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Amsterdam- favourite sites and activities?

Amsterdam- favourite sites and activities?

Old Jan 5th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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Amsterdam- favourite sites and activities?

Only three days in Amsterdam at the beginning of July. Should we spend all the time we have in the city or try and get out into the countryside?
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 02:54 AM
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You could easily spend three days in and around the city, but it's easy to get trains to other towns and bus trips to villages like Marken and Volendam. I'd play it by ear depending on the weather - the countryside around A'dam is not exactly scenic in its own right.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 05:53 AM
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It all depends on your preference/taste. Some people are horrified by Amsterdam while others are delighted. If you are into paintings you can spend days inside the Van Gogh & Rembrant Museums, same can be said about the legalized brown cafes, red light district, and the bohemian part of Amsterdam. For us, the only charming part of Amsterdam is walking around the canals in which case one day is enough. We do shop for certain dutch foods to take home to California.

We always venture out of Amsterdam. I agree with Patrick as far as the flat countryside around Amsterdam (not that great!). I'm also quite disappointed by tourist traps like Vollendam, Monikendam, & Marken because they are very artificial. They exist for the tourist buses. I do however like the real towns (small cities) such as Haarlem, Den Haag, Utrecht & Delft. The best windmill park is in the area near Delft/Rotterdam. On the right days you may enjoy the cheese towns like Alkmaar and Gouda. They are all easily reached by train, it's a tiny country afterall.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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With only 3 days I'd stay in Amsterdam.

Vondelpark is lovely in the summertime. I enjoyed the Leidseplein district, flower markets, the neighborhood of the canal rings. One afternoon's stroll thru the central part around the Dam, train station, red light district, was interesting but enough for my taste.

I spent 5 days solo and that was a good amount of time for me. I only went to two museums (because it was raining) and those were an erotic one and the one about the Tropics (both strange but entertaining).
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Amsterdam is wonderful for walking. We weren't interested in the red light district or the train station area, but found plenty of other places to keep us busy for four days. The museum district is very nice, so were the streets around our hotel in the university district near Hotel de L'Europe and Hotel Doelan. There are nice cafes there-- Cafe de Jardin for sitting at the canal for a light meal,(sp?) and Cafe Katoen to enjoy a college crowd. The Van Gogh museum is a Must See IMHO, as is Anne Frank Huis. If you click on my screen name above, you can find my trip report of London-Paris-Amsterdam, with the names of some great restaurants there. We fell in love with Amsterdam's contemporary spirit and open heart. It's definitely NOT all about the brown cafes and the red lights. It's also a friendly, clean, and charming city.
We took an afternoon bus-boat tour of four little towns, which is very touristy, but we enjoyed getting out on the lake and seeing some countryside for four hours or so.
Have fun!
Old Jan 6th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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You should probably stay in the city, to let you reach such less-known places as the museum of the history of the Nazi occuption and Durch resistance, the great pumps that drained the Harlemmermeer, and the tour by bicycle.

Ben Haines
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 09:14 AM
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You won't be disapointed by Amsterdam! I agree with Ben that you should stay in the city. We've just returned from Holland and I can assure you that even in wintertime, walking in Amsterdam is an easy, inexpensive pleasure and public transportation is efficient. A canal tour would be worthwhile to see and get some perspective on the architecture. Everything from shopping on the Kalverstraat, venturing into churches and museums to stopping at one of the many outdoor herring kiosks for a quick bite of a traditional Dutch treat like kibling, croquette or herring is an enjoyable experience! But, if you wanted to get out of the city to visit a traditional, rural Dutch town, you might want to visit Broek in Waterland - a hidden gem and I didn't find it touristy at all.

Check out http://www.amsterdam.info/ for information on what events, exhibits, etc. are happening when you are there.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 11:06 AM
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My daughter is going back to Amsterdam in May for the 3rd time. She plans to rent bicycles this time , see the windmills, re visit museums that were closed. I think once there, you are going to wish for much more time in town.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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If it were me, I would probably stay in the city for the entire time, especially if this would be your first trip. I was there in the summer of 2004 for 2 days and felt rushed, and definitely wish that I could have had at least three days to really enjoy and take in the culture, wander, and explore the city.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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I note what I consider a misuse of the term, "Brown Cafe" on this thread. The implication some of you use seems to be that a "Brown Cafe" is a place that sells/toleratees marijuana use. Not the case! A "Coffee House" may (or may not) be what you are looking for if that is what you have in mind. See xxx30's link above.

A true "Brown Cafe", however, is a jewel beyond price. They are usually old, traditional, places that are the equivalent of the British "Pub" They take the name from the many layers of varnish that have been applied to the woodwork over the years; probably well mixed with tobacco smoke for added color.

If you can find one, you will enjoy a jolly crowd, good conversation and a hearty welcome. Just ask almost any Amsterdamer where his favorite Brown Cafe is, and you will get good advice -- and probably a new friend.

Suggestion: When I was single and lived there, my technique would be to approach a sophisticated couple at the bar, and politely ask them if they could recommend a Brown Cafe/Restaurant, etc. What followed was almost always a list of good places to go. Often the discussion would involve the whole bar, as they called back and forth with advice. Not only did I sometimes get invited along to a new place, as someone was going there anyway, but they would introduce me around the new place and that would start the discussion of "cool" places all over again. I even got invited to some parties along the way, and I still have friends today that I met this way.

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