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Dp's 40th - Amsterdam? Anyone been?

(14 Posts)
ubik Thu 24-Oct-13 21:08:34

He told me that if I threw a surprise party for him, he would actually kill me and what he really wants is to go away with me for a few nights.

So we thought Amsterdam is a good bet but am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the many places to stay/things to do.

So - any recommendations?

Boardingblues Fri 25-Oct-13 00:30:09

Loads, but what do you want, romantic? funky? Hotels? Restaurants? Clubs? What is your budget?

EBearhug Fri 25-Oct-13 01:05:03

I went to Amsterdam for my 40th. I told my Dutch colleagues (if I'd asked or just suggested it, they'd have never got round to booking anything) they had to take me out for dinner one night, so they did, which was lovely (really nice vegetarian restaurant on Utrechtestraat.) I went to the bit of the Rijksmuseum which was open (they were still rebuilding it) and the Van Gogh museum. I found the hemp museum really interesting, too. I went to Anne Frank's House (which was a bit of an anti-climax, really, but I'd always wanted to go.) A colleague showed me all round the Zaanstreek including Zaanse Schans, because he volunteers on a windmill at the weekends. I went out to Keukenhof, because it was the height of the tulip season, and it was another thing I'd always wanted to do. And I had a day out in Delft, where I met up with a friend. The weather was lovely, while I was there, other than a couple of showers, so I just walked round the streets and the Vondelpark and along the canals. But I didn't bother with things like the Heineken museum, because I've been round breweries before, and I don't drink, so I didn't go clubbing or anything, either. Other people would find going to so many galleries and museums really dull.

So it does depend what you want to do. There are hotels from budget to really expensive, and people will all have different experiences of Amsterdam.

PrincessKitKat Fri 25-Oct-13 01:30:17

We went for a long weekend & really enjoyed it but it was so bitterly cold!! I think we went early March.

Loved the Van Gough Museum, enjoyed Ann Frank's House & using the canals to get about was fun - its a great place just to wander about looking at the buildings and things.

We stated in hotel Estherea which was nice and well located. We got some chocolates as it was DH's birthday.

ubik Fri 25-Oct-13 12:41:21

Thanks for suggestions so far!

We are looking at spending £100/£125 per night for accommodation - we don't have a huge budget, could stretch a bit if needed. I think we would like to go to some museums (well I would) but I suspect DP is also hoping to get in touch with his lost youth so that may include one night smoking the funny fags and then on to a not-too-trendy-with-somewhere-to-sit club or bar hmm

Am interested in Delft - can you get tiles over there (I'm not sure I will be allowed to look for lovely tiles though due to lost youth etc etc ..)

PrincessKitKat Fri 25-Oct-13 12:48:42

Cant advise on Delph but we had a hash muffin (giggling like school kids - were not very worldly wise) and I lost 9 hours. There was something crunchy at the bottom & I think I ate a clump of weed or something.

I can remember holding onto a display of fridge magnets while the world turned upside down. And strangers kept whispering to me.

Take care! smile

BabyMummy29 Fri 25-Oct-13 12:56:19

Went for 4 days in July (my third visit) and was quite disappointed. To begin with I found it almost impossible to get any good hotel deals like we'd get in London etc. In the end chose a central hotel (allegedly 4 star) that was little better than 2 star.

I found the amount of people on bikes whizzing around, going through red lights etc a total pain in the neck. Also queues for Anne Frand were around the block, so gave it a miss.

Having said to friends that I never tire of Amsterdam, I think that will be my last visit.

Rosvita Fri 25-Oct-13 13:24:17

Dh and I have been twice before as teenagers and are making our 3rd visit next weekend (first time leaving the kids-argh!) for dh's 30th birthday. Really depends what sort of things you're after - on past visits we've been to Madame Tussaud's (good but no different to other Madame Tussaud's I do to suppose),Holland experience (random,bit weird!), sex museum, hemp museum, Anne frank's house (recommend-always wanted to go there an agree with pp but underwhelming but still so poignant and for me emotional experience-although the 'secret' stairway is so obvious I can't imagine how anyone missed spotting it for so long!), you've got various museums Van Gogh , Rembrandt etc and little churches etc. Leidersplein and Dam square worth a look, you could hire bikes,take canal boat ride.Red Light District worth a look (surreal!).If you're looking for 'naughtier' stuff there are various 'coffee' shops where one might partake in activities illegal in our country and of course various live sex shows-banana club,elephant club,moulin rouge, as well as regular bars/clubs.hth

Boardingblues Fri 25-Oct-13 15:00:39

If you are looking for a coffee shop for a little puff, I would recommend Kadinsky Coffeeshop (Rozemarijnsteeg 9) it is just off Rokin, a main street leading off Dam Square. It is nice and fairly free of the stag groups and overly stoned Brits. For nice hotels, your budget will not get you that much on line - google some hotels that you fancy and then phone them. The Time Out guide to Amsterdam will give you reliable hotel information.

ubik Fri 25-Oct-13 20:00:34

Thanks so much for all that hashmuffins, I had a similar experience in Egypt and ended up with tears if laughter pouring down my face as I tired to order a tuna pizza. I had to be helped back to my room by Dp blush

EBearhug Sat 26-Oct-13 16:28:19

Anne Frank's House is fine if you get there first thing in the morning as I did (plus there's free wifi, so I caught up on emails as I queued) - I was only waiting 20 minutes or so, but by the time I came out, the queue was far, far longer.

I went on a canal tour the first day (because the weather was nice, and I didn't know if it would last) and I also went on a sightseeing open top bus tour at some point - I quite like doing those in new cities, as it gives me an idea of what's where.

I spent quite a lot of time in the Amsterdam history museum, but I like history. There are also some fun little museums like the Kattenkabinet. I did discover that if I asked people to review the sex museums and which was best value, no one was able to answer my query, and I don't actually believe that of all the people I know who have ever been to Amsterdam, not one of them has ever been in one. I found the Resistance Museum really interesting, too, which is round the block from the entrance to the zoo. I also went up one of the church towers to see the view.

I got the train out to Delft, and met a friend there. We went to the Delftse Pauw Pottery (Pauw is peacock) to see how Delft pottery is made. There's also the Royal Delft Pottery, which does tours, and is apparently more touristy, but also more expensive. You can certainly get tiles and all sorts, but it's not necessarily cheap. I did get some little Delft bead earrings which I wear quite often, though.

We walked around the streets, and viewed Delft from where Vermeer's famous view was painted (near the Quackelbrug, which is a great name.) We didn't really do any museums, though there is the Vermeer one, and there's the Prinsenhof where Willem of Orange was murdered in the 16th century. It was nice weather, and it was nice just seeing what industry there used to be because of the street names - the Beestemarkt (beast market) and Boterbrug (butter bridge) and so on. That sort of stuff interests me, I know it doesn't interest everyone though.

There are other places you could go for a day trip, but there's absolutely tons to do in Amsterdam itself, so you could easily find things to do, whether it's food or shopping or art or museums or coffeeshops or whatever. And the red light district appeared to be very egalitarian in that I got asked, "Lady, you want to see live sex show?" Er yes, because as a single woman walking outside on my own in broad daylight (it was about 11am), when the weather is nice, I really want to go and sit in the dark and watch other people have sex. Not. But I did find it amusing that they asked anyone who passes, however unlikely a customer (or maybe I just look seedy and desperate.)

Lots of food to choose from. Round Leidseplein, there are more Argentinian steak houses than I realised could exist in the entire world, and it's very touristy round there - there's also MacDonalds, plus sports bars where you can get all-day English breakfast (I know this, as my hotel was near there, and I wasn't very excited by my hotel breakfasts, which is because I tend to book very cheap.) But there are restaurants from all round the world, including Indonesian (like we have lots of Indian restaurants.) And Haesje Claes on Spuistraat does traditional Dutch food. I can't help liking a menu that features mashed spuds when it was tipping down outside.

ForalltheSaints Sat 26-Oct-13 22:10:01

Rijksmuseum has reopened and you should visit, also worth going either to Leiden or Delft. There's also a lovely spa to the south with a hotel, Spa Zuiver, very relaxing.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 26-Oct-13 22:13:54

We did a recent child free trip to Amsterdam. It was a bit mad really - DM was looking after DS and due to the timing we ended up staying two nights but only having one full day. We squeezed so much in !
Booked tickets in advance for the Rijksmuseum, skipped Anne Franks house as I had been there before, but it is very much worth seeing. Rijkstaffel for lunch - could have gone to a better place for it, but definitely worth having.

Cannot remember what we did in the afternoon, - oh yes we did a trip to the sex museum, tacky but fun, we did an evening meal cruise, wonderful but pricey - they also do a wine and cheese evening cruise which is much less expensive and meant to be good - Lovers cruise I think they are called.

DH also wanted to visit a coffee shop, main problem was they were all full of young people - we felt so ancient. Finally found a relaxed one off the beaten track, they knew we were tourists to sold us their mildest option, it was a fun evening.

I'd recommend staying near the Central station - think its an ok area and avoids having big transfers to get back to the airport.

Have a great time - it's a fab place.

ivykaty44 Sat 26-Oct-13 22:18:43

Also queues for Anne Frand were around the block, so gave it a miss.

you go to the main train station and upstairs in the tourist information you can get tickets for a set time so you don't need to queue round the block

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