Amsterdam is without question one of Europa’s most beautiful and most exciting cities. It will attract your interest with its openness, flexibility and variability. Diversity at every corner, that is Amsterdam.
Fact 1: Bikes everywhere
In the sense that you will think it’s a way too much. Bike roads everywhere, many bikers who ride as crazy, in addition you will be meeting on the bike roads also motor bikes and even small (guess electric) cars. Be careful to not get hit and for sure don’t try to use your phone while riding. I saw with my own eyes how an older local lady touched with her had the curbside, you don’t want to experience that. Safety first! You will really enjoy the ride in the city and also outside, the whole area offers a lot of trip opportunities.
Fact 2: Credit cards
Mixed feelings. Outside of the real city center, you may experience that your international card is not accepted. Instead of that they do accept only the local Maestro card, as it happened to us in number of shops (for ex. the chain Albert). Ok, somewhere else it was cash only and where it was no cash, there at least our international card was accepted. Summary? Just make sure you have enough cash, it can save you. I was missing 13 cents at one of the shops, luckily the guy behind helped and paid the 13 cents for me. Just thinking, if something like this would have happened in Slovakia too, what do you think?
Fact 3: Let’s have a smoke
Myself, I smoked maybe 5 times in my life and marijuana even less, I hate the smoke in my nose and in my lungs. If you are the same but you want to give it a try – because here it is legal, and you should try it out all – I would recommend going for a cookie or brownie. It will have a slower start, but the trip is much better. Just in case, ask before at the coffee shop, it can be a much more wild than you would think and you don’t want to be K.O. for the next 24 hours, do you?
Fact 4: People are nice, you can even chat in the shower
This is the country of the tallest people in the world, but you don’t have to be 193 cm like me to get some smiles. It is enough, if you smile too. People are nice, you will like it. I chatted with an older lady about travelling and sport even in a shower, after visiting a public pool (was a mixed shower, not that we would have a shower together). The best is, everybody speaks English, the level of the language is amazing. Local language will remind you on German, if you learned as kid some basics, you will understand some words.
Fact 5: Prices
Talking about the costs, the local diversity will again apply. While the food is not so expensive (approx. 10-12 EUR in average pubs, in better more), for a very small beer (250 ml) you will pay up to 4-5 EUR. What can I say, we stuffed ourselves full in a Sea Food bar with a sea food plate for two, it was for 64 EUR. The locals could tell stories about the high prices in the real estate area, but where doesn’t a flat cost a fortune these days, right?
Fact 6: It is true, the channels are THE experience
Amsterdam’s channels are famous, I would definitely recommend renting a boat and have a nice picnic with some drinks on the water. You will love it! The captain stays sober, don’t forget that.
Fact 7: Anne Frank House
I know that you don’t like long queues, we in the “East block” had enough of this before 1989 with bananas or Tuzex. However, I would recommend buying a ticket online and visit the Anne Frank House. It is mandatory to remember the past, especially when we human kind are so god to not take the lessons from it. This place is a unique memorial, you will touch the same walls as they did, you will breathe the same air they did, you will feel the same dust and cold they did. You will think about the suffering of eight people locked in this small apartment. What could have been their first thoughts, when they were discovered by the Nazis back in summer 1944. Taking away the lives of whole nations or races, how tragic that is! After visiting the house, you should definitely read the diary, if you haven’t done so already.
Fact 8: Red Light District
You will want to see it and I also recommend seeing it. Don’t expect too much, to not be disappointed, it is enough to walk around, you don’t have to enter. I didn’t, but heard about stories, that the best girls earn up to 1000 EUR per night. I am just wondering how much they tax. The funniest part, these cabins are in the neighbourhood of flats, pubs or standard shops of all sort. The oldest building Amsterdam’s, Oude Church („The Old Church“), is in the Red Light too.
Bonus – running
If you like to run, try to avoid the center and the Vondelpark, you can come later for a walk. Too many people (and too many bikes!). Instead of that, I can recommend you for ex. the Sloterpas lake,where I was able to run a half marathon, one round has something below 6 kilometres. Good for running are also other parks of the city.