We had a whirlwind visit to Amsterdam, as we had accommodation booked in Germany from the 8th of April.
I think I had a lot of misconceptions about the city. Yes, it does allow its inhabitants considerably more freedom than most other western cities, and yes, parts of the city are all about sex and drugs. But the city has a lot more to offer than that. The centre itself is very pretty as many of its buildings in the centre date from the 17th century, and the canals are beautiful. The sex/drugs stereotype is mainly confined to the Red Light District, and we never felt unsafe – except when we were trying to cross the street! You have to be on the lookout every second for cars, bikes, trams, buses and motorbikes/scooters. And of course, the traffic is all driving on the right side of the road – it’s enough to make your head spin!
The Van Gogh Museum is fantastic, and we were fortunate that they had a special exhibit featuring The Starry Night, which is usually displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum. Van Gogh is one of my favourite artists, and I enjoyed the exhibit very much.
We also went to the Anne Frank house, which was very moving. I read the book just before leaving on this trip, so much of what she described was still fresh in my mind when I saw the “Secret Annex”. Unfortunately, we had to queue for over an hour at both the museum and the house… Next time we’ll have to bring a portable printer so we can buy internet tickets and avoid the lines!