I’ve always wanted to visit The Netherlands beautiful capital city, Amsterdam and had planned to visit later this year. So as you can imagine when I won a competition with Eurolines to win coach travel to Amsterdam, I was over the moon. I persuaded my best friend to come along with me and on the 6th April, we set off from London’s Victoria Station to Amsterdam.
Even though I was so excited about my trip, the 11 hour coach journey filled me with dread. We headed to the boat at Dover arriving at about 2am, I was exhausted by this point and would have loved to of just climbed into a bed. But that was not going to be happening any time soon. Oh how I wish I had won a return flight instead! The boat from Dover to Calais took about 90 minutes. In that time, we grabbed a Starbucks and browsed the on-board shop looking at all the make up, skincare and perfumes on display. I managed to resist buying anything. Go me.
When we arrived in Calais, the longest part of the trip began. A 4 to 5 hour drive through France, Belgium and The Netherlands to Amsterdam Duivendrecht Station just outside of the city. I managed to drift off during this time and woke just as we were arriving in Brussels to drop off a few passengers. I was so happy I didn’t miss seeing some of Brussels, even if it was just from the coach window. It looked like such a beautiful city, I will have to plan a trip there soon.
After about 40 minutes sat in a Brussels bus station, we set off again. Next stop, Amsterdam! We arrived at Duivendrecht Station at about 11am and we met up with our Dutch friend who would be our very handy guide for the next 48 hours. (Thankyou, Priscilla!) We then headed into the city by Metro to Amsterdam Centraal Station, Amsterdam’s main train station in the city.
The first thing we did when we arrived was head to iAmsterdam’s Visitor Centre located just outside Amsterdam Centraal. Here, we picked up our iAmsterdam cards which in my opinion are a tourist essential. If you want to save money on tram fares, museum tickets and more then definitely buy one of these! You can buy 24hr, 48hr, 72hr and 96hr cards all at reasonable prices. We chose a 72hr card which cost €75 (£56). You get free entry into certain museums and attractions, unlimited use of Amsterdam’s Metro, Tram and GVB Bus Services, fabulous discounts and a free Canal Cruise! It’s totally worth it if you’re looking to save some money during your travels. Buy here.
After picking up our cards, it was time to get on the tram and head to our hotel to drop off our bags. When we arrived, it was too early to check in so we left our bags and headed out again. We stayed at Hotel Marnix near Leidseplein. It was central which was perfect, however it wasn’t the best hotel ever. It was cheap by Amsterdam standards however still pretty expensive for what it was. It was very basic but it did the job just fine.
The Pancake Bakery was our next stop. The must visit. I’m a huge fan of pancakes so when I read about this place, I knew we had to go. The Pancake Bakery has a huge menu of various different pancakes, both sweet and savoury. I chose the Chocolate Sauce, Ice Cream and Whipped Cream pancake which was absolutely heavenly. I’m drooling at the thought of it. It was huge and although it was gorgeous, I couldn’t finish it. If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam and love pancakes, go here. It’s a must.
When we finished at The Pancake Bakery, we were feeling pretty exhausted so we headed back to our hotel to check in and chill in our room. We chatted away for a few hours before the exhaustion got the better of us, it was time for a nap. We napped until about 9pm then decided we needed to grab some food.
Now, I really dislike it when people go abroad and head to a McDonalds to eat. But as we were so tired, it was all I could face. After we ate, we took a stroll around some of the nearby canals, window shopped and had our first of many whiffs of cannabis and what a lovely smell it is. I kid.
After our stroll, we headed back to our hotel and got ready for bed so we could be up bright and early for our first full day in Amsterdam.