An August 2001 trip
to Amsterdam by milliebell
Quote: I booked a cheap coach ticket to Amsterdam from the UK totally on a whim. 3 wonderful days followed.
Please note that it is accessed by a long steep, narrow staircase, so it would be unsuitable for people with mobility difficulties. My room was a basic one with shared bathroom. It was kept clean. A good breakfast was served every morning in my room consisting of toast, bread, cheese, eggs and fruit juice. If you like sleeping in, be warned you will have an early wake up call.
The staff is fairly friendly and they speak good English. The hotel is not, however, a place to meet people and socialize, given its small size. There is a small lounge that is shared with reception. If what you want is a hotel room that is simply a base, while you are off out exploring, then it is ideal. If you are looking for a home away from home, then try somewhere with more facilites. I thought it was a VERY good value for the money - my single room (shoulder season) was f95 a night with breakfast (don't ask me to convert that into Euros please).
Hotel Bema comes highly recommended therefore, as it is in an excellent location at a good price, and is small and quiet.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 10, 2002
Concertgebouwplein 19 B
The tour began with drinks and a talk from the multilingual guide about the history of the district and the present conditions. The red light district is in one of the oldest parts of the city. Zeedijk was the playground of the sailors, as they came off ship looking for beer and women. It has kept true to its tradition, though I have been informed that the Zeedijk is a lot tamer these days than it used to be. The red light district got its name from the red lamps the women used to carry as they met the incoming ships.
The talk went onto prostitution today. Dutch prostitutes charge more than those who are immigrants in many cases. Prices vary from f50-100 for ten minutes, and men can only come once! There are thousands of tourists to the area a year. The area has one of the lowest crime rates (that suprised me, given the drugs problem as well).
We then went out, viewing the district. We walked along tiny side streets. Some buildings of significance were pointed out - the oldest timber building in the city, a hidden church, and my favourite - a building where someone committed a murder and disposed of the body in the adjacent canal, but the body floated... It was quite busy, and had a lively safe feel to it. To see the girls in the window was quite an eye opener for me. We ended up by a canal, and then the tour ended with a visit to the Musuem of Erotica.
The guide was quite fun, easy to talk to and entertaining. The tour was well conducted and gave a good overview of the area. I felt it was worth the fee.
It would be possible to go on your own though. I was travelling alone and was nervous, not knowing the area. However, if I went again, I would feel confident enough to have a stroll around by myself.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 9, 2002
Walking Tour of the Red Light District
The outward journey was the best. I checked in at London Victoria, and the wondered what was coming next. The bus left perfectly on time.
The Dutch driver was funny. 'You've made it to London, let's hope we make it to Amsterdam' he announced as we left the bus station. I give him ten out of ten for his honesty in admitting we may not make it. He then announced he was going to play an adult movie. I caught my breath and looked at the two small children sitting opposite me, and at their mother in front of me. He then said '007'. As we went through the channel tunnel, he chatted to me.
Although it was a long journey, we had frequent stops at service stations. We arrived in Amsterdam 1 and a half hours early. The driver was not done yet with jokes. He warned us to be careful about theft in Amstel station. He had seen it before. Someone puts their bag down, turns away for a few seconds, and it's gone. He added 'though for some of you it would be a good thing. It will save you the bother of carrying it'. He had saved the best joke until last. He directed us to the Metro station to get into central Amsterdam.
The return journey was livened up greatly by a party of scouts. Wonderful free entertainment, without them even trying. Shame about the bad tempered English driver. It was fun and games at Calias - someone had the wrong ID. Someone else disappeared at Dover. Nonetheless, we arrived in London exactly on time.
I am using Eurolines again for my following trip. I would recommend it. I know many people have concerns, but really it is not all that bad!
Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom