A May 2002 trip
to Amsterdam by milliebell
Quote: I returned here for a second visit six months after my first trip. I had so fallen in love with it the first time I was concerned that the second trip would not match up. It was different. A lot of the magic was still there however, plus I was armed with a good idea of where things are and public transport etc. Amsterdam has such a lot to do that despite two trips there are still numerous things I would like to do and see.
Hotel | "Shelter Jordan (hostel)"
I stayed at the Shelter Jordan for two nights. Cross the bridge by the Westerkerk, and turn into Prisengracht. Bloemstraat is your first street on the left. The Anne Frank House is opposite, on the other side of the canal. Rozengracht is behind Bloemstraat, a main street with a laundry, takeaways, coffeeshops etc, though I found it a bit seedy at its upper end.
While the hostel was Christian-run, I did not find it too heavy handed. Guests are invited to bible studies, but they are purely optional. Dorms are single sex and quite large. I stayed in a 22 bedded partioned dorm. Lockers are provided. There is a patio area, and a cafe. Breakfast is either hot or cold, but it is not buffet-style. The hostel has a good selection of communal areas, including a patio, lounge and cafe area.
The hostel was very friendly and welcoming, and clean. The staff are mainly American.
The only gripe was that showers were tiny, and the cubicles had nowhere for clothes, towels etc. This is awkward if you are trying to keep your towel dry, and have a set of clothes on you. You can hang stuff on the door, but they risk getting very wet. There were queues for them in the morning. Also, luggage lockers were not really big enough for backpacks.
For 14 euros a night, this as as cheap as accommodation in Amsterdam gets. It would not be suitable for couples looking for a romantic time or all night clubbers (curfew is 2am and dorms close at 10.30 am for cleaning), but for the average budget traveller wanting secure, clean and centrally located accommodation for a low cost, this is to be recommended.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 8, 2002
Shelter Jordan Hostel
There were a few difficulties. There is a rule that dorms are to be quiet after 10pm in order to respect that some people may be sleeping - there is the bar and the lounge for socializing. However, I found the hostel to be VERY noisy. Its way out location means that people don't go out at night there. In addition, there is limited food for sale. There is a supermarket close by - follow the canal path to the crossroads. There is a small supermarket, pizza takeaway etc. These are not open on Sundays, so I found an even better place. Go to the end of the canal path, and look for a garage. The shop in there IS open on Sunday, but it is not advertised on the hostel notice board. It is also much cheaper than the hostel for soft drinks and sandwiches, and there is a good range of reasonably-priced gifts and books on sale. Breakfast was a good buffet selection. Internet access was available. The bar, the Shuffle, was quite relaxed.
I think it is lovely hostel in a gorgeous location, but not somewhere to go for a quiet nights sleep. My bed cost 19.50 euros, with my HI member card discount.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 9, 2002
Jan Gijzenpad 3
We stopped at a pretty village called Broek in Waterlaand for lunch at a pancake house, which was wonderful. This is not included in the price of the tour - allow around 10 euros. Both sweet and savoury pancakes were on the menu, plus sandwiches etc. We then had the easiest part of the day, riding across farmland.
We later appraoched another small village, where the riding got harder due to the heavy traffic on the road, and we stopped for a drink. There were some good views of Amsterdam. We then returned to Amsterdam via a different route. We were congratulated by the leader and then left to deal with our aching bones and legs.
I enjoyed the day mostly, but I am not a confident cyclist and I get very nervous about traffic coming too close to me. That was worrying. The leader was good, very patient and reassuring. The other group members were a good mix of internationals. One couple complained about everything, but the rest of the group was nice. There was a wide mix of ages, from late teens to early retired people. The tour was conducted in English. I went on my own, but soon felt part of the group. The whole day, for 6 hours, cost 22.50 euros including bike rental. You could rent the bike and do the same route for a lot cheaper, but I didn't want to do it alone. The same company also rent bikes and do a biking tour of the city of Amsterdam.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 12, 2002
Nieuwezijds Kolk 29
Attraction | "Anne Frank House"
Seeing the annex was a deeply touching experience. I have read Anne Frank's diary before, and found it strange in a way I did not expect, standing in the rooms where everything happened. I stood there thinking of how it must be to stand in that room, like she did, knowing you could not ever go out. I also felt a deep sense of anger that human small-mindedness can create this situation. What have we learned from it? Nothing, it seems, if you follow current events regularly.
In Anne's bedroom, there are pictures on the walls of film stars, and it looked like any other teenage girl's wall. It was odd to stand in the kitchen where Anne and her family cooked. As you leave the annexe area, there are exhibitions about the Jews going to concentration camps. This is very touching and not to be recommended if you are easily upset. Another exhibition shows all of the residents of the house and their fates. Only Otto Frank, Anne's father, returned from the camps. I learned that it was never found out who betrayed the Frank family. Finally, Anne Frank's diary is displayed in several languages and editions. This is a justifiably popular musuem, and a visit may well challenge your views on things.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 12, 2002
The Anne Frank House and Museum
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1016 GV
+31 20 556 71 00
Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom