Matthew Brown's Blog

Cold weather, canals and culture.

After a relatively short bus ride in from Schiphol Amsterdam we arrived at our first AirBnB. AirBnB lets people put their spare bedroom or granny flat to good use, meet people from around the world and make some money at the same time. I love it because it means you’re not in an impersonal hotel or hostel and get to meet the locals! Amsterdam is famous for its skinny houses and steep staircases as a tax was levied on home owners depending on the width of the property. As you can see in the picture below where we stayed was no different. At the top of this staircase was our little ensuite bedroom - perfect for a couple of nights in Amsterdam.

Steep stairs

We spent the first afternoon walking around Amsterdam exploring the canals and shops, and devouring a serving of the Netherland’s famous hot chips (frietjes) covered in Samurai sauce. Later on we met up with one of Gen’s best school friends who is studying in Maastricht on exchange for a drink and some nibbles at one of Amsterdam’s many little restaurants.

Day two we awoke to cold rainy weather but that didn’t stop us. First stop was Anne Frank house. Anne Frank was persecuted and ultimately killed after the Nazi invasion of The Netherlands. After hearing of the impeding invasion Anne’s father hid the whole family in the back of the family factory. The were eventually found but not before Anne wrote about her experience in her diary, which has now been published. After Anne Frank House we met Caroline for breakfast in a great little cafe and met an Irishman living the ex-pat life in Amsterdam.

On the basis of a recommendation from Amanda (our AirBnB host) we decided to explore Amsterdam from sea level onboard a canal boat tour. We saw the famous seven bridges, the narrowest house in Amsterdam and much more of the city we wouldn’t have otherwise seen!

Seven Bridges Skinny house

Each museum in Amsterdam is open late one evening per week. On the day we were in Amsterdam (a Thursday) it happened to be the gallery of modern art - Stedelijk. We spent a great evening being cultured by exploring one of Amsterdam’s biggest private collections of modern art, as well as the permanent exhibits. Then it was drinks, nachos and goodbyes to Caroline - the next time we will see her is when she returns to Brisvegas in February.

It was a great quick trip to Amsterdam exploring the canals, bearing the cold (and wet) weather and adding a bit of culture to #mattandgenvsworld. The next morning we woke up early and made our way back to the airport ready to fly to Dublin!

Tulips and cheese