Category Archives: Amsterdam

Posts about my trip to Amsterdam.

Power Down!

Initially I ordered this 4 USB plug in hub from eBay thinking that it would be enough to charge my 2 phones, my iPad, Lashawns phone and iPad as well. I plan on posting to #myDamTrip while I’m in Amsterdam rather than save up and post when I get home, thus I need power. However Europe runs on 220v unlike the U.S. where we run our homes with 110v. As you can see from the picture this little, ultralight box may split the power up to the 4 USB hubs but it definitely doesn’t step down the power for the mobile devices.
Back to eBay!
Now I was out for a power converter to be able to charge our stuff in Amsterdam. Lucky for me I found one close to me, so close I was able to pick it up! Not a bad price at all either at $23. After the “Buy It Now” I messages the seller asking to meet him since he was only only the other side of the Valley. We exchanged messages and he agreed to meet me at a Starbucks.
Perfect.
I didn’t know it yet but I was about to meet my first friend while traveling. Oly (O-lee) met me in the parking lot with a smile and a handshake. He laughed and said “You weren’t lying. I couldn’t miss you in this thing, let me buy you a coffee!
Oly is 83 but looks mid 60’s, gets around like it too. He told me the story of how he needed the converter while in Spain only after blowing up some unnamed electronic.
Doh!
Oly and I shared some stories about who we were and where we’ve been and I was off with my power supply. Awesome!

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Security Prep

Getting a trip to Holland was pretty easy, all things considered. Rosemary and AirBnB made the initial planning a lot easier but the time has come for necessities for traveling overseas. Security is always at the forefront of my mind so money handling has been top priority. From what resources I have found the most popular way to get robbed in Europe is getting your pocket picked. Be it a bump from a stranger or a set up distraction with two or more people, over and over pickpockets are what kept coming up.
Now I fully intend on enjoying beer just like I do at home and we all know that it gets tough to keep track of things that are attached to you, like your head, let alone things in your pockets. In order for me to really relax I can’t be bothered with someone who is looking pick my pocket so I bought an under clothing pouch to secure my money and identification while I wander about in Amsterdam. Sure, I may keep 10 or so Euro accessible but no more than that. If I need more than that I intend on finding a private place to access what I need. This may not be convenient for some people but majority of the time I wear button down shirts to I don’t anticipate it being too troublesome, for me anyway.
I have a few other secrets of how to secure items on your person but I will not list them here. Email me if you are interested and I MAY give you the information you need.

Here is a link to an awesome video I found from what looks like a seasoned traveler. It’s called 9 Reasons Why You Got Robbed While Traveling. And I can’t agree with Mr. Wolters advise more.

I also watched the Rick Stevens travel preparation and packing information, very valuable. Many of the things he said were reminders for me from my days in the Military but the few new tidbits I picked up were well worth the view. I grew up watching Rick on PBS and while I have not been a loyal viewer (I don’t even own a TV anymore) I felt awesome reconnecting with this gentleman that probably had something to do with me wanting to travel. Thanks Rick!

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Amsterdam Tulip Fields

The Fields

When you tell people you are going to Amsterdam one of two things are replied.
1) You are going to smoke pot. 2) You are going for sex.
Because of this reaction with pre conceived notions I have been and will continue to tell people that I am going to Holland. When I say Holland people don’t know what to think, which I like. It brings them up to my level. They start thinking wooden clogs and St. Paulie Girl style dresses. If I wanted wild sex and pot I surely wouldn’t fly halfway across the world to get it. I live in Phoenix, there is a thriving sex scene and plenty of pot if you get a medical card, neither of which I participate in. What I do want to see is this ….
Amsterdam Tulip Fields

Look at that. Clearly you cannot fathom what those tulips look like in real life. They have to be amazing.

I can tell you that the sunset dinner I had on the edge of the Grand Canyon is very hard to put into words let alone hoping my description and body motions are being understood. You would have had to have been there, on the sloped edge of the Grand Canyon, watching the sun set behind a hole in the earth that can swallow up every house in your town and still have room for more.

I have a feeling the tulip fields will be the same.

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AirBnB Apartment Stay In Amsterdam

The Awesome Rabit Hole That Is AirBnb

There were SO many options in our $100-$140 price range on AirBnB and they are spread ALL over Amsterdam. The app is really helpful though with small maps integrated with each listing and sliding pictures to check the places out. While the app is convenient the website is awesome. Very easy to use and everything works. I did notice that prices jumped around a bit and by as much as $50USD or more. So I recommend searching multiple different times and from devices to check differences for yourself. If I had to guess it may be due to currency fluctuation or user (me) error.
Did I mention it was a mind numbing experience? Did I mention the amount of options?
You can literally pick through AirBnB for hours trying to add up and compare locations, amenities and apartment features like bathrooms and kitchens. There are some really nice places as well ranging from fully lived in apartments to decorated rentals to an empty apartment someone just put a bed and a couch in, albeit a nice bed and couch but it was bare 🙂
There was also an amazing apartment that came with a boat and 2 bicycles. I may rent that place on my next trip because the thought of your own boat to paddle down the canal with is just too cool! Not to mention there is a town in just outside Amsterdam that is only accessible by boat. After seeing Amsterdam this first time I’ll know exactly where to take that boat and a general lay of the land. Here is a link to that place if you want to take a look. Rent an Apartment, a Boat and 2 Bikes on AirBnb In AmsterdamTake a look at it here.

The above comment is exactly how you get lost in AirBnB, back to the search.
Well one more. I ran across this place. It is the cutest, tiniest house but looks to be set in the country which might be nice for a day or two with a girlfriend. But since it’s me and my friend …. next time! The Cutest House On AirBnB In AmsterdamTake a look at it here.

With all of this getting side tracked in maps and distances time has started to run out. We are about under 2 months away from our leave date and I still had not booked a place and a few of the places I was looking at had been booked. To compound the stress factor the original place we had decided on had declined our interest to book. Being this was my first time using the site I was a little … mmm, distraught, not knowing that you can get a flat out decline. On to the next apartment though.
A few others looked good but timing wasn’t right for the owners or a day or two were booked during our planned stay. Then came along this place.
AirBnB Apartment Stay In AmsterdamTake a look at it here.

It had all of our creature features. A little artsy on a budget which if you have seen my current apartment it makes me feel right at home. I noticed shower size in Amsterdam tends to be a little small and while I’m only 160lbs. of 5’11” man, those corner showers get tight. With a removable shower head and open design this shower was a keeper. The small balcony will be perfect for morning coffee and evening tea and the couch has extra pillows, you can never have too many of those.
A quick search of Google maps also proved that the neighborhood looks to be pretty happening with plenty of places to eat, shop and get coffee. In fact our the place we will be renting is just above an organic coffee shop! Transportation is also literally around the corner.

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Hang Your Hat

My friend and I began chatting about what type of place to stay in. We tossed around the idea of hostels but decided that since we are well into our Thirties and plan on traveling around Europe a bit we should go for a real hotel. While interacting with people is more than welcome we felt having a private bathroom was a requirement. Security also came up in our conversations. We haven’t fully decided on whether to venture out of Amsterdam just yet. Lashawn, my friend, had mentioned taking a train to Paris or London and simply having a safe place in Amsterdam to hold extra clothes etc seemed ideal.
Like everyone I took to my phone to look for hotels in Amsterdam. In fact that is exactly what I googled. The Bilderburg Hotel came up a winner saying 1500 would get us a room in what seemed to be a pretty swanky place from the photos. Lashawn ran the idea of a hotel past Rosemary, our travel agent, to see what she had to say about the Bilderburg knowing that there must be hundreds if not thousands of lodging options in Amsterdam. Rosemary returned with a few different options one that seemed pretty funky called Citizen M. When I say funky I mean ultra modern style with clean lines and interesting objects everywhere you turn. Apparently the shower and toilet have mood lighting as well. Snappy!!
Since Lashawn and I both agreed we would enjoy the ultra hip atmosphere at the Citizen M Hotel I mentioned things like laundry and a couch. Don’t get me wrong I fully intend to do laps around Amsterdam multiple times but 10ish days in a hotel room gets to be a little much. Hotels seem to make me feel like I need to get up and out now …. and I look forward to relaxing with a little coffee or tea. So we scrapped the idea of a hotel and went for the apartment thing. Again my friend chimed in that he was looking at the AirBnB app and that I should too. Then the madness began.

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