Backpacking Europe: Amsterdam

Reading time ~12 minutes

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Preface:

The Amsterdam Walking tour gave me some interesting insights into the history and persona of the city.

Amsterdam is located in the western Netherlands. Interestingly, Amsterdam is about 2 metres (6.6 feet) below sea level. It has more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) of canals, most of which are navigable by boat. Around 1100 AD locals near the river, Amstel built a bridge over the river and a dam across it, giving its name to the village: “Aemstelredamme”.

From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely from trade and its open culture (read Legalised prostitution and Soft drugs). It was a well-known seaport, which allowed the cumulation of different cultures in the City. The 17th century is considered Amsterdam’s Golden Age, during which it became the wealthiest city in the western world. Germany invaded Netherlands in the process of annexing France in 1940’s.

Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh. And, 2 out of 100 people in Amsterdam are Indians.

Read other Eurotrip Blogs:

The Plan:

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Amsterdam Footprints

The trip to Amsterdam was my first solo backpacking trip outside of India. Since it was a different Country, I had to meticulously plan the trip. These were a few points that I kept in mind while planning.

  • Cost: Western Europe is way costlier than the eastern Europe. I pizza costs 16 Euros in Switzerland, 8 in Italy, 5 in Chezh.(Travelling Solo to costlier place did make sense to me.)

  • Food: Don’t eat the gourmet food, It is very costly and unhealthy. You never know the unpronounceable dish you just ordered might have something that is normally forbidden. So choose the wiser and healthier option. I bought Ready to eat munchies, salads, smoothies, sandwiches for my lunch and breakfast from the local grocery malls. You can find them easily (Lidl, Penny, Rewe, Edeka to name a few). They are really cheap and Healthy. Keep a 1.5l water bottle handy as water is not free.

  • Transport. Train tickets are very expensive. The best option is to Download the Flixbus app and buy interflix bus tickets. You will get 5 vouchers using which you can visit any city in the Schengen Area. Each ticket will cost you approx 20 Euros. The bus has a washroom and provides free wifi. The buses are comfortable and have reclining seats. Choose good seats for better comfort. If you need leg space like I do, take the seat with a table on the ground floor or the first seat on the top floor.

  • In the City: Don’t take the city card rather take the Day ticket to explore the city. Majority of the cities issue day ticket using which you can visit the city using all the possible modes of transportation Tram/Trains/buses/Ferry. Since EU has roaming free Take a Lebara sim and incoming and data is free of cost if you move out of your base country.

  • Hacks: Download the Map of the Area using the free Wifi in Flixbus. Learn the basic phrases of the country/City you are visiting. Download Google Trips app to see the must-visit places, Day plans and history associated with the places. Skip Places like Museums (as you can see them online via Google). Keep the cash in different places. Don’t keep the Credit card in the wallet. Visit MacDonald/Burgerking to use the washroom. Participate in the Free walking City Tours to get the in-depth knowledge of the city and the Culture. Keep the power bank handy.

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MacD’s only when Urgent

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Magic Mushrooms :D

The Trip:

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Amsterdam

I started from Munich at 8:30 pm on Friday night. The bus had to reach Amsterdam at 8:00 am in the morning, but it halted due to an accident in the autobahn, reaching Amsterdam at 10 am.

Amsterdam welcomed with a bright and sunny day.

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At Dam Square

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Amsterdam Central Station

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Autumn Vibes

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Indian Restaurent

The bus dropped me at Amsterdam Sloterdijk train station. From there I purchased a day ticket for the city. The intercity train took me to the Central Station. From the Central Station, all the city attraction can be covered by foot. At Dam Square, I participated in the Free Walking tour. Dam Square the heart of the city and has National Monument and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). Free Walking tour is wonderful first activity in any city and an amazing way to orient yourself to the culture.

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Dam Square

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Dam Square Scripture

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Boat Pilot

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State Flags

From there the guide took us to the old church via the Red light Area. Even in the early morning, you can realise why this area is well known all over the world. This place takes window shopping to a completely different level, From there some people rented the bikes. Among other interesting things, the Guide told us there are more bikes than the people in the city. Canals and bikes are the primary means of the transportation in the city.

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Guide Explaining the economics of Red Light Area

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New Church

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Bells around corner

Around some corner, in between the tour, I lost the group around some corner. From there, google maps came to rescue. Next place to visit was Bloemenmarkt flower market. This is a small street filled with a variety of flowers, Tulips being the most prominent. I wanted to buy a bonsai from here, but since it required high maintenance, I gave up the Idea. I walked to the upscale Jordaan neighbourhood and Photographed the classic 17th and 18th-century buildings.

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Too Many Bikes

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Flower Market

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Tulips

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Graffites on Old Walls

Next in the list was Rijksmuseum. I skipped the inside the museum as it would require a full day. Although I visited the sculpture gardens surrounding the Rijksmuseum for free. At the entrance of the museum is the famous Iamsterdam Sign. There were too many people surrounded the place, everyone wanted to take a picture with the iconic Sign.

From there I passed by VanGogh museum and Stedelijk modern art museum.

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Ceaser at Rijksmuseum

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Inside Rijksmuseum

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Rijksmuseum

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Van gogh Museum

My next stop was Vondelpark. Vondelpark is the city’s laid-back park with many small lakes. You can see people dog-walking, jogging, roller-skating, listening to music, or just lazing about in the grass. I visited the place to the Picasso’s “The Fish” sculpture. After reaching the sculpture, I thought of giving Modern Art a better try some other day.

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Lost in VondelPark

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Bridge on a canal

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The Fish - Picasso

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Relax…

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At VondelPark

After relaxing for approximately an hour. I reached another part of the city by crossing the sea by a ferry. There were old ships docked near the bank and people trying their luck in fishing.

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Indeed

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Trying luck in fishing.

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Boat in the sea

With the sun going down behind the Windmills. I said goodbye to Amsterdam.

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Adios Amsterdam

Trip Cost Breakdown Per Person

S.No Activity Cost (In Euros)
1. Day Ticket 7.5
2. Lunch 6
3. Dinner 6
4. Breakfast 4
5. AirBnB 0
6. Momento 5
7. Bus Tickets 20
  Total 48.5 Euros ~ 3880 INR

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