Friday, 7 August 2015

Things To Do In Amsterdam

So today's post is all about what Karl and I got up to in Amsterdam. We managed to pack quite a lot in over the three days we were there (along with eating our body weight in macarons and pancakes!) The city is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and I would go back in a heart beat. It's bustling and busy, with trams and bicycles passing by the serene and peaceful canals and buskers and music playing almost all the time. It was one of this places you could just walk around and look at for most of the day and we did try and see as much of it as we could in the short time we were there. I'll just tell you a few of the things we managed to do and hopefully show you what a wonderfully bizarre place Amsterdam is!

Canal Boat Cruise
One of the first things we did when we got to Amsterdam was hop on one of the canal boats for a one hour cruise around the city. These are so easy to find and there was boat load (pun definitely intended) of them on the canal close to Central Station so you can't really miss them! They cost between €12 and €16 per person and on the one we got they even snapped your photo on the boat that we picked up after the trip for €5 which I thought was great considering most touristy photos like that can cost anything up to €20 normally! The cruise was lovely and allowed us to see a lot of the city we may not have seen without it and with the guide explaining a lot of the important sights along the way it was a great way to start the trip off!

Dam Square
Dam Square was just a few minutes walk from our hotel and it is beautiful. At one end lies the Royal Palace of Amsterdam (more on that later) and at the other is The National Monument, which symbolises the victims of WW2. Lined with restaurants, coffee shops and winding streets full of shops, Dam Square was always jam packed with people just sitting on the steps around the monument. It had such a lovely atmosphere and it was a fantastic place to sit in the sun (when it actually made an appearance!) There always seemed to be something going on in the Square too. One day when we went this beautiful heart made of flowers had been erected just outside of the Royal Palace and another day there were a couple of people creating huge bubbles for everyone to enjoy. The last photo here is my favourite of all of the photos I took while we were in Amsterdam - just look at how happy that little girl looks! 

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam
The Royal Palace is an absolutely magnificent building situated in Dam Square which was originally built in the 17th century as a town hall. The building itself is absolutely huge but like most places like it, you could only walk around a small section. With your ticket you get a free audio guide which explains all of the different rooms, sculptures and pieces of art to you as you go round at your own pace, giving you a chance to admire how grand the palace itself actually is. Just look at those chandeliers! They weren't even the biggest ones either and some of the pieces of artwork which were there were simply beautiful. It didn't take long to get around the places you could go but it was definitely worth a visit if you like this sort of thing!

The Anne Frank Museum
We couldn't visit Amsterdam without a visit to Anne Frank's House, even if it did mean waiting in line for three and a half hours. Yup you read that right - three and a half hours. We tried to get there for it opening at 9am and although we got there for 8:45am the queue was already round the streets! It was such a thought provoking and emotional experience to be in the house where she and her family hid for all of those years and I can't really explain how it felt to walk around the very rooms that they stayed in. Her father wanted the house to stay empty to symbolise the lives that were lost during the war and it the walls were lined with extracts from her diary. At the end, you actually get to see the diary itself along with the pages Anna rewrote a lot of her writing on so it was both amazing and so sad to be able to see something so tragic and of such historical significance. A must-see in Amsterdam!

The Museums
Amsterdam is renowned for its artwork and we weren't disappointed. It is home to museums like the Rijksmuseum where the famous Iamsterdam letters are and the Van Gogh Museum, as well as small independent galleries containing beautiful pieces from up and coming artists. We visited the Rijksmuseum where they had a few exhibitions on, including a Van Gogh inspired exhibition which included sculptures and paintings inspired by Van Gogh's work or indeed himself. The artists stood alongside their work and were talking to visitors and admirers - the photos here really don't do their work justice! 

Otherwise known as the floating flower market. I love flowers (obviously, I'm a fashion blogger!) so this was high on my list of things to see. I definitely wasn't disappointed as the market runs right down the canal and smell absolutely divine. You can pick up beautiful flowers or even seed kits to grow your own Dutch tulips when you get home which I thought was a lovely idea. 

The Sex Museum and The Red Light District
Although these two things aren't together I thought I'd tackle them in one paragraph. First up we have the Sex Museum. This was right in the centre of Amsterdam and if you visit here, please bear in mind that what has been seen can never be unseen haha! It was definitely an experience to visit this place and it was only €4 admission each so we couldn't miss it. It was the most bizarre and weird place I have ever been in my life and these two photos were the only ones that were appropriate enough for me to include in this post! Put it this way: I took a selfie in front of a penis that was 7 feet tall and that sums the place up exactly ha! If you are a bit of a prude you will probably want to steer clear of this particular museum but I actually found it to be quite fun, awkward and a little disturbing all in one! The Red Light District was another one we couldn't miss. I don't think I would be able to forgive myself if I didn't take a walk down this infamous street. Let me tell you, it was bizarre and I have never seen anything like it in my life! I won't say much more than that and I'll let you see for yourself if you ever do visit Amsterdam but these two things were an experience that I'm not sure my innocent mind is ever going to recover from haha!

Let me know if you've been to Amsterdam or plan to in the future! I personally loved it!

Amy x

p.s. if you enjoy reading Salt and Chic (which I really hope you do!) I would be over the moon if you could nominate me for a North East Blog Award in the category "Best Instablogger." Click HERE and simply fill in the form. Thank you so much!
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