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Tag Archives: Amsterdam
Waiting for a flight in the airport is probably one of the most annoying things out there. Airports are not the most exciting places and even though they offer different facilities and shops, after you strolled through all the stores there, (usually there are not so many of them) you will find yourself looking at your watch and praying for the time to move faster. As an expat living in Amsterdam I know the feeling of going crazy while waiting for a flight. That is why I decided to write this”10 things to do in Schiphol airport while waiting for a flight” article. For those of you who take their flight from other airports and want advice as well, no worries, my tips are probably valid for any airport out there!
Last week, we announced our “Best reviewed Amsterdam hotels of 2010”.
The hotels which made it to the final list got the highest scores from their guests. Amsterdam is an extremely popular city and it is full with tourists all year long. You can only imagine the amount of hotels we have here and the difficulty with booking the perfect accommodation for each person. That is why the outcome of this list made us even more curious about the winning hotels; what is so special about them that made people vote for them time after time? Do they use secret tricks or a certain approach that keeps them so popular with so many different people? We decided to go on a quest in order to get our answers.
One of the most often asked questions to hotels and locals is how the public transport system in Amsterdam works. Now, this isn’t all that difficult, but nowadays it does need some explanation there has been quite a big overhaul since June 2010. Amsterdam’s public transport cards changed from paper and ink to mostly plastic and electronic. The so called “strippenkaart” is gone and the OV-chipcard made it’s entrance.
As most other major destinations, Amsterdam has an extensive public transport network within the city. People can travel by train, tram, metro, and bus. Even the ferry can be used if needed. In addition, the bicycle is of course our preferred means of travelling in and around Amsterdam.
What is the OV-chipcard?
In 2010 the GVB, the company who exploits the largest part of the public transport in
Amsterdam, introduced the OV-chipcard. The OV-chipcard is an electronic card the size of a credit card. The system works like a pre-paid system. You buy a card and charge it with credit to be used for public transport. Purchasing of the card can be done at the larger train stations at the counter and special vending machines on several locations around the city. The credit can be topped up at special machines at the stations but also at the entry of various shops like supermarkets and bookshops, and in some busses.
All hotels with a direct contract with EasyToBook.com are taken into consideration with the exception of hotels with less than 10 reviews, to make sure the outcome is based on a significant number of guests’ opinions.
We only used reviews received in 2010. Therefore, the results may be slightly different than what you can find on the EasyToBook.com website. On our website scores are based on reviews from a longer period. In the future we plan to create new top lists to see if there are any changes.
We decided to categorize the hotels to their star class, to make the comparison fairer. We separated the hotels based on the following star class groups:
- 0 and 1 star hotels
- 2 star hotels
- 3 star hotels
- 4 and 5 star hotels
The 0 and 1 star hotels are combined because of very little differences between them.
The 4 and 5 star hotels are combined due to the low number of 5 star hotels in Amsterdam.
Differences between the classes can still be seen, as the star classes will be displayed in the charts.
Thousands of bookings are made on EasyToBook.com every day. When deciding on what hotel to stay in, people value each other’s opinions on the hotels on offer. Although the opinions of guests can differ quite a lot, the opinions altogether form a trustworthy impression for possible future guests.
Now how do we collect these opinions? When guests stayed at a hotel, we send them an e-mail with a request to fill in a small and simple questionnaire, in which they can tell us about their experiences in the hotel. Luckily a large percentage of the total number of guests is willing to fill in this questionnaire to help inform other travelers.
Amsterdam has a lot of different tourist attractions. Many show the history of the city but it is difficult to really feel the history of the Netherlands. De Zaanse Schans is one of few sites in the Netherlands where you can truly relive the way the Dutch, and especially the people of the “Zaanstreek”, lived in the 17th and 18th century. The Zaanse Schans can be reached within 50 minutes from the city centre of Amsterdam.
What is the Zaanse Schans?
Nowadays the Zaanse Schans is an area to preserve the historical heritage from all around the Zaanstreek. It got its name Zaanse Schans in 1574 when a Dutch Governor by the name Diederik Sonoy built it to stop the Spanish troops. ‘Schans’ actually means Fortress. Between 1961 and 1974 a great many buildings were moved to this area because of the threat of urban development and that’s how it got its present functionality of open air museum.
New Year’s Eve is approaching and the excitement grows; everybody already knows where to go and what to wear, friends and family are getting ready to party together and the champagne is waiting to get popped. Before entering 2011 we went out to the streets of Amsterdam and asked people a couple of questions, the most important one probably was what people’s New Year’s resolution would be. Aside from the usual “losing weight”, “quit smoking” and “be nicer to my mom”, what else do you wish for yourself this coming year? I took my colleague Kim with me, so she could help me out with interviewing some nice strangers:
From: “A small and beautiful city next to Rome.”
Are you in town for business or pleasure? “Pleasure of course! I will stay here till the 22th.”
Where are you staying? “In the “A Train Hotel”, next to Central Station.”
What is your New Year’s resolution? “To provide a good life for me and my family, that is the most important to me…”
What destination would you like to visit in 2011? “London! I locked this city deep in my heart!”
Christmas is just around the corner and you can sense the holiday spirit just about everywhere; the streets are decorated with beautiful Christmas lights, the mobile bakeries are working hard to provide everyone with tasty desserts, the temporary ice-skating spot is up and running and the temperatures are below zero. The snow might not last till Saturday, but at least we will always have these pictures to remind us of this lovely season…
The web is full of “reasons to do this” or “reasons to do that”, so I was thinking, why do not write something like “reasons why NOT do this or that” and I ended up with something that I personal feel and experience.
After 2 years spent in Amsterdam I think I can, with a pinch of irony, write 10 good reasons why NOT to move to Amsterdam, especially if you are from Naples (like me).
I might have to warn you Amsterdam people out there, this is a matter of taste, as you know, every story has more than 1 sides to it …
- The Pizza.
As I said before, I’m from Naples, for me pizza is like water, like air, I simply cannot live without it! The average price of a Margherita is around EUR 10-12… Even if you can find a really nice and good pizzeria (thank God!), this price is quite high, especially if you think that in Naples the average price is EUR 3,50-4.