26 June 2011

I didn't expect to like Amsterdam that much... but I did... here's why (Sights to see in Amsterdam)

I didn't expect much from Amsterdam. In fact, the only reason why I decided to include it in my Europe itinerary is because I was going to Europe on Spring and it would be a pity to miss its famous tulips in full bloom. Surprisingly, I realized that it had so much more to offer than tulips. There's just something about the vibe of the place that I enjoyed... a vibe which you can't get somewhere else aside from Amsterdam.

Here's a glimpse of the sights you'll see in Amsterdam:

Holland's Tulips:

This deserved a blog of its own... find out more from: Holland's Tulips at the Keukenhof Garden (How to Go and What to See)


Tilted Houses of Amsterdam:

The houses are slanted slightly to one side because the ground in Amsterdam is so unstable. Almost all of the houses are built along canals, where the soil is very soft. For this reason, they're built on underground wooden platforms which tend to shift and sink over time, which in turn makes the houses tilt.

That's actually also why the houses are so tall and narrow. They're built in such a way that they are supported by the houses surrounding them - each one kind of leans on the one next to it. Kind of like dominoes, but potentially much more disastrous.

Red Light District:

You don't have to be interested in paying for sex to enjoy this place. Just watching how things happen (the negotiations, etc.) is already pretty cool. Enjoy looking at colorful windows that feature girls which "come in all shapes and sizes" - an experience that's unique to Amsterdam.

Take note that you're not allowed to take pictures in the Red Light District else you're camera might get thrown into the canal or you might be asked by pimps to pay a fee. I didn't want to risk it so I just grabbed a photo from a website just to show what to expect in Amsterdam's Red Light District. Photo courtesy of: http://amsterdam-red-light-district.info/

Here's another window which might catch your attention in the Red Light District

How about watching a live show (Cost: EUR26 or Php1,560)? Didn't like it the Amsterdam way though... very commercial.

Amsterdam is also famous for its "coffeeshops". However, I didn't dare try them. If you're interested, the "substance" is also present in cake, pizza, hotdog and waffle (aside from being in raw form). You might like observing how those who "tried" behave. They say they're pretty harmless but you may want to just stay safe. 

Amsterdam Canal Cruise:

This is the best way to see Amsterdam in the most efficient manner. I paid EUR21 but I found it worth it because you get to see Amsterdam's best neighborhoods, private moments, boathouses, famous landmarks, and other interesting stuff (e.g., A DHL boat used in delivering).


I enjoyed seeing boathouses while I was on the Amsterdam Canal Cruise. At first I thought they were just for show until I saw people really using them.

Dam Square:

The Dam in AmsterDam. Lots of crowds but worth the visit nonetheless. 

Bike Around:

Amsterdam is such a bike city and the pictures below serves as evidence. They have multilevel bike parking slots!

Amsterdam Centraal Train Station:

One of the grandest, if not the grandest, train stations. It feels like an airport inside also. 


Snacks in a vendo machine

Anne Frank House:

No explanations needed. This is the house of the famous Anne Frank. Pictures aren't allowed inside and of course I didn't want to take the risk. Prepare to line up for quite a while but it moved quite fast in my experience. Entrance is EUR8.50 (Php510) for adults. 


Didn't get the chance to go inside as my time in Amsterdam (especially in the city) was very limited (less than half a day). 

Gabled Houses: 

"Most buildings have a facade which is actually leaning forward and a big hook attached at the top. Why? Because all the furniture you want to move in- or out of the house has to be lifted through the windows, the staircases are far too narrow and too steep to allow any manoeuvres (even with a suitcase!). The hook at the top is for the rope on which the furniture is lifted and the leaning front helps you move things up." - virtualtourist.com

Simply Roam Around:

Just walk around and you'll chance upon some very interesting sights and worth noticing architecture. 

Your pet can sit comfortably while you're in the salon/parlor

Eat Surinamese Food:

Saw this restaurant somewhere near the Red Light District and decided to try it. The foodie in me didn't want to let the chance pass because I doubt if I'll get the chance to go to Suriname and eat Surinamese food. It's delicious!

Surinaamse Bami met Moksi Meti (Fried Noodles with Mixed Meats (pork and chicken)) for EUR7 (Php420)

Rijst Kerrie Kip Speciaal (Rice with Curried Chicken Special) for EUR7 (Php420)

Too bad I only had a full day to roam around Amsterdam. Can you imagine I had to fit in all of those I've featured (including my trip to Keukenhof Garden) all in a day?! I know there's a lot else to see in Amsterdam so I'm not claiming to be an expert. This includes the Heineken Experience, Van Gogh Museum, Vodka Museum, and Diamond Factory Tour among others. I sincerely hope to get the chance to go back to this surprisingly appealing city.