amsterdam was alright …

Pat and I are just back from a pleasant break in Amsterdam. We’ve both been to Amsterdam before albeit only for a very brief visit and then I was last there about three years ago with Richard when Manchester City played Ajax in the Champions League.

This time though we had enough time to get around and see some of the sights, although I suppose like any city it would take many visits to really get to see most of what is on offer.

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We had got decent deals on KLM flights and had booked an apartment that was very centrally located and that made it easy to walk to and from most of the major sights. That coupled with the quick and easy transit from Schiphol airport made for an easy trip.

The weather was pretty much as you would expect at this time of the year, damp at times although perhaps milder than normal with temperatures in the mid 50’s.

We spent a little time in advance to decide on some of the places that we wanted to get to and our main visits were to The Anne Frank Museum (Anne Frank House) and the Resistance Museum.

Both of these were excellent – sobering and thought provoking at the same time and I’d say that the Resistance Museum is a must see for anyone visiting and wanting to understand some of the horrors the Nazi regime inflicted on the Dutch. To be honest it was a real eye opener for both of us and I must confess my ignorance prior to our visit – I just hadn’t realized that the extreme approach to the Jewish population had extended into Holland – it was truly shocking.  If you do decide to go you should allow yourself at least around three hours or so to get round it.

The Anne Frank story is probably well known by most people but a visit to the house brings it all to life, what I hadn’t realized until we had been to the Resistance Museum was that Anne Frank was just one of 25,000 Jews that went into hiding during that period and she was also just one of 7,000 Jews that were betrayed!

Aside from the above I suppose we did much of the usual tourist things in Amsterdam and we included a trip to the Museum of Prostitution (Red Lights Secrets Museum) which is definitely well worth a trip and provides a fascinating insight into the development of the sex worker industry in Amsterdam.  I think as well a visit to this place adds some real context to the sights of the red light (De Wallen) area – so for example although I knew the industry was regulated, I was unaware that the daily rate (eight hour blocks) of a ‘window’ to rent was €150 and incredibly a typical visit to a prostitute lasts less than 10 minutes.

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But there is more to Amsterdam than the De Wallen area and it’s a pretty pleasant place to spend a few days wandering around – there is no shortage of bars and places to eat, some fine buildings to see and narrow streets to wander along.

But we didn’t get to see all that we had wanted to – so Vondelpark and the Museum Quater will have to wait for another occasion.

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Our decision to book parking on the multi story outisde Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport was a good one and meant that  we were literally walking through our front door a shade under 40 minutes after our flight had touched down at Manchester.

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