Awestruck in Amsterdam - Things to Do and Where to Go

Awestruck in Amsterdam: Things to Do and Where to Go

Uncover the secrets of Amsterdam with Monique as she travels the Netherlands. Its stunning scenes will enthral. You will find XXX everywhere... Curious yet?

I never thought that I would one day visit Europe. Fortunately, some good friends of mine who are currently residing in Amsterdam invited me to stay with them! Thanks to the low-peak travel period, my return flight with Emirates cost me about SGD 900! And so I flew to Europe for the very first time.

My stay in the Netherlands was short but fulfilling. I spent most of my six days there exploring the magnificence that surroundedA�meA�- A�unique architecture and beautiful scenery. First, let’s talk Amsterdam! What are the best things to do in Amsterdam?

See XXX everywhere in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is at the heart of the country. Between the clusters of tall buildings separated by canals and rivers running through the entire city, you will find things that are rather unusual and controversial. Don’t be too surprised to see pot shops, sex museums and XXX symbols plastered everywhere!

So what’s with this XXX code?

Back in the days when Amsterdam was still a small shipping port, it had the codename a�?XXXa�� and ships registered in Amsterdam would carry a flag with this codename. Today the coat of arms of Amsterdam is the official symbol of the city.

The a�?Xa�� found on the coat of arms is the religious sign of the St Andrewa��s cross. For those who dona��t know, St Andrew was martyred by crucifixion on an X-shaped cross. This sign is found everywhere in the city and you can try spotting the triple Xa��s around!

Getting around on foot, riding a bike and on a boat

Cycling is a relaxing way to get around the city but Amsterdam is not just for cycling. For the romantic souls, you can go on an idyllic boat ride down the canals.

Famous tourist attractions include the Rembrandt Square, red light district, Heineken Experience and the Anne Frank House. Transport-wise, as these places are all centred around the Central Station, you can get there on foot.

For the museums, however, you need to take the tram as they are located further down in the city. The trams are actually the most reliable and convenient mode of transport. I recommend getting the iAmsterdam card that works for the tram, metro, and bus. The card also comes with a guided map so you will be all prepared for your adventure in the city! As an added bonus, the card will also grant you free access to famous attractions, a free canal cruise, discounts on concerts, theatres, restaurants and more.

Finally, it is a must to go on a bike tour to truly experience Amsterdam. Ita��s a cheap and fun activity that you can do there. I joined the Yellow Bike Tour for 25 Euros. For three hours, you will be led by a tour guide who will guide you to various famous tourist spots in Amsterdam.

Visiting Van Gogh and Anne Frank

The three museumsA�located at the Museumplein are Van Gogh Museum,A�Rijksmuseum, andA�Stedelijk Museum.A�As I love impressionism and Vincent Van Gogh also happens my favourite painter of all time, I was thrilled to see his artwork. I saw the famous and authentic sunflower painting!

Sadly, I did not manage to visit the hidden annex where Anne Frank spent her days hiding, writing her word-famous diary, and surviving on smuggled potatoes. The queueA�for itA�was way too long and I had very limited time. A useful tip a�� take note of the opening hours because some attractions open till late on certain days and there will be fewer people and shorter lines at later times!

Vintage shopping and cheese tasting

Like most ladies, I get the impulse to go shopping, especially when travelling. Ita��s nice to come back with souvenirs for my loved ones and mementos for myself.

I hunted down the local market AlbertCuypt for food products like Dutch cheese, Stroopwaffles, and rare local vegetables like white asparagus. Dutch cheese are delicious! Some come with infused flavours like truffle, pesto and spicy herbs! I also visited the iconic Waterlooplein Flea Market for antique collectibles and vintage goods.

I didna��t buy that many things though, as the goods were too old and worn. Nevertheless, it was still interesting to browse through the rare antiques and vintage items for sale.

Clockwise from the top left: AlbertCuypt Market, Waterlooplein Flea Market, De 9 Straatjes, Local souvenirs

At De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets), there are 9 lanes populated with shops selling vintage clothes, little knick-knacks, books, and also some artsy cafes. I was thrilled to find accessories and craft materials that are hard to find in Asia. The prices were seemingly reasonable but I had to constantly remind myself that they were in Euros. There are vintage thrift boutiques too, but most of the clothes there were not suitable for my smaller Asian frame. Regardless, De 9 Straatjes is a great place to explore and shop!

Clockwise from the top left: pannekoek (pancake), Patats and Falafel pitas and cheese platter. A�#vegetarian #yums

I loved the atmosphere in the evening as the lampposts lit up, one by one, illuminating the city as night fell. I spent a good amount of time sketching towns and buildings, accompanied by a cup of hot beverage or a glass of wine at the outdoor cafes dotted along the streets. Before I knew it, it was time for me to depart from this beautiful city to see what else the Netherlands had to offer. I fell in even more in love with where I went next.

Inspired? Start planning your trip to the NetherlandsA�withA�TripZilla Travel Packages!

Image credits: Monique Ang

About Author

Monique Ang

Inspired by the adventure stories captured in books and movies, Monique found the impulse to travel and see the world in multicolours. She enjoys the wanders that add to her collection of imageries, stories, and fellowships that shape new insights and inspire her artistic pursuits.

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