I never thought I could spend only a day in a city, let alone less than 12 hours...but here we are! Me doing the unthinkable. When I was making an itinerary for my Paris trip, I played with the idea of a possible day trip. For some reason, Amsterdam popped up into my head and the idea became more of reality when I saw it was only a 3.5 hour train ride. So I did something that is totally against my nature: brought a train ticket that arrived in Amsterdam at 9:42am and departed at 7:48p. Basically, my form of Mission Impossible.
The first step of this mission was hopefully not missing the train. The train left Paris Nord at 6:25a and to say I'm not a morning person is an UNDERSTATEMENT! By the grace of the travel gods, I made it to the station on time. The trip itself takes around 3h15min with stops in Belgium along the way. The train was equipped with outlets and free wifi ( both PLUSES!! ). There was a food carriage but coming and going, I was too tired to move from my seat. Amsterdam's train station, Centraal Station is a great location, especially if you're crunched for time.
Anne Frank House/Museum
Probably not even a 10 minute taxi ride from Centraal station, this was the first stop of the day. The museum doesn't allow pictures, which allows you to be in the moment and realize all the things you've read in her book are right there in front of you. I spent roughly 2 hours, that includes having a snack in the cafe. TRAVEL TIP: Anytime before 3:30p, you will need to have a pre-purchased ticket to get in the museum. Tickets can be brought from the musuem web site. After 3:30p, it's basically first come, first serve. I heard the line to get in after 3:30p can be atrocious and when I was there for my 10:15a tour, people were already in line!!
Next door to Anne Frank's house, there's a shop that sells canal rides, museum tickets, and city passes. I had time to kill before going in the musuem. So I brought a 12:30p canal ride along with a museum ticket to the Museum of Prostitution ( something you don't see everyday! LOL ) If it wasn't raining I probably would have walked around at this point but I'm glad I was able to take a canal ride. The canal boat picked us up right in front of Anne Frank House and roughly took 1h15m. The best part of the canal ride was the history and back stories we got from the captain, seeing the city, all the sights, and staying dry in the process.
I AM AMSTERDAM sign
When the canal ride was over, the rain finally stopped. So I decided to walk to the sign, it's a 20 minute walk and perfect way to see the other neighborhoods and run into things you otherwise wouldn't see. Of course, half way there it started raining again -_- ( at this point I didn't even care anymore and was just going to make the best of the day ). Situated by the Van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum, the area is called Art Square Museum. This is were I started to get a little bummed knowing I didn't have the time to visit the museums but it also gave the perfect reason to come back.
Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam
I know, I know. Of all the places to pick, this is one I picked!? It was almost 2pm at this time and I wanted something close and soon, HANGER emotions were starting to settle in. It was a 5 minute walk from the sign and the food was really good.
Red Light Secrets / Museum of Prostitution
After finally getting my HANGER emotions under controlled, I hopped on the tram towards the Red Light District.The museum is located right in the middle of the district so you see infamous red windows and sex clubs on your way. I didn't know what to expect at the museum but I really did enjoy it! It was informative, explains the strict requirements, and overall shows visitors this is someone's real job and how professional the women are.
( TRAVEL TIP: Amsterdam's public transportation is really easy to manage. I didn't even research it prior to going and I had no problems. I purchased the 24hr transportation pass, it was €7.50 and covered all modes of public transportation. When departing, my friend and I gave our passes to a couple just arriving in Amsterdam, no need of wasting it. )
This is a coffeeshop I put into my mental Rolodex and was pleasantly surprised when just walking around the Red Light district, I bumped into. The coffeeshop has a nice and relaxing vibe, the transaction was easy ( I let the guy working there pick for me ), and the drink selection was nice. This coffeeshop doesn't sell pre-rolled joints, so bring your own supply ( there's a store right around the corner as well, if you need supplies ). Be mindful that other people are there to relax, so going selfie crazy is not the way to go.
Dam & National Monument
Right down the street from the coffeeshop, is the Dam and National Monument. I went on International Women's Day, so there where a protest going on at the Dam and huge march was happening at the National Momentum, basically JUST TOO MUCH GOING ON. At this moment, I just decided to walk around and sight see and eat LOL.
After visiting the Dam and National Monument, it was almost 6:00p so my friend and I just decided to walk around, by souvenirs, and try more food. I had a blast in just the short time I was there and I can't wait to go back! I already have an itinerary for the next time. So I must say, for my first Mission Impossible, I felt it went better than I could have even planned.
-The Hungry Travelnista