Cheese, Stroopwaffels and Beer

The first time I travelled to Amsterdam I was 14 and I was there with my parents, younger brother and Grandpa. Not exactly what you would expect to see in the sex tourism capital of the world. We were only there for the day as we travelled from Germany by car and just wanted to see the capital of Holland, but it has remained in my memory to this day.

Since that day it has been my favourite city. Not for the usual reasons that many travel there for i.e. the prostitution or coffee shops but because of it’s sheer beauty and friendly people.amsterdam

On arrival we had to first find a parking garage to leave the car in. Amsterdam and Holland in general are known for bicycle’s being the modus operandi so it is not exactly a car friendly place. And the few parking garages that are around are tiny and astronomically expensive. I would suggest arriving my train or flight, it’s just easier. The public transport is great with trams going around everywhere and the inner city is relatively small so walking is also a great way to get around.

All we wanted to see while we were there was Anne Frank’s house, one of Amsterdam’s most well known tourist attraction. As we had parked on the other side of the inner city we had quite a way to walk before finding the museum. We asked for directions in a shop and they directed us through the red light district, which was interesting to say the least, especially with my little brother and grandpa in tow! As we got towards Dam Square, the ‘shop windows’ lessened and there were actually souvenir shops to frequent along with bars and restaurants. We stopped at a few shops but had limited time so soldiered on towards Anne Frank’s house. When we got there we looked around for a while but it was very full so we didn’t stay too long. It was quite haunting.

We ended our day off with a canal cruise through the city. It was pretty exciting seeing the city from the canals. The architecture is just fantastic. Every house has what looks like the spar of a ship attached to the roof because staircases in Amsterdam are windy and steep and furniture must be brought in through the windows. The ‘spar’ acts as a support beam. Physics and all that.

As the sun started to set we drove off headed for the border with many fond memories in our minds and a lifetime of love for the city of freedom.

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