Amsterdam: A city built for bikes.
Accommodation: It was a bit difficult to find accessible hostel accommodation in Amsterdam. I ended up staying at St Christophers at the Winston which is located right in the Red Light district. It is flat to get into the Hostel and flat to get into the room. The only problem was that the bathrooms were very small. However there are private rooms accessible by a lift which I think have larger bathrooms. One of the main problems is that the bar area which is where breakfast is served is all bar stools rather than low tables which can make it a little tricky. However there weren’t that many options so I couldn’t be too picky.
Transport: Amsterdam is a city built for bikes so it is pretty small and most importantly flat. Therefore I didn’t need to catch any public transport. There are trams can be used to get around the city. However not all the trams and tram stops are accessible. More information on the accessible here https://en.gvb.nl/reizen/toegankelijk-ov
Overall Accessibility: As Amsterdam is built for bikes it is pretty flat and accessible. Also because of this most of the bridges are also accessible. Down the smaller streets and alleyways especially in the Red Light District the kerb side can be narrow and people can park their bikes on the sidewalk or put bins on the sidewalk so you end up having to get up and down the kerb alot. In the end I just ended up going in the middle of the road and as there is not that many cars its ok. It can be a bit of a headache to dodge the bicycles but they do have their own lane, just look out for them when you cross the road. Some of the restaurants and shops can have a couple of steps to get into them especially in the Red Light District however there are enough to choose from.
DAY 1: Canal cruise, Heineken Factory, Red Light district pub crawl
Amsterdam is made up of a series of canals organised in rings.
Therefore the best way to get your bearings of the city is to do a canal tour. They are pretty inexpensive and the best bit is there are some fully accessible boat tours. This company http://www.blueboat.nl/index_en.html has a lift in their boat to get down into the boat which is perfect. The boat takes you past most the major attractions and gives good guided commentary. So its a good accessible way to see the city.
Next I spent the next hour or so wandering through Amsterdam to get to the Heineken Museum. I took it pretty slowly and ate lots of dutch food along the way such as chips with mayonnaise, donut balls and lots of cheese. The Heineken Experience/ Museum is technically accessible. However it’s one of those places that is classified as accessible however it’s so confusing and I got lost a lot. They give you a key and a map to try and get through all the lifts. So I ended up getting a little frustrated as it wasn’t enjoyable experience. It was also the only place in Amsterdam that I didn’t get a discount.
The rest of the day was just spent by more aimless wandering and cheese eating. In the evening I thought the best way to see the city at night was by doing a pub crawl of the Red Light District. The people organising the pub crawl were really nice. Two of the pubs were not accessible but the staff and people on the crawl carried me up the stairs. The toilets in all the places were also not accessible however my hostel was close by so I just used that. It was a really good way to see the Red Light District and too meet people.
DAY 2: Van Gough Museum
After a bit of a late start I wandered through the city past the Dam (the main large square), the flower market and the I Love Amsterdam sign to the Van Gough Museum. So when I arrived at the Van Gough Museum there was a massive line with people with already purchased tickets. However I found someone to help me and I got to skip the massive line and didn’t have to pay for my ticket. The Van Gough museum was really good, definitely a must see and it was completely accessible.
The other museum to see while in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum which houses a lot of the Dutch Masters. I didn’t end up going here as I ran out of time. But apparently it’s really good and fully accessible.
I then walked through the area of the city called Jordaan which is where the Anne Frank House is, it’s also a cool/hip neighbourhood. Unfortunately the Anne Frank Museum is definitely not accessible as its up lots of narrow stairs but its worth walking past just to have a look.
DAY 3: Rembrandt Museum, Old Jewish Quarter, Dutch Resistance Museum.
As it was my last day I had a bit to fit in. I started at the Hash and Marijuana museum in the Red Light District. Which was interesting but if you can’t fit it in I wouldn’t be too stressed.
The other famous painter to see is Rembrandt. The museum is centred around Rembrandt’s old house and so is largely inaccessible. The whole old house part is inaccessible where the museum part is accessed by a lift. They do give you a discounted price, however I still didn’t think it was worth it. But I’m not a big Rembrant fan so it’s up to you.
History is more my thing so I ambled down to the old Jewish quarter, the is an outside interactive display which shows people’s lives and stories during Nazi occupation.
From there it was a short walk push to the bontantical gardens where the zoo is and a couple of other museums. One of those being the not very publicised Dutch Resistance Museum which showcases life under Nazi occupation and the role of the Dutch resistance (of which my grandfather was a member).
And that was Amsterdam. A city which I loved very much. Now it was off to Munich on an overnight ten hour train.