February 10, 2009

How we rolled in Amsterdam

How we got there...
It was EasyJet all the way, baby. £50 each and just over an hour in flying time – too easy.

Where we slept...
Clean, basic and super central. For just 60 euros a night, we stayed at Hotel Cafe Corner House. After staying at camping grounds on our short-lived van tour – where you are forced to trek miles into the centre of town each day – it was great to just walk out the door and be smack-bang in central Amsterdam. Situated above a pub, the staff were super friendly and helpful, plus the lingering scent of pot was complimentary! We highly recommend it to the budget traveller.

What we ate...
We really stretched our palettes with traditional Dutch culinary delights such as Big Macs and these weird crumbed chicken pieces from a cosy local haunt called KFC.

Sarcasm aside, in a city where prices are aimed solely at cashed-up tourists, our budget often left us with no other option but to brave the bright lights and beeping tills of McDonald's. We did, however, tuck into hot chips covered in mayonnaise (a Dutch fave, for real), and treat ourselves to a pizza near the Red Light District.

What we did...
While it may come as a shock to the harder partiers among you (and probably a relief to our parents), this was not a pot-smoking, hash-cookie-munching, magic-mushroom-eating trip – we were too busy leering at prostitutes for those kind of shenanigans!

For those not clued up on the ways of Amsterdam's Red Light District, it's basically a few streets filled with windows that are hired out by prostitutes. Each tiny window is equipped with a bed (and a curtain for modesty) and, if you want, the girls will do their business with you there and then. We did devote at least a few hours a day to 'window shopping' – rating the hot, cringeing at the not, laughing at the old men who would come out from their 'appointments'.

While our nights were filled with skanks and hoes, our days were filled with more demure activities. On top of many hours of walking around, there was a trip to Anne Frank House, which was a true highlight – to be standing in Anne's room, looking at the pictures of film stars she had pasted on her wall, and then to see her actual diary, was something special – there was also an afternoon spent whizzing around the compact, canal-filled city on bicycles, and an entertaining canal cruise which allowed us to see Amsterdam from a completely different perspective.

It's such a shame that all our photos were stolen along with our camera when our flat was broken into in November. Amsterdam was a really beautiful, eclectic city and we had a brilliant time there. Now, all we have left are our memories, and, of course, a fridge magnet!