I had a whistle stop tour of Amsterdam with my Mum at the end of last last week, she was there for business and I decided to tag along (yay for airmiles!). Amsterdam is one of those places I've always wanted to see so when the opportunity came to go I jumped at the chance so off we went at 4:00am for an hours flight into Schiphol Airport. Once my Mum had finished her meetings and I had had a nap we spent the rest of the day ambling through the tiny canal lined streets past suspicious smelling cafes and dodgy looking shops (yeah THAT kind!). That was when we realised we were probably going in the wrong direction! It was an eye opener to say the least and no, I didn't go anywhere near the red light district or the dodgy cafes!
It really is a beautiful city with such quirky architecture that's so different to the British architecture I'm used to. Apparently there used to be a tax on how wide you built your house hence all the strangely slim buildings squashed in next to each other that Amsterdam is so famous for. It really is a beautiful, unique city and so picturesque!
After some lunch and a little shopping, we successfully managed to avoid being run down by the hundreds of people on bikes whizzing through the streets and made it to our canal pizza cruise for a guided tour of the city. It was a slightly strange set up, you chose which pizza you wanted before you boarded and 15 minutes in to the tour we stopped to pick them up. We did expect to get a table to ourselves considering we'd paid good money for it but by the time we got there all the tables were taken so we had to share. Thankfully we sat next to a really lovely young couple from Australia who were holidaying their way around Europe. They were really chatty so thankfully no awkwardness there.
Unfortunately one place I missed out on seeing was Anne Frank's House, her story is one I've always been fascinated by since reading her diaries when I was younger. I managed to see the building from the outside but the queue to go in was huge, even at half past eight at night so there was no way we were going to get tickets. If I ever visit again, I'll be sure to book tickets way in advance!
Amsterdam is definitely one of those cities that you can see in a day quite happily. I didn't really know much about the place before I went there so I had no idea what to see and where to go. I may well have missed all the good stuff without realising! But do you know what, I really enjoyed just wondering around aimlessly! It's much more laid back than most other cities and has such a great feel about it that you don't feel as if you need to rush, I'd highly recommend a weekend visit!