Amsterdam Trip Help!!

Jun 4th, 2006, 06:59 AM
  #1  
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Amsterdam Trip Help!!

I am going to Amsterdam in August for 4 days with my 13 year old son. He loves architecture, castles, learning about cultures and history. I remember reading about a castle built around the 1300s that has a moat. Can't remember the name though. Can anyone tell me about that castle (including the name)? We plan on going to the Anne Frank House, and would like to visit a wooden shoe factory and see windmills.

I know we are only there four days so we are looking at taking a tour (like Grayline) and utilize public transportation.

Can anyone give us any other suggestions? What is the best way for us to proceed? What is a nice reasonably priced hotel within walking distance to the trains and museums?

What is a good way to get from the airport without paying too much?

Thanks.
jchu10 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 07:17 AM
  #2  
 
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We're leaving for A'dam in one week and are staying at Hotel Fita- I think the website is www.fita.nl. It's about 125E/night and came highly reccomended here and on tripadvisor.com. To get from the airport to the hotel, we are going to take the Connexxion shuttle- 12E/pp doorstep to doorstep. We used public transportation last year and it didn't save much at all. This sounds like a stress-free option after a long flight.
TXgalinGA is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 07:31 AM
  #3  
MaureenB
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Here's my trip report from Amsterdam last June, with our two 'kids', ages 17 and 20, including recommendations for our hotel, a bus trip, some cafes and restaurants.
We all loved Amsterdam. It's very friendly, clean, safe, and beautiful. Have fun there!

"Final stop: Amsterdam. Five nights’ stay, first visit for all of us.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Amsterdam! You always hear of the Red Light district and the coffee shops and the laissez-faire attitude, but you don’t hear how open and friendly the people are, how lovely the canals and side streets, how wonderfully trendy the restaurants and cafes, how people are out strolling at all hours of the night and you feel safe everywhere. I think I’d expected it to be quaint and charming (which it is), but in a dark wood-paneled cliché way, not in the young and contemporary way it is.

The standard reply we were given in Amsterdam, when we asked for anything, was always “Of course!” How refreshing.

We stayed in a fabulous location, at The Hotel Residence le Coin, which was directly across a small street from the Hotel de l’Europe, down the street from the Hotel Doelan, on Nieuwe Doelenstraat (sp?). A great neighborhood in the heart of old Amsterdam.

The hotel has a lift and A/C, also free use of the hotel’s washing machine and clothes dryer in the basement (which was welcome as we’d been traveling over a week when we arrived there). Each room has a little kitchenette, a nice-sized bath, large rooms with wooden floors and a sitting area. It’s fairly new, so everything sparkles. Very friendly front desk, too.

Two cafes on the same block as the hotel were wonderful: Café Katoen for a university atmosphere, and Café de Jaren, for great table seating on the canal.

Amazing dinners at two restaurants in particular:
“Stout!”, at Haarlemmerstraat 73 (www.restaurantstout.nl). Fabulous ‘foamy asparagus’ soup with shrimp, chateaubriande, fresh fish, dessert course, wine list. Very trendy lighting. Great service. We’d gone to the neighborhood in search of a restaurant called “Lof” which we’d seen written up. We didn’t like its atmosphere, but were lucky that Stout! was just across the street.

Also at “Restaurant Dining Eleven” we had a great dinner. It’s at Reestraat 11. Also trendy and contempory, well-presented and beautifully-served meal.

Another nice dinner at “frenzi”, at Swanenburgwal 232. Very simple and contemporary. We arrived shortly after 10:00p.m., when most restaurants close in Amsterdam, and persuaded the owner to sell us any left-overs they had in the kitchen! They put together a nice Caesar salad with cooked-in-the-shell shrimp and mango. Very nice.

Also a good brunch at a place across the street from frenzi—called “Puccini”. Creative salads and sandwiches. Very nice also.

We took a canal cruise one evening. Toured the Anne Frank Huis and the Van Gogh Museum. Visited the Nieuwe Kerk (sp?) Our teens went to a concert at the Paradiso and loved it.

One afternoon we did the 2:30 “Best of Holland” excursion to Volendam and Marken, with a stop to see wooden clogs made, Gouda cheese created, and to visit windmills. It was by bus, with a boat from Volendam to Marken. A lot of fun. Even our two teens liked it.

Our teens also liked shopping at one street in particular, between our hotel and the museum district. Also a Zara shop there, and many others like it. They thought the selection and prices were better in Amsterdam than what they’d seen in London and Paris even.

A detail about Amsterdam if you go there-- carry enough Euros in cash, because many places won't accept a credit card for a 'small' purchase (i.e. under 25 EU).
The only unpleasantness we encountered in Amsterdam related to cab rides and inconsistent pricing. Especially when our two teens were grossly overcharged cabbing to the hotel from the concert. They were well aware of the route, having walked it already twice, but we'd wanted them to cab home late at night. They knew the cabbie took a very round-about way back in order to over-charge. Also, when we arrived at the taxi sand at Central Station, I was literally swarmed by rather aggressive cabbies and felt uncomfortably jostled by them all."

 
Jun 4th, 2006, 12:41 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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The Hotel Fita is a very enjoyable place to stay. Not near the train station,but the way to go is buy stippends to catch the trams. The Fita is near the museums and Vondel Park where you will find many young people. I would not want to stay near the train station as it is a very congested area. Take a ride on the canal boat tour soon after arrival which will give you a good over view of the city and enjoy its unique architecture. The best place to find out about tours is the information center at the train station. Very helpful people working there. You will find brochures at Fita hotel or I am sure at any hotel where you might stay which may give you some idea of what you might want to see.
We took a taxi which is a bit more expensive,but our flight arrived very early in the am. The shuttle around to the hotels would be my next choice of a way to get to a hotel.
My daughter and I took this trip in April which was very enjoyable. Amsterdam is a city of people that speak English and are very helpful so it should be no problem.
Another suggestion your son would enjoy eating at one of the rice tables. There is one called "The Orient"-very near the Fita hotel. A wonderful breakfast is served at the hotel along with the room rate. I have a son so I know how sons like to eat.
maryanne1 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 10:24 AM
  #6  
 
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We were in the Hotel Fita in April like MaryAnne and completely agree with her assessment.

A seafood restaurant called Bark, near the Hotel, serves excellent fare at reasonable prices.

The windmill village, "Zaanse Scans", a fifteen minute train ride from Centraal Station is well worth a visit. There are active windmills and people to explain their functions. The restaurant,De Hoop D’Sware Walvis (sp?), used to have a Michelin star. We had a wonderful lunch there before exploring the village. Great photo ops here.

Have a great trip.

Anthony


Powell is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 10:35 AM
  #7  
 
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ttt
Byrd is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 11:13 AM
  #8  
 
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One trip out you might want to cosnider would be to take the train to Zaanse Schanz which is a "reconstgructed" Dutch village about 20 minutes by train from A-Dam. Among other things, there are saeveral windmills, one of which, a so-called "color mill" which was used to grind pigments for paint, is continually in operation and can be toured. Your 13-year-old might enjoy that. It is easily done on your own and the site itself is about a 15-minute walk from the train station once you get there.

As to transportation into the city, someone has already mentioned the bus and you can do it also by rail directly from the airport station (the ride takes about 15-20 minutes) and the trains run about four times every hour. It may not be as convenient as taking a bus directly to your hotel assuming the bus goes DIRECTLY to your particular hotel.

Here is a link which has information about castles in The Netherlands:

http://www.castles.info/netherlands/
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:04 AM
  #9  
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Thank you all for your help. Hotel Fita sounds great. Looking forward to this trip. Does anyone know of the best way to get to Muiderslot Castle? Thanks again.
jchu10 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:26 AM
  #10  
 
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There are tours to Muiderslot, I think, but I went by ordinary service bus. According to their own website buses 101,152 and 157 run from Amstel station (on the Amsterdam metro) every 15 minutes Monday to Friday and every half hour at other times: journey time about 20 minutes. There's also a half-hourly service from Bijlmer station, routes 102 and 158, and a bus service between the Muiderslot and Naarden (which is a pleasant boat-y sort of town at the entrance to what's left of the Zuider Zee) about half an hour away - from there you should be able to get a train back to Amsterdam (20 minutes, service every 20 minutes in the week).
PatrickLondon is online now  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:32 AM
  #11  
 
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Since you mentioned a wooden shoe factory and windmills, I thought of the bike tour we took when we were in Amsterdam last year. Maybe your 13 year old might enjoy that.

Check http://www.mikesbiketoursamsterdam.com/ for more information.

Most of the tour is through the country side and lasts about 3 hours. It includes a visit to windmill, and shoe factory and a cheese farm. We had a really nice time.
sharon1306 is offline  

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