May 31 2007

Amsterdam – Two Different Approaches

Category: AmsterdamChrisM @ 12:58 pm

I have been to Amsterdam a few times, and twice my trip involved staying at least overnight.
The first time I went, it was in 2001. I was on my way to Kazakhstan, flying on my own and just about to get married, all for the first time ever (well, obviously on the marriage front 🙂 ). Trying to save money, I decided to find a cheap hotel room when I got out there, however I first went and sampled the local delights (you know museums, tulips, windmills cough,cough). A little tired, for some reason, I started looking for a place to stay. This turned out to be a mistake – most of the cheap hotels were fully booked up, the hostels I could find all had serious security issues, and the amount of ‘fixers’ wandering around, offering to find you a niiiiiiiice room, moooooost cheap did not really inspire confidence in not getting ripped off.

People who have known me since before I got married know of my little problems during this stay – I ended up sleeping in the airport, having quite a lot to drink, and eventually missing a few planes over a few days. I still wonder how my wife (well, fiancée at the time) managed to not knock me out cold when I did finally make it to Kazakhstan, and even was happy to still marry me a few weeks later!

Anyway, in 2004, Ira booked a surprise long weekend in Amsterdam for the two of us, for my birthday. I don’t know which site she used to search for hotels, but we ended up in a really quite nice area, with all the local amenities close to hand. The contrast in my time out there was quite stark – when you have a nice bed to sleep in at night (and a loving wife to make sure you don’t get too… drunk) you can really appreciate and take in some of the local interesting attractions, though despite what that page states, you do NOT want to have a camera on your person in some areas – the local security guys will quickly and firmly inform you of your error – we saw this happen to clueless tourists a couple of times when we were in a cafe enjoying a lunch time meal.

So, my summary of Amsterdam? Plan in advance, make sure you get the best prices available, and if you are likely to feel tired during your stay, have a loving partner to ensure you don’t lose your way home 🙂

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