AS we continue our Nurses on Tour journey Aby and Maddie catch an early morning two-hour flight from Dublin and touch down in Amsterdam where they will stay for two nights before making their way to Berlin.
AFTER the vibrant nightlife and pace of Ireland we enjoyed the lay-back lifestyle of Amsterdam as we slowly toured the city streets on push bikes.
The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and is well known for its canal system and its architecture reflecting the iconic narrow homes.
As two young women travelling alone safety was always a concern and in Amsterdam, we felt comfortable and secure during our two days stay.
The good news for Aussie tourists is it’s rare not to find an English-speaking local so getting around and asking directions was never a problem.
The museums of Amsterdam such as the Van Gogh, Vermeer and Anne Frank House are bucket list items, but you should book before you even arrive in the city.
The immaculately dressed locals take great pride in welcoming visitors, but they politely allow you your private space, unlike Ireland where everyone wants to be your best friend.
Mind you, that was not a problem in the Emerald Isle.
Amsterdam is a city of contradictions with “marijuana coffee shops” dotting many streets sitting alongside the likes of brothels or a day care centre.
The decision to grab a hire bike and to go on a guided riding tour were both great ideas and it gave us a wonderful appreciation of Amsterdam.
If you didn’t have a bike you would have needed to be an experienced jogger to experience the entire city.
Our room was at the Catalonia Vondel Amsterdam which was right next to the picturesque Vondel Park.
As you stroll or ride through the park you will see a sculpture by Pablo Picasso, listen to performances and you can rest your weary legs with a stroopwafel and a coffee at one of the many small cafes.
A canal tour was on our itinerary and while it was interesting the guides were more concerned about stopping for a pizza and talking to their friends than about showing us a good time.
A suggestion would be to make sure the boat tour company has strong reviews. Keen to cram in as much as possible in our short two days, we ventured out into the streets early the next day only to find that things don’t really happen in the city until well after 10am.This was the same for almost every city we were to visit.
In all Amsterdam was a great place to visit, it had plenty to offer and enabled us to catch our breath before continuing our adventure.
Hotel Catalonia Vondel: 6/10
Local Food: 7/10