It was my birthday on Tuesday and to celebrate the occasion, my gorgeous friends surprised me with a trip to Amsterdam on the ferry last weekend. The last time we visited the Netherlands was for my 21st birthday so for us to go again I was over the moon. Today I’ve got a short and sweet photo diary of our trip to show you what we got up to and show you how much of a beautiful city Amsterdam is.
We set sail on Thursday afternoon on the ferry from South Shields. We sipped champagne, played cards and enjoyed the entertainment whilst we waited for the ferry to arrive in Amsterdam. The ferry is a great, affordable way to visit different countries without it costing an arm and a leg. On board the ship there’s plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you entertained along with two cinema rooms and a games room to keep the kids busy. We thought the food was quite expensive on board (15 euro for a margarita pizza and 35 euro for the buffet), but for a special occasion, we didn’t mind paying a bit extra.
When we arrived in Amsterdam, we hopped on a coach where we had a 40 minute transfer to the centre of the city. There were some lovely views from the window as we got closer to the centre, including this gorgeous park with a tranquil lake surrounding it. Decorated with beautiful autumn leaves, I always think places look better during the autumn season.
After a little wonder around the centre, we soon found ourselves in a tourist ticket shop and buying tickets for the IceBar and the Red Light Secret muesum. The man in the ticket shop was really helpful and drew where we needed to walk to, however almost immediatley after leaving the shop, we somehow managed to lose the map he had drawn on! Luckily we managed to find our way ourselves and it wasn’t too far to go. After a quick stop at KFC for an early lunch, we went straight over to the IceBar for 12pm.
Whilst walking to the IceBar we passed a lovely little centre square with some great street entertainment taking place. We didn’t have chance to stop as we would have been late for our slot at the IceBar. The square was bustling and there is a Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe It or Not nearby too.
The Ice Bar was a great experience. For 15 euro we were able to pick three drinks each, two of which were served in glasses made from real ice. We were also given access to the Ice Bar where we were able to stay for as long as we wanted. I think we lasted around 20-30 minute before our fingers and toes were about to fall off! We were provided with massive coats and gloves to keep us warm throughout the chilly experience.
The nougat vodka was delicious when mixed with some fresh orange juice – it tasted like chocolate orange! Unlucky for me, my ice glass got a hole in the bottom and my drink sprayed all over me! If you’re planning on going yourself, I would suggest taking some of your own gloves along with you as the ones provided weren’t so warm.
After the Ice Bar we delved into the Red Light district to the Red Light Secrets museum which gave us a sneak peek behind the scenes of the famous windows of Amsterdam. It’s such a strange and surreal concept that women sit in windows and sell themselves for money. When we wandered around the museum which was suppose to resemble the houses that these women work in, we got a real insight into their lives. It was crazy to think a lot of the women do it because they need it to fund their education. Most of them are in long term relationships too.
Despite only having 5 hours in the city, we managed to squeeze a few tourist things in and got to see quite a bit of the beautiful city on foot that we missed out on last time. There’s so much to do in Amsterdam and 5 hours just isn’t long enough! I’d love to go again for a long weekend to tick more of the sights off my list.
If you could go on a city break right now, where would you go?