So there was a huge promotion going on for Finnair, and my cousin decided to ask our family along for a free and easy Europe trip on 14-24 Mar. Bro and sis-in-law didn't join us time though. If not, our size would have been enough to make a tour group lol.
As usual, if you want to take a look at my itinerary, feel free to email me for it!
Day 0 was really just spent on the plane, transiting in Helsinki Airport, and on another plane again.
The Hollandpass and Brussels Card were particularly useful. So u guys might want to buy these before your next trip.
Summary of Day 1:
Lunch at random restaurant
Walk around Amsterdam Central
Dinner at random steak house
Red light district
This was the sight when we got off the train and into Amsterdam Central.
My first step onto a European country, and I loved the scenery and buildings around me.
We checked into our hotel and found out that most of the houses here have really narrow staircases.
We had asked the hotel staff for recommendations for a lunch place, and he got us this.
Nothing fancy or special, and it felt like Marche for me. We only had some random pizzas and salad. So insignificant that I forgot the name of the restaurant..
Price: Approx EUR 6 per pax
After that, we walked around Amsterdam Central and decided to visit this Sex Museum.
The entrance fee was quite cheap (EUR4/pax) so we decided to just go in. Amsterdam is known for their red light district and culture so these are really normal.
I didn't take any pictures inside cos, u can go find out for it yourself!
We also tried this supposedly famous fries near the museum and it was good.
Mannekin Pis fries
Damrak 41, 1012 LK Amsterdam
Price: EUR 3.95
However, we ate too much fries subsequently and I got a phobia of fries throughout the trip and stopped eating it altogether, and even after I came back to SG.
Then, we bought tickets to take the canal cruise. The best way to tour Amsterdam would of course be a river cruise. Half the city is in canals!
We chose a timing where we could see the sunset from the boat tour, and the view was so breathtaking the pictures don't even do justice to how it looks in real life.
Apparently this bridge was the filming site of one of the James Bond movies!
However, it turned really cold after that. My hands were frozen after the cruise. (but it was worth it)
We looked for dinner after the cruise. All of us were cold and hungry, and didn't know where to go for good food. We walked into a random steak restaurant which seemed like it had a lot of customers.
BUT the food was damn bad. I hated it. Price was cheap and portion was huge though.
But this was one of the rare times I actually didn't finish my food.
Didn't bother to remember the restaurant name
Price: EUR 16 per pax
Well, after that we walked into the red light district, which was really near.
No cameras for this cos I heard that the bouncers would just smash your camera if you ever took them out to take photos.
Well just imagine the row of houses with glass windows, and the prostitutes would be standing at the windowpanes in sexy lingerie etc. waiting for their prospective customers.
They were really hot and pretty, mind you, so I felt a little bad for them. If it was Singapore, they would be better off being a model or something? Why they even need to take on this kind of jobs, we would never know. So just enjoy the little bit of culture shock when you are in Amsterdam.
Summary of Day 2:
Breakfast at Koffiehuis De Hoek
Train to Cologne
Hotel Königshof The Arthouse
Late Lunch at Brauhaus Gaffel am Dom
The next day, we asked the hotel staff for recommendations for breakfast, and he pointed us to this quaint family-run cafe a short walk away.
OMG the food was good, and it was the best apple pie we have ever had.
The staff was really friendly too, so I highly recommend this place. Not sure why it isn't famous, yet.
Prinsengracht 341, 1016 HK Amsterdam
Price: Approx EUR 9 per pax
Afterwards, we rushed for the train to Cologne and got there right on time.
Checking into Hotel Königshof The Arthouse at Cologne, we realised that the hotel was really old and rundown.
No choice as we didn't have a lot to choose from during the planning stages. The hotel was really near to the station though, so at least it wasn't that bad.
It was a short walk to this restaurant I found on Google. And we had our first taste of German food and beer.
Bahnhofsvorpl. 1, 50667 Köln, Germany
Price: Approx EUR 13 per pax
After our very late lunch, we wanted to take the cruise but was too late for it, and ended up visiting the Colgone's Old Town, Cologne Cathedral and walking the streets aimlessly.
I love the Cologne Cathedral; absolutely love Gothic architecture and this place nailed it.
It took 632 years to complete construction, and has to be constantly under maintenance (as you can see from the top left) due to weathering and all.
Seriously, Cologne was quite boring other than the fact that I visited a magnificent cathedral. There wasn't anything else to do at night, other than drinking.