This post almost certainly won’t contain the kind of thing that you think it will. I’ve just got back from a few days in Amsterdam – I had an awesome time, and thought it would be worth posting up a few bits and bobs that I learned when I was there.
Airbnb is better than a hotel
We managed to get hold of a studio apartment through Airbnb, for about £100 per night. The location was great, right in the middle of the city, and it made a good base that we could pop back to during the day if we wanted to. Much less hassle than a hotel, and probably cheaper too.
Next time I travel, I’ll definitely be looking out for places on Airbnb before I go hunting for reasonable hotels. Once you’ve got a good review on there, it becomes much more likely that a host will accept your request to stay in their property.
London needs paper Oyster cards
Amsterdam’s trams and buses run on a system with exactly the same concept as London’s Oyster cards – touch in at the start of your journey, and touch out at the end (even on trams and buses). It’s time-based, and there’s no such thing as zones. The time starts from your first check-in, so you could buy two 24h tickets at the same time, and start using them whenever you want.
However, the best thing is that the cards (called ‘OV-chipkaart’) you get are made from paper as opposed to plastic. They contain an RFID tag and are printed by a self-service machine, just like other paper tickets. The advantages? No deposit, making it easier for travellers/visitors. I’ve lost track of the number of Oyster cards I’ve lost to visiting friends…
Amsterdam has awesome restaurants
No surprise here, given that it’s one of Europe’s most popular cities, but this point is more of an excuse to highlight some of the excellent places we ate in!
An unassuming Greek restaurant, literally run by two people. Meat-heavy (in a great way), and reasonably priced. We had the ‘special plate’ which essentially consisted of one of everything. Looked like it had a nice place to sit outside when the weather is nicer.
Very laid back. There’s no menu: a waitress will pull up a chair and explain what’s on the menu to you, as it seems to change all the time. If it’s available, the steak with goat’s cheese and strawberry sauce was much nicer than it sounds. Also looked like a great place to relax with a coffee or beer during the day.
Firstly, look past the name. Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony, so there’s a bit of a link here. This small, modern restaurant serves really good Thai food. Slightly more expensive, but very much worth it – we had one of the set menus. Phone up and book in advance if you can, because it’s fairly small and it got pretty busy.