Thursday, August 8, 2013

# Amsterdam. Heineken experience # anne frak museum

Amsterdam: Canals. A Joint. Van Gogh. The Ultimate Beer Experience!

Finally, the long awaited reviews I have been putting off for weeks because I was just too lazy to sit down and choreograph my words and sentences. Anyhow our trip began with a pit-stop at Istanbul because we had bought the tickets with FlyPgs short for Fly Pegasus, which is run by a Turkish company

The I Amsterdam card service center in the airport, they give you the public transportation passes which works by tapping on the censor when you hop into the tram and tapping it again when you hop off. Make sure you tap when you hop off! We were also given a map of the city and a free monthly publication magazine

And this is where you wait for the free shuttle service to Ramada Apollo City Center. I covered the hotel review separately on TripAdvisor, so I am not going to go in length here. However, I will mention that the shuttle service was relatively late, it arrived at half past 3 and we were getting growingly impatient thinking that it will never show up when other hotels have already had made several rounds to pick up their patrons

Another angle of the bus station where all major hotels' free shuttle service stops to pick up passengers

We only had one night and two days for Amsterdam and we made the most of it while we were there. Firstly, after landing we went to the I AMsterdam tourist service center and collected our 24 hour pass which was valid for most museums, even covered the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank Museum, a free boat ride and a discounted fare to the Heineken Experience. We were told to wait at bus platform 14 for the bus to our hotel, which we had booked and paid one week ahead of time to avoid all deposits and scams.

View from our hotel room window

First things in order, we went to the Heineken Experience first, and we were given a bracelet with 4 removable pins on it, after the tour was completed you could exchange the pins for 2 pints of free beer and a free gift (which was only collectible at ANOTHER souvenir shop 3 blocks away from the brewery) What a scam to discourage people to collect their free gifts. They do have an in-house gift shop that sold outrageously priced souvenirs and yet we managed to buy 2 costumed Heineken bottles (one for us, the other for his brother in law; whom knows more about beer than babes) and some other knick knacks. After that, we ended up walking half a block and stopping at a bar for a few pints of local beer.

Make sure you don't lose your 'bracelet' otherwise you will miss out on the fresh free brewed beer

Next stop the Van Gogh museum. The museum itself was closed for renovation and was opened till late night; 10.30pm so while my husband waited for my outside in the park I had quite enjoyed some time to myself to take in all his oils on canvases. Of course my Amdam card covered it so I didn't have to pay. If memory served me right the ticket was about 14 Euro The museum itself was small and I was done in flat 1 hour

We walked about to the Hard Rock cafe which had a really nice seating place, where you sit on a rail-less balcony atop of the river overlooking the street. We headed to The Grasshopper for a joint, and we shared one. I didn't feel a thing but my husband was. I stored the remaining weed for the next day journey but somehow when we got back to the hotel I misplaced it and despite trashing my entire backpack and luggage we just never found it again. 3 joints were for 25 Euro (overpriced, you can get the same deal in poor places like Afghanistan for less than half) Or maybe I did the mistake of asking what's good for beginners and really it just wasn't strong enough for me. They had 2 slices of marble weed cake on sale but the lady behind the counter said that it was very very strong and the effects lasts for 8 hours after consumption

The following morning, excited as we were we walked about the old town looking for the red light district but we never seemed to find it so we went to the Sex Museum (I covered the whole ordeal in detail on Tripadvisor) and I promised not to put up any pictures here because of the kind of audience I have that might just show this page to their mums) They charged 4 Euro to get it and it was an ok-ok thing.I was kind of disappointed with the owners for not preserving their items/artifacts/exhibits. Some items were decaying, molding and the whole place was hot & humid and with no temperature controller you can only imagine how fast the items were rotting to dust

Then we went for the free boat cruise we were entitled with our I AMsterdam card and it was really worth it. For the lazy people who wants to do the Amsterdam canal the fast & easy way this is a good trip for you. The tour itself took about 2 hours and the guide had English/Dutch explanation so we thoroughly enjoyed our boat ride. On another note, the only company that covers that free ride is the Blue Boat Company. They have a surchage of 7.50 Euro if you plan to take the evening tour, but the day tour is covered with the card. The place is also within walking distance to Amsterdam Centraal station, where we kept our bags in the locker the next day when we checked out.

We decided to walk around a bit to kill time and went into a cheese shop that manufactured and sold locally made cheese. We bought 3 and sadly the travelling pretty much ruined them so we had to finish them fast when we reached Doha. However the cookies lasted us. Plenty of absinthe on sale but then it was too monogamous, and we weren't sure if we could sneak that back to Doha so we decided not to purchase any alcohol but instead to buy and consume on the spot. Overall, I would say that I truly enjoyed Amsterdam and being an avid cyclists I wanted very much to cycle myself but with the time so short, I wished to visit Amsterdam for the cycling and sights

The cheese shop where we bought 3 fat slices of flavored cheese and dipping sauce

 The Tulip Museum is also free, covered by the I Amsterdam card

 Notice the double VVC sign on tht building? That used to be the East India Trading Company head quarters, now privately owned

 We saw plenty of boathouses along the canal. Some of them were sadly not very well maintained and it was visible from our touring boat

This is the similar built in Hong Kong, the boathouse which Chinese cuisine served Hong Kong Style. We saw the same exact thing on Hong Kong river cruise, although over there they had two of these extravagant boat-restaurants

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