I am going to split these blogs into several parts so it isn’t a giant novel for you to read, so you can enjoy it in small doses.
It’s been a few days since I touched back down to England, my best friend Lax and I decided to take a weekend trip to Amsterdam. I want to write it all down before I forget the small minute details of our time in Holland. But one of the first things I was confused about was, is Holland and Netherlands the same thing?
Netherlands is a collection of regions, whereas Holland is considered: Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague which is also part of the Netherlands as a collective, more info here!. So now that this is cleared up, let me begin by telling you about my short but sweet trip to the DAM.
I flew from Southampton airport on Friday afternoon, the flight took a total of one hour, I didn’t realise just how close Amsterdam really was. Holland is one hour forward, so I landed at 4pm. Schipol airport is very big, I would compare it to the likes of Heathrow, there are a lot of gates but it is all easy to navigate to and from. At the airport I met my best friend of 16 years at the arrivals gate, in fact as I got my camera ready to VLOG our reunion, I looked through the crowd, but she was nowhere to be seen, I quickly put my camera away and rang her, and she told me she was at the opposite gate, not the one I was in! After some giggles, we were reunited and we made our way to the shuttle to Amsterdam central station. We paid 17.50 euros for a 3 day travel card however this did not include the airport shuttle into the centre. Airport shuttles cost 5.20 euros each way.
Also we quickly realised that everyone in Amsterdam spoke great English, so it was very easy to ask for information or directions as and when needed.
We managed to get to central fairly quickly, the shuttle only took us just under 15 minutes. When we got to central, we had to find the tram to our friend’s apartment which was in a place called Ijburg. But before we ventured further, we decided to hunt for the ‘no1 chips in Holland’ and boy were we excited, not only because it’s one of the food allures of Holland but also that my friend had recommended it. It was after a 6 minute walk straight from the station that we found the chip vendor ‘Mannekenpis’ (meaning little man pee in English). The queue was pretty big, but it didn’t take long before I had the little blue cone in my hand, filled to the brim with hot thick cut chips and a lot of mayonnaise. Lax and I excitedly tasted one, and both of us looked at each other and said, ‘these are just like fish and chips chips’. And that’s exactly what I thought, and it’s probably better from your local chippie as it would be a lot cheaper. A medium cone set us back nearly 5 euros with the mayonnaise which cost extra! All in all, you can totally do without the chips, and save your money for something else.
We took in the scenery and this will probably seem really strange but every time I am somewhere new, I like to take a deep breath in and compare the smells of different places that I’ve been to. Amsterdam smelt familiar, perhaps a little sweeter than the air in England, but then again it may have been all the stale marijuana in the air, which cannot be avoided fyi.
As we headed back to get our tram to Ijburg, we learned that crossing the road isn’t like crossing it here in England. You not only have to watch out for cars and buses, but in Amsterdam, there are also, trams, bikes, scooters and motorbikes on top of that coming at you from all directions, so it’s best to wait for the green man to cross. We learned that the hard way when we were constantly screaming as we nearly met our fates with death on several occasions, so be warned!
Next post: The Red Light District & an encounter with a free sausage tasting…