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Window shopping in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wow what a few days.

We woke up to a lot of snow! We weren't just being wimps when we arrived! Simply put it was chuffing freezing! We quickly realised that we would need another outdoor jacket as we planned to save our ski jackets for Mongolia. So to Ross's utter dismay we headed out to do some shopping, but can't complain as we found 2 great jackets in the January sales.

We visited the maritime museum (yawn!) wrong! This was on Ross' to do list not Sonya's but when we arrived it was one of the best museums we have visited and certainly the best transport museum we have been to. It was so good we ran out of time to see it all. We only managed to see the outdoor area, the ship and the orange zone and we had to completely miss the purple zone :-) We think that normally we would have had a bit longer at closing time but we got booted out as there was a corporate function. Both dressed up in our outdoor gear we couldn't easily mingle with the suits and cocktail dresses... so after failing to nab any free wine or food we left for the pub.

It is Amsterdam so we should have expected another weird experience... and we did when we stumbled across a quaint pub (opposite Nieuwmarkt metro station) and then was promptly served by Shirley from Eastenders wearing her usual studded leather jacket. No it wasn't the beer talking, if it wasn't Shirley she either has a twin sister or is moonlighting.

After a few pints of Amstel it was time for Pancake Corner (Leidseplein tram stop). A great place to get food and drinks until 3am, later at the weekends. As the name suggests they do a massive range of pancakes with pretty much any topping you could ever want or never want! Pancake corner has become our 'local' in Amsterdam as it is on the main tram route between our hotel and the city centre. A great place for cheap food and beer... but don't ask us what the pancakes taste like because to Sonya's disgust we have never had one in 6 visits! Anyway we digress on the way to the tram we had a walk through the red light district... we have actually found a type of window shopping Ross enjoys! Just a word of warning, unless you are looking for a Panto Dame DO NOT look in the blue windows. A 'memory' we will never forget.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city, with some beautiful sights (wink wink) and everyone should come and visit. We found some local pubs and restaurants and you can smell the 'coffee shops'. We really enjoyed our time here and it really feels like our big adventure has begun. Tomorrow we will be back on the train but heading East and not going back to the UK any time soon. This will be the first 'practice' train journey as the massive Trans Siberian gets closer. Only 6 hours tomorrow, next week it's our first overnighter and then it will be the biggie 5 nights.

Berlin here we come!

Hotel Review

We stayed at the HEM hotel as we got it on an Expedia special rate. Rated on Expedia as a 3* it was more like a 2*. Outdated decor with a very strange outdoor indoor bit (we never did spot Yogie the Bear) but it was okay. It is a little out of town about 20 minutes from Central Station but only a short walk from the tram which runs to just after midnight, after which there is an hourly night bus. The room wasn't filled with all the mod cons but was clean and warm. Nothing to write home about but adequate for a quiet night's sleep away from the action. Value for money it was an excellent choice but don't expect too much!

5/10 Revised 2013-05-18

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