Over the early May bank holiday weekend, we decided to hop over to the Netherlands for a quick trip. The cheapest flights however, only allowed for 48 hours there, but we managed to see a lot! We stayed over on Friday night at the Manchester airport since we had a 7 am flight, and ate dinner at the Trafford Centre (one of the biggest malls I’ve ever been to, seriously the food court is epic) before heading to the Radisson Blu at the airport. It is the most convenient airport hotel I can imagine, since it is about a 10 minute walk to any terminal and you don’t even have to go outside. Perfect for an early morning flight.
There were several stag do’s on our flight, with the grooms to be dressed up in rather interesting costumes…but it was otherwise uneventful. Schipfol airport is pretty close to Amsterdam, and there are a myriad of transportation options to the city. Because we were staying near Vondel Park, we took a bus to our hotel, but there are also trains and trams that go to city centre. Google maps will tell you the fastest option for where you are headed because the options can be overwhelming.
After checking into our hotel, wandering around Vondel Park and grabbing lunch we headed back to the airport to the Keukenhof Gardens (separate post on those coming soon!). Vondel Park is beautiful, and when you walk through it (which you definitely should) you can totally imagine the hippies communing there back in the day. When you aren’t freaking out about getting hit by a rogue biker of course…We then headed back to the city for a quick falafel dinner and a red light district tour. I thought that the tour we took was interesting, historical and respectful of the women who are sex workers. We went around to different important historical areas in the Red Light district, and also saw some of the women working in the windows. I thought it was interesting that our guide noted that no Dutch women work in that area, that it is all women from other countries. We also visited the Prostitution Museum, which provided insight into the lives of the women in the industry. I would definitely recommend taking a tour of this area because it provides factual information and was really interesting.
We also learned a bit about the marijuana industry in Amsterdam as well, what is legal and what isn’t. Apparently while it is legal to sell to customers, the amount the coffee shops can have on hand is small compared to what they turn over daily, so technically, the amounts that their suppliers must have somewhere is illegal. I haven’t decided how I feel about these industries, but it was good to get some insight on it from a local. We ended our night with a few (Belgian) beers at a historic bar.