It took us 3.5 hours (160 miles) to arrive in Amsterdam but the weather improved throughout our journey, so we arrived with the sun shining.
Our Sat Nav told us we’d arrived about 700m before the entrance, so if ever that happens to you keep going across the intersection and it is up on the left hand side. Access to the campsite was very straightforward, apart from an irate couple trying to get out at the same time we were coming in. Never leave your exit until the last minute before you get charged for another day!
Amsterdam City Camp is a fully enclosed site with secure access. It is a self check in kiosk and we paid for three nights with electric (6amps). There is free fresh water and an emptying point on site. Pitches are definitely not six metres apart – think more along the lines of an aire – but when we were there everyone was considerate of each other.
Our journey into the city was easy too. A ten minute walk from the site and you are at the ferry terminal where you can take a fifteen minute ride (free) into the centre of Amsterdam. You are also able to take your bicycles on too, but be mindful there are no seats.
On our first day in the city we were distinctly underwhelmed as the first place you come across is the Old Town, that is so busy just like London. All we could smell was cannabis and it was so frenetic with trams, daredevil cyclists and dumb tourists (us) not watching where we’re walking!
We managed to find a little cafe bar and had a warming gluhwein before getting the ferry back.
However, the next day we came in on the bicycles and while looking at the map we were given some tips by a local gentleman. He sent us off in the direction of the Jordaan area and gave us specific instructions of a wonderful bar/cafe that served amazing apple pie.
We’d told him of our disappointment the day before so it was great to get some brilliant advice. As we cycled away from the centre, the feel of the city became much calmer and friendly so we locked the bikes up near the cafe and stumbled across a local market.
It was especially cold that day so after a wander around we headed into the Papenieland Cafe (founded in 1642), where coffee and apple pie was duly ordered. The cafe had a lovely warm feeling about it and the staff were very friendly and relaxed. When we’d had our second cup of coffee we headed back out and just cycled all around the west canals, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
We made it to the small Christmas Market in Museumplein opposite the Rikj Museum, it did have an ice rink where loads of children were making the most of it and having great fun. As it was getting cold we started our way back to the ferry, picking up provisions on the way.
As we arrived at the terminal, the ferry was just about to leave but we made it with seconds to spare! To round off a great day, we watched Strictly Come Dancing and enjoyed a wonderful turkey tagine and red wine.
For the final day we left the bicycles behind, and we’d had snow the day before so thought it unwise to cycle in. This time we headed to the east side and wandered (briefly) into the red light district, curiosity getting the better of us!
The canals in the Old Town area felt much more relaxed, maybe as it was a Sunday there seemed to be less traffic around. We mooched our way in and out of the side streets and canals, ending up in a nice bar and having two beers each (2 large, 2 small)…for a whopping 24€!
We agree that we need to come back to Amsterdam another time and maybe go further out from the centre. Many people say how beautiful the city is but we don’t feel we’ve seen it in all it’s glory this time.