I intentionally omit the Days 2, 3,4 and skip to conclusions as I’m going to devote a separate entry to the Ent-Ex Amsterdam – that’s what I’ve been doing over these days!
After overcoming some fears which kept me awake at night at the pre-vacation period, immersing in some culture on Day 1 and improving my entrepreneurial skills within the days to come, I was freely navigating in Amsterdam discovering the whole charm of the city and trying to live rather than be a tourist here.
So, what I think you should or shouldn’t do in the Dutch capital? Let’s start with Dont’s.
- Don’t take photos of the GIRLS. The Red Light District Girls. Yes, some of them are stunning but it’s not allowed to capture the beauty with your camera.
2. Don’t have high expectations to the local cuisine. “If you’re going to Belgium next, then save your appetite till then- here you’re not going to satisfy your gourmet tastes unless you’re going to a really posh restaurant (which you won’t, of course:)”, I was constantly told when I asked about a nice local restaurant to savor local food. Just like that: simple pancakes, fried potatoes and herring (which is a must-taste, though!) that’s what I managed to spot.
3. Don’t have the hope for even the slightest hint for steady weather. Even in summer. Even when there don’t seem to be any clouds in the sky. The unpredictability of Dutch weather is almost legendary. That holds true to Belgium, too. So, be prepared for sudden weather metamorphoses – and always keep your raincoat or umbrella in the backpack.
4. Don’t go to the local Dutch pubs! Especially if you’re claustrophobic and allergic to pop. Go for a classy, hip club (flocked in the city center, by the famous Bulldog coffeshop). The quality of music and service is higher here.
5. Don’t fight with a bicyclist if you’re about to be hit by him/her. There is an unwritten rule in Holland: the bicyclist is always right. Even if he/she is wrong 🙂
6. Don’t buy water in the supermarket: the Dutch are proud to have the cleanest water in Europe, so you can just drink from the tap.
7. Especially if you’re from the warmer part of the world, don’t take beachwear or tiny shorts or sleeveless t-shirts (unless you’re hardy enough): even in summer, you just won’t need them here. Pack light- meaning pack warmer things.
And, what you should DO in Amsterdam?
- Do stroll around Museum Plein every evening, read a book lying on the grass at Vondel Park or just have a beer at the Dam Square. (Warning: high concentration of tourist traps here as on almost all the “historical centers”).
2. Do try the national herring – fast food- which is not a junk food surprisingly, and is (thank God) the only dish in the cuisine that I liked.
3. Do take a boat trip. Well, some people may consider it a splurge, what if you don’t take it on your vacation when else are you going to pamper yourself? It costs around 10-20 Euros, comes with an audio guide and unrivalled views of the city.
4. Do take Thalys train at least once if you’re going to other cities after Amsterdam. A bit pricey but very comfortable journey is guaranteed. With free Wi Fi and magnificent views of windmills, of course.
5. Do try the local beer. For me personally it was a bit heavy, but it has a unique flavor and smell different from, for instance, Belgian ones (which I love a lot!). So, swap your Heineken (which is Dutch as well, by the way) with local beers made in the Amsterdam Brewery.
6. Do take trams. I absolutely love this transport (some time ago we used to have them in Yerevan as well). Cozy, clean and quite fast, they work on a 5-6minute basis. Just get a transport pass in your hotel and voila- enjoy the ride!
7. And, of course, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or just feel like developing your entrepreneurship skills for your job, visit Ent-Ex Amsterdam next year. As promised, I’m going to write about the programme in the next blogpost.