
Jordaan is a district of Amsterdam located just outside the centre. Each street is unique and picturesque; it’s easy to get lost in the beauty for hours.
Walk through the Bloemenmarkt
Take a quick walk through the Bloemenmarkt, stopping to smell the flowers along the way.
What to Eat
Dotted throughout the city along the canal are fish stalls offering traditional herring and broodje haring (a herring sandwich). Both the traditional herring and the broodje haring are a light pickled fish served with a side of pickles and onions—a delicious snack, but maybe not the best choice if you plan on having close conversations later that day. The best stand we found was located near the Bloemenmarkt. Not only could you grab a sandy, but there were benches set up letting you eat your fish while overlooking the canal.
I can’t say I’d ever tried dutch cheese before our time in Amsterdam, nor can I say I really knew that the dutch specialised in cheese, but the more you learn! A firm cheese with a strong flavour, the sample we had as part of the walking tour was a combination of Parmesan and cheddar. With each bite, I felt like I was eating a different cheese; some bites I liked, others not so much. Overall, I think I liked the cheese and would definitely give it another try if I found a sample in front of me.
Even though we only spent a day exploring Amsterdam, we developed a deep appreciation for the city, and before we’d even made it back to Rotterdam, we were planning our next trip!
Read other posts from this series:
- In Bruges
- Petite Adventures’ Guide to Bruges
- Surviving the Rain and Exploring Ghent
- Petite Adventures’ Guide to Ghent
- Top Ten Reasons to Take a Canal Tour in Bruges & Ghent
- Rain in Rotterdam
- Petite Adventures’ Guide to Rotterdam
- A Day in Amsterdam
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