3 days in Amsterdam: Our First Travel Disasters

Amsterdam

As soon as we arrived in Amsterdam, everything seemed to go wrong. This is where the deposit from Vélib bikes in Paris came back to bite us. We had all of our travel money stored on one shared travel-card for ease and this is what we used to pay for the bike deposits. When we arrived at our hostel, we were horrified to find that we didn’t have enough money left on the card to pay. We had hardly any money left at all. At first we were completely confused and shocked- where on earth had our money gone? Then, we realised. The deposit takes a week to get returned onto your card. €450 was just gone. We’d get it back in a week of course but we needed the money now, otherwise we’d not be able to pay for our hostel, we’d be homeless in Amsterdam… HELP… We called up the Vélib helpline and they were adamant there was nothing they could do to speed up the process. Eventually, Lyd agreed to transfer money from her normal bank account onto the travel card for us to use for now but the travel-card company blocked her payment. I don’t recommend Revolut travel-card company at all! They demanded details from her debit card to authorise the payment, but she’d left that at home. The whole reason she had a travel card was so she didn’t need to take her debit card abroad… Why would she bring both cards?! Eventually, after hours sitting and moping outside a bakery, surrounded by the beautiful aromas of Dutch pastries without any money to buy food, we got our money transfer authorised. A lot of shouting down the phone finally succeeded and we crawled back to our hostel exasperated.

amsterdam, netherlands, europe, travelWe stayed in Flying Pig Uptown Hostel. I can’t recommend this place enough for young travellers and backpackers. The staff were incredibly friendly, easy to talk to and sympathetic about our situation. The decor was quirky, the facilities were clean and the bar and smoking rooms had just an amazing atmosphere. You could get pizza and pot noodles for cheap at the bar if you couldn’t be bothered to venture out for lunch. We were also so happy to have a warm shower after our three days of solely baby-wiping in Paris! The location wasn’t exactly central but we were right next to Vondelpark and the Rikjmuseum, so we weren’t complaining.

amsterdam, netherlands, europe, travel

Awesome hotel decor!

On our first night, we decided to wander into the centre and check out some coffee shops and the Red Light District. We tried out a few different bars on the way in but they were pretty expensive. Quite far into the city, we found a coffee shop that looked decent and bought our first bag of legal weed- a strange experience. We settled for what the ‘menu’ described as fairly weak stuff, thinking we didn’t want to go too mad on our first night. The menu lied. Half an hour later, we were wandering the streets of Amsterdam laughing like banshees at nothing. Deciding the best thing would be to go back to the hostel and relax, we were faced with the task of finding the hostel. Anyone who’s been to Amsterdam knows the whole city is regularly divided up into a grid by canals, every road is straight, every road looks the damn same. It still surprises me now that we actually made it back that night in the dark, complete strangers to the city and high as kites. My navigation skills are clearly better than I get credit for.

amsterdam, netherlands, europe, travel

What to see in Amsterdam:

Vondelpark

This is an adorable park about 10 minutes walk from city centre. There was a free jazz festival going on whilst we were there, with food stalls scattered everywhere and live tunes- it had a really lovely vibe. Ask people at your hostel what’s going on in the next few days for tips on current events- we wouldn’t have known about this event without ours. Don’t forget to hire a bike for a couple of hours and ride around the park (luckily in Amsterdam they don’t require an extortionate deposit) if it’s nice weather!

amsterdam, netherlands, europe, travel

Vondelpark

Red Light District

Visit the Red Light District at nighttime for an interesting night out. The whole place is full of places to drink and smoke and you don’t want to miss Amsterdam’s most famous attraction-prostitutes. Watching prostitutes dance in the windows was quite a surreal experience. It feels it should be a TV screen… but its not. Our hostel had group outings that took you around the best bars, so if you’re travelling alone, it’s easy to make friends.

amsterdam, netherlands, europe, travel

One of the cuter coffee shops!

Sex Museum

Everyone visits Amsterdam’s infamous sex museum for the laughs and to get a picture with the human sized giant penis statue (see mine below). However, it turns out to be an incredibly interesting experience. You get to learn about the history of porn, history of sadomasochism, see pictures of the longest dicks and the strangest fetishes- what’s not to love?!

amsterdam, netherlands, europe, travel

‘avin a cuddle

We used the AH supermarket on Van Baerlestraat near the Van Gogh museum a couple of times to buy more picnic-type food because restaurant prices were all expensive. I recommend this supermarket if you’re planning on doing the same, they have a large fresh food section with fresh sushi and and delicious smoothies. Go to Broodbaker Simon Meijssen on the same street (2 minutes from Vondelpark) for the most awe-inspiring choice of pastries you’ll ever witness. Mini pizzas, muffins, cakes, croissants, pies, bread… everything we bought from there was so fresh and delicious. Candy Freaks on Nieuwe Hoogstraat is home to an overwhelming number of sweets if you want to cause yourself pain (that you can’t buy all of it). They have buckets of Nutella… BUCKETS! 

  • Prices: 5/10
  • Accommodation: 10/10
  • Veggie options: 8/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Favourite spot: Vondelpark

Amsterdam was a fun experience- we met our two friends from Leeds so it was lovely to see them after ages and explore the city all together. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see everything the city had to offer as I came down with a kidney infection whilst I was there, which was bloody awful. It wasn’t on the same level as Paris or Budapest but the canals and Dutch architecture were pretty. I definitely recommend for a weekend break if you live nearby.

amsterdam

Much love <3

amsterdam, netherlands, europe, travel

 

25 Comments

  • Reply
    Baja Rancho La Bellota
    May 12, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Hello there, thanks for following us, you have a lovely blog. What beautiful places you’ve been too. 🙂

  • Reply
    micahlynne
    May 12, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    I loved Amsterdam when I visited last summer!

  • Reply
    courtenay86
    May 12, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Oh my goodness, Tasha! This is beautiful. You’ve had some incredible adventures. I love your “voice”!

  • Reply
    hwrightxo
    May 12, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I got a pic with the giant dick as well haha!! xx

  • Reply
    Wild Wild Basch
    May 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    That’s is a huge penis! Aahah, just kidding.

    I’ve never been to Amsterdam, but I’ve been to Rotterdam and Eindhoven during a road trip across Benelux.

    I got to try the very famous coffeeshop but not the red light district, or at least not in Amsterdam but I did try it in Belgium. There are 3 red light district streets in Brussels. Avenue Louise, Gare du Noord and a 3rd one which I don’t remember the name.

    The only one I’ve been to was Gare du Noord after begging my girlfriend over and over again to come with me to the “windows”… and she did, holding my hand really tight!

    I will try to visit the Netherlands once more in a near future 😉 and this time I’ll be heading to Amsterdam!

    Cheers!

  • Reply
    rebbit7
    May 12, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Nice, you went to Amsterdam! I went back in April, and while I didn’t smoke weed, I tried a space cake, which was, well, quite the experience…Glad to see that everything got sorted, though, in terms of money and paying for your hostel! Looking forward to more posts from you. 🙂

  • Reply
    Alex Rocha Cruz
    May 12, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I don’t know what was the best part, if the sex museum or the Candy Freaks shop with all those buckets of Nutella, could we have a nutella sex museum? that would be perfect haha, nice post:)

  • Reply
    destinationaddiction
    May 13, 2016 at 5:43 am

    I love the way you write about your adventures, great read!
    And I know what you mean about trying to find your way back to the hostel at the end of the day… almost impossible haha everything looks the same and the canals don’t help with that either :p

  • Reply
    shaunbremner
    May 14, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Thanks for checking out our blog.
    This was a great read, I loved Amsterdam, sounds like you had a great time too !
    Agree with every road looking the same. It’s a nightmare once you’ve been in a few coffee shops !
    http://www.placesxspaces.com

  • Reply
    The travel bug bit me… | worldinsidemypocket
    May 19, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    […] September 2015, I took a mini European break through Budapest, Paris and Amsterdam with my best friends Cloé and Lyd. The trip was a spontaneous decision. We knew we didn’t […]

  • Reply
    pepperandlace
    May 19, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for checking out my blog! You are a great writer and I was completely drawn in to your situation (glad that money transfer worked out!) and enjoyed your descriptions. Vondelpark is really nice and I agree about the Red Light District feeling like you should be watching it on TV. I felt both a bit creepy and entirely intrigued at the same time. Lovely blog!

  • Reply
    tinyweepanda
    May 19, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I absolutely love the Netherlands! This country is just magical! If you go back, I would suggest visiting Leiden which is a pretty cool student town 🙂 I get what you mean about their weed being really strong, I had half a space cake and started seeing wolves on the street! Terrifying! lol

  • Reply
    markrambleson
    May 21, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Great post! I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times. Usually I stay at the Flying Pig Downtown everytime, but it’s nice to know the Uptown is just as good!

  • Reply
    LilMissKaty
    May 23, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Oh what a nightmare! Glad it all got sorted and you were able to carry on with the adventure!

  • Reply
    chnimill
    May 24, 2016 at 7:58 am

    That awesome that you went to the sex museum! Wish we would have had time to do that while we we’re in Amsterdam. Great blog post!

  • Reply
    I'll Be Right Back
    June 10, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    I’ve completely resonate with your card problems! When I went to Thailand an ATM swallowed my and card and my pre-paid post office card never worked! (It’s put me off pre-paid cards for life) and then when I went to Eastern Europe I actually had my bank card cloned and money was withdrawn from my account from all over the world! Now I always carry my debit card, a prepaid card just in case and a credit card with me so I will never be caught short! I’ll be writing a post about these experiences soon so hopefully you can check them out! 🙂

  • Reply
    mattg93
    June 11, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Great blog Natasha, spent a little while reading them and maybe I could pick up a few things from your writing techniques 😀 Thanks for the likes 🙂

  • Reply
    sibay
    June 28, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    is the font in your theme did you purchase them? it looks fab!

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