After a chat with Mike, my boss, pointing out that I hadn't taken a real break since before Christmas I started searching online for places to go. My favourite thing to do for inspiration is to click the where are we going link at the bottom of the EasyJet homepage, and then choose the airport you're starting at, and it will show you where you can fly to. Brilliant! Amsterdam was one of those places that kept cropping up. Not just through easyjet but there were posts about things to do on Hostelworld's blog, and my twitter feed also was full of things about Amsterdam too. After a few days of looking, I booked a 3 night trip to go to Amsterdam on my own.
I stayed at the hostel van gogh right on Museumplein. I felt I was being brave enough being a solo female traveller, and decided that although I had booked to stay in a hostel, I needed a single room. One step at a time with this solo traveller malarky for me. The hostel was clean, though expensive, and breakfast wasn't included. It is slightly outside of the noisier parts of the city, but the trams come very regularly & there is a nightbus that takes over from midnight, on the plus side once you're in you get a good nights sleep.
I used public transport to get around Amsterdam from the second I landed. I took the train from schiphol airport to centraal station, which cost 4,40€ & then got a tram to van baerlestraat, the total journey took just over an hour- but some of that was me getting confused about the tram stops. Trams are the best way to get around the city if you don't want to cycle (which, I know you should when you're in Amsterdam, but I'm a waitress I use my legs enough at work never mind on holiday) & they're cheap at 2,70€ for an hours ticket or 7,50€ for 24hrs- though these sell out quickly.
A few things to remember about Amsterdam
- If you are paying for your room on arrival don't forget to add 5% to cost you've been quoted, unless stated most agents won't have charged you city tax which is compulsary
- Jaywalking, or using your own discretion to cross a road, is illegal, the Dutch are tolerant but they dislike this
- on the subject of Dutch tolerance, Dutch cyclists lost their tolerance around 1970 (according to Mark, my walking tour guide) please don't walk in their cycle paths
- Don't just go and take the obligatory iamsterdam picture, buy the city card! I wish someone had told me this before I went, your tram tickets are covered & there is a free canal cruise and entrance to certain museums including the Van Gogh museum!
- Tram tickets must be checked in and out on the funny circular pink things by the entrance/ exits of the trams