Travel Diaries // Amsterdam

In December Matt and I popped over to Amsterdam for a cheeky pre-Christmas break. It had been on both our bucket lists for a while so we were excited to finally see the city, especially all lit up and looking festive.

We strolled around the canals, bundled up in big coats, racking up those steps and stopping regularly for hot coffee. It was everything we needed to unwind before the new year started, even if it was so fricking cold that I came back with a nasty chest infection and an East Compton Clover in my suitcase! Brrrr.

What to see
- the canals. Obvi. They're beautiful and you should definitely allow time to grab a coffee and wander around, getting lost, taking 374652 photos, and soaking in the city. Take a canal cruise to see it all from the water.
- the history of the old city. Join a FreeDam walking tour to get your bearings while learning all about the local history from your Dutch tour guide.
- the red light district. Packed with bars, porn shows and women in red-lit windows. It's a bit of an odd area, but still a must see.
- Anne Frank's house. I had just read Anne's diary and found the visit to her house incredibly emotional. It should be on every Amsterdam bucket list. Be sure to book tickets in advance to avoid the queues.
- the Heineken Experience. This was actually really fun, even if, like me, you're not a huge beer drinker. It's an interactive experience with lots of photo opportunities along the way, plus a couple of tasting samples and two free beers at the end. When in Rome and all...or, ya know, Amsterdam! Matt and I had so much fun attempting to pour our own pint and left with a personalised bottle of beer. Which, duh, we had to drink the next morning before boarding our flight because no liquids in hand luggage.
- the Sexmuseum. A very strange experience but if you have time to kill (we did while waiting for our ferry) then it's just €5 to escape the cold and have a giggle!
- the I Am Amsterdam sign. The perfect photo op and if you visit at Christmas, a lovely backdrop to the ice rink.
- A'dam Lookout. Probably my favourite atttraction. Jump on the free ferry and get the elevator to the top of the building where you'll find a bar with the most stunning panaoramic views of Amsterdam. We drank wine, ate olives, took so many photos and then headed to the rooftop where there's a swing that sits on the edge of the building and swings out above the city. The Over The Edge swing is Europe's highest swing and another bucket list moment for sure.
- Vondelpark. Probably a far better sight in summer, but worth a stroll around at any time of the year. We grabbed a coffee and weaved our way through the park.

Where to eat & drink vegan
- The Avocado Show. Avocado everything. 'Nough said. Check out my post here for a look inside this paradise.
- Vegan Junk Food Bar. The VJF Burger was one of the best burgers I've ever eaten. Great food, great vibe, great music. And an entirely vegan menu. It's a winner!
- Dutch Weed Burger Joint. Hot dogs and burgers with weed sauce. Yes it's Amsterdam and yes the sauce is green but it's not what you think, it's an entirely plant based restaurant and the food is delicious!
- Wynand Fockink. This little bar is a a must for gin lovers. You can taste samples of jenever the Dutch way. They fill the glass to the brim and you have to lean forward and sip from the glass on the bar so you don't spill and waste any!
- Sticky Fingers. An Insta-worthy cafe with pink tiles and lots of sweet treats.

How to get around
- boat. The canals are gorgeous and you should definitely take a boat cruise to get a closer look.
- walk. But other than that the city is small enough to walk everywhere, really taking it in, seeing the sights and getting a feel for the lifestyle. Just be sure to look both ways before stepping out into the road - everybody cycles and we had many near misses!

Have you been to Amsterdam? What else would you add to this list? 

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