Next morning as the ship harboured at Amsterdam, the coach was ready at the Port to take all tourists for next part of the journey. The day was spent in visiting Historic Wind Mills of Holland, Cheese and Shoe Factory, Madurodam. Post Lunch the next city which is 1hour drive from Amsterdam was Brussels in Belgium. Overnight stay at Belgium. A city famous for rich chocolates and fine glass.
The first step in planning for a trip is deciding the itinerary and the ways to travel. I was travelling in the month of February and the ticket were comparatively cheaper as it was the low season and that really helped. I bought a 15 day EuroLines bus pass. The pass allows you to travel by any EuroLines bus across Europe in that 15 day period without any extra charge. The pass can be bought at the following rates (Youth- 26 years or Less):
Amsterdam is not a city but an experience. From artsy museums and Anne Frank house to the very famous red light district & up beat smoke joints , it is this paradox that defines the unique character of Amsterdam.It is impossible to cover everything in Amsterdam in two-three days, given the sheer number of museums & cafes & activities.Here are some tips that made our backpacking easy on the pockets.1. Staying near the airport: Though 20 kms from the city center, we had no difficulty in commuting due to free airport shuttles and metro. There are many hotels and hostels to choose from and helped us save few bucks.2. Getting a day/2 day pass: When in Europe; Never ever; travel by cabs. The infrastructure is so amazing that you can travel by public transport w/o any hassle. There are many cards that you can purchase depending on the number of days and places you want to visit. More info: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/public-transport3.Falafel, falafel & more falafel: Forget gourmet restaurants & refined cuisines, learn to live on falafel, fries & other street foods. It is okay to visit an Indian restaurant, once in a while, to satiate your tangy taste buds.4.Biking is the way of life: Do not opt for guided closed bus tours (Not sure if they are present in Amsterdam. But thumb rule for all travel. No hop on hop off tours) Instead, rent a bike from any bike rental company. You can ride through main square, Jewish quarter,flea market. Taking a canal ride is also a great option, especially if you love to have the wind in your hair and want to know a little bit about the place.Day 1:We were welcomed by heavy showers. However, the beautiful city doesn't let your spirits dampen. Amsterdam is quintessential European city adorned with long canals and medieval architecture. What sets this city apart is the boundless liberty of indulgence it offers to all who visit. Be it smoking joints or dark alleys of red light district, Amsterdam makes it all classy.As the rain abated, we spent the evening enjoying some delicious fries, walking in dam square,listening to some fabulous street artists, exploring the overcrowded red light district; in short, just taking in the spirit of this amazing city.Day 2:For artsy fellows, there are numerous museums this city has to offer; The most significant of them all being the Van Gogh Museum displaying some of Van Gogh's biggest works. Make sure to book the tickets online to avoid long queues.For lesser mortals like us, we headed to Vondelpark to immerse in the sunny day. After a sumptuous lunch at the Indian restaurant near Central , we headed to Anne Frank's house only to be greeted by long queues. Anne Frank's house is the mecca for avid book readers, for she has left an everlasting impression on the world with her mere words. A little girl who , in her 2 years of forced hiding, penned down a beautiful story of hope, despair , longing and an invincible spirit of human existence. It is amazing to see the well preserved rooms and secret annex, indeed a commendable effort.After a somber mood, we headed to the Heineken experience. It is indeed a beautiful interactive experience for connoisseurs.The advantage of having the 1/2 day pass is you can just hop on a tram and go wide and far in Amsterdam. We did the same and discovered a beautiful lake unknown in some suburb of the city. We spent out evening on the shore of this serene lake with no soul in sight, a welcoming change from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam.Day 3:
Backpacking is indeed the best way to travel Europe. This year , we decided to chase the sun across 7 cities, 6 countries in less than 2 weeks. Each country with it's own distinctive flavor and an adventure associated with each one of them. The itinerary was as follows: Amsterdam-Copenhagen-Malmo-Hamburg-Berlin- Prague.Amsterdam:
AmsterdamAmsterdam was nothing short of a fairy tale town for me. The beautiful gabled houses with rhythm of windows spanning building facades, flowered deck watersides, people riding bicycle with their easy going attitude, and the rich art and history it holds are few of the things that made it a special destination for me. It was as if someone had brought a story of a beautiful city to life.As I walked out of the airport, the feeling of being alone in a foreign land suddenly kicked in. I was staying with a friend in Amstelveen which was lush green with perfect setting to call it home. The best way to explore Amsterdam is to take a free walking tours. One can also rent a bicycle to ride around the city or use the tram system which covers major attractions.As I started my day, I first visited Museumpline which is known to house some of the amazing museums such as Van Gough Museum and Rijksmuseum. It is huge open garden with museums all around it and a pool at the end. There was a flea market on Sunday and lot of people were out enjoying, dancing, and having a good time.
5 | Berlin + Amsterdam (& DUTCH COUNTRYSIDE)Offering far more than Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall, Berlin has become an eclectic city full of artists and creatives. Offering everything from partying in an abandon-then-reclaimed train station called Cassiopeia, a vibrant weekend scene at Mauer Park with food vendors and live music, or strolls the gardens of Potsdam. Move on to the canals of Amsterdam for amazing Dutch food, fantastic museums and the always conversation-worthy Red Light District. A day spent biking through the Dutch countryside is one you won’t forget either. Great for history, museum and culture lovers (party goers too, if that’s what you want!). By train: 6 hr 21 min.
Amsterdam is quite a developed and beautiful city. It’s posh and well maintained. It sees tourists not just from it’s own continent, but from all over the world. A newbie would of course need help. But what can be better than self-help ????“FREE WIFI”Keep your mobile on and charged, for almost the whole city is wifi-ed, and at 90% of the places you will find a free connectable wifi network available. Either you would directly be connected, or the wifi would ask you to sign-up with your fb account or with you email id. Please make sure that this facility is utilised to your level best, for it is given to be used and taken advantage of.Also, before coming to Amsterdam(or even any place in the world), switch on the map history of the maps app of your mobile and search the area you are visiting. This way, you will be able to geo-locate the city in few seconds when you actually reach there.You may walk a lot to save few euros in Amsterdam, but then again you may get lost. Maps+GPS+Wifi are a boon there.But then, there might be places where the connectivity is intermittent or you only end up seeing-“Obtaining ip address…”. For those cases, and an ever easing offline option, the best option is :“Using Google Maps to the best of your advantage”Get a snapshot of the map with the nearest landmark.Since I had to reach the Hostel Leidseplein, I had taken a snapshot of the ways of reaching my hostel in the following ways: