I was so sad to leave my new travel friends on the expat tour of Great Britain, but there are new adventures to be had abroad!
Next stop is Amsterdam! Keep reading for all the pretty pictures, where to find the best windmills, and to see how we ended up sleeping on a boat!
My new adventure started with a 12 hour, overnight bus from London to Amsterdam. We had been dreading this bus for a week or two now, because we knew we would be cramped and we wouldn’t sleep well. All of which is true, but it wasn’t AS bad as we thought.
We have become absolute pros at ‘preparing for war,’ as we call it.
Everytime we have a long transport ahead of us, we stock up on food and water. We spread out and grab two seats each. We claim our air space by leaning our chairs back before anyone sits behind us. We take off our makeup, contacts, take our vitamins, and change into pjamas all within the 15 minutes of getting on the bus, and when we actually leave.
I’m not sure if that’s sad or if it’s winning that we are so good at it. We could probably pack in 10 minutes, if you timed us.
The bus was so comfortable! It was a double decker and we took it on a ferry to Amsterdam.
It was so strange because, at midnight, they made us get off the bus and onto a boat. Everyone was so tired that we all decided to sleep in the booths of the cruise ship restaurant! It was freezing! I slept on my backpack so no one would steal my things.
All in all, we got about 3 full hours of sleep and 1-2 hours of broken sleep.
It doesn’t matter because, WE MADE IT TO AMSTERDAM!!!
The famous “I Amsterdam” sculpture outside of the RijksMuseum
My catch phrase on this trip has been: “Is this real life?!” I blurted it out everytime I saw the eiffel tower, when I saw stonehenge, and when I gazed upon the fairytale that is Amsterdam’s cityscape. It’s exactly what you picture it to be!
First glimpse of the city of freedom!
Breathtaking: The view from outside our hostel!
I had been dreaming of taking a canal tour of Amsterdam for forever, and as beautiful as it was…. I fell asleep!
Thanks to Monica for this beautiful pic below. I guess missing those hours on the midnight bus finally got to me.
Here are a few of the views I did capture before I fell asleep:
Yes, that’s a couch on a boat.
Ha! I’m not the only one who fell asleep!!
What is that picture?! I guess I took that selfie while I was asleep! Too hilarious not to share!
Waking up just in time to disembark from the boat. 😂
Oh well, next time I come back to Amsterdam I’ll take another canal tour!
*I’d recommend taking the friendship boat ride instead of this one. Get the open air boat!
Note: After the canal ride, we definitely went back to the hostel to nap for two hours. We needed sleep if we were going to explore the Red Light District at night!
The famous, Red Light District!
Did I mention my hostel, St. Christophers Inn, is a Christian hostel right smack in the middle of the red light district? Walk about 30 steps and you start seeing naked women in windows with the red light on. Hilarious.
The famous Casa Rosso is where you can see live sex theater at night! This place is always jam packed! I suggest buying your ticket around 8pm and coming back later, around 9 or 10pm. It’s less of a wait!
I may or may not be sucking on a lollipop that is…genitalia shaped.
Hey, it was free!!
The Bulldog Coffeeshop, a great place to buy ‘coffee and cake.’ It smells like sweet memories of high school and fraternity parties.
Tip: Walk down the terrifyingly small staircase to buy your goodies.
The orange that used to protect the cafe from the cops. I found it hilarious, so I took a picture. Then, I got in trouble. 👿
Walk down the street and you see souvenir shops, ladies in windows beckoning for sex, sex toy shops, churches, cafes, beautiful sculptures, young students, and tons of police on bikes. It’s such a weird mix of things to see, but so chill that everyone is so open about it all.
The vibe here is just chill and easy! There’s no rush, everyone is so friendly, and you feel 10x cooler than you were before just by being in the city.
Men and women, gawking at the red light women.
If you look at this pic closely, it tells you all the sexy things to check out in the Red Light District.
We definitely got into some crazy trouble in the red light district that night. No comments. However, I will say that we ended up eating pizza along the canals and it was one of the highlights of the trip so far.
For such a scary reputation, this city feels incredibly safe. Even at night. Even in the Red Light District at night!
Tip: Female solo travelers, Amsterdam is your friend!
Day 2 Amsterdam agenda: Eating a Waffle Breakfast, exploring the RijksMuseum and sculpture, and seeing the Windmills of Holland!!
Breakfast of champions!
Transport in Amsterdam has been the hardest, just because the language is SO foreign! There’s no familiarity for either of us, so mostly, we have to guess. We’ve gone on a few wrong buses and trains here. Luckily, we can smile at the drivers and they let us on for free. 🙂
I love taking the metro!
We hopped on a metro and bus to the RijksMuseum, which is beautiful by the way. The gardens, the art, and even the canals around it.
On a canal right outside of the Rijks museum!
This is the Rijks Museum!
Pass through the middle of the RijksMuseum and you’ll find the I Amsterdam sculpture behind the building! Come early because it is PACKED with tourists.
Can you spot which letter I’m in in the picture above? Comment below if you spot me!
People are pushing past each other, trying to climb to the top of this sculpture. Actually, there’s a beautiful plaza and fountain in front of this sculpture where you can people watch. This is a great place for it!
After we had our fill of being touristy, we hopped on another bus to the train station, to head to Zaanse Schans, a part of Holland that has classic windmills!
We definitely took the train an hour the wrong way, but eventually, we arrived.
Koog de Zandijk is the name of this charming little town, next to Zaanse Schans, where we got lost in, AGAIN! It honestly looked like a scene from a movie. Flowers lined the streets, houses had a cottage-y feel to them, and there were folks riding their bikes everywhere!
We stopped at a Dutch cafe and had whatever was on their menu. Sauté, bitterballs, and coke.
Bitterballs are a Dutch specialty and were so yummy. They’re full of meat, veggies, cheese, and then you dip them in honey mustard.
Sauté! Peanut butter curry on meat? I can dig it!
Why can’t I stop craving coke? I miss LA sometimes.
Okay, I know you’ve been waiting for windmill pics, so here you go!
Monica and I stumbled upon a little spot across from the windmills. Of course, I decided to take my shoes off and dip my feet in the water. How could you resist the opportunity?!
You can take a small walking path through the windmills, so we did.
It’s free by the way.
Amazing cheese from Holland. Coconut flavor? Yes, please!
The windmills were amazing to see up close.
Is this real life?!!!!
Amsterdam has been the absolute best two days. I didn’t think I could love anything after Scotland, but here we are! The quote that describes this city is “Everything is just so f*kn charming.” It fits because the city is so charming, but it has a little edge to it. Must must must come back.
I hope you liked my long, picture-filled post! I will be doing more official blogs when I get back home to California with tips and more photos. Comment and let me know your favorite parts! Do you like this longer format?
Sending love from Amsterdam!
Spot you soon,
Ps- Add me on twitter @spottheredhead and instagram @spot_the_redhead for more photos!