Getting around Europe from Liverpool is a much easier task than pre 2000, thanks to the development of John Lennon Airport and European funding. With this in mind, Ubanista have decided to create a guide to some of our favourite cities — starting with Amsterdam.
Book a Hotel
Hotels are expensive as are most things in Amsterdam. Look to pay around 500 – 600 euros for anything decent. Most rooms are small, even in the best hotels.
You have options: you can book a hotel with your flight (EasyJet) or try using super-easy apps such as Booking.com. Both make splendid use of your iPhone wallet, so no need to carry around loads of paperwork.
One of the things most people are not advised is that you may have to pay a deposit at the hotel but you do get it back at the end of your stay. Pay for this by card otherwise you will end up with 65 euros on your last day.
Check out a map of the city and locate your hotel. You can walk pretty much anywhere in Amsterdam but it’s wise to see how far you have to walk home from the action.
Amsterdam is great if you’re travelling solo and meeting up with friends, you get a one-bed room at the Hampshire Eden Hotel and it will cost around £388 for two nights. The disadvantage being, its a single-bed.
Getting to Amsterdam from Liverpool
The simplest route is via Liverpool Airport with EasyJet being the main provider. We travelled in October and depending on how long in advance you book, the average cost is around £150 – £200 return. You can book parking in advance too which is about £60 for the weekend unless you have a discount code.
The train to John Lennon Airport will drop you off at Parkway South station and then you need to get a bus to the terminal as it’s not within walking distance.
Getting to Amsterdam Central from Schiphol Airport.
The airport is Europe’s 4th largest and when you depart after your weekend of debauchery, you will see why. It’s like The Trafford Centre but without shit shops.
The best route into the city is via the train — you simply head towards the station which is also located in the Airport and buy a ticket to Amsterdam Centro.
The cost is about 5 euros (one-way) and takes about 20 mins. Trains run every 10 mins from platforms 1 and 2.
Once in the city, pull up Google Maps and locate your hotel.
Take a walk and get to know your bearings
Amsterdam is a beautiful city and it’s worth taking a walk around to get to know the place before delving into some strong ales and other substances.
There’s mega choice when it comes to alcohol – as with Belgium, you can taste some of the strong ales and lagers but they are expensive. On average, you can pay about 6-7 euros per beer.
Smoking & Cafes
One of the biggest attractions is the cafes and easy access to marajuana. Not every café will sell cannabis so you need to look out for a special green and white sticker in the window, or look for spaced out people inside.
If you buy the pre-rolled joints you need to check out the menu so you know what you’re smoking. The joints come in nice containers with various lid colours. These are important – check out the menu in-store.
If you’re brave enough, you can also buy space-cakes and LSD
Have a Rice Table
I saw Michael Portillo eat one of these bad boys on some ridiculous TV program about trains or something, but it got the taste buds watering and it was my mission to indulge.
The rice table is called Rijsttafel and is available from most Indonesian restaurants. It consists of many Indonesian dishes with a Dutch twist (not sure what the twist is). Dishes include things like such as satay, eggs and deep fried things. There are few accompaniments like rice and Sambel, which is some sort of hot chilli paste.
At that moment in time it was the best thing I had eaten in my life.
We ate at Sama Sebo, which was very accommodating. There wasn’t any seats available when we arrived so we sat at the bar and had the best time.
Shit website but you can bookmark it here: http://www.samasebo.nl/en/
If this is your thing, there’s loads within walking distance but it’s quite expensive and will use up a lot of beer tokens. Find out about the Amsterdam Card here: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card
This will save you some cash and you can have free Canal Cruise too.
The only thing I managed to squeeze in was the Rembrandt museum.
Visit the Parks
After a quick café visit, we bounced on down to Vondelpark which is similar to Birkenhead Park but with stranger shit going on and better architecture.
Being stoned and able to sit directly in front of strangers was the theme, so it seemed.
Check out the famous Red Light District
From what I have been told, the Red Light District used to be a seedy place and that’s basically what I was expecting. However, apart from the girls being amazingly beautiful, it’s just a big tourist attraction. There are hordes of people just walking around the various roads to get a glimpse of the half-naked girls in the windows and it’s a struggle.
In short, it’s 50 euros, which I’m guessing is entry level. The Red Light District guide will inform you about the extras that bump up the price. The compulsory shower will cost you an en extra 10 Euros.
You can knock on their window but if they’re not interested, they will look the other way. However, if they fancy a bit they will let you know even if you’re just walking past.