Monday, March 30, 2009

Cheap Ideas for Amsterdam

Sophie and I are in Amsterdam. We are staying at the Aivengo Hostel which has sort of a zen feel about it. The hostel is fairly centrally located and is rather inexpensive.

I booked the hostel through HostelWorld, which is how I usually book hostels. Although, I'm starting to question whether or not that is the cheapest way to book hostel beds. I like that I can book in advance and have the safety of checking other people's feedback on the hostel, before arrival, so I know what to expect. Booking through HostelWorld also allows me the option to leave feedback. If I book directly through the hostel I don't have the option to leave feedback... and there have been a couple times when feedback become very imporant.

I called a day or two before coming to Amsterdam to check on the price. Although we booked about a month in advance we still ended up paying $35 per night per person on the three busy weekend nights. But when I called the rate was only $25 per person per night. I'm very happy to say the owner was willing to give us the lower price - which saved us $60. I'm unhappy to think that I can book a fair price through HostelWorld. The point is, if you book through an online booking agency you'll want to do your homework to ensure you are getting a reasonable rate. We encountered the same problem when we booked at the Pegasus Hostel in Berlin. On the other hand, sometimes you can get a better rate through on-line booking sources.

The Aivengo Hostel has 20 bed dorm rooms. Honestly, if traveling with a teenager (at least a teen like Sophie who loves to meet new people) hosteling is a fantastic way to go. While the teen is still with you, she also has the opportunity and freedom to meet and encounter new people when traveling. It gives both of you a little space while still keeping you together.

The hostel is a drug-free hostel. It offers no kitchen or breakfast option which hasn't been an issue for us. It has a microwave and I make my own coffee in the morning. Gee... force me to save a buck!

This is our second trip to Amsterdam. Two years ago, Sophie and I came after spending time with my sister and cousin in Paris and Edinburgh. We have returned because this is the one place Sophie wanted to come to before leaving Europe and going off to school. We are here for a total of 6-nights. At first I didn't think we'd be able to find things to do for seven days in this town. But now that our trip is nearly finished I've come to see that our trip has been perfectly paced, relaxing and fun. We've gone to the RijksMuseum and have spent many days walking around exploring the lovely streets, canals and architecture that Amsterdam has to offer.

Today, Sophie and I will probably explore the Cannibas Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. During our last visit we visited the RijksMuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and the Torture Museum. We were going to visit the Torture Museum again to get so pictures for the website, but the digital camera's pics have been dark... and the Torture Museum is dark... so, what's the point?

I totally recommend going to the Torture Museum. It's spooky and eery. We went at night which made it even more creepy. Definitely an experience with weird contraptions and devices most of us have never seen or imagined before and will probably never see again.

The RijksMuseum is under major renovation and will be until 2014. Only one wing of the museum is open to the public. This is actually rather cool. What the museum has done is to put all of the most famous pieces together. Therefore, you see everything of the most importance and that is all. Yes, we like to wonder through museums and wish we had time to see it all, but on the other hand, ensuring you see all the important works of art that a museum has to offer is rather convenient.

I have very fond memories of the Van Gogh Museum and look forward to visiting it again. It's a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Also, it is open everyday, except Jan 1, which makes it always something that can work into our plans. More than once, we've wanted to go to the Louvre on a day when it was closed.


brian said...

I visited Amsterdam on my round the world trip and had a great time also. I wasn't sure if I could fill 5 days there, but had no problem with all the museums to see and food to eat.

Christine said...

Hey Brian, I just checked out your blog. Very cool! Thanks for stopping by and enjoy all your wonderful travels.

By the way, I loved your $14 post from JFK to SF. I was on Orbitz one time and there was a trip from Paris to Madrid for 8 euros. I bought it on the spot. Ended up the 8 euros covered the cost of the taxes and the flight was free.

Jan Heering said...

Hi Christine,

I'm glad you do like my hometown, Amsterdam. Lot of museums to visit and things to see. I'm in the proces of building a website about amsterdam, come in and take a look:


Christine said...

Hi Jan! Great website you have there. Nice match for your city. Thank you for sharing it with me. I'll definitely look it up before visiting Amsterdam next time. Love all the information you offer!