The biggest reason we chose to go to Amsterdam was the direct flight from Portland, OR to Amsterdam. Once you are in Amsterdam you must look around, right?
Here are a few things you need to know about Amsterdam if you are maybe uneasy about traveling to a foreign country.
- Every single person speaks English. Not only do they speak it, they are kind about speaking it and don’t mind at all speaking English to you. We always try to have a few sentences or words ready to go, but we didn’t need it.
- We never use the public transportation system in our town. I don’t know the first thing about it, but figuring it out in Amsterdam was super easy. Just grab a map that shows where the buses and trams go and you are golden. We had the 4 day unlimited pass, so if we got on the wrong bus going the wrong direction, we just got off, no big deal. But just for the record, that never happened, because it’s that easy to figure out.
When you first arrive in Amsterdam to get your pass go to one of the windows. We tried using the kiosk, but discovered it didn’t have what we wanted. You must (and they tell you this) scan your card every time you get on the bus, tram, train or whatever and then scan again when you get off. Again, we never missed this.
Now for the fun stuff. Being in Amsterdam. I had a friend that used to live there and she gave me a few places to try and eat and she also gave me a list of things you must eat while you are in country. This was like my own personal scavenger hunt. I loved this. We had a few things that we wanted to see, but for the most part it was just a wandering adventure.
One of the things we really wanted to do is find the canal we had our picture taken on back in April ’93, exactly 22 years ago. With over 1500 canals it is pretty tricky, but we had a church in the background that was quite distinct. You would think that since it’s the very first church you see once you emerge out of the train station we would have found it faster, but we just weren’t paying attention. Nonetheless, we found it.
We love food and we love eating our way through countries. That is why this became of our favorite finds of the trip. This is an old station that used to house the tram cars as extra storage. They took the space and turned it into a HUGE food hall. You can get anything and everything here. They had a Gin & Tonic bar (which we heard was huge in Amsterdam, that craze hasn’t made it’s way to the NW yet), beer, wine and every kind of food that you could imagine. It was fun because you just grabbed a table and started gathering food. We went on a Saturday night, which was crazy busy, but you could still find tables if you were patient.
What We Discovered:
- Amsterdam is very friendly.
- It’s a very easy town to get around. Grab a multi day pass and go enjoy yourself.
- The multi day pass does not get you out of the city at all, but any other towns you might want to check out are an easy train ride away and getting tickets is pretty easy. There are information boxes with people at the train stations to help answer any questions too.
- Crossing a street in Amsterdam is a lot like the old video game Frogger. You have to watch for bikes, cars, trams, buses and other people.
- Bikes have their own rules in Amsterdam making it very safe for them on the streets. It still was too stressful for me in the city, but if you are brave you can rent bikes. Just know with those rules, bikes can be at fault for an accident.
- I could watch the bikes all day long. I had forgotten how many bikes there were.