I didn't expect to love Amsterdam, afterall I had been there before and my memory from more than 10 years ago was a seedy cold place that was like most other European cities. However, visiting in the middle of Winter doesn't really allow you to explore and appreciate Amsterdam in quite the same way that a few relaxing days in Spring does.
The canals are lovely and it has a very different feel to Venice, though you do derive the same delight in getting lost as you cross bridge after bridge.
The street art above shop fronts and on market sheds was fascinating. Bright splashes of paint compliment the charm of the vibrant city. .
One boat owner decided to construct his own art with bottles. The Dutch aren't just clog wearing, cheese eating bicycle riders. They have flair, treasure their gardens and enjoy simply sitting on a bench outside their apartment to watch the world go by.
The flower market is extraordinary and full of colour. You can pick up trinkets, seeds, bulbs or just go to marvel at all the different flowers that you can buy there.
Rembrandt's house was worth a visit. You step back in time to see how the artist and people of his time lived. I spent several hours wandering through the house.
- do not go in Winter! It's cold, grey and miserable.
- Visit the flower market and Rembrandt's house. I previously had been to Anne Frank's house and that is definitely a must see, though you should plan ahead as it can be very crowded.
- Spend a few hours wandering around the canals. Get lost in Amsterdam and enjoy it.
- I didn't visit any sex shows, the red light district or try any of the other recreational legal activities that Amsterdam is also well known for. If you do, just remember to be careful.
- I stayed near the new museum and spent some time walking around a beautiful park, It was a very safe area and I even passed my a hotel that Justin Bieber was allegedly staying in. (There were teenage girls screaming outside a building at 10pm at night.)