I was lucky enough this year to spend my 21st birthday in now one of my most favourite cities! Allow me to make you fall in love with Amsterdam as much as I did and if you've already visited then lets reminisce together. Enjoy!!
Amsterdam, A.K.A 'The Dam' was pretty septacular and exceeded all my expectations! Me and one of my best friends visited a couple months back for both our 21st birthdays and I couldn't think of a more cute, cool, charming and creative city to have spent this special day :).
Let me run you though the trip and share with you some pic's and stories straight from 'The Dam'. Hope you enjoy reading and comment below if you've ever visited, or if you were to visit where would be your first place to go? Also tweet me @IzzyDriscoll your opinion was of this post, okay Enjoy :)!
House of Bols
I've talked a bit about this insanely cool place in my last post, but I'm going to burn your ears a little more about this place. It is known as the 'ultimate cocktail experience' and it defiantly lived up to this title. Not only is this experience pretty cheap you can also just walk in and start straight away, as soon as you walk in your given a set of earphones talking you through the cocktail museum, I know that may sound boring learning about the history and all that, however it is highly interactive and there are different voices for each character making it actually intresting. Now one of my FAVOURITE parts was the colourful hallway (perfect for the gram) with bottles along the side containing different scents, if you go make sure you smell the banana scent, it was by far the best! Moving on you visit a mini theatre room, you watch a quick video and then a big red button is revealed, and you need to choose weather to press this shiny button or not (no spoilers to what happens, soz) Then at the end of the tour you come to one of the most beautiful bars I have ever seen!! Decorated with beautiful art work, and sculptures. You are shown a computer monitor and get to create your own cocktail, you get to choose the fruit, the style, and the spirit, then one of the friendly bar tenders will make it for you, AND its completely FREE!! We English do love free stuff :) But if you don't enjoy the cocktail, you can simply tell the bartender and they will whip you up something else, with NO ADDED COST! 1000% recommend hitting up this place!
I'm sure you have all seen the pictures of people climbing all over the big IAmsterdam letters, and besides that there isn't much else, HOWEVER! As we went in the winter there was a huge ice rink in front of the letters, which I did not go on as I have the same balance as Bambi on ice. But there was a cool ice bar next to the rink and drinking is more my thing than ice skating so it was all good :) It was such a beautiful spot especially because the previous day it had snowed and it looked super pretty and delicate.
If you like street art, then this is the place to visit! With artwork from Dali and Banksy. Now being honest I mainly visited because I am a HUGE fan of Banksy, he's by far my favourite artist and this museum is filled with original pieces, inspiring quotes and their is a room for each artist that replicates one of their most famous pieces. There is also an outside part with very detailed scupltures on your way out. Again this wasn't very expensive, however we did book tickets ahead of time.
This is more an independent activity, however I'm sure you could find a tour to join, we managed to find our own way around the beautiful canal walk paths. Basically as it gets later in the evening, some canals have lights that go along the bridge or along the actual canal, you can also see some very cool artwork if you look close enough! I really loved doing this walk after dinner, for me it was so surreal seeing so many canals running through this busy city, being from quite a concrete city it was a lovely change, and at times I felt like I was in Venice as some of the canals rises above the houses windows. Defiantly worth seeing as many canals bridges as possible, its not a long walk and you get some great photos! However do look out for bikes, they are everywhere!
Red light District
Now I understand some people aren't okay with prostitution and this is something the city is trying to lower, however I don't see a problem with it, as long as they are being safe, and it all seems very legit. Still with this mindset I was pretty shocked when I first saw the lights, obviously your not allowed to take photos so I had no idea what to expect. After a while is kind of becomes the norm, and the shock factor starts to fade. But no matter what your opinion this is defiantly a tourist part of Amsterdam and something people usually want to check out just to see what its all about. And even if you don't want to see it, you probably will end up walking down a street with some red lights without even realising, their is a main strip but they are also very spread out.
Yes. We had to visit! Fun fact this was actually our first stop, but only because it was the first place we came across as we got of the train, promise :). I must say this museum is EXTREMELY graphic and does not hold back on anything, my inner 13 year old couldn't help but laugh at some of the crazy things that where going on. After a while everything became normal, which was really interesting to me. Being brought up in the UK and going to a UK school sex education was always seen as awkward and a very taboo topic, that everyone tried to avoid talking about for as long as possible. But walking into this museum it was very popular and had people of all ages going in, just showing how different countries deal and act with certain topic's, it was very eye opening for sure. Again I feel like visiting the sex museum is something you just have to do when you go there, just to see what its all about, and trust me even if you think you know what its going to be like, you really don't, its one big surprise for sure.
Of course when in Amsterdam its almost a rule that you have to ride a bike! We actually left this to the last day and I wish we didn't, it was so much fun and easier to get around. I personally am not the biggest fan of cycling but because Amsterdam is very flat and really piorities cyclists it becomes a lot more fun. This being said it can also be scary cycling on the roads as their are both cars, trams and pedestrians so if your not use to cycling in the city then it can become confusing, thats why we mainly cycled around the gorgeous Vondelpark. On a clear blue sky you can really admire the amazing scenes that the park has to offer, it also includes a number of cafe's you can stop by and lots of people all on bikes, or rollerblading, skateboarding, literally anything! We actually saw a group of people on unicycles?!! Even if you don't rent bikes I do recommend just walking though the park as it truly is beautiful.