Hello and welcome to my first travel recap!
As I briefly explained in my previous post, we spent three weeks of March in The Netherlands and it was such a surreal experience! We had an amazing time, and I am excited to share a recap for your own future adventures!
How We Got There
We flew Virgin Atlantic for this long haul across the world, which was a first time for the both of us with this airline. We found a great deal through Priceline and only paid $670 for my round trip economy ticket. We didn't have to pay for hubby's ticket because it was for work. His company went through the airline directly and paid over double for the same flight!
Overall I really liked Virgin Atlantic and would consider it a higher end airline like Lufthansa for international flights.
- Service was really attentive
- Nice food options that are provided in a menu at the beginning of the flight
- Great variety of movies, TV shows, and games for inflight entertainment
- Roomier economy
- Plane felt a little outdated
- Business and first class appeared to be not worth the price tag (business seats looked only slightly larger than economy and first class seats didn't lay flat)
Where We Stayed
My husband's training actually took place in a suburb city of Amsterdam, called Zoetermeer (bless you) which was less than an hour outside of Amsterdam. We stayed for three weeks at a hotel called the Golden Tulip. So cute right? Golden Tulip hotels are across The Netherlands and are a modern, nice, and affordable place to stay in this country. I think my husband's company paid under $100 per night, which I think is so reasonable for the modern and upgraded room we stayed in. Although on the smaller side for two people, it was comfortable and enjoyable to stay in for three weeks.
What We Did
We did not stay exactly in the city of Amsterdam, and ventured out to a couple of other cities during our time in The Netherlands. Since Amsterdam is the main tourist hub of The Netherlands I will stick to this particular city. We only spent one day in the city but it was a full day and there was so much to do!
The Ice Bar
I would love to have been a part of the brainstorming process that came up with the concept of a bar that is literally freezing, but it was an experience that we will never forget! The ticket costs about $25 per person and includes entry to the bar along with 3 drinks. You first start out in a normal, not freezing bar and have a drink while you watch the pirate themed intro. After that you proceed to put on provided coats and gloves and proceed into the attraction. Pro tip: don't wear glasses because they will intermediately fog up! Literally EVERYTHING was made of ice. The bar, glasses, seats, everything! You enjoy two more drinks for as long as you can handle it before you decide you get the idea. This was around the time for me when I could no longer feel my fingers. Either way, it was a unique experience that I would recommend at least once!
Anne Frank House
A somber experience that everyone can benefit from. It was so surreal to see pictures of the Frank family standing in the exact spot as I stood. The walking tour begins as you make your way past the very same bookcase that shielded the family from exposure for years. From there you make your way up the staircase and through each room, all while listening to a head set that relays all the details of their time in the annex.
Not exactly something *to do* per say, but you have to get the full Amsterdam experience by ordering a cone of french fries from a cart! These were common and popular on every street we saw. They also come with a variety of creamy dipping sauces! A must try!
A great and fun way to get around the city is to take advantage of the canals and ride a boat! We had tickets for hop on hop off, which was fun but since we only spent one full day in Amsterdam we could not fully utilize. I also saw really cute booze and dinner cruises, another great way to see the city!
Didn't have enough time but want to do next time
Van Gogh Museum, Handbag Museum, Keukenhof Garden (too cold), Zaans Schans Windmill
Old and Picturesque
This is true of pretty much all of Europe, but man was every building so beautiful!
While a little pricey, The Netherlands offered a very good public transportation system of trains and buses (and boats!) that can get you pretty much anywhere.
So Bike Friendly
There were bike streets everywhere there were car streets. A fun and healthy alternative!
In contrast to the USA, most restaurants are family owned and not chains. There were so many cute and high quality places to choose from!
Unfortunately still many people smoke in this part of the world, even young people. :( There are less regulations about where people can smoke, so expect to smell it almost everywhere.
Everything Closes Early
Make sure to plan ahead, stores are not open nearly as long in the states! I found most stores to be open from 11am-5/6pm.
Thanks so much for reading! If you ever want to reference this recap in the future, you can find it again under "travel" at the top!
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