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There's no way I can sum up this amazing nine day, four city trip into one post, so I'm going to do two. I'll try to give you all a simple breakdown of what I ended up doing, places I stayed, and things I can recommend trying. Have any recommendations for other things to do in these cities? Share them in the comments below.
Day 1 - Amsterdam
Duration Approx: 10.5hrs
What did I think? : Happy to report Lufthansa was a great airline to fly with. The seats were comfortable and each passenger had a touch screen that had a wide array of movies, audio books, games, and music to choose from. Bonus: Bottomless wine on the flight. Cons: The meal was not good.
St. Christopher's at the Winston
Stay: 1 Night
What did I think? : This hostel was great because it featured a smoking room for travelers needing a place to smoke the local cannabis Amsterdam is known for. The bar/restaurant, Belushi's, also had a discount for hostel guests. I also liked this hostel because there were lots of smaller dorms. Smaller dorms, with 6-8 people, I believe are ideal because they are less overwhelming than larger dorms and I find people tend to speak up more if there aren't too many people around.
Amsterdam has a lot of American food options. The Red Light district is home to a variety of restaurants, much appreciated by tourists looking to satisfy their cannabis-induced munchies. Many customers walked the street with their food. I saw very few that would stop in to eat food that could be eaten to-go. I mostly saw Fry stands and New York Style pizza.
What did I do?
Legalized marijuana is one of the things Amsterdam is most well known for. The Cannabis industry appears to be extremely lucrative. Coffee Shops, where marijuana can be sold and consumed in Amsterdam can get crowded, especially if you go to more well-known ones, like the Bulldog. I purchased my pot there but then ended up taking it back to my hostel to smoke it on the patio.
Dance/Music Festival in North Holland
How I found/ended up at this concert/festival/party/not too sure what to call it, on the distant outskirts of Amsterdam is a long story meant for another time. Ruigoord is a small village-like place in North Holland. Ruigoord is a short walk down a path from a main road in the dutch countryside. In the middle of this small 'village', there is an old church turned into a concert/event venue which just so happens to host a rave-like party the last Saturday of every month. Luckily, It was the last Saturday of the month when my hostel friends and I stumbled upon this place. $20 dollars got us wristbands that allowed us into the party on the inside. Outside the church were scattered bonfires and locals enjoying each others company. The dancing and conversations lasted until sunrise, at which point, my hostel friends and I decided to call an Uber back to the city center.
Watched the sunrise at @ruigoord this morning. It's an old church renovated into a performance and event venue. Had a great time with hostel friends dancing the night away and into the morning. #travelblog #thingstodoinamsterdam #edm #femaletraveler #girlslovetravel #backpackingeurope #backpacker #femalebackpacker #newfriends #hostellife #ruigoord #northholland #redheadtraveler
Party goers at @ruigoord taking a break by one of the few bonfires going. People from all walks of life and nationalities bonding in the moonlight. The party and conversations lasted until sunrise. #ruigoord #netherlands #amsterdam #northholland #newfriends #bonfire #travel #travelblog #travelblogger #girlslovetravel #girlswhotravel #instatravel #instatraveling
Day 2 - Dortmund
Amsterdam - > Duisburg 2hrs
Duisburg - > Dortmund 36mins
What did I think? : Typical train ride. There is no service for drinks or food, which I wasn't really expecting anyway since the train is long and short service between stops. The train wasn't crowded at all either giving me plenty of space to stretch out for a nap.
A&O Dortmund Hauptbahnhof
Stay: 1 Night
Cost: $95.99 (included ticket to MAYDAY Dortmund)
What did I think? : A Good quality hostel. Had good facilities and a nice common room and bar on the first floor. There were a lot of rooms and honestly not too many people staying there. I was glad it wasn't crowded but not super thrilled about not having any roommates. No joke, I had a 6-bed room all to myself. It was great for privacy but I was really hoping to meet some people that were also going to MAYDAY Dortmund in my hostel. The common room wasn't filled with lots of guests either so I ended up just heading over to MAYDAY alone.
What did I do?
MAYDAY is a music festival that happens every year around May 1st. The line-up featured some extremely popular European techno artists like Chris Liebing and Neelix.
It wasn't too hard to find people to hang out with once there. The venue had several performances going on at once and had areas to eat, shop, or get your face painted. I just sat down to eat a pretzel and was able to strike up a conversation with another woman my age who asked me to join her group. I ended up hanging out with those people until about 8 am when I decided to go back to my hostel for a quick nap before my journey to Brussels.
Day 3 - Brussels
Duration: Approx 5 hours
What did I think? : I would definitely use FlixBus again. the bus was clean and on time. The driver was nice and the bus wasn't crowded so I had room to stretch out to sleep. Which is what I did for the entire journey. Thankfully, a woman woke me up when we arrived in Brussels.
Brussels 2GO4 Quality Hostel at Grand Place
What did I think? : The hostel was in a great location, on a small side street right next to Grand Place. This made it easy for me to drop my stuff and head out to do some sightseeing. There was a newly updated kitchen for hostelers to cook and eat their own food as well as a quaint lounge area. The rooms felt spacious though the hostel was at fully capacity. I would definitely stay here again. Unfortunately, I only planned less than a day in Brussels or I would have been able to meet more friends and make myself comfortable there.
What did I do?
Walked Around/SANDEMANs tour
In the late evening, I took a long sightseeing stroll just to get a feel for the city. I basically just walked around and strolled into a few souvenir shops and took pictures of the beautiful buildings. I ate at Pizza Hut, which is not unique or exciting in the least, but it hit the spot. Technically, I did my SANDEMANs free walking tour the morning of Day 4 but feel like I should dedicate my writing for that day to Paris as that's where I was most of that day.I felt like I was able to see several main attractions like Mannequin Pis and the shops and buildings around Grand Place. I made sure to also stop by the Godiva store to pick up some Belgian chocolate for my mom.