Tuesday, 29 November 2016

24 hours in Amsterdam

"You're going to Amsterdam with your mum?" everyone said. "It's not really the type of place you take your mum, is it?"

Well, after a fun-filled 24 hours of canal cruises, pancakes, cocktails, tittering like children in the sex museum, rapidly trying to avoid eye contact with the working ladies of the Red Light District and then learning about the background of said ladies in the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution - I can quite honestly say that going to Amsterdam with my mum was a bloody hoot!

After booking bargain flights on a whim less than a month before, we were eager to explore what 'the Dam' had to offer and we weren't left disappointed. With beautiful canals, streets and buildings spattered in glittering Christmas lights and an endless amount of shops such as tourist ones selling clog slippers, chip shops and not forgetting the legendary C&A - which mum was overjoyed to learn was still available in  the Netherlands - we tried to squeeze in as much as we could.

After completing our full day's Fitbit target walking from one end of Schipol airport to the other, we hopped on the *double-decker train towards Centraal Station, where we then had a short five minute walk to our hotel, Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre.
Neither of us have ever seen or been on a double-decker train before - we're easily pleased...

The hotel staff were lovely upon check-in and circled all the Amsterdam hot spots on a map before sending us up to our snazzy room, complete with a fancy blue door. Naturally, the room was spacious and clean but my favourite part had to be the toiletries - in which they provided the usuals including shampoo, shower gel and soap BUT also provided a sewing kit, bath crystals, a vanity kit and a shoe shining sponge - what more could you want?

There was also a fully stocked mini bar which you could purchase things from but the hotel's close proximity to Dam Square meant that you could stuff your face for a whole lot cheaper by buying locally. 

Our first stop after checking in at the hotel was a canal cruise. For 9 euro each, we got an hour cruise on the canals, where our lovely Dutch driver drove into far too many bridges *accidentally* and we learnt some facts - some useless, some interesting - about Amsterdam. 

Fun fact: Amsterdam houses are so narrow that they have a hook at the top of each house to tow furniture to different floors through the windows.

If you don't want to look at a phallic bowl, please look away now...

After our eventful canal cruise, we couldn't resist going in to the Sex Museum after seeing its 4 euro price tag. I don't know what I was expecting when we entered but I was quite taken aback at how full-frontal it really was. After seeing more sex pictures than I care to count, posing with a giant penis and having a selfie with a pop-out prostitute mannequin, I can safely say we were like giggling children in our first sex ed talk. If nothing else, the Sex Museum was a hilarious visit and definitely worth going for its teeny price tag.

Exploring museums *ahem* is hefty work, so we were ready for a bite to eat and chose to go for pancakes, better known in Amsterdam as pannenkoeken. Being hungry, we stopped at the first pancake place we saw, which was conveniently called Pancakes! and can be seen in huge letters when you leave Centraal Station. One word - AMAZING.

After our quick snack stop we decided to do a little more exploring and just so happened to walk right into the Red Light District (really, it just springs up on you.) 

The Red Light District was an experience in itself - women of all ages, sizes and races stood in front of their window with nothing but lingerie on making 'come here' gestures, the dingy beds that lay behind them, the closed curtains of those 'at work' and the men leaving with hands in their pockets and heads down.

Fun fact: The windows with purple lights mean transgender

Having a strong interest in women's rights and human trafficking, I wanted to learn more about Amsterdam's working girls, so when we stumbled upon the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution (also in the RLD), I had to go in.

Without giving too much away, the museum was based in what used to be a brothel, in which a prostitute was murdered by a client. Entry for the museum was around 8 euro and the audio tour, which was told by a prostitute who had worked in the Netherlands for around 15 years, could be bought for 1.50 euro.

The museum was incredibly insightful, giving facts and figures on prostitution and trafficking, interactive sections such as exploring what a brothel bedroom and 'play room' looks like, as well as what it's like to be stood in a RLD window as real passers by passed, documentary-style videos and not forgetting the memorial for those whose lives have been taken in the RLD.

If you get the chance to go, go!  

After a busy afternoon in night in the Dam, we headed back to the hotel for a cocktail before calling it a night. 

The next day, our final few hours before our lunch time flight home were spent exploring Amsterdam's shops - Coolcat, HEMA, de Bijenkorf and Drake's Boutique were firm favourites. 

Finally after a jam-packed 24 hours of food, fashion and phallus photos, we were ready for home but don't worry Amsterdam, we'll be back...

Thanks for reading!
What's your favourite thing to do in Amsterdam?

1 comment:

  1. very nice article. thanks for sharing your memorable moments of live with us. :)

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