Experiencing the dam

According to Katie Melua, ‘there are nine million bicycles in Bejing.’ Amsterdam must rank a pretty close second.

A city full of cyclists, canals and charm, the Dutch capital is the ideal place for a weekend getaway at any time of the year.

After hearing numerous recommendations from friends to visit ‘The Dam’, I boarded the hour and a half flight to Schipol Airport to see what the fuss was about. It definitely lived up to every expectation I had, there’s something for everyone.

From the typical tourist attractions like The Heineken Experience to the more eye-opening Anne Frank House, you won’t be left twiddling your thumbs.

The Anne Frank House was an experience that will stay with me for a long time. At only €9 it’s a must-see when in the city, but go early to avoid the queues.

Take a stroll through the beautiful Vondel Park. However aesthetic it is in November, I can only imagine it when the tulips bloom in spring.

The weather is crisp and cold at this time of year, so a warm coat and wooly hat are advised. The canal cruise is an ideal opportunity to sit back and take in the outstanding architure, colourful buildings and overall buzz of the city despite the cold.

It’s quite an easy city to navigate, with most of the main attractions within walking distance of each other. The hardest part about getting around is trying not to be run over by trams and cyclists.

Bars and restaurants are affordable and the food is sublime, from dinners to smaller treats like pancakes and waffles. Accommodation also suits a student’s budget, with most hostels costing about €20 per night.

The nightlife is quite different to Ireland. It’s more laid-back and pub-orientated, not your usual city nightclub scene. Various pub crawls run on an nightly basis, a perfect way to make lifelong friends and memories.

The infamous liberty of the city is insane. From the eccentricity of the renowned Red Light District to the coffee shops and the overwhelming smell of marijuana everywhere you go, you have to experience it firsthand to believe it.

The Red Light District is like nothing you’ve seen before. Contrary to the preconceptions that it’s rough and frightening, the only one word I’d use to describe it is bizarre.

Travel broadens the mind, and it’s all about experiencing new things. Amsterdam is the perfect destination to do so.

It really is a place like no other.

Emma Duffy

Image Credit Emma Duffy

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