I’ve just had a lovely weekend away in Cologne, Germany and it made me realise that I didn’t post about the trip I made to Düsseldorf, Cologne and Amsterdam way back in February. I took so many photos and I had such a fantastic time that I thought it would be wrong if I didn’t share them on my blog!
I first went to Amsterdam by myself last June/July and I fell in love with the city straight away, so I was desperate to plan another visit. My friend Alex wanted to come along, so we decided to go in February half term, however she was only able to get to Amsterdam on the Wednesday and I had booked the whole week off work, so I decided that I should make the most of it and visit a country I’d never been to before. Germany has been on my to-visit list since I started German lessons at school in year 8 and as it borders the Netherlands I thought it would be a great option. I had a look at flights and it was really cheap to fly into Düsseldorf and then get the train from there to Rotterdam, so I decided to book the Ibis Styles just outside Düsseldorf HBF for two nights and then planned to get the train to Rotterdam before going on to Amsterdam.
Düsseldorf is a very urban city – there isn’t a lot to do for tourists, especially in February so I spent my first day there catching up on sleep and wandering around the area near the train station. I went for a meal in a place called Buttershaker and then got a crepe from the station to take back to my hotel room. The following day, I got on the train to Cologne, however unfortunately, I didn’t realise that everything is closed on a Sunday in Germany so there wasn’t a lot for me to do. I went to the cathedral but there was a service underway at the time so I couldn’t have a look around and I wandered around the shopping streets trying to find somewhere to eat. I ended up going to the Hard Rock Cafe and then I had a walk along the Rhine before getting the train back to Düsseldorf.
The following day, I caught a train from Dusseldorf HBF to Rotterdam via Utrecht. I had originally planned to stay in Rotterdam for a couple of nights, however I ended up changing my mind and booking myself into the hostel in Amsterdam two days earlier as it was much cheaper. I had a wander just outside of Rotterdam Centraal Station but then I got on the train to Amsterdam.
I didn’t get into Amsterdam until the early evening so I only had one full day there by myself which I spent just walking around and enjoying my favourite city. The sun was out but it was still quite chilly – a lot different to the weather last June/July when it was 36 degrees! Despite being really cold, I did have to buy a pair of sunglasses!
Once Alex arrived in Amsterdam, we sought out Kattenkabinet (the cat museum) which I’d wanted to visit since my first trip last year. It’s only a small museum but it has so many different pieces of cat related artworks and there were also two real cats in the gift shop which pleased me!
We also took a trip to the Kopjes which is Amsterdam’s cat cafe. I have been to four different cat cafes and I can honestly say that Kopjes was the nicest one I have visited so far. As soon as we got there, a large tabby called Horus plonked himself down on my lap and lay there for ages enjoying all of the fuss I was giving him. It’s only a small cafe and there weren’t many people in there but all of the cats are so well looked after and are really happy.
On our last full day we found De Poezenboot which is a floating cat sanctuary. There were some lovely friendly cats here and I would have loved to have adopted all of them. It was really weird seeing so many cats on a boat but they’re completely happy and are able to venture outside if they wanted to.
As we were in Amsterdam, of course we visited the Sex Museum – I’d been to the Erotic Museum on my last trip and didn’t think much of it, but the Sex Museum was a lot better. We also did the typical tourist things you would expect and went to the Red Light District, Bulldog Coffee Shop and we found Condomerie – a shop that’s purely dedicated to condoms. I managed to take the above photo of these hand painted condoms before I got told off for having my camera out.
Of course we had to go on a canal cruise – they’re the best way to see the city. The cruises last around an hour and you get to learn a lot about the city as you go around. There are also a few hop on – hop off tours, so you can use the boats almost as a sightseeing bus!
The final thing we did whilst we were in Amsterdam was visit Electric Lady Land a museum of fluorescent art.. I first heard about this place from Amy Valentine’s blog post and it sounded so interesting, so we decided to track it down. It’s not too far away from Anne Frank’s house, so we went there just after we got off the canal cruise. I’m not really sure how to describe the museum and photos didn’t really capture just how mad it is, but it’s definitely worth a visit. You have to take your shoes off and put special plastic slippers on before you enter the museum which is actually in a basement.. it’s a very surreal experience and I recommend you go if you have a spare hour or so in Amsterdam!