Amsterdam is a totally charming city surrounded by canals, breathtakingly beautiful bridges, glorious historical buildings and quaint streets that will have you enthralled. It borders Germany to the east and Belgium to the south and is the most popular city in Europe with 3.5 millions tourists a year. With a population of just under one million people (city) it's fairly easy to get around with an excellent tram, train, ferry and bus system in place.
Whether you choose to stay in the city itself or on the outskirts, you can be sure that you'll be spoilt for choices. Approx 52% of the population own and ride a bicycle daily so you will often see parking lots with thousands of bikes. It gives a place a lovely feel cycling around, it's more casual, relaxed and a lot quieter.
Wandering around the famous red light district you will be sure to smell the sweet aroma of marijuana wafting around the streets, it certainly is a city that's open minded, tolerant and accepting of all walks of life.
Make your choice, legally sold marijuana, hash cookies or space cake
The thing that struck me where ever I walked was the sheer cleanliness of this city. There's no litter or graffiti. On a Thursday night, cyclists weave their way around hoards of well dressed youngsters with barely a hiccup. With so much going on, trams alongside buses, people on scooters or bikes, yet there's a sense of co-operation with one another in a streamlined manner. There's no tooting or irritability that is so common nowadays which makes wandering around this city extremely pleasant.
There are 180 nationalities in Amsterdam giving the city a very global feel. Naturally there are many choices of restaurants and I found, reasonably priced. I also discovered luscious green parks with lakes and hanging pots of flowers are seen through out the city. It gives the impression that this is a city that is well cared for, loved and respected.
There's loads of tourist information which I don't really need to re-iterate here. But the basics must do's would probably include a canal ride, visiting the Anne Frank house (get there early or be prepared for a long line up) visit the majestic palace, and squeeze in a museum or 2. And if your into art, well, Rembrandt museum is nearby the new town hall.
The Dutch are friendly, helpful and English is widely spoken. I saw things in Amsterdam that I'd not experienced before (apart from the red light district and marijuana cafe's) for example a pet ambulance, this one is a intensive care unit especially for puppies.
Amsterdam is one city that is a must see if your travelling to Europe. With the canals circling the city, people live on houseboats, travel around by boat and ferry is a popular option and many businesses operate hop on hop off service. One things for certain, you will never be bored here.