Eurotour: Amster-dayum

17 July 2016

After the most stressful year of my life, I've finished school forever!! (well hopefully, assuming I haven't failed). To celebrate, a group of 9 of me and my friends decided that travelling around Europe would be a nice way to 'relax' - didn't end up quite like that but nevertheless it was one of the best holidays of my life with endless nights, banter and fun. Out first stop was Amsterdam, we were only there for three days so had to pack in as much as possible, but we managed to do everything we wanted and more! 

In short, here's a few things that we did and recommendations .... 

- Although battling impressive hangovers nearly every morning, we managed to get out and about and see quite a lot of the city. There are quite a few paid for attractions like Van Gogh and the Anne Frank House, which we didn't end going to, but you can pick up so much even from just wondering around the city like visiting the flower market and all the cheese shops - I'd also recommend Dam Square, Rembrant Square, Vondel Park, the canal belt and getting a free ferry across the river if you get the time. Of museums that we did end up going to, I'd recommend all of them, and if you're a student, don't forget you can claim a discount in most places! (Jewish Memorial, Kindermuseum, Jewish Synagogue, Sex Museum - be warned, it's graphic!). The Botanical Gardens are also worth a visit for the butterflies and tropical gardens.

- In terms of travel, the trams make everything super easy, although the lines can be a little confusing to work out to start with. There are self-service machines in the airport that allow you to buy a travel card that you can then use during the week. Although it's a small city and you could probably walk everywhere, public transport makes it just that little bit easier.

- In a group of 9 girls with gluten allergies, dairy allergies, veggies and vegans, finding places to eat wasn't the simplest of tasks. Bagel and Beans seemed to be their equivalent of a Starbucks and catered to all of us with a variety of allergy free options. Top recommendations for toppings from me would have to be the banana, cinnamon and maple syrup and the humous and sun dried tomato. I can't lie, A LOT, of chips were consumed on the holiday and Amsterdam did them particularly well. I can't eat it myself but my friends raved about the Frite Sauce so make sure you don't forget your topping of that! The nicest dinner that we had in Amsterdam was from deItalienne, a cute restaurant just off Dam Square which did really lovely pizza and pasta suitable for everyone to enjoy.

- We had a little bit of trouble finding the clubs on the first night to say the least - at one point I even started leading us out of the city of Amsterdam, convinced (with the confidence of one too many pre drinks) that it was the right way to go. Thankfully, Facebook messenger exists so we contacted a school friend who lives in the city and she was able to guide us to her top picks. We ended up at Club Up and Sugar Factory which were both great (although you may want to avoid the latter on a Tuesday if techno isn't your thing!). There are plenty of cute little pubs around for earlier in the evening, especially in the Red Light District, which although uncomfortable, is probably a sight worth seeing if you're in the area.

- We stayed in the Inner City Hostel, which wasn't the best and I'd probably recommend seeking out somewhere else. The rooms were a little run down, it didn't have the vibrant atmosphere of some of the others that we stayed in later in the trip. It was also a little overpriced for what it was - make sure you watch out for the extra 5% city tax that they add on, although Amsterdam was probably the most expensive city to stay in anyway! Saying that though, although a little far out from the clubs, the location was really nice and it was situated right next to beautiful Vondelpark. 

Have you ever visited Amsterdam? Where are your favourite places?

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