After arriving from Reykjanesbaer, Iceland to London. We had a short self-made layover before heading to Amsterdam. The plan was to make a quick roundtrip to Amsterdam from London before heading up to Manchester to watch Man City play.

My grandmother wanted to knock off a bucket list item in seeing Keukenhof and wanted to take an Amsterdam canal tour. My friends and I wanted to check out the coffee shops so this was a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Staying in Amsterdam can be quite expensive, it is best to stay further out of the city and near a tram station. Airbnb’s are very expensive in Amsterdam and is one of the few places in the world where I will stay in a hotel over an Airbnb.

At the time of writing this post EUR 1 = USD 1.22

The best option for me to fly to Europe direct is to fly to Amsterdam; this tends to be the fastest and quickest route from my home airport, Minneapolis.  

Day 1 – Arrival & Coffee Shop 05.09.2017

From the airport we took an uber to our hotel, with my grandma traveling with us we decided to avoid mass transit to get to the hotel, avoiding any potential issues. We stayed at the West Side in Hotel Amsterdam, which is just outside of the main city but within a 5-minute walk to the nearest tram stop. For those wondering the hotel is okay with people smoking cannabis as long as it is outside. Since we arrived late in the evening, my Grandmother decided to take a night in and the three of us (Holt & Anthony) decided to find a coffee shop.

I was unfamiliar with how the Amsterdam coffee shops work and if they were all in an area similar to the redlight district. A good note is there are a lot of coffee shops all over Amsterdam and most of them are not “recreational” shops and they just sell coffee and cakes. Leaving the hotel we took the tram, we were able to buy an unlimited 2-day tram passdirectly with our hotel, €13.50. Talking to a local on the tram he said that a lot of them are in back alleys, so we got off at Amsterdam Dam stop and walked a block south to an alley on Jonge Roelensteeg and the first place we see is Abraxas Coffee Shop.

Abraxas Coffee Shop Taken from Google Images

We went inside and the place is just covered in second-hand cannabis smoke, honestly, there was probably no need whatsoever to buy a joint, I could have just stood in there for 10 minutes and felt just as good. I bought a joint “pure” (which is no tobacco) for the three of us to share for approx. €10. I then went to a table with Holt and asked where Anthony was, he ended up buying his own joint, bold move cotton.

The experience was unique, they have a non-alcoholic bar to serve drinks and snacks while you smoke and they have pieces, bongs, bubblers, vaporizers, basically anything you wanted to smoke out of you could. There was a guy next to us smoking out of a volcano, he hits it three times and then tells us it’s his first time smoking weed, then we never saw him again haha. To sum up the rest of the evening, we got lost, caught the last Tram back to the hotel, and ended up destroying a whole pizza to myself before going to bed.

Day 2 – Amsterdam Canals & Red Light District 05.10.2017

The next day a mate (Immanuel) of mine from Belgium was going to join us for the day and show us around the city. Keeping the tradition of stopping at every Hard Rock Café, we went to Leidseplein, which has a lot of souvenir shops and restaurants. Of course, it wouldn’t be a day in Amsterdam without a couple of coffee shop stops, even my grandmother ate a space cake, so if you’re scared to jump in on the Amsterdam experience, note an 80-year lady, tried it. For those wondering she did say it was pretty weak and it was her second time trying cannabis.

After exploring the city Immanuel headed home from the Amsterdam Centraal train station. The rest of us started our canal tour of Amsterdam, which I highly recommend. I booked mine using Viator, and it was with “Lovers Canal Cruise,” which included beers and burgers. The name seemed like it would be mostly for romance but I didn’t see one couple on our boat. The cost was  €35.

Walking around the city on a weekday night, I was fortunate enough to get a picture of the famous I Amsterdam sign without anyone in the way. After the sign, it was time to check out the elusive Red Light District. The RLD is not accurately listed on google, you want to go to De Wallen.

The trip to the Red Light District leads to one of the funniest things happening in my life. One of my friends  (yes, friend, not me, definitely not me) decided that he needed to partake in the Red Light District, now secretly I had been putting this in subtle into his brain over the last four months leading up to this experience, so I can’t help but take responsibility for this haha.

Although I didn’t participate I nearly died of laughter watching him go; he went up and down the red light district window shopping until some nice blonde lady took him by his wrist (calmly) and brought him in, for what he described as “a fantastic time.” I will never forget when he walked out of that room, half his shirt was tucked in, all the buttons on his shirt were not aligned correctly, his hair was all messed up, and he couldn’t stop smiling. What a hilarious moment.

Day 3 – Keukenhof & Ice Bar 05.11.2017

The next day we headed over to Keukenhof, which was perfect because the Tulips were in peak season. I cannot stress how stunning and beautiful this place is. The park is huge with great walking trails, and they had wheelchairs for hire, which meant we could push my grandmother through, making an incredible pace through the park.

We took an uber and the driver promised me that Uber would not be there and that a cab would charge us double what uber was paying, so he agreed for a fee to sit there for two hours to drive us back for cash. Turns out there were 10 Uber drivers for half the cost he charged me waiting in the parking lot, lesson learned Uber is everywhere. The cost roundtrip was €80 and took about 30 minutes. The cost for the park was €18.50.  

After the park we decided to go over to Ann Frank’s House, not realizing how long the line was we saw the outside and decided to go get some dutch pancakes before my grandmother called it a night.

Our last night in Amsterdam went to the famous Ice Bar. Neat experience and we showed up in shorts and a t-shirt, rocking the Minnesota weather like it was nothing. Holt even had sandals on, and we both had our jackets open, we had people just laughing at us, and then once they realized we were from Minnesota they had the most epic response “oh, that makes sense.” The cost of the Ice Bar is €22.50 which includes 3 alcoholic drinks, is 45-minutes long and if I recall was 20 minutes in the freezer.

The greatest part about Amsterdam is being able to stay up until 2 AM wondering the streets, knowing you can just hop on the Tram back to your hotel. The place was very safe and such a lovely city. I have enjoyed my two other trips there as well. I hope this inspires you to take a trip to Amsterdam.

To end my trip here, at the airport my passport dropped out of my pocket and my friend Anthony picked up, without looking at it put it in his pocket and claimed it to be his. I ran all over the airport looking for my passport and then I received a phone call, that Anthony had my passport and dropped on the floor at the gate and someone else picked up, crazy times in Amsterdam.

Any questions about trip planning, send me a message or drop it in the comment section.


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