We visited Amsterdam with our three year old daughter, while I was heavily pregnant.
Knowing that we would be having early nights in our hotel room, we upgraded to a room "with a view", using money saved from not using evening entertainment or so many museum admissions.
Our room overlooked on of the ubiquitous squares and we spent evenings eating a rather nice room service menu people watching.
It may not sound exciting,but we loved it and kept sane at the same timeR with no worries regarding baby sitting services.
The Van Gogh Museum’s Multimedia Tour is a fantastic way of immersing yourself in the colourful life and work of Van Gogh.
Through the simple-to-use handheld device and headset you can delve deeper in to the stories behind many of Van Gogh’s famous pictures as well as giving you access to a wealth of extra information including photos, letters, film clips and drawings.
A great interactive experience that enhanced my visit and gave me a real insight in to the often tragic life of the man behind the paintings.
Forget the grachts, the quaint tallhouses and the coffee shops - take a trip out to the eastern docklands, the evocatively named Borneo-Sporenburg, KNSM & Java islands.
Marvel at the Dutch way of designing cities, take a guided tour & weep for the UK.
At the Van Gogh museum, there is a wall just outside the gift shop which has two built in cameras.
You can create your own 20 second video clip and send it for free to your friends and family (you simply enter their e-mail address).
Easy to use and quite handy when waiting for a while for the other half to emerge from the gift shop. You can even stand in the background and do a little jiggle or Riverdance when others are making their videos!
Buy the Amsterdam Pass which allows access to most attractions/museums either free or discounted.
Passes are for 24, 48 or 72 hours and include public transport to get around the many sights, and also gives you a free canal tour.
If Amsterdam’s tourists and tack overwhelm you head for a little known doorway on the ‘Spui’ through which you can enter the Begijnhof’s little haven of medieval serenity.
It’s a court of almshouses clustered around a peaceful garden where devout women have been housed since 1475 and religious women continue to be housed.
If you miss the hidden doorway, the entrance is also through the Amsterdam Historical Museum, the former city orphanage on Kalverstraat.
To get an inexpensive but quality souvenir for your friends or family, try a bottle of Oud Amsterdam Genever from De Vreng at Nieuwendijk 75, Amsterdam, just a few minutes walk from the Central Station.
It offers an impressive selection of various Dutch Liqueurs.
Get yourself an "I love Amsterdam Card" when you arrive, they come in one, two, and three-day versions.
With this you get free travel for the duration of your card, on trams, buses and metro, and you get free admission to most of the city's historic attractions, including many museums and other historic sites.
You also get two free canal boat trips and reductions and offers in restaurents.
Even if you only use a fraction of the offers included it will be great value.
Beer lovers – don’t bother with visiting the very commercialised Heineken Experience.
Try the excellent brewery tap at Brouwerij 't IJ at Funenkade 7 open Wednesday – Sunday, 1500-2000, or In De Wildeman, a traditional beer bar with great atmosphere.
Stay away from the hoards of drunk hen and stag parties and take a lesiurely cruise down the canals stopping off for lunch in Browerstracht - an old part of Amsterdam town with hidden trendy restaurants and longtime locals.
However still be aware of the possibility that a red light in a window is not necessarily an interior designers and the lady in the window hasnt mistakenly locked herself inside her living room glass cabinet whilst looking for something to wear.
For a great value 'splurge' restaurant visit Cafe Roux, The Grand, Oudezijsd Voorburgwal 197.
All you might expect from a Roux restaurant this offers fantastic food and wine, great surroundings, and is not quite so hard on the wallet!
If you visit between March and May, try to bring home some tulips from the floating Flower Market on the Singel canal.
You can get a huge bunch of fifty blooms for the price of a dozen in the UK. If you are interested in gardening the range of other bulbs on offer will also fascinate.
Rent a bike and cycle to the museum of Electricity, near to the zoo.
A knock on the door and several minutes later it's opened by dishevelled caretaker. It's all a little unpromising, but head to the rear hall and you're met by the sight of enormous generators, weird cars, bikes, street-lamps, enough to distract you from the fact you're in an electricity museum.
A great find, and an offbeat excursion for a morning away from the red-light hustle.
Visit the Bierkoning Beer Shop. It is an absolutely amazing place with over 900 beers on sale from many Dutch microbreweries plus Belgium, Britain, and many other countries. Opening hours: 1300-1900 Mon, 1100-1900 Tue-Fri, 1100-1800 Sat, 1300-1800 Sun, closed on bank hols.
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