After as much of a lie in as we could justify following New Year’s Eve at Efteling Theme park (see photo blog here), we drove to a Park & Ride and headed into central Amsterdam. It was so easy and really cheap.
The photos probably don’t show you just how miserable the weather was when we arrived at Amsterdam train station. It was cold, grey and raining – even that horrible ‘in-yer-face’ kind of rain. Feeling demotivated about having to trek across Amsterdam on a day like this, we headed for the nearest Starbucks and got some caffeine in our veins. From there, things looked brighter and we made a brief plan for the day.
As it was already past midday by the time we boarded the tram into Amsterdam, we had to be savvy with our time and organise the essential sights we wanted to see. Sadly, we knew we’d have no time for the numerous museums that the city prides itself on. We had instead pre-booked an hour-long canal tour so that we get some bearings.
Along the canal tour, we certainly started to get a feel for the place and helped us to narrow down our essential itinerary for the day. The canal boat was quite cramped but the audible tour guide was interesting enough and well worth it for getting to grips with the history and culture of Amsterdam. Due to the cramped boat and the raindrops on the roof, I got very few snaps of the canal tour.
Next we took our own stroll through the streets to go back and see the sites we now understood better. We walked across to see Anne Frank’s house, the Rijksmuseum and the Red Light District.
A delightful treat was being able to walk the Festival of Lights trail. It is a fantastic collection of light art installations from international artists and makes the canal’s look very impressive in the night.
We loved spending New Year’s Day in such an iconic European city and I really enjoyed understanding the history and culture a little bit better. If we’d had a weekend to spend, it would have been good to see more of the museums, art and cultural sites. The Red Light district, though a shock to the system, is a really important place to visit.