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First of all, before you go to...
First of all, before you go to Amsterdam you should find and read a book called 'The Undutchables'. It's great and writes down all the traits of the dutch in a funny way. First of all, avoid talking German. German is not the same as Dutch. I got in a bar and started talking to the barman: Bitte, ein bier, and the answer was: Why do you talk german?? Tipping in bars and restaurants is always welcome, but in a polite way. Also don't ask for water, nobody will understand it. I have experienced this many times there. Don't eat too many pizza's, they are cheap and tasty, but you need a lot of water afterwards. What lots of tourists do and I find it really silly, is that they spend most of their day in coffee shops so they are very tired to do anything else. If you want to smoke, try at least not to lose your whole day. There are several things to see. A polite dialogue that occurs always and you must be prepared is : Bedankt (thank you)- Alsublieft (welcome, please).
Learn these two words, you will surely use them.
Avoid taking fotos at red light district, it's not allowed. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from, so don't be in a rush and try to find the one that matches best your taste. Amsterdam is not a city where the whole life isin the centre. It has bars and restaurants almost everywhere, so take a look around.
When you call into the Kiosk outside the CS for public transport tickets, be sure to pick up a copy of the 'Tourist Guide to public transport in Amsterdam' This is a great little booklet, in 6 languages, giving details of what type of transport and tickets are available. There are maps and transport maps and a list of all he major sights and how to get to them. And it's free. Make sure you get one.
Also watch out for maps showing temporary changes to public transport, on the counter.
Visitors Guide to Amsterdam.
Try to pick up a copy of the Visitors Guide to Amsterdam. This is a mini 'Yellow Pages' and is available in most hotels, free of charge. It has loads of information, a classified section, a list of Restaurants, details of public transport and a great map. A handy little book to have in your pocket.
Go Where the Locals Go.
Go Where the Locals Go.
This is a smashing fold up map and guide.
The map is an illistrated very large scale map and the guide in Dutch and English covers just about everything.
It costs 3.50 Hfls and is great value.
Ruilboekenkast - Trade your books, for books.
This is one of the spots that can be truly hidden for someone in a rush or for somebody only visiting the main spots in Amsterdam. It’s a spot you easily walk by but it’s actually one you should stop for.
The bookcase is located in a porch, just across Sarphatipark. It’s filled with books (most of them in Dutch). The idea behind the case is simple. You can take a book, read it and keep it, but in return, you have to place a book in the case. It’s a kind of nostalgic idea as you don’t know where the books come from, who have had them and where your book will go. Their assortment always changes and is always up to date. Not to the latest releases, but the most unique ones.
If you find yourself having a quiet day off when you’re here: try going to the Pijp. Start your day at the market and end up in the lovely and quiet Sarphatipark. Make sure you bring a book you think will have a better destiny here and trade it for something new, unique and maybe even better.
Address: Sarphatipark 80, Amsterdam.
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