As I explained in my last post, I spent a few days in Amsterdam doing things a little differently. Rather than exploring the city like I normally would, I spent most of my time working indoors at my hotel.
So I'm afraid i don't have any recommendations for you of where to eat or drink this time. HOWEVER I did take myself on a few evening strolls around what can only be described as an incredibly beautiful and scenic city. So I wanted to take you on a little visual tour with me.
Amsterdam is famous of it's canals. It has more than one hundred kilometers of canals and 1,500 bridges, which is kind of crazy! In 2010 the canals were made a UNESCO world heritage site too.
You can take a boat tour down them, or even hire your own for a more fun, day of exploring.
Of course, I had to mention the coffee shops. In Amsterdam, Coffee shops sell coffee and weed. If you just want a regular coffee and cake type of place, head to a cafe. The Coffee shops really are just like a regular coffee shop, except on the menu there is also different types and sizes of weed you can buy. Last time I was in Amsterdam I went on a cannabis tour with a local guide and he explained that whilst it's legal to smoke anywhere in Amsterdam, most people either do it as a social thing in coffee shops (think like going to a bar) or at home. Because it's legal and been normalised for so long now, it's done really respectful.
One thing that really stuck out for me was the housing design. The thin, tall buildings in browns and pastel shades. I find them really cozy and the amount of times I saw people sat on a window seat, reading a book with a glass of wine in their hand was pretty common. I pretty much wanted to shout can I move in?
Of course, Amsterdam is also famous for it's tulips. Tulips originally came from the Ottoman Empire, and their name literally means turban. As the tulip gained popularity, competitions started to pop up amongst growers to see who could produce the most beautiful flowers. They actually became a luxury items in the 1600s and people would pay vast amounts of money for the more rare colours.
Whilst tulips are no longer pricey in Amsterdam, you still see them everywhere. There's even a museum dedicated to their history.
Of course, another big thing is Bicycles. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. I'm not joking, if you haven't been before, then you might not be able to comprehend just how many bicycles there are, but seriously, there are more than 881,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. That’s four times the number of cars.
Although apparently between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles are pulled out of Amsterdam’s canals each year!
For me wandering around on my own, Amsterdam felt incredibly safe, which is so important. I didn't come across a single moment where I was like errr, maybe best not too. The only thing I would say is be careful when your snap happy- not for fear your camera will be stolen, but you might be run over by a bike!
Also yes, if you do get lost or stuck, most people speak English, so whilst I'd always say try to say a few key phrases in the native language, if you get lost, don't be afraid to just ask for help.
People do drive cars, but there is a serious lack of parking space. Because of all the canals, the paths are very narrow and the roads are usually one way. So if you drive to Amsterdam, just be prepared to ditch the car at your hotel and either walk or hire a bike for the remainder of the trip.
Thinking of cars, Amsterdam is pretty environmentally friendly. Not only do they push cycling, but in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint even further, Amsterdam’s airport has bought 167 Tesla Model S taxi as it's taxis! If you don't know what a Model S is, watch my video on them, but in essence, they are a luxury electric car, worth £100,000! That photo above is clearly not one of them.
Whilst yes, I didn't get to spend a huge amount of time over there, I did fall in love with the city. It's peaceful, beautiful and super friendly. The canals make it look like you'd get lost, but if I, Laura Hyatt, the worlds worst navigator can get around without 3G, then I think you can too.