September 7, 2015

Polka Dots in Amsterdam


After spending three weeks in cold, rainy London, I was so happy to arrive in Amsterdam to a sunny 80-degree day! I had purchased this cute teal polka dotted dress at a street market in Camden Town, London, so I was finally able to wear it. (I was a wee bit excited. Three weeks of rain = no fun.)


This was my first time in Amsterdam, and I stayed in Leidse Square, which is a bit of a touristy area but it's in the heart of everything. What I didn't realize until arriving is that Amsterdam itself is very small, so even if you stay in Leidse, it's just a 10-minute walk to the Red Light District and other popular neighborhoods and tourist attractions.

Leidse has a huge area with outdoor tables and restaurants in the middle of the square, and just across the road is a street called Lange Leidse Dwarsstraat which is lined with every type of restaurant imaginable - Thai, Mediterranean, tapas, hookah lounges, pizzerias, etc. 


My absolute favorite spot was Vondelpark. It was only a street over from my hotel, so I rented a bike and biked through all the different paths in the park. Each path leads to something beautiful - flower gardens, rivers, bridges, gazebos, and giant majestic trees that look like something out of a movie. They even have little restaurants and cafes on the water, and an outdoor theater where they hold concerts, shows and events.






My friend and I went on a one-hour canal boat cruise where they show you the canals, house boats, the Anne Frank House, and educate you on the history of Amsterdam. 




(Anne Frank House)

One of my favorite neighborhoods was Spuistraat, which is a two-minute walk from Dam Square. So many adorable restaurants and bars.



The Red Light District was everything I expected - sex shops, sex show theaters, and alleys where prostitutes stand in the window in bikinis. (Don't take photos of them though. I was told that's a no-no.)



And of course, I had to visit the infamous coffee shops that Amsterdam is known for. They have a menu when you walk in that includes both marijuana and hash. They also have coffee shop bars which are just like normal bars (karaoke, DJ's etc.) except you can smoke weed in them. But not cigarettes. Wut.


I thought this magic mushrooms sign was a joke, but I was told from the locals it isn't. So apparently you can buy mushrooms in stores too (?!)


And last but not least, my cliche tourist coffee shop selfie...


Here's the link to my travel vlog: 



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