We've always wanted to visit Amsterdam , but we've always struggled to find cheap flights over the weekend. Given the much lower costs, we therefore decided to fly to Brussels , take the opportunity to quickly visit the city and then move to Amsterdam . To return to Italy we left from Brussels, all in 4 days (departure Friday, Monday return). Cost of the flight per person round trip: €40
Some argue that it is the ugliest capital of Europe and that it is not worth visiting. We started with decidedly low expectations (and maybe this helped), but we did not find it so bad.
We spent the afternoon and evening of the first day visiting the center, finding it very nice. We tasted the characteristic waffle , sold a little 'everywhere and covered with any delight: a real calorie bomb that will placate your desire for sugar for a long time! (ATTENTION: do not be fooled by the signs that everywhere say the statement of €1. The price refers in fact to the simple waffle without enrichment, those visible in the window and covered with chocolate, fruit and cream cost between 6 and 8€ each)
We were impressed by the beauty of the Grand Place , unmissable if you happen to be in this city, and we had dinner with hamburgers and beer in one of the many bars in the adjacent streets. PLEASE NOTE: read well and let us explain what kind of beer you are ordering, because we, a little sip adventurous, ordered a flavored beer with amarena and ice (Liefmans on the rocks)! Strange tastes here...
We also saw the famous Manneken Pis , the small statue of the child who pee. It is in the center, easy to reach on foot, while the Atomium , the famous sculpture that represents an atom, is definitely far from reaching without means. We have not visited museums or the palaces of the European institutions, so we do not express ourselves on this.
Visti gli attentati recenti ed ascoltati gli avvertimenti di amici che erano già stati qui eravamo un po’ preoccupati per la nostra incolumità, soprattutto perché il nostro hotel era situato vicino alla Gare du Nord (stazione a nord di Bruxelles). Questa zona ci era stata caldamente sconsigliata, per via dei loschi figuri che si aggirano da queste parti, ma l’hotel costava poco, noi non siamo ricchi e siamo spilorci, quindi… 🙂
We must say, however, that it seemed like an area comparable to any suburb of a big city. We do not feel like classifying it as super-dangerous, given our (maybe lucky?) Experience.
To reach Amsterdam you can move either by train or by bus . We took a bus that from the Gare du Nord took us directly to Amsterdam . This is by far the cheapest option: booking your tickets in advance with Eurolines we have spent 30 € per head A / R
We left at dawn from Brussels and we arrived in Amsterdam early in the morning, managing to take advantage of the whole day to visit it. Given the very high prices of the hotels, we booked a room with shared bathroom on Bedandbreakfast in the city center with canal view, paying 110 € in two . Taking a look at the costs of a double room on other more known sites, the average price is around € 200.
The attractions that can be visited in this city are numerous, so we had to make a not indifferent selection. What we recommend not to miss is:
Red light district
He made Amsterdam famous all over the world. In the afternoon the windows with the famous winking girls begin to come alive, and in the evenings they open the numerous bars with live shows. If you want to grins (because of sensual there is very little), you can invest 2 euros to see a peep show: consists of a room with a swivel bed in the middle, and all around several closed cabins where, putting the coin, you can watch a couple of minutes of the sexual performances of the stars of the show in progress.
There are so many of all kinds scattered around the city, but beware: they are not the places of perdition that some think. The clientele is very varied, it is possible to meet the clerk in a jacket and tie just out of the office that wants to relax, the lady who drinks tea, up to young people looking for buzz (mostly foreign). The culture of smoking here is decidedly different than that of Italy. The coffee shop in which we wanted to go closed at 9 pm, so we opted for the most famous and ancient of Amsterdam, the Bulldog . Located in the center, it stays open until late at night and, in case you want to smoke, offers a wide selection. For the less practical are even sold reefer already turned, prices are also much lower than those Italians (who? What? How?).
Van Ghog Museum
If you appreciate its style, it is the museum for you: there are many works of the artist, the rooms are spacious and the exposure fairly accurate. We have bought the ticket in advance (HERE the link), and given the strong turnout we recommend everyone to do it to avoid excessive queues.
By boat on the canals
Do not miss the chance to take a boat ride on the canals: we have bought a ticket from the international company Hop On Hop Off which allowed us to use for 24-hour bus and ferry with audioguide. Cost: about € 25 per person, but there are different offers and combinations based on the needs and promotions of the moment. It was a lifeline in the rainy hours, as all the boats have a plexiglass roof that will allow you to take shelter from the water and admire the city at the same time.
The original name is Brouweij ‘t IJ. We achieved it by using Hop On Hop Off (located outside the center). Located within an old mill it is very quaint, with a wide selection of craft beers. Beautiful atmosphere and very good beers, although being very busy you can hardly find a place to sit. Prices not too high, compared to the average.
Anna Frank's house
We saw it only from outside, given the impractical line. The kind attendant who follows the queue has informed us that you need to book well in advance (we talk about weeks if not months) and, despite the reservation, be prepared to do a bit 'of waiting before entering.
Come back in Italy with surprise
Back in Brussels we had a major problem. From the north station (where we had the hotel) to Charleroi airport there are about 70km, and we stumbled across one strike organized by non-know-who-well with a lot of demonstration which blocked all public transport by paralyzing roads and stations. Luckily we attacked a Belgian-born button with a jump to drive us to the airport at supersonic speed, and we managed to get on the plane the second second (throwing unfortunately a surplus of cann.. that is, fries).