My second day in Amsterdam was our busiest. It was the day when we finally got to grips with our new surroundings and wanted to truly explore the city. The day before we had already accomplished so much that by our second day, we just wanted to relax, take our time looking around and for once try not to stick to an itinerary. We made our way from the Hotel Vondel at Vondel Park to the nearest tramline at Leidseplein. The trams in Amsterdam run every 10 minutes and incredibly reliable, not like half of the British transport system that fails to turn up most of the time. We caught the tram to Prinsengracht, a great place for exploring vintage shops and quirky little stores and spent around half an hour here. Prinsengracht is also home to the Tulip Museum and Houseboat museum, unfortunately places we didn't get time to explore.
Our next stop was central station. It takes around 5 mins via tram to get to central station from Prinsengracht, but if you prefer to exercise and take in the beautiful views of Amsterdam, it only a 25 minute walk - depending on how fast you walk of course. Central station is the heart of Amsterdam and home to most things touristy. From outside Central Station you can jump on many of the river canal cruises, you can alight a sightseeing bus or visit one of the many museums in that area. If you walk across the road of central station, you will find the main iAmsterdam tourist office for booking excursions, picking up leaflets or for obtaining any additional information about Amsterdam during your stay.
My husband and I walked around the central station area and decided to head north towards the infamous red light district. While on our way there, we stumbled across The Sex Museum - nestled between restaurants and if I remember correctly a McDonalds for everyone to see. Of course being curious adults, my husband and I decided to pay the €4 entrance fee and take a look. We spent the whole 10 minutes looking around giggling to ourselves and left the building looking a little bit red faced. If you're of age it is definitely somewhere to fun to visit in Amsterdam, but beware it may leave you blushing.
After our visit to the museum, my husband and I decided to try something a little bit more sophisticated and we used our iAmsterdam free canal cruise that comes with the iAmsterdam card. I really enjoyed the cruise. It was a great opportunity to take plenty of photographs and to see more of Amsterdam. These cruises set off every 10 minutes and last approximately an hour.
Earlier that day my husband and I walked passed a ferris wheel and I had been bugging him all day to let me go on it, so when the cruise had finished, my husband and I headed back there for an evening spin. The wheel is part of a fair known as Kermis. Kermis was originally an annual market celebrating Amsterdam's patron saint and the word derives from the mix of Kerk (church) and mis (mass) and is centuries old. Today, the fair is enjoyed several times a year at different places between the months of February and October.
The view from the Ferris wheel was wonderful and we could see a large part of Amsterdam all lit up. If I remember correctly the wheel costs approximately €5 and it went round at least 4 times. From the top you can see all the monuments at Dam Square, the WaxWorks and of course the top of the Koniklijk Paleis, known as the royal palace. The building was designed by architect Jacob Van Campen during the 16th century and opened in 1655 as Amsterdam's Town Hall. In the 1600s, it was named as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World' due to it's stature and status in the city during that time period.
Another place I really wanted to visit during my stay in Amsterdam was the Hilton Sky Lounge and we headed there after the Ferris wheel. It's a silly little obsession I have, but since Bangkok I have vowed to visit a Skybar in every city I visit. I love the views that can be seen from Skybars and I have a thirst for expensive cocktails. The Hilton Sky Lounge has a reputation of being one of the best sky bars in Amsterdam and I knew I had to visit.
The Sky Lounge is approximately 15 minutes walk right of Central Station and the bar is on the 11th floor of the Doubletree by Hilton. There's no entrance fee to the bar, but it is really busy and alcohol can be quite pricey. The view was definitely worth it though. The road view may be a bit distracting, but beyond that there was a sea of glistening lights all shining over the beautiful canals. It was the perfect end to a perfect day and by the time I got back to the hotel, I slept like a baby.
Have you been to Amsterdam before?