Amsterdam is such a fun place to visit! What’s even better, you can squeeze so much in, with a short length of time! This is the perfect destination for a long weekend or city break. Not using too much of your annual leave!
I was incredibly lucky to receive an invite to the UniQure head office, to speak about Huntington's Disease. I'm a bit behind on blog posts so this one is still pending!
With this trip in connection with Uniqure, my hotel and flights were booked for me, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I get and stay open and honest about the likes of this. In case anyone is interested, here are my flights and hotel. I did price the flight close to departure, as a family member was thinking of coming with me last minute, and it was around £500 for flights. Im not sure if this was because it was 1 week before, or this is just the price!!
My hotel was the: Hyatt Regency Amsterdam Sarphatistraat 104, Amsterdam, 1018 GV, NL
My room was the usual hotel room, with a double bed, chair, small table, dresser, and ensuite. I loved one feature in my room, On one of the walls, there was a floor-to-ceiling window, with an electric blind. One to dim the light, and one to black it out. It was so pretty waking up in the morning and opening the blind to the typical Amsterdam view of a canal, and boats!
Flights: KLM cabin bag
depart 22 may8.50am and arrives at 11.30
depart 16.05 arrive 16.45
*When I arrived at the airport I did have a car arranged to collect me. There was a huge delay getting down to the passport/visa check. I'm not sure if this was a one-time thing or happens often, so beware of this.
This picture doesn't even do the crowd of people justice!
I arrived on Monday, around lunchtime, and after a quick car ride from the airport to the hotel, I dropped my bag off! I had some time to explore before I met the UniQure team for dinner.
I dropped my bag off at the hotel and set off walking. My biggest recommendation for Amsterdam would be comfy shoes, I covered a lot on foot, and this was a super cheap option to see the city. I also used my network provider's roaming package. Vodafone allows you an 8-day roaming pass (Amsterdam is not included in their roaming, so you will have to pay extra). I got calls, texts, and up to 25GB of data. This cost me £10. If you are traveling longer you can pay £15 for 15 days. Otherwise, you will be charged £2.25 per day!
I always like to have my phone working while abroad, as in Amsterdam Google Maps was my best friend!!
Honestly, when I set out onto the streets I just started walking towards one of the squares, it was beautiful on the way to see all the streets, canals, boats, and honestly the bikes! EVERYWHERE! If you are out walking in Amsterdam, definitely have your head on a swivel! Don't think you are safe on the footpaths, and don't just look for cars when crossing a road. Normally if a bike is coming up behind you, it will ring its bell.
I found myself in Dam Square quite quickly, there are lots to see and do around here, including Madame Tusods and the National Monument. The National Monument was beautiful. To either side of the central figures are two male sculptures, representing members of the Dutch resistance, the left symbolizes resistance by the intelligentsia and the right figure symbolizes resistance by the working classes. Weeping dogs are at their feet representing suffering and loyalty.
Down a side street, I did grab myself a slice of pizza at Pizzeria Hotel Doria, to take down to the canal to enjoy. I was here in May, and I did not expect the heat! I was in jeans and a vest top and was boiled! It was beautiful!! As I relaxed by the canal, watching the world go by, I saw the famous Amsterdam boat tours getting ready. I spoke with a lady and was informed that the boat was being sold at 3 pm, I had some time, so off I went again to explore.
Honestly, Amsterdam is the kind of place you can just wander around, with no clear direction. It's different if there are particular things or places you want to see I guess, but I was happy exploring.
The boat I chose wasn't busy, and you can purchase your ticket right at the side of the canal.
I used Amsterdam E Boat Tours
The boat was beautiful and spacious. Due to it not being busy, and asking nicely, I was able to get the giant bed seat at the nose of the boat. They do normally charge extra for this. My boat ticket was 19.50 Euro, this was for a basic ticket. I think it was 10 euros more for unlimited drinks, but I wasn't able to drink that day, so I opted for a dry boat ride!
After my boat ride, I didn't have a lot of time left before I had to be at dinner, and I wanted some time to freshen up, so I checked out where the Ice Bar was. I had heard so much about ICE bars and was super excited!
I Google mapped it to the door, and paid 26.50 Euro, this got you into the ice bar, coat, gloves, two drinks in the ice bar, and 1 back in the normal bar.
I went in and had to wait for a few minutes for the tour to start, honestly, I think I was just lucky I arrived at the right time. A staff member dressed as what I can only describe as a pirate jumped onto a platform and put on his best pirate accent. We watched a short clip on the TV giving us a bit of a story. It was fun but goofy! After putting on hats, and gloves we went. Holy crap it was cold!! -9.4 to be exact!!
My one tip for inside the ice bar, your glass is made on the ice, and it is 1 per person. You get two drinks, and the drink options are limited. If you order a shot to start and then want a beer, you will get the worst pint of Heinkin you have ever seen because your glass is shot! So, order a beer, and then a shot, or two shots! You get what I mean!
After this, I wandered back to the hotel, taking a left and a right when I decided, I found my way back easily enough and loved taking in the different streets and sights along the way. I did love that close to my hotel, there was a beautiful holocaust memorial. This was beautiful to see, and I walked around to read some of the names of those who lost their life during that time. I recommend finding that!
Monday night I met with one of the guys from UniQure for dinner, we set off walking from the hotel, and honestly just stopped at a little restaurant along the road. We were able to grab a table outside and ordered a few tapas-style traditional Amsterdam dishes.
Tuesday night I ate dinner with guys from the UniQure office, we walked from the Hotel to De Plantage
It was amazing! The food was delicious, and it was so fun overlooking the zoo!
On my final day, I didn't have long before my flight. I set off walking again and visited the remembrance square, I sat at Tante Roosje along the edge of the square and got some brunch. I got a huge pancake. The staff was incredibly friendly, and the decor here was amazing! I did sit outside, as the weather was lovely, and I mean, you have to sit and people-watch!
I didn't realize, that Amsterdam airport at the time I visited was such a mess, I left about an hour and a half to get through security and catch my flight, I was very worried when I arrived back at my hotel to collect my bag and get my car as the receptionist said I would be lucky if I caught my flight. All the flights coming in on landing weren't allowed down to airport control, we were all left standing between barriers at the top of the staircase. Staff would tell us what was going on, or even if we were where we were supposed to be. Honestly, they were incredibly rude! With that experience when I landed, I was scared I would miss my flight home! Luckily I didn't!