Adventures in Old Amsterdam

I’ve been fortunate enough to grace the quirky city of Amsterdam, not once but twice. The first occasion was in primary school on an educational field trip, the second time as a shared weekend away during my student years. Needless to say there was quite an age gap between both experiences, but both were equally enjoyed. In truth I saw a lot more on in my younger years, but then I also had four days, not two. I travelled with my sister and fellow classmates as a child, but the second trip was a little different as I partnered with my boyfriend + friends.

We journeyed by coach, via a ferry from Dover through the night and arrived, weary-eyed, on the cobbled streets the following day. Needless to say a strong coffee was overdue, so our group went in search of a venue along the canal. I sat with my hot chocolate, swiping away what I though might be mosquitoes. Having rested after intermittent sleep, we split off to visit separate attractions and my boyfriend and I made off in some direction |(goodness knows which) to explore the varied areas of the city.

In time we came to cross a love lock bridge and decided to join in on the fun. Purchasing a lock from a near-by store, we signed our names with a heart and searched for a vacant chain on which to clasp our lock. I often wonder if it’s still there. A part of me is sceptical, but I really hope that it is. I keep saying I need to one more visit to find out.

After a lot of walking we eventually came to the Anne Frank House, another key attraction of the city. I’d been before on my previous trip, but I only had a vague recollection and was keen to-revisit, re-engaging in the heart-breaking history of life behind the bookcase.

It was very busy, we had to queue for a while…

That evening we went out with friends and soaked up a taste of the nightlife downtown. Sampling the local beer, we spent a couple of hours out n’ about, whilst others sampled local delicacies of a different kind… Keen to steer clear, we made a beeline for a burger joint and crashed on the floor that night.

The following day we split again as my boyfriend and I headed for the central station to catch a bus out of town. Having visited this place a child, I was keen to share the experience and revisit an area of tradition and heritage – a place that seems a world away from the bustling city streets.

Zaanse Schans is a historic neighbourhood of tranquillity and culture on the outskirts of the city. Here you can climb working windmills scattered across the flatland plains, watch local edam and gouda cheeses being made, or linger in quaint antique shops, hidden between the garden of wooden houses. There is even a small museum/workshop dedicated to the crafting of wooden shoes otherwise known as clogs. Far from being comfortable they are at least decorative to oogle at.

Watching clogs being made in a workshop demonstration.

Stood in front of Holland’s infamous windmills.

Many misadventures ensued during our time here and I could post so many more pictures. Watch out for a detailed post on Zaanse Schans coming your way soon. It was such a beautiful place that it took up most of the day, but we finished our city break with an evening river boat cruise down the canals. Unfortunately my few pictures from the cruise came out blurry. So delight in this picture of some cute and quirky local architecture (with tram) instead.

We did consider venturing into the infamous ‘red light district’ but never quite got round to it. Perhaps something worth uncovering in future? If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam, I’d love to hear of your experiences too.

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