As We Travel » Netherlands http://www.aswetravel.com Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:07:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Taking the Glacier Express in Switzerland http://www.aswetravel.com/taking-glacier-express-switzerland/ http://www.aswetravel.com/taking-glacier-express-switzerland/#comments Sat, 26 Oct 2013 18:37:00 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=45410 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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What better way to enjoy fantastic views of the Swiss Alps than by taking the Glacier Express? This colorful train takes you through several small villages, across more than 200 bridges, through peaceful valleys and mountainous terrain on the way from Southern Switzerland through the Swiss Alps to the world famous resort, St. Moritz. Described […]

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What better way to enjoy fantastic views of the Swiss Alps than by taking the Glacier Express?

This colorful train takes you through several small villages, across more than 200 bridges, through peaceful valleys and mountainous terrain on the way from Southern Switzerland through the Swiss Alps to the world famous resort, St. Moritz.

Described by The New York Times as “A slow ride, with reason” this is one trip you need to add to your travel bucket list. Imagine this – vast sweeping snow fields, breathtaking views and spectacular white-capped mountains.

Board the Glacier Express in one of several villages- Zermatt, Visp, Brig or another village along the way. You can enjoy the journey and return the same way later in the day, or, as many passengers do, spend the night in St. Moritz on Mount Matterhorn.

 

St. Mortiz, a lovely world renown resort, offers comfortable lodgings with panoramic views of the mountains just outside your window.

Be sure to book reservations for your train ride and reserve lunch for you and your family. You can reserve a 3-course lunch or a luncheon special that is served by Glacier Express’s experienced waiters.

They serve their guests with a special “ritual pour” that is incredibly fun and enjoyed by all. Snacks and beverages are special amenities included in the price of your ticket too.

With tall windows on either side of the train, enjoy photographing the fantastic Swiss Alp mountain passes, the sheer snow covered walls that drop down to ravines, gorges and rivers below.

You will pass over 250 bridges, go through 90 tunnels, cross the beautiful Landmassar Viaduct and continue on up the mountain to St. Moritz. Round trip, it takes 7 hours.

Tired of riding? Get off and spend the night in one of the villages you see along the way.

Many visitors prefer to do this. Zermatt, Visp and Brig are only a few villages that offer overnight accommodations to passengers.

You can board the Glacier Express in one of several pick up points, whatever fits your schedule best. Reservations can be made online. You’ll return by 6 PM in plenty of time for dinner.

Guests are excited to see the wonderful views along the journey from Southern Switzerland through the Swiss Alps, through the Chedivide that crosses the source of the Rhine and Rhone Rivers. Audio speakers keep passengers informed about each point of the journey.

Think you’ll be adding this to your bucket list?

(Photo credits: 1234)

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European River Cruises – The Best Way to Go
 http://www.aswetravel.com/top-european-river-cruises/ http://www.aswetravel.com/top-european-river-cruises/#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 18:16:20 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=44887 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Scenic cruises cruises have become one of today’s most popular choices for vacations, tourism and sightseeing. Some of the best river cruises offer picturesque sailing aboard luxury ships. This is truly the way to go when travel is on your mind. Luxury Danube river cruises have to be experienced to be fully enjoyed. Imagine this… […]

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Scenic cruises cruises have become one of today’s most popular choices for vacations, tourism and sightseeing. Some of the best river cruises offer picturesque sailing aboard luxury ships. This is truly the way to go when travel is on your mind.

Luxury Danube river cruises have to be experienced to be fully enjoyed. Imagine this… the surreal feeling of sailing along the beautiful river past many of the most exciting landmarks, beautiful cities and historic towns.

Here are three European River cruises you won’t want to miss:

1. The Luxury Danube River Cruise

Spend eight days aboard a ship that glides as gracefully as a swan along the Danube River from Nuremberg to Budapest. If eight days isn’t enough, experience the eleven-day Classic Prague to Nuremberg to Budapest cruising soiree. These are some of Europe’s oldest and most historic cities filled with tourist delights and impressive architecture of centuries’ old castles and buildings.

AsWeTravel-River-Cruises-Sept2013-01

Days and nights full of glorious food, fun and activities aboard ship or ashore sound just perfect don’t you agree?

2. The Temptations of the Magical Moselle and Thine River

Another luxury river cruise to enjoy is the Moselle and Rhine River Cruise. This twelve-day cruise is a veritable fairy tale full of all of the romance of the Black Forest, picturesque castles and delightful temptations of regional cuisine. The Moselle and Rhine River Cruise begins upon arrival in Basel, Switzerland. The next day the fairy tale begins with a visit to the Black Forest followed by the exclusive elegance of Strasbourg, Mainze and several other of Europe’s loveliest, traditional cities.

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No cruise on the Moselle and Rhine is complete without a stop in Amsterdam.

3. Cruising the Great Rivers of Europe in Classic Elegance

Ship accommodations offer a level of luxury that make guests feel like royalty. Cabins, state rooms and one-bedroom suites are furnished in upscale design with every amenity provided. Relax aboard the spacious deck or take a daily swim in the pool. At night, enjoy the bar and lounge with its enticing views from floor-to-ceiling windows. Enjoy late evening cocktails with a romantic view seen only from a cruise ship. No other form of travel offers this level of elegance or scenic vistas.

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When the travel urge begins, consider booking a river cruise, we promise you won’t regret it!

Have you experienced a river cruise yet in an exciting location?

(Photo: 1, 2, 3)

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CityHub Amsterdam – Changing Budget Accommodation! (REVIEW) http://www.aswetravel.com/cityhub-amsterdam-changing-budget-accommodation-review/ http://www.aswetravel.com/cityhub-amsterdam-changing-budget-accommodation-review/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2012 06:00:49 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=37503 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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We are always on the look-out for new ideas and concepts in the travel industry, and when we found out about CityHub we knew straight away that this was something out of the ordinary, and something we had to experience. During the past few years, the way people travel has changed drastically. Not only are […]

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We are always on the look-out for new ideas and concepts in the travel industry, and when we found out about CityHub we knew straight away that this was something out of the ordinary, and something we had to experience.

During the past few years, the way people travel has changed drastically.

Not only are we completely intertwined with technology, but we are getting pickier, and our needs are more and more difficult to satisfy.

Today, a stinky crammed dorm bed is not enough – we want comfort, wifi, good locations, privacy and social interactions – and all of it for budget prices.

Out of all these variables, CityHub has come up with a fun, urban alternative to your ordinary hotel, combining the social vibe and technology, with privacy and comfort, and a revolutionary room idea to save space and keep the prices low.

The rooms, or “hubs”, are private sleeping units in something that looks like a futuristic “box”.

Each hub features a large comfortable double bed, a makeup mirror and table, bench, mood lights around the bed, and built-in speakers installed in each hub which you can connect to your iPhone.

Downstairs is a hang-out lounge where you can meet other travelers or watch the live-feed on CityHub’s facebook page (which in the future will be a way for guests to get tips  from the hosts while out exploring the city) to get tips and updates of what’s happening in Amsterdam.

The location is fantastic, right next to Vondelpark (one of our favorite places in the city) and surrounded by lots of shops and cafes.

Sem, one of the founders and the host of the week, is a great guy, very friendly and social and we liked how he really spent time with the guests, making everyone feel welcome and at home.

The hotel is just in beta mode, and has only been open to guests for a couple of weeks, but is already fully booked for the next few months – which tells you that this is the type of hotel people have been waiting for.

The idea is to become an interactive hotel, both online as well as at the hotel itself, and the owners have a lot of ideas on where and how to take it all to the next level.

We’re excited to see what CityHub will turn into in the next couple of months, and definitely recommend that you check it out next time you’re in Amsterdam!

CityHub – Overview:

Price: from €39 per hub, each hub fits two people (right now you can only book via airbnb, but in the future it will be possible to book via their website)
Website: www.cityhubamsterdam.com
Facebook: facebook.com/CityHub
Twitter: twitter.com/CityHubAMS

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3 Tips For Your Second Time In Amsterdam http://www.aswetravel.com/3-tips-for-your-second-time-in-amsterdam/ http://www.aswetravel.com/3-tips-for-your-second-time-in-amsterdam/#comments Sun, 02 Sep 2012 12:00:31 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=37492 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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We’re extremely late planners, and rarely book anything more than a couple of weeks in advance – so our trip from Bangkok to Amsterdam a few weeks ago was very much our typical last minute travel style, but since we have been to Amsterdam twice before the trip didn’t need much planning - this time we simply […]

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We’re extremely late planners, and rarely book anything more than a couple of weeks in advance – so our trip from Bangkok to Amsterdam a few weeks ago was very much our typical last minute travel style, but since we have been to Amsterdam twice before the trip didn’t need much planning - this time we simply wanted to expand on our last few trips.

First-timers to Amsterdam have a long list of things to do, but if you’re visiting Amsterdam for a second and maybe third time, chances are that you want to experience something new – something that you haven’t already done.

On their first visit to Amsterdam, people usually take boat tours along the canals, rent bikes, check out the red light district, coffee shops and visit museums – which are all some of the best ways to experience Amsterdam, and many which are free with the I Amsterdam City Card.

But if you’re looking for a couple of new things to add to your list – here are some suggestions…

Take A Walk Around Zaanse Schans

Just a short distance out of Amsterdam, you find Saanse Schanz, an open air museum that looks exactly the way you would picture Netherlands in your mind; quaint wooden houses, weeping willows dipping their branches in the canals, and lots and lots of (still working) windmills.

It’s all very real, the houses are authentic and the windmills have been collected from all over the country and moved here to be preserved.

You can go inside the windmills, and if you climb the ladder you get an amazing view from the top overlooking the area – it’s a really nice place to visit on a sunny summer day, with a clog shop, bakery, museums and cafes to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere.

Useful info: Train tickets cost about €3 each way, and takes around 20 minutes – museums and windmills are free with the City Card.

Visit The Zoo

Founded in 1838, the Royal Artis Zoo is one of the oldest Zoo’s in the world, and is a really nice place to spend a couple of hours.

The park is very green and wonderfully laid out with small paths and walkways, lakes, and beautiful 19th century buildings.

With a planetarium, aquarium and butterfly pavillion it’s really more than a zoo, and there are animals everywhere; from orangutans, giraffs and lions, to small monkeys, beavers and wolves.

There is a huge variety, but our favorite parts of the zoo were those where the animals could roam freely among the visitors – there was a beautiful building where you were surrounded by animals everywhere, monkeys in the branches above, and birds on the floor in front of you.

Useful info: The zoo can be reached with tram 9 (from Central Station) and 14 (from Dam Square) – tickets cost €14, but are free with City Card.

Relax In The Busy Parks

The air is full of smoke everywhere you go, but it’s not all from what you get at the local coffee shops – in fact, most of it is from the BBQ’s which are everywhere around you – people sit on the sidewalks, by the river, and on the boats – but there is nothing like Amsterdam’s parks.

A heavy mist of BBQ smoke lingers over Vondelpark and Westerpark, the two favorite local hang-outs.

We’ve never seen a park so consistently full of people on blankets with food and drinks, enjoying the summer evenings until long into the wee hours of night, any day of the week.

If you want to go where the locals go, these two parks are the places to visit.

One of the coziest park cafes are in the over 300 year old Botanical Garden, a small, lush garden which is one of the very oldest in the world, and a perfect place to relax and have lunch.

Useful info: Vondelpark and Westerpark are free for the public, the Botanical Garden costs €7,50, but is free with the City Card.

As you can see, and probably noticed on your last visit to Amsterdam, a lot of the best attractions are not necessarily expensive, but you save a lot with the city card if you plan to do a lot of things – and the deal breaker for us was the free transport which we used all the time during our stay in the city.

Note: Our trip to Amsterdam was in part sponsored by the Amsterdam Tourism Board, but our opinions are, as always, our own.

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Staying Like A Local In Amsterdam. http://www.aswetravel.com/staying-like-a-local-in-amsterdam/ http://www.aswetravel.com/staying-like-a-local-in-amsterdam/#comments Wed, 29 Aug 2012 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=37467 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Recently Wimdu invited us to stay at one of the apartments listed on their site while in Amsterdam – which turned out to be a great alternative to the many overpriced and lousy hotels that are scattered over the city. While searching the website we found an amazing apartment close to Westerpark, an area we […]

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Recently Wimdu invited us to stay at one of the apartments listed on their site while in Amsterdam – which turned out to be a great alternative to the many overpriced and lousy hotels that are scattered over the city.

While searching the website we found an amazing apartment close to Westerpark, an area we had yet to explore, and one that many tourists miss out on.

The pictures on Wimdu looked really nice, and with 90 square meters and amenities like a jacuzzi, dining room and a beautiful balcony, the apartment offered more than we needed!

Just as arranged on Wimdu, the host welcomed us into his apartment, which was located in a really nice neighborhood with views over a canal, and just a quick walk to many of the most beautiful parts of the city.

Westerpark was packed with people enjoying the warmest days of summer, the beautiful Jordaan area was just minutes away, and there were some really nice local bars and cafes around the area.

From contacting the host, to booking the apartment and actually meeting our host in person, everything went very smoothly with Wimdu.

If this huge apartment was an actual hotel suite, the price would have been way above a normal travelers budget – so it’s pretty amazing how much more you get for your money, and the possibility to cook your own food definitely brings down the costs.

In case you didn’t know – Wimdu is a booking site where people rent out their spaces (whether it’s an apartment, room, house etc) to travelers visiting their town.

Some people only rent out a room in their home, others entire houses and apartments, and the result is a more local stay and higher quality of accommodation for a lower price than normal hotels – you contact the host through Wimdu and book your stay through the website.

Once you have booked your stay you get all the information you need about the exact location, the key-handover and other important things you need to know – our experience was great, so we would definitely recommend using them for your next holiday!

Disclaimer: Our stay with Wimdu was sponsored, however, our opinions are – as always, our own.

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Top 5 Places To Cycle In Amsterdam http://www.aswetravel.com/top-5-places-to-cycle-in-amsterdam/ http://www.aswetravel.com/top-5-places-to-cycle-in-amsterdam/#comments Tue, 15 May 2012 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=31316 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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There are nearly as many bikes in Amsterdam as there are people – so there’s little excuse for not taking to two wheels to explore the city on a holiday here. Take a look at our guide to find out exactly where you should go on your bike. Vondelpark This is among the most popular […]

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There are nearly as many bikes in Amsterdam as there are people – so there’s little excuse for not taking to two wheels to explore the city on a holiday here. Take a look at our guide to find out exactly where you should go on your bike.

Vondelpark

This is among the most popular places to visit for local residents and tourists alike – and it’s a great area to head to if you’re exploring Amsterdam on a bike.

There’s lots to see as you cycle around Vondelpark, including a rose garden containing 70 varieties of the flower and plenty of quirky street performers.

You could stop for a moment to check out the open air theatre, or swap your bike for rollerskates for another speedy way of getting around the park.

Along The Waterfront

A great way to see just how Amsterdam has changed over the centuries is to cycle along the waterfront.

The southern section in particular offers a fascinating insight into the city’s more modern developments, although you’ll start to see more of a combination of old and new architecture as you head further west.

Look out for the old harbor and buildings made from what looks like lots of brightly-coloured shipping containers, which were designed by local architecture practice MVRDV.

The Nieuwmarkt

The Nieuwmarkt is the place to go for a taste of Amsterdam’s multicultural lifestyle.

This old district is named after the marketplace that was built after the waterways here were filled in during the 17th century, and has seen many fascinating buildings and attractions spring up over the years.

One highlight is the 15th-century De Waag building, which houses a cafe and restaurant and is a superb example of medieval Dutch architecture.

Make sure your cycling route also takes you past the Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple – or Zeedijk Temple – to see Europe’s biggest Buddhist temple and visit Chinatown to sample some incredible east Asian food.

Want to explore further? The notorious red light district is just next door to the Nieuwmarkt. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not all sex shops and prostitutes here.

In fact, the area is Amsterdam’s oldest district and is home to a wealth of fascinating sights, including independent boutiques, leaning gabled homes and pretty canals.

Waterland District

If you fancy getting out of the city for a while, cycle north to the Waterland district.

Here, you’ll ride past picturesque villages, working fishing towns and large swathes of green land to get a real taste of Dutch country life.

Don’t miss Broek’s wooden houses – which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries – and the yacht harbour at Monnickendam.

You can also take a break from cycling and hop on a boat or scooter for a unique way to see the region.

Westerpark

Yes, another park, but one that is perfect for people-watching. Westerpark is a great place to relax in, especially after it recently underwent regeneration.

Lots of cultural events take place here throughout the year, and you might spot some particularly quirky art exhibits as you cycle around the park (take a closer look at any bodies of water here – you never know what you might find lurking in their depths!).

If all of this has whetted your appetite for a cycling break in Amsterdam, why not seize the moment and book now?

(photo credits: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5)

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The Best Festivals In Amsterdam During 2012 http://www.aswetravel.com/the-best-festivals-in-amsterdam-during-2012/ http://www.aswetravel.com/the-best-festivals-in-amsterdam-during-2012/#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:00:24 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=27532 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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As a modern, vibrant and diverse city Amsterdam will host many different festivals over the forthcoming year – this includes events dedicated to music, theatre, film and much more besides. If you’re planning a visit to Amsterdam in 2012 and want to go to a festival while you’re there, here’s a run-down of each month’s […]

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As a modern, vibrant and diverse city Amsterdam will host many different festivals over the forthcoming year – this includes events dedicated to music, theatre, film and much more besides.

If you’re planning a visit to Amsterdam in 2012 and want to go to a festival while you’re there, here’s a run-down of each month’s best events.

March: The Silent Procession

This traditionally religious festival at first might seem a bit odd compared to Amsterdam’s reputation as a party city, but it reflects the city’s history as an important centre for the Catholic community.

It commemorates the 1345 ‘Miracle of Amsterdam’, which involved the salvation of a dying man, and attracts thousands to walk silently through the city.

April: Queens day

Officially a celebration of the Queen Mother’s birthday, this festival is actually just a good old-fashioned party.

Queens day is a national celebration that is particularly poignant in Amsterdam, with 750,000 visitors.

They all wear orange, the national colour of Holland, and enjoy street stalls, games and parties.

May: Art Amsterdam

This modern art fair draws visitors from around the world to see the best in modern and contemporary art.

June: Holland Festival

The Holland festival is an international performing arts event that includes theatre, dance and cinema – over the month long festival, performances take place across the city, and include both traditional and experimental artists in various different languages.

July: Amsterdam Roots Festival

Say hello to five days of roots music with a showcase of international bands and DJs.

Much of the music is European in origin, but the festival includes acts from across the world.

The first four days of the festival take place in venues across the city – the last day is a free open-air event with seven stages.

August: Grachten festival

This classical music festival includes over eighty performances from artists playing everything from professional clarinets to violins. Venues are spread across the city and include not just traditional concert halls but open-air stages, historic buildings and even people’s homes.

September: Robodock Arts Festival

Contemporary art shows in an old shipyard depot, which has now been abandoned and makes a fantastic usable space for artists.

The industrial setting of the Robodock Arts Festival creates a unique experience, with fire performances and gritty machinery.

Probably one of the most unusual festivals the city has to offer.

October: Amsterdam Dance Event

One of Europe’s biggest dance festivals, the Amsterdam Dance Event attracts over 110,000 ravers each year – it also attracts both big names in dance music, and some smaller, experimental and up-coming acts.

Running over four days the event includes a wide range of electronic music such as house, drum and bass, trance and techno.

November: International Documentary Film Festival

Known to many as they IDFA, this is a celebration of the world of documentary filmmaking. The event has been running for 25 years and is unique.

Documentaries about anything and everything show at venues across the city centre – the festival acts as a place for both professionals and audiences to gain inspiration.

If you’re inspired by the idea of attending a festival in Amsterdam the next thing to do is to find somewhere to stay.

You may even hear some festival stories to gear you up for your own adventure!

(photo credits: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5)

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Amsterdam, Netherlands – Europe #3 [VIDEO] http://www.aswetravel.com/amsterdam-netherlands-travel-video/ http://www.aswetravel.com/amsterdam-netherlands-travel-video/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2011 06:00:43 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=22472 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Our third stop during the Europe Train Challenge was one of our most loved cities in the world: Amsterdam. We have been to Amsterdam many times before, and every time we leave we find ourselves thinking: let’s come back here for a bit and live. The vibe, the city, the people – there is so much in Amsterdam to love. To read […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Our third stop during the Europe Train Challenge was one of our most loved cities in the world: Amsterdam.

We have been to Amsterdam many times before, and every time we leave we find ourselves thinking: let’s come back here for a bit and live.

The vibe, the city, the people – there is so much in Amsterdam to love.

To read more about our time in Amsterdam, make sure you check out:

We hope you enjoy our Amsterdam video, and stay tuned for at least 1 new video every week – Next stop Brussels!

(Our Amsterdam Episode was Sponsored byInterRailHotel Inner)

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Dealing With Organized Chaos in Amsterdam http://www.aswetravel.com/dealing-with-organized-chaos-in-amsterdam/ http://www.aswetravel.com/dealing-with-organized-chaos-in-amsterdam/#comments Sat, 04 Jun 2011 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=19124 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Every time I go back to Amsterdam I leave loving the city even more – it’s one of my favorite cities in Europe. It’s just such a spontaneous place, and it feels as if anything can happen here, but at the same time it feels… organized. For me, Amsterdam is the perfect example of organized […]

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Every time I go back to Amsterdam I leave loving the city even more – it’s one of my favorite cities in Europe.

It’s just such a spontaneous place, and it feels as if anything can happen here, but at the same time it feels… organized.

For me, Amsterdam is the perfect example of organized chaos.

I felt as though people were allowed to do what they wanted, just not exactly where they wanted.They can smoke weed and eat space cakes – just not on the streets; prostitution and buying sex is legal –  just stick to the right area.

Everybody bikes, and even though you feel as though there are people biking everywhere, they know exactly what they’re doing and which streets they’re allowed on.

If you bike on a pedestrian-only street you risk paying a high fine.

This third time in Amsterdam it became even more clear to me how people and rules here are often the straight opposite from other countries: feeling like a BBQ?

Yeah sure, bring it all out and put it on the footpath in the city.

Wanna party hard in the park, drinking, smoking and pumping out house music out of the speakers in public parks?

Yeah go ahead, Vondelpark is perfect, there is even a sign saying you’re allowed to play music, drink and – according to the sign, joggle here.

The funny contrasts make the place so different from other cities.

People simply do things differently here: Instead of having a picnic in the park they have it on the boats, instead of driving they bike (in every type of weather, snow or rain doesn’t matter here), and so forth.

You see things here that you don’t see anywhere else, like a parking lot with 3000 bikes!

Amsterdam is a place with many faces, and it’s up to you which one you want to see.

You can choose to see the crazy Amsterdam with Penis fountains, prostitutes posing in windows and coffee shops everywhere.

But you can also choose to see the incredible architecture of the houses, the many boats on the canals where people have picnics, the art museums and the beautiful nature surrounding the city.

Amsterdam is unpretentious, bold and bright – it is exactly what it is, and they’re neither proud, nor ashamed of it.

This acceptance of people is what has made Amsterdam so popular and loved by so many people.

You can be who you want – rich, poor, gay, straight – nobody cares.

This was my third time in Amsterdam, but I will definitely go back there again and again…

Have you been to Amsterdam? Share your experiences and thoughts!

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City Guide – Amsterdam, Netherlands http://www.aswetravel.com/city-guide-amsterdam-netherlands/ http://www.aswetravel.com/city-guide-amsterdam-netherlands/#comments Tue, 18 May 2010 11:00:28 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=2019 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Quick Facts Location: Netherlands Currency: Euro Language: Dutch Short history: Before turning into a major trade city, Amsterdam was a small fishing village. The Dutch people colonized the Indian islands and established a powerful trading imperium in the east. The prostitution started as the tired boatmen stayed over the night. A few lazy attempts to […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Quick Facts

Location: Netherlands
Currency: Euro

Language:
Dutch
Short history:
Before turning into a major trade city, Amsterdam was a small fishing village. The Dutch people colonized the Indian islands and established a powerful trading imperium in the east. The prostitution started as the tired boatmen stayed over the night. A few lazy attempts to get rid of prostitution has been made throughout the decades, but nobody really cared as long as they stayed in a certain area.

Amsterdam City Guide

Amsterdam is a popular destination for American gap-year travelers who know the place as a marijuana Mecca, which is probably partly true, but Amsterdam is luckily so much more than that.

In Amsterdam you get what you look for. If you want Amsterdam to be all about prostitutes and weed, then it will be. If you want Amsterdam to be all about old narrow cobbled stone streets, biking and tulips, then it will.

The Marijuana museum or Rijksmuseum – the choice is yours!

The highlight for us was to bike around the city. We biked along the canals, the winding streets and the green luscious outskirts of the city.

Biking in Amsterdam is awesome. Not only is it the easiest way getting around, but you can reach so many more places in shorter time, and getting out of the central area to the beautiful parks and walkways in a matter of minutes.

What To See And Do

Amsterdam is an open-minded multicultural place – full of history, and all well preserved. The houses date back hundreds of years (all the way back to 1420!), and there are museums of all kinds covering more than enough of Amsterdam’s cultural, historical and artistic history.

There are often small markets that take place around the city; book markets, flower markets and clothing markets. The biggest market however is Albert Cuypmarkt. It’s a market known for its variety of food; cheese, fruits, spices etc. Clothes also tend to be really cheap to buy here.

Shopping:

Walking along the shopping streets is a nice experience even for those not intending to actually buy anything. There are pretty little boutiques along the shopping street, and heaps of nice cafes to have a rest in.

Cafe Culture

Amsterdam has a broad cafe culture. They have different sorts of Cafes, but are mostly known for their Coffee shops with Marijuana and Skunk on the menu. However, there are also Tea Lounges and Brown Cafes, which are well worth a visit. I found that they were really good at making coffee and had more of a variety than in other cities in Europe.

Brown Cafes are pubs where the locals meet up for a drink and chit chat. They’re called Brown Cafes because of the dark wooden design inside. Tea Lounges are usual cafes, they just often like to call themselves Tea Lounges to separate themselves from the Coffee shops.

Coffee shops are cafes where you can smoke weed, munch on hash brownies or marijuana biscuits. This is one of the main attractions for tourists in Amsterdam, but talking to the locals they didn’t really bother much about it. It’s popular among the teens to go there since it’s still pretty cool and rebellious, but not that popular among the grown ups. According to many it’s more of just a tourist thing.

Red Light District

You’ll most likely end up here at some point of your stay in Amsterdam, whether you like it or not. It’s right in the central area and you easily just stumble upon it. In nighttime, this is a sad place with a lot of thieves, drug dealers, drug addicts and negative energy.

It’s better in daytime, but the place is still crazy. And the half naked women standing in the red light shopping windows? Yes, they’re there to be stared at 24/7 (although it’s more crowded at night).

They don’t tend to like families and couples, as they don’t get any money out of them and act more as a free tourist attraction. They show this in different ways, sometimes making fun of you and trying to make you feel awkward and embarrassed.

Remember to not take any pictures of them, if you do you’ll likely end up in big trouble.

Getting Around

Biking is undoubtedly the best way to get around the city. Transportation by car is discouraged by the local government, and apart from expensive parking fees, a great number of streets are closed off for cars in the city center. So by bike you can go anywhere, and it’s very safe with clear red marked lines for the bike lanes.

Walking is also pleasant, but make sure you don’t walk within the bike lanes, or else you’ll get some angry looks and words in your face, or even get hit.

There are also trams, buses and subways you can take. These are great and reach the outskirts, and you can also put your bike on the tram subways if you’re going somewhere far away.

Because of the limitation of where cars are allowed to go, taxi is not recommended, Amsterdam taxis are also one of the most expensive in Europe. The trams go to most places and frequently so you won’t have to wait for long, but if you do want some kind of taxi there are so called Tuk Tuk’s to take. These are open three-wheeled scooters. The prices are zone based.

Getting There

By Air

This is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, and is very easy to reach by plane, car, bus, ferry and train.

The airport Schiphol in Amsterdam is huge, but still only 16 km away from the city!  Note that Ryan Air does not operate here, but another budget airline Easy Jet does. There are three ways of getting into the city: By the KLM Hotel Bus Service (don’t worry, anyone can take this bus, you don’t have to stay at their hotels), train and over priced Taxi.

The bus costs 11 Euro one-way and the taxis in Amsterdam are really expensive. Train is by far the cheapest option to get into the city, which costs 3.10 Euro. The trains leave every 15 minutes and the trip into town takes about 15 minutes.

By Train

All trains, including the ones from Schiphol, arrive at the Central Station. A lot of people come through here, and already you get to see the bad side of Amsterdam with drug dealers, prostitutes (by the back entrance) and pick pocket thieves, so keep your stuff close to you here. Trams and buses are right outside the station.

By Bus

Buses leave and arrive at Amstel Station, about 10 km south of the city, to which you can catch a metro. Here you can go by the international bus line Eurolines (same principal as Inter Rail but by bus). Eurolines is a great way to travel Europe, cheaper than Inter Rail but maybe not as comfortable.

Where To Stay

The absolute cheapest option when staying in Amsterdam is on camping grounds (costs about 13 Euro, price depending on what type of chalet you book). You don’t need to bring a tent, you can get your own little chalet. We stayed at BostelAmsterdamseBos.

It’s a beautiful location, although a bit far from the city center. It’s a really nice bike ride into town through the woods and parks, but you can also reach the city by tram (51) and bus (199). The bus stop is right in front of the campsite and takes you to the airport in 15 minutes. The tram takes about the same time, but to get to the tram stop you also have to walk for another 15 minutes (unless you take bus there).

If you want to stay more central StayOkay Vondelpark is another option, with a great location and a good starting point when exploring the city. Prices go from 24,50 Euro and breakfast and linen are included. Just remember that if you get there before 2 pm. and want to leave your bag there they charge you an extra fee - also you can find many more hostel options @ www.hostelbookers.com

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