Travel Post - Amsterdam February 2019.

Hey everyone,

Welcome back to another one of my travel posts. Before I start, I am by no means someone that's well travelled. Before December I had only stepped foot in the UK and my home place of Ireland, so my new years resolution is to travel more and see some of the world.
For Christmas 2018 I couldn't think of anything to buy my boyfriend Luke as a gift so I decided a trip to Amsterdam would be perfect because we had never went abroad together and we both really wanted to visit Amsterdam.
I got the flights on sale on Black Friday and got a really good deal with Aer Lingus so I was thrilled! (Can't bring myself to fly Ryanair).

Our flight was early enough in the morning so rather than travel on buses all night and be super tired when we got to Amsterdam, we decided to stay in Dublin the night before our flight. I booked the Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport and we were both pleasantly surprised with our stay. I got the bus from Dublin City out to the airport and I was then able to get a complimentary shuttle bus from the airport out to the hotel which I found so handy instead of having to book a taxi. The bus was relatively easy to find and we were at the hotel in minutes.
The hotel staff were all really helpful and friendly. We paid €80 for the night for two of us with buffet style breakfast included as well as the complimentary shuttle bus to and from the airport. The room itself was really nice for a budget hotel. We were both really impressed and would 110% stay here again whenever we fly out from Dublin.
If you're looking to book somewhere close to the airport that won't cost you a fortune I would highly recommend the Holiday Inn!

I booked our hotel in Amsterdam well in advance. I had gotten some recommendations from friends of places to stay but most of them were outside the city and rather than spend a fortune on travel into the city, I decided I would book somewhere central. And I probably should have listened to my friends to be honest!

The hotel I booked was Hotel Pagi (formerly known as Hotel Rokin I believe). It was €355.82 for 3 nights for the two of us, the reviews weren't bad and the location was central so I assumed I was onto a winner..
Check in started at the hotel at 2PM and we arrived shortly after at 2:20PM. After being up travelling since 6AM, we just wanted to chill in our hotel for a bit before exploring the city and getting some food. But that's not what went down at all..
When we went to check in the guy on the check in desk seemed very confused about a prepayment they had taken from my account and spent about 15 minutes checking us in and taking the remainder of our payment, before telling us our room wasn't ready. We were a bit pissed off but there wasn't much we could do so we asked roughly how long it would take for our room to be ready and couldn't get a solid answer, the guy on the desk just kept saying after dinner. He offered us free tea/coffee for the duration of our stay for the inconvenience and funnily enough we didn't get any on any of the days we were there.
Confused and tired, we left our luggage at the hotel and went for a stroll around the city.
We got back to the hotel and our room was finally ready. The room itself was decorated nicely as the hotel was only recently renovated I believe, it was small but not too small. We weren't really bothered about the size of the room because we knew we'd only be sleeping and showering there.

After sitting down on the bed for less than a minute we noticed how paper thin the walls were.. and that's when we also spotted a huge gap under our door of a couple of inches. The gap under the door meant that we could hear absolutely everything out in the hallway, being a small hostel like hotel it meant we could also hear anyone at the reception desk. To stop the noise we folded a towel a couple of times and stuffed it under the door to muffle the noise. The windows were quite thin and with the tram line outside, the windows actually shook almost every time a tram would go past.
We went for a wander round and eventually went home for a relatively early night. The following morning we were woken up early to our walls shaking and loud banging, it was then we realized how lucky we were to be in the room beside the cleaning cupboard.
To be fair, we did sleep well every night we stayed in Amsterdam but I'm putting that down to the fact that we were so tired after spending every day exploring. I wouldn't stay at this hotel again, the location is great but the place definitely needs some attention to detail.

Unfortunately we didn't get to do everything we wanted to whilst we were there but we definitely made a good attempt at it!
One of the first places we visited was the Sex Museum, entry was €5 each. It's quite small but it's more of a novelty touristy thing to do whilst you're there I guess.

We also visited Red Light Secrets too which was €12.50 entry each but I thought it was really interesting. It gives you the whole story of what a day in the life of a sex worker in Amsterdam is like and the history of sex work in the city. Included in the price was a book guide and a picture at the end of the tour in one of the windows (you can see our cute one below).

Another place we visited was the Torture Museum, entry here was €7 each as far as I can remember. This was probably the shortest visit we had anywhere, the place is so small it takes you less than 10 minutes to walk around the whole exhibit before you're back at the entrance! I wouldn't really recommend this as we both thought it was a bit crap but we just popped in to get out of the rain one of the days so it was ideal for us at the time

My favourite place we visited was the MOCO Museum. This was top of my list when I heard that my favourite artist Roy Lichtenstein had one of his most famous works the 3D room on exhibit here.. then I saw online that the exhibit was closed at the end of Jan so we were literally missing it by 2 weeks. I was so upset but knew we'd both enjoy it so we decided we'd go anyway.
The tickets were €27 for both of us but I think it was definitely the best money we spent on our trip. If you're going I would highly recommend booking your tickets online. When we arrived we saw a really long que and assumed we were going to be waiting ages to get in. But when we got up to the front steps we were asked had we already purchased our tickets online. Because we did, we were allowed into a fast track que (which was empty) and we got in straight away.
The museum has loads of contemporary and modern art pieces by artists such as: Banksy, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Daniel Arsham. Both of us were blown away the second we got in and really enjoyed browsing all the different pieces. We got upstairs and that's when I realised that the one exhibit I thought wasn't there was actually extended indefinitely (you can't imagine how excited I was). The whole museum has such a cool, unusual vibe and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Our last night we went for a canal cruise. We went with Lovers Canal Cruises which was €32 for us both. We went at night which we were worried about not being able to see anything but it was beautiful seeing the city all lit up at night while we cruised around all the canals. The cruise was exactly an hour and we got it just outside Amsterdam Central Station which wasn't too far from our hotel.
I would definitely recommend one of the canal cruises if you're going there because you get to hear some pretty cool facts about the city while seeing it all too.

Food wise we went to an Italian Restaurant we found called Saturnino which was delicious, we both really enjoyed the food and it was reasonably priced. The staff were friendly and the ambiance in there was very chill and romantic.

For brunch one day we found a place called Amstelhoeck that overlooks the canal, the food here was gorgeous and it was a lovely venue. Again very reasonably priced. We were both really impressed with this place.

Somewhere that deserves a mention is FEBO. This place is well known in Amsterdam for their fast food vending machines, such a strange thing to see but I really enjoyed their snacks!

A place we were intrigued by for our whole stay was Mannekin Pis Fries. From the second we got to Amsterdam, we always noticed a que outside this chip place and kept saying "it can't be that good". So we decided on the last day that we'd go here for a snack and it didn't disappoint! Trust me, the chips are really good and definitely worth the ques!

Last but not least, Ice Bakery deserves a mention for actually making me cry with one of their Kinder Belgian Waffles. That being said, we had spent some time in a coffee shop that evening.. but still. Their waffles were amazing and I went there 2 out of our 3 days in Amsterdam!

I would definitely recommend Amsterdam for a break away and I already can't wait to back there again, it's such an interesting and beautiful city which offers so much to explore!

As always, thank you so much for reading.
Claire x

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