One beer in Amsterdam

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So, our first stop for this trip: Amsterdam. I’ve been here once before, almost seven years ago, also in the winter, then in January, now in November. I regret not having visited the city in the summer yet (I’ve heard it’s magical) especially considering that I live less than three hours away, but well it just didn’t happen. So, my first tip: come here preferably in the summer. 🙂

Now,  we arrived here today. We traveled from Cologne by train (we bought the tickets at the Deutsche Bahn website) and it was comfortable and quick (2,5 hours ride). One negative point of this trip was that even tho they claimed to offer free wifi on the train, it simply didn’t work. So, if you are planning to work/entertain yourself during your journey, please do make some arrangements so you can do it offline or with some other way to stay connected.

Then, we started proceeding to arrive at the hotel. We are staying near to the airport. I’m saying “started proceeding” because it took longer than it normally should have. The first thing we were reminded of, was that one should ALWAYS read the boundaries of the city bus & tram pass. We bought the Amsterdam Travel Ticket for our whole stay. It covers Amsterdam + Airport and costs 26€ for three days. You don’t always need such a ticket, but in this case we found it very useful, because our hotel (a very nice Christmas gift from our family, btw, thank you Andy and Santari! 🙂 ) is near to the airport, so as much as we like to walk around the city, the way home must be made by tram.

Now here is our anecdote: we arrived in the Central Station of Amsterdam at 17:40 and bought the passes but didn’t really looked for the boundaries within we could use them, so we put the hotel address into Google maps and started our journey as it was suggested. – Here may be a second thing I’ve learned today: be aware that Google maps won’t advise you about which ticket you should purchase for the ride or if yours will do it. – We got out at one station beyond our ticket area and couldn’t get out of the station, we also couldn’t catch a train back to the Amsterdam area covered by our tickets, and we also couldn’t check our tickets out after this trip (which would lead to their invalidation). Btw, we also aren’t able to buy tickets from inside the station, only from one machine outside. Well, after pleading to the train company worker on the “sos phone booth” at the station that it wasn’t on purpose and that we just didn’t see the ticket boundaries, he let us out. He wasn’t very friendly, but cool we were out. 🙂
The next interesting thing was buying tickets to go back to the Amsterdam area. We decided to go to the airport and catch a shuttle bus to the hotel (as we should have done in the first place). Only one ticket machine sold cards where we were, and it seemed to have a problem because we couldn’t pay by card (for that matter, by any of our 5 cards or so), so we needed to buy a lollipop from a shop nearby to be able to get change for the machine. 6,60€ and half a windy hour later we entered the train to the airport. There we found the shuttle buses area and waited. We were cold and tired. I think that’s why we didn’t paid attention to the information on our hotel reservations right away, so we weren’t sure which shuttle bus to take. Eventually, we read it carefully and within ten minutes, we hopped on and off we went to the hotel. – A further lesson learned: always read your reservation for accommodation carefully and preferably be informed of your trip beforehand. It usually gives important information about check-in time and how to get there. If it doesn’t and you did your homework, you can still research or ask them what you need to know.
Almost three hours after arriving, we got to our room, ordered some very good pizza from New York Pizza place and decided to call it a night. I highly recommend the “6 cheese pizza”. 🙂
So, our first day was not the best, but I learned, or, to be more precise, was reminded of a few practical things I should have paid attention to while abroad. I think this all happened because we were tired and had had very long days before that trip, but it doesn’t matter, Amsterdam is awesome!
The second day was awesome tho. We started the day by having a very good breakfast at the hotel. Then, as we still needed to work, we decided to try out some places to grab a coffee and work. We drank good filtered coffee and ginger tea at the Coffee Company where there were many other people also working. Their free Wi-Fi with a high-speed internet connection was very handy. 🙂 Afterwards, we went for a walk around the city, watched people in the streets and the very typical Amsterdam architecture. Once we had cleared our minds, we decided to go back to work and tried a different space, the Volkshotel, a hotel with the coolest atmosphere to work remotely. You can eat and drink, work, network, hold meetings, etc. The place is simply awesome! There I had Chocomel, simply the best cocoa ever. 🙂 I would also recommend a place where we just went by briefly: “La Place Openbare Bibliotheek“. It’s a public library beautifully designed, with lots of space to work and an interesting atmosphere.
In the evening, we went for a walk in the Red Light District, a very bohemian part of Amsterdam with many pubs, cafés, pretty ladies on windows looking for some clients, coffee shops and small bakeries serving all types of junk food (maybe not totally unrelated to the coffee shops ^^). We ate a burger at the Burger Bar. The vegetarian one with grilled Portobello and old amsterdam cheese was simply delicious. Then we walked around some more and drank a few beers at the ‘Skek Amsterdam, a  very cool pub with nice music and atmosphere. I’ve heard it’s also worth it to try their food, but we were still full from the burger, so we couldn’t try it out…
One last tip I have for you from this trip: eat a Stroopwafel. The Wikipedia definition is “a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle”. The best one is from Van Wonderen Stroopwafels. Of course, we had to go there and try them out. They are sooooooo good! Tho, I would advise you to order yours without any “toppings”. You can choose between about ten different ones. It’s always a bit of melted chocolate and something else on top, for example, oreo cookies, hazelnuts or marshmallows. They all sound delicious, but in the end, the warm waffles with caramel between them are the best part and I wished I could have ordered only them. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the text and maybe you can even find some useful tips. 🙂
Cheers
Kati