On Saturday night we thought we’d go out for a few cheekies. We knew Amsterdam wasn’t cheap, but you don’t realize how expensive the booze is until you actually try and get drunk. Cheapest pint is 5euros, although bizarrely there isn’t a huge price difference between the good (budvar, leffe etc), and the bad (Heineken)… With the help of a hostel bar happy hour (12 hours long), and some new friends, we somehow manged to get pretty sozzled, arriving back to our boat (covered in chips and sauce) at around 5am. On descending to our quarters, Amy managed to gracefully slide down all 12 steps on her bum, landing in a crumpled heap at the bottom, smiling bemusedly. This was the second major mishap to befall us, as on Friday I managed to drop my hat and gloves in a toilet containing my own wee (I forgot they were under my arm when flushing the chain).
– By the way, cheers for the drinks Mark, and nice to meet you guys (Mark, Lee, Marvin and co) – All the best.
Sunday was a bit of a wasted day as we lay below deck, nursing our heads and feeling generally sorry for ourselves… On Monday we took tram out to Vondel Park, we wanted to get bikes and really get into the Amsterdam swing, but our local bike rental guy had disappeared and we needed one close to the hostel to get our stuff as we planned to get the train later. Vondel park is ace, definitely in my top 3 city centre parks of all time (yeah, don’t you?). As you can see from the pictures I became a wildlife photographer for the day, mainly because we kept running into this magnificent ninja heron who mysteriously appeared just feet away from us a couple of times. He didn’t care about humans at all and would greedily flap himself within touching distance for a bit of delicious port salut cheese… Vondel Park also seemed to be the red light district for a sleazy bunch of parakeets. They were noisily at it all day, and although it could be ignored, it became a bit much when we were trying to peacefully enjoy our hummus and cheese sandwiches.
More things we’ve learned about Amsterdam:
– For backpackers, beer is very expensive. As are the galleries and museums. We didn’t really go in anything as a lot of the main ones were between 10-15 euros each for a ticket, not much less than the price we were paying for a bed and breakfast.
– The Dutch love Daschunds (Sausage dogs) – Much to Amy’ delight, they are literally everywhere.
– There are no public toilets anywhere – you’ve got to go in a McDonalds or something and pay an old lady at least 50cents.
– The Dutch generally seemed to be really laid back, very friendly, and helpful.
The following afternoon we geared up for the next leg of our trip to Bruges. Somehow our backpacks now seemed twice as heavy. We said goodbye to our super cool tattooed host Roy (who’s diet seemed to be cuppa soups, vodka, and fags) and headed to the station.
– We would strongly recommend Roy and the Vita Nova to anyone looking for cheap bed and breakfast in Amsterdam – Rooms are tiny, walls are thin, but everything is clean, no curfew, staff are great, its really cheap, and it’s on a boat!
And so, on Monday, we left Amsterdam with many fond (sometimes blurry) memories, a couple of very heavy backpacks, and Amy’s heavily bruised backside…