Amsterdam – some cool things to do

by Karisa

Even though we were only in Amsterdam for 3 days, we got quite a bit done.  So… if you ever find yourself in this fantastic city and you’re wondering what you should get up to, here’s my rundown of some things to try:

  1. Eat lots of Stroopwafels (or any kind of waffle in fact) – they are soooo yummy:
  2. Pair that waffle with a mountain of cheese (these folks in the Netherlands certainly love their cheese):
  3. Visit one of the oldest pubs (if not oldest) in Amsterdam, Wynand Fockink, and have a flavoured brandy (or two or three – they really are tasty, and quite sweet):
  4. Pop into a “special” coffee shop – now there was a lot of confusion around whether we as tourists could actually order some special things in these coffee shops or not. We had heard that they now only sell to people with Dutch passports, so we didn’t actually try it.  I can however confirm that you can definitely buy some not-the-cooking-kind mushrooms from various health shops – all above board, nothing to stress about:
  5. Hit the red light district – you can wander around there during the day, but all the action obviously happens at night:
    amsterdam_redlight_dayamsterdam_redlight_nightApologies for the blurry night shots.  But obviously these “ladies of the night” don’t take kindly to being photographed…  We figured we had to at least check out one of those peep show / live porno show things (when in Rome and all that).  So in true travelling on a budget style we went for the cheapest one we could find – 2 euros for a 2min peep show.  Let’s just say it involved a big dude and a rather flexible lady and the booths from where you watch the show needed a very serious clean.  But hey, you get what you pay for. 🙂  We also tried to figure out exactly what a “banana show” entailed and while enquiring about it, we heard the best one liner of the trip from one of the bouncers.  When we asked if the show also involved dudes, the man replied “no no, we don’t sell penis here”.  Righty-o then.  Moving along swiftly…
  6. While you’re in the red light district, do sit down for a beer at the Old Sailor.  It’s a bit gritty, but quite fun at the same time and gets quite busy:
  7. Or perhaps you want to stock up on some very interesting condoms?  The Condomerie is where it’s at folks:
  8. Definitely make some time for a good shopping session – they have some fun, quirky things and pretty much all the big labels as well.  The main shopping area is in and around Kelder street:
  9. Check out the open air market (called the Albert Cuypmarkt) as well as the restaurants and bars in the De Pijp / Oud De Pijp area:

    We met up with some friends there for a lovely dinner… expensive yes (when you converted it to rands), but at least the food was good.


    That cup bottom right was actually some rum spiked hot chocolate from a little cafe just off the market…

  10. Rent a bike or just take a stroll…  we opted for the latter because the bike people are quite hectic in Amsterdam.  They will take you out, so you gotta be a total pro at dodging traffic, pedestrians and other bikes…


    My crew of ladies…

  11. Take a tram ride, cause eventually your delicate tootsies get quite sore from all the walking.  And trams are pretty damn cool too:
  12. Lastly… if you’ve been battling/avoiding that Burger King queue in Cape Town (the fact that it’s still so crazy is absolutely ridiculous btw)… why not save yourself that pain, hop on a flight and go to the Burger King here – there are no queues at all:
IMG_1566Right, that’s my Amsterdam experience in a nutshell.  I really loved this city and will hopefully be able to make a mission back here again some day.  So for now I’m not saying goodbye, I’m just saying tot ziens.


PS.  There’s also a Van Gogh museum, a Rijk Museum and an ice bar in Amsterdam.  But I didn’t get around to checking any of those out.  So that’s just an additional FYI.

PPS. Forgot to mention… peak summer in Amsterdam means around 20 degrees with the likelihood of heavy cloud cover or rain.  So don’t go expecting to be rocking out that bikini every day.

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