Saturday, December 17, 2005

Amsterdam: The Basics

OK, first of all some basic tips before going to Amsterdam:

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I wholeheartedly recommend booking your hotel online at Bookings.nl. In some cases, it offers 50% cheaper rates than I got from three different Czech travel agencies! Also, when we arrived and the hotel desk, they checked if we really want non-smoking room (without asking what stuff specifically we will not smoke) and when we confirmed this fact, we got a free room upgrade. In the end, for 500 Euro, we got five nights in rather excellent room which normally costs 290 - 350 Euros per night.

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Unfortunately, if you fly to Amsterdam, no matter how cheap your air tickets will be, you'll have to pay airport tax which is extremely high (around $100) for Schiphol airport! Fortunately, Schiphol airport (about 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam, train leaves every 5-10 minutes and costs 3.40 Euro) is rather great. You can really spend at least 4 hours here, just looking through all the shops, restaurants and art museum. You can check you baggage in 24 hours before departure (and you can do it at one of the ubiquitous terminals, without waiting in queue).

As for the location, it's probably best to stay in a hotel near the "Dam Square". From our five-day experience, this neighborhood is the only public place that feels both alive and safe even late in the evening. It's rather weird but even shops in the heart of the city open rather late (after noon!) and close rather soon (at 6 PM!), even two weeks before Christmas! Of course, if you'd rather spend the evening in the pub or night clubs, you can fulfill your desires in almost any part of the city.

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But the most important tip (unless you insist on candlelit dinners) is: Albert Heijn! This is a chain of food supermarkets (akin to UK's Tesco, for example) that has really nice prices, good quality and large sortiment of goods. While the standalone hot meal (without soup, drink etc.) costs from 10 to 15 Euros in Amsterdam restaurants, in Albert Heijn you can get buy great dinner for two for around 15 Euros (there is super-sized Albert Heijn just a few meters to the west from the Dam Square). The problem with the restaurants is obvious: The ones that have menus in English often exist only to rip off the tourists. Also, they are usually full of drunk English tourists. However, we visited great Chinese restaurant in the Chinese quarter (the key here is to look for restaurants that accept credit cards - that usually means the food is not poisonous, there is no smell and the staff understands English).

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

who the fuck cares about food? where did you hide the dope on your way back? that's what we wanna know. and tell us about the hookers in the rld.

Anonymous said...

yea! hookers!

karlboy said...

Albert Heijn = Ahold in .cz and also owns Albert stores

MoPython said...

Ahold is Hypernova and Albert stores in CR

Anonymous said...

soooo... it's been 10 days now and we haven't heard about the hookers YET! come on, homie, it's goddamn xmas, give us some jerkoff material!