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Amsterdam, The Netherlands

With only three days left on our trip with Leonie and Mike, we arrived in Amsterdam. This city had been completely covered in snow only a few weeks earlier but thankfully by the time we arrived this had melted and so we only had to contend with the cold.

Winter in the 'Dam'

Winter in the 'Dam'

Staying right in Rembrandt Square (Rembrandtplein) at Eden City Hotel across the Canal from City Hall was a sensational position.

A ‘Canal Bus’ (www.canal.nl) is the best way to get around Amsterdam. This is a hop on hop off canal cruise. The cheapest ticket is 22 euro and this gets you unlimited travel within a 24 hour period.

There are 4 lines that the canal buses travel on which basically means you can reach any tourist destination while taking a really leisurely cruise. Each canal has pre- recorded commentary too so you learn plenty about the city. If you are interested in dinner cruises too then there are plenty to choose from on these canal buses.

Canal Bus Hop on Hop off Cruises are the best way to see all the sights in Amsterdam

Canal Bus Hop on Hop off Cruises are the best way to see all the sights in Amsterdam

There were a couple of things on our agenda that we all wanted to see:

:: The Famous Heineken Museum

:: The Anne Frank Museum

Of course Pete said he knew his way to most of these sights and just somehow managed to direct us via the Red Light District.

~~~

First stop was The Heineken Museum – while at first this had definitely more appeal to Pete than the rest of us, the actual tour and history of the brand is fascinating. The tour takes you through the conception of Heineken and how the brand has evolved from a small family business born in Amsterdam to a worldwide success.

The iconic Heineken logo famous around the world

The iconic Heineken logo famous around the world

There are some great demonstrations on how the beer is made;

Pete and Mike oversee the brewing process

Pete and Mike oversee the brewing process

A gallery that showcases the advertising campaigns of many years gone by;

Advertising Heineken over the years...

Advertising Heineken over the years...

The various sponsorships that Heineken are involved in;

Interactive activities such as learning how to pour a beer correctly and a 4D experience so people understand what it feels like to be ‘brewed and bottled’;

And of course there are tastings along the way and 2 free pots of Heineken once you finish the tour.

Cheers!

Cheers!

The cost to enter this museum is 15 Euro per person and you can stay for as long as you like. We got through it all in about 3 hours.

~~~

An absolute must when in Amsterdam is visiting the Anne Frank Museum. The site of the museum is the actual house where Anne with her family, the van Pel family and Fritz Pfeffer remained in hiding for two years during the persecution of Jews during World War II.

To hear such a personal account of this young girls harrowing experience in hiding and to actually walk through the small secret annex where they lived in constant fear was extremely surreal and confronting.

Anne’s father Otto Frank was the only family member to survive The Auschwitz extermination camp and after sometime he decided to publish his daughters diary, the well known ‘ Diary of Anne Frank‘. This diary was left behind in the secret annex after Anne and her family were betrayed, consequently arrested and moved to various concentration camps.

The museum opened to the public in 1960, also works as an education centre to tell not only Anne Franks story but identifies prejudice, discrimination and violations of human rights that continue to occur all over the world today.

No photos can be taken during this tour. The cost to enter the museum is 8.50 euro per person

~~~

Back on the Canal Bus, we were happy to just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. The Canals are lined with many house boats, in fact a total of 2,500. Apparently the government has banned any more house boats to enter these canals.

Warmth and comfort aboard the Canal Bus

Warmth and comfort aboard the Canal Bus

Bicycles are another very popular mode of transport to get around here and are parked to just about anything.

Another unusual thing we had never seen before were these portable urinals that are placed in various locations around the city.

Of course Pete said he would see what these were all about...

Of course Pete said he would see what these were all about...

Clogs and Delftware or Delft Pottery (blue and white ceramics) are sold on every corner.

One of those photos we just had to take...

One of those photos we just had to take...

The Flower Markets found along the Singel Canal in Rembrandtplein are really beautiful.

Amidst all these activities we took time for coffee and pofferjes – which are these delicious mini pancakes served with butter and sprinkled in icing sugar.

Poffertjes are small and delicious dutch pancakes

Poffertjes are small and delicious dutch pancakes - Yum!

Finally we arrived at our last night and enjoyed an incredible dinner with Mike and Leonie at Grand Cafe L’Opera (www.l-opera.nl).

What was a little strange about this place was that shortly after sitting down, a large group of people arrived for what we thought was a function. However after subtle observation and a quick chat to our waiter, we discovered we were among some serious speed daters….

So it was a very entertaining way to finish our time in Amsterdam and the end of a brilliant three weeks with Mike and Leonie.

Our last dinner with Mike and Leonie at Grand Cafe L'Opera

Our last dinner with Mike and Leonie at Grand Cafe L'Opera

Thank you so much M & L for being such great travel companions xxx

Please check out more photos of Amsterdam in our Gallery below:


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