Amsterdam: Electric boogaloo

We headed back to Amsterdam as we wanted to pick up some souvenirs which we didn’t get to pick up the first time we went as well as to explore more of Amsterdam since it wouldn’t be too cold to travel out and about all day.

Our hotel was about a 2 minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal station which was pretty awesome as they also gave us a free upgrade to the executive suite. Inside the room had a king size bed and after sleeping on a double for so long, the king sized felt so big. Can’t imagine anybody who would ever really need a king sized bed. Maybe for couples where both of them move a lot in their sleep or I suppose really big people.

The one full day we had there was spent exploring a little bit further from central Amsterdam as we spent most of our time there on our previous trip and it was nice to not be crowded by all the tourists and locals crowding the streets. It was interesting to see how less crowded the streets get as you go further out. It’s almost as if the city becomes a small town by how much room you get.

As we were exploring that evening, we heard music in the distance but it was moving towards us. It turned out to be a band of about 30-40 musicians marching towards their destination. We decided to follow them for the rest of the evening and enjoy their show. They handed out a flyer at one point for their group called Ricciotti Ensemble and they have been playing around Amsterdam the entire day and were nearing the end of today’s tour.

After visiting Amsterdam for the second time, I don’t think we’ll hit any other places we’ve already visited as we found that we actually did most of what we wanted to do the first time and we really should be focusing on visiting new places. Still had a great time in Amsterdam and I am glad we got a chance to visit it.

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Amsterdam

If we didn’t end up going with our friend Robin who has been to Amsterdam previously, I think it would have been a bit more stressful getting from the airport to central Amsterdam as most of the signs and terminals start out in their native language.

Seeing their trains was bizzare as they had two levels so people could either go upstairs or downstairs into the train which was really interesting compared to the trains in London but these trains don’t have to go through an underground system that was built a long time ago. We of course went upstairs because that’s where all the cool kids sit.

Once we arrived into central Amsterdam, we made our way to our hostel called Durty Nelly’s Inn to check in and drop off our bags as we didn’t want to carry it around as we explored our first night in Amsterdam. The rooms require you to go upstairs through this stairwell with the smallest and steepest steps I have ever seen.

This is the top half

What I was wondering was the number of people that trip/fall/stumble up/down these stairs.

Having dropped off our stuff, we made our way out into the night to see what was around our hostel. It turned out that we were about a 2 minute walk from the red light district so we checked that out but unfortunately, you are unable to take any pictures while in the area. You can try and take pictures but if you get caught, the guys watching over the area will come and take your camera away to either break it or throw it into the canals so we don’t have any. The red light district was a lot smaller than I thought it was as we explored. Don’t know why I thought it would have been a lot bigger but I suppose there were a lot of girls looking through their windowed paneled doors pointing and trying to pull you in while a fair amount were also just sitting on their stools playing on their cell phones looking bored. Having filled our curiosity of visual boobs, we moved on exploring more.

It turned out to be a lot colder than we thought it would be but we came prepared bringing our Canadian fall jackets and gloves. I think one of the nights actually went down to -15c but we later found out that Amsterdam hasn’t been that cold for almost 12 years and that the canals froze over letting people to go on them. We didn’t try during the night as it was pretty dimly lit over the canals and we couldn’t really tell how safe they were but the next day we found a place where there were lots of people going onto the ice.

It was nice seeing some snow and frozen waters during the winter period as we completely skipped out on our normal winter back home.

We also discovered that the places you buy coffee from are called cafe’s while coffee shops are where you buy other goods which was really confusing and doesn’t make sense to me.

We did a lot of walking around and exploring of Amsterdam and even saw an Anonymous protest of ACTA going on in front of the Royal Palace.

ACTA makes me sad

While exploring we found an optical illusion museum which has one of those classic room illusions where if you stand on one side opposite someone else, one will look a lot smaller than they normally will be.

Puny Leone

Overall, Amsterdam is a beautiful city. All the buildings are unique and each have their own odd shape to them. It was nice that it was less crowded and the snow was a nice touch. Definitely would head back there again sometime in the future.

All Photos of our February 2012 Amsterdam trip