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Amsterdam is an awesome city. The canals are beautiful and the culture is rich. The city accepts everyone and, it seems, all of their personal and diverse beliefs. Amsterdam made me feel welcome. I highly recommend Amsterdam as a travel destination. That being sad, here are a few tips for traveling in Amsterdam:
- Leave for the Anne Frank House early. Don’t fret if you can’t reserve tickets in advance. (I tried to but they were sold out for the whole week I was there.) Just plan to arrive at the museum early as a long line builds and is sustained throughout the day. I arrived there at opening time and waited about forty-five minutes in line. It’s totally worth the wait though. You get to see Anne’s original diary which is very moving. Plus, it’s one of the cheaper visits you’ll do in Amsterdam at a mere nine euros each for adults.
- Definitely take a canal tour. Matt and I splurged a bit to take an open boat canal tour and it was worth it. Amsterdam is totally different when seen from in the canals. Plus it offers great opportunities for different photos that you wouldn’t get standing on the side of the water. And the whole great memories thing too. Don’t forget that you can bring some booze on your tour. I brought a shake which was just as wonderful on a hot day in Amsterdam.
- The Van Gogh museum is packed and kind of not worth it. Matt and I each paid fifteen euros to get into this museum and we were disappointed. The place was so packed that we really didn’t get to see the art. Matt and I love Van Gogh so we thought the trip would be worth it. We dutifully went through each floor and read the text panels to make the pricey visit worth it but it was just too crowded. Go on a slow day or don’t go at all unless you really, really, really love Van Gogh.
- The canals are beautiful at night so you should probably go there. Matt and I walked the canals almost every night we were in Amsterdam. Plus we stuffed our face while doing it. Amsterdam doesn’t go to bed until early in the morning so there are plenty of opportunities to people watch and eat some food. Matt and I sat by the canal and dangled our legs over the edge. It was fun and beautiful.
- Watch out for bicyclists. Having lived in two cities (DC and Syracuse), I am used to the occasional bicyclist. I’m not used to the flocks of bicyclists that you’ll find in Amsterdam. It feels very chaotic when you first arrive. The bikes definitely pose more danger than cars. Cars yield. Bikes don’t. They’ll just go right through a crowd of pedestrians who have the right of way. So double check before you walk out into the street.
- Rent a boat. I wish I had done this. You don’t need a license to drive a boat around the canals. The police even put up easy to read signs so you’ll know what rules to follow while you operate your boat. I’d say just be cautious when you do it. It seems like it would have been a really fun experience and a cool way to see Amsterdam.
Above is a cool sign that police post in the canals. You don’t need a license to drive a boat. Heck, you don’t even need to read! Boat plus alcohol equals collision and lots of swearing.