Amsterdam is one of the popular and a top tourist destination in Europe. Between 2012 and 2015, the annual number of visitors rose from 10 million to 17 million. The number of visitors has been growing steadily over the past decade. It’s museums, small working streets, beautiful parks, historic structure of canals, liveness in city center, Dam square, the unique red light district all make it a favorable and attractive city. You can find hundreds of pages in google about all sought after sightseeing destinations, their history, their rating etc. But the practical experience is a unique feeling for each tourist. Today I will share my “voyage” with you.
As soon I came off the Airport, I saw “I AMSTERDAM”, the iconic sign of Amsterdam, and I wondered what is it saying? I found that the sign tells us “I choose Amsterdam for business. I choose Amsterdam for education. I choose Amsterdam for inspiration. I choose Amsterdam as my home. I am Amsterdam.” (Quoted from http://www.iamsterdam.com/). It’s part of branding the city. It represents the theme of Amsterdam. Like the way we have the tag lines for each product in market.
I found another same sign near Rijksmuseum, a national museum located in Museum Square, South of Amsterdam. People were climbing on the letters, taking photos. I got lost in the collage of pictures of other people in this sign. On a beautiful day, weather wise, I bet it will be difficult to spot yourself in your own picture in front of this sign, considering the throng of people around.
The best way to roam in the city is to take the day pass for one or multiple days. It makes your movement within the city very convenient, as far as you know where to go, otherwise you can always take a tour. But the enjoyment in looking into the maps, find new place, get lost in the streets has a different joy than being guided by someone else. However, I took a day pass to wander around the city, like a free bird in the sky with no destination but still reaching somewhere.
I am totally amazed by the use of bike in city. An estimated of 800,000 bikes are in the city. 63% of Amsterdammers use their bike on a daily basis and number of cars are approximate 263,000. I fell in love with this culture. Rather than going to the gym daily for workout, it’s better to ride a bike in fresh air. It looked to me that people have number of bikes and leave those in different locations to ride it someday. You will see bikes parked in huge lots, locked around the corner and even on the side of canals. Oh Canal…
Amsterdam has more than one hundred kilometers of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. It’s beautiful and historical structure make your boat trip worth remembering. You will see boat house, people having parties on boats and people rowing their boats even with their dogs.
The Red light area leaves nothing to the imagination. It is very likely that when the name Amsterdam comes up, one of the places that pop up in your mind is the “Red Light Area”. You would have heard about this neighborhood and to be honest, everything you have heard is probably true , but to really put rumors to rest, you have got to check it out for yourself. You will find women of different nationalities behind the glass making dance moves or standing in attractive skimpy clothes trying to tempt you. You will find couples, groups of people, huge crowd, bars are totally full, people rushing, 3 wheels bikes offering rides around the place, sometimes motorbikes poping up somewhere honking. Whatever it is, you will enjoy the place walking around it.
Amongst all the places I visited in Amsterdam, I highly recommended “Heineken Experience” It costs you Euro 17 or 16, depending if you have a discount. It took me 2.5 hours to take a complete tour. Each attraction has a different experience and you will find yourself taking pictures and lost in the aroma of Heineken.
Few last tip before I end my journey:
- Try to take I Amsterdam pass. It gives you unrestricted transport and entry to a number of museums for free.
- Try all different type of beers.
- Don’t forget to try Genever, A Dutch Gin. You will find it in different favors. Try shots of each.
- Boat trip will make your visit complete
- Be careful with Coffee and Café difference