Last weekend I was in Amsterdam with the Geography Society. It was my first time visiting there and I can honestly say it was the best weekend of my life!
What do you think of when you think of Amsterdam…?
Hopefully, you were thinking of cycling.
The cycle scene in Amsterdam is beyond belief. It would be fair to say that there are as many cyclists than pedestrians, the whole city is built around them. Of course this caused a lot of confusion when we were getting out of the coach after a 12 hour coach journey, a lot of us almost getting run over by some cyclists! It wouldn’t have been right to be in Amsterdam without cycling through the narrow streets, I and many other students took the opportunity to rent bikes and have a go at joining the locals in riding the streets. It’s incredible the amount you get to see whilst cycling around the city, I went around with a group of around 18 and we got to cycle past the Anne Frank House, the IAmsterdam sign and have a tour of the beautiful Vondelpark.
Typically, I lost my group of friends, but it did give me the opportunity to explore on my own for a bit. Whilst trying to navigate my way (shout out to the lady giving away free Fanta for directing me the right way) I saw a vendor selling smoked herring, which is apparently a local favourite. Yes, that’s raw fish and yes, I did try it. Needless to say, the combination of smoked herring, raw onions and pickles certainly left an unforgettable pungent taste.
Whilst in Amsterdam, I discovered something which I feel we are all missing from our lives here in the UK. Imagine a wall in which you put money in and hot food comes out. Well, these exist in Amsterdam and go by the name of FEBO. The absolute epitome of fast food and the food wasn’t half bad either!
Something I really recommend you do if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam is to do the Heineken experience. A few of us got the opportunity to go visit the old brewery where we learned a lot about the history and process of making Heineken lager. There were lots of cool displays going on and the complimentary pints on offer were certainly a highlight.
After exploring the city during the day, all of us at GeogSoc grouped back together and took a tour of the city followed by a night out at the clubs. What was amusing were people’s reactions to the Red Light District. To be honest, as much as I had heard about it, nothing can quite prepare you for the brutal openness of it all.
The night life in Amsterdam was incredible and having 50+ of your course mates all out with you made it two great nights out!
There are of course many great trips you can go on with many different societies here at Portsmouth. There is also the AU Tour in Salou during the Easter break which I believe you have to pay your deposit quite soon for. The SU also provide students with many trips throughout the year which you can check out here: https://www.upsu.net/whats-on/trips/
Hope you enjoyed reading, many thanks to the GeogSoc committee for organizing such a great trip!