Amsterdam December 2006
Amsterdam December 2006 Reviews
Apr 24, 2007
Amsterdam, December 2006
The wife, a mate, the wife’s friend and I went for a weekend break early December from Friday morning to Sunday mid-day. We stayed at the Hotel Acro, near the Rijksmuseum and Vondel Park. We have all been to Amsterdam a few times before and were looking to try something different to the Dam Square/Red Light District thing. During the 1st day The Tulip Museum and The Heineken Experience were visited. During the evening we went for a meal at a Tapas bar and then did a few bars round Leidesplein ending at a piano bar. 2nd day bikes were hired and we rode to Durgerdam and spent the evening exploring the bars of Jordaan.
The hotel Acro is situated near Rijksmuseum and Vondel Park. It’s well served by trams from central station but between the four of us it was just as cheap to catch a cab from Schiphol airport. It is down a quiet leafy suburb just a 10 minute walk to the lively Leidesplein.
The room wasn’t ready when we arrived (~11am) but we could leave our bags there.
The rooms were ready when we returned at 6pm and the staff quickly and efficiently sorted our rooms out. The rooms were fairly small and basic but clean and comfortable with en-suite bathroom, with shower.
Breakfast was the standard European buffet fare but no worse than we’ve had elsewhere, although we did find the dining room a little bit cramped and busy.
The hotel has a great bar which we found a great place to meet, relax and have a couple of beers after traipsing round the best Amsterdam has to offer.
We also hired bikes from the hotel.
The staff were all very friendly and helpful and I would recommend the hotel to anyone from couples to groups and family’s.
The Tulip Museum
Not much to the Tulip museum! It only cost €1 and there was a 10 minute video on tulip production and a few exhibits on tulips and a tulip timeline. The best bit was the shop where all different types of the plants were available to buy and the shop keep was very helpful, full of advice. We bought an Amaryllis which is still flowering like a trooper! Only spent around 20 minutes tops here. Good for gifts though instead of the usual clog and windmill related tat.
The Heineken Experience
Located in the old Heineken brewery building just a 10 minute walk from the Rijksmuseum the Heineken Experience is a good fun way to spend an hour or so. You are taken through the development of Amsterdam’s most prominent beer, with the exhibits consisting of old vats, grain towers and such like. You can also see the Shire horses used for ceremonial purposes whilst enjoying your first beer. You can then feel what it’s like to be a beer bottle going through production (better than it sounds) and also taken on a virtual tour of Amsterdam by Shire horse (not as good as it sounds!). You are then through to the more interactive bit of the experience with bar football, drum machines, quizzes and best of all you can make a music video to annoy your mates back home with! Finally to the pretty cool final bar for a couple more beers.
I enjoyed the Heineken Experience as did my mate and it put us in the mood for the coming evening.
In the evening we went to a tapes bar near to Leidesplein that was OK, but not great. We tended to stick to the bars down the quieter side streets off the square which were still quite lively but far more laid back than the red light district. We hadn’t spent too much time in this area before and found it a great place to for drinks with a good selection of small bars (none of which I can remember the names of!). We ended the evening in the Maxim piano bar. This is a fantastic place; we had a good sing song and a laugh with the piano man. The only downside is the beers are pretty expensive.
Bike ride to Durgerdam
As a change to the usual tourist attractions Amsterdam has to offer, we decided to hire bikes and take a trip to the North of Amsterdam with the village of Durgerdam as our goal.
We took our hired bikes from the Acro and set out for central station. Getting used to the braking system on the bike along Amsterdam’s crowded streets and bike paths were quite hair raising, but we got to the station in one piece. From the back of the station we caught a free ferry across the Ij to the quieter suburbs in North Amsterdam and followed the bike signs for Durgerdam. Going through pretty little villages along the waterside with wooden houses it took about 45 minutes to reach Durgerdam. On route it’s hard to imagine that you are so close to Amsterdam and its bustling streets and mass of people as it’s very calm and tranquil once you turn right off the main road.
There we had a bite to eat and a couple of Amstels in a fantastic little bar with comfy sofa’s called De Oude Taveerne. The bar had great views across the water and I guess everyone has to have the obligatory photo in the stocks out the front!
As we got to Durgerdam so quick (we thought it would take at least 2 hours!) we decided to carry on to Broek-in-Waterland via Uitdam riding along a dyke. Along the dyke it was quite exposed but still pleasant, however, when we got to the turning to go inland towards Broek the heavens decided to open. The ride back was pretty miserable, which is a shame as the it took away from all the wild birds out in the fields as we decided to just get back instead of stopping and admiring.
We also didn’t bother stopping in Broek which is a shame as we hoped to climb the church tower to admire the views.
Next time we are in Amsterdam we will probably do this again, but hopefully in better weather! It was more than worth the bike ride though just for the bar at Durgerdam!
Being fairly tired after the ride we had a bite to eat in a great little Dutch restaurant near Leidesplein. Can’t remember its name but it was pretty small and the menus were done in a newspaper style. Afterwards we decided to wander down to the Jordaan area. The brown café’s in this area are fantastic. All are fairly small full of locals. The two we particularly enjoyed were the Café Small and Café de Chris. The locals in this area were very friendly and the bars very relaxed and cosy. As well as either Heineken or Amstel the also had other speciality beers which we just had to try, and jolly good they were too!
If you’re looking for a more typically Dutch experience of an evening I would recommend exploring the bars of this area.
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