Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Quick and Dirty Tips, Tricks and Lessons learned in Amsterdam (Amsterdam: Our favorite Sights, Sounds, Smells & Snacks coming next!)

The Flights: We could not have been happier on our direct flight on Delta booked through Expedia! Lenni hates flying and she only decided we were dying once! We had plenty of food and entertainment and the crew was excellent!
Image result for hotel arena

The Hotel: A+ to Hotel Arena. The aesthetic alone was worth the stay. This 4-star hotel stands in Oosterpark in front of a small pond. The exterior looks like an old fortress or church and the interior is just modern enough. Our room was a loft, which made us feel like we were hotshot celebrities. The food in the chic restaurant was the best we had on our trip. The bar was hoppin' all night, every night and definitely appeared to cater towards what we'd consider the "gossip girl" types of the upper east side. 

The only reason we can explain how this incredible hotel was included as the price it was in our Expedia package would be that it is not centrally located in the city. Hotel Arena is about a 5-minute walk to the tram, a 2-minute tram ride to the Jewish Quarter, and a 5-7 minute tram ride to Dam. It was actually amazing to retreat to the quiet and beauty of this park area at the end of a long day in the bustling city.

Random Tips:

Image result for i amsterdam cardFirst of all, the Iamsterdam City Card is EVERYTHING! Literally, you don't need anything else. For under $100 each, we had unlimited access the Tram, entrance to about 40 museums, a canal tour and a sick map. We'll get into that in the next post...

  • Don't be afraid to get lost! The best thing we did was wander down little alleys and streets with no idea where we were or how to get back to things we were familiar with. This city is small. You will find your way back, so just wander as you please!

  • The Red Light District is SICK! We ended up spending most of our evenings strolling in this area in awe of all that goes on, even on week nights.
  • At this time of year, Amsterdam is getting less than 8 hours of daylight. Literally, the sun does not rise until 8:40am, which was super confusing our first morning with the time difference.

  • First of all, this is an amazing city to be in during the holidays! People talk about the tulips and yeah, we get it, we missed out on that, but the entire city was DECKED OUT for Christmas, which made it so special for us. Weather in December is actually comfortable. There is no wind in this city, making the mid-high 40s more than bearable. Honestly, scarf, hat and gloves were toooo much, even for Lenni who is perpetually freezing.
  • If you have allergies bring your own Benadryl!!!! OTC meds that you'd find in CVS and Walgreens are not a thing. We learned that "drugstores" will give you very low dose of OTC meds, but you have to find an "apotheek" if you want something like a painkiller or allergy medication that would be sold over the counter in the US. Devon, who you can see in all of his red and swollen glory, had an allergic reaction to the dustiness of the some of the museums in preserved old homes. Even the apotheek did not have an allergy medication compatible to Benadryl, and so, he was forced to suffer along.

  • DO NOT WEAR HEELS. You will wish you were dead...
  • You do not need a personal tour guide in this city. Almost every museum had a complimentary audio recorded tour of the museum in English as well as written commentary in both Dutch and English.
  • TOURISTS BEWARE FALSE WEED PRODUCTS! Cannabis paraphernalia and products sold in stores that are not coffeeshops are often THC free, which means that while they technically have weed (CBD Oil) within them, they WILL NOT get you high. We watched several tourists go crazy purchasing items that they thought would get them high that were THC free...perhaps the placebo effect will make up for the holes burned in their wallets.

  • Coffee Shop (with a space between) indicates a shop that sells coffee. A Coffeeshop (no space) sells coffee AND other stuff...go to a coffeeshop before you hop on a canal cruise...
Ok...that's the quick and dirty! Stay tuned for an explanation of Devon's "baby-penis" commet from the video in this post, as well as a thorough review of our favorite Sights, Sounds, Smells & Snacks from our trip to Amsterdam!

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