Many people who visit Amsterdam have very positive experiences…. I personally did not. I found Amsterdam to be dirty, creepy, and awkward. I did not have a good meal the entire time I was there (except for one bowl of soup) and spent a majority of time walking around in the cold, dreading returning to my hostel. I took no pictures and bought only food and drinks.
Dates: October 26 – 29 (3 days)
Flight: British Airways (I would definitely recommend British Airways. They even give you a complimentary newspaper! It is a little frustrating if you have to transfer flights in London, however, because it means going through security all over again.)
Stayed at: The Marnix Hotel – Marnixstraat 382 – 1016 XX Amsterdam. http://www.marnixhotel.com) Do yourself a favor and DO NOT STAY HERE. The pictures on the website are extremely misleading. The bathroom photos are definitely stolen from somewhere else. I will explain the full story below, but at this point its necessary to list the other place we stayed at:
Hotel de Paris – Marnixstraat 372 – 1016 XX Amsterdam. (http://www.deparis-amsterdam.com/) After the Marnix “Hotel” this place was like paradise. Rooms were slightly pricey (130 euro for a room for one night, aprox. 180$), but then so is everything in Amsterdam.
We arrived in Amsterdam and took a train to Amsterdam Central, which was easy enough. Jacob and I knew we had to take a tram to our hotel, but we were confused about where to buy tickets. I got on the tram to ask the driver and the doors shut behind me, leaving Jacob still standing outside. So I sat down on this strange tram, without paying, and listened to the automated voice announcing in Dutch which stop we were arriving at. Thankfully Jacob texted me the stop we needed to get off at and I waited for him there until he got off the next tram. At this point we realized that we knew the address of the hotel/hostel but not the name. Fortunately we were able to find the place and check in.
We paid for the next three nights, got the key and went upstairs. I should have started being concerned when I saw the dirty hallway, but trying to stay positive, I said nothing. We opened the door to a dark and dirty room that smelled like it could use to be aired out. The room had 4 sets of bunk beds, a sink, garbage can, and one chair. The door to the private bathroom had a hole punched through it. The bathroom itself was horrifying, smelled as if it had never been cleaned, with mold on the shower curtain and urine on the floor. By this point I was semi-hysterical and called my friend who had earlier texted me “The hotel is really nice!” Had she mistakenly checked into another hotel? Did we have the extra-special horrible room? I demanded to know the name of the hotel she was staying at and she confirmed Marnix…. “AND YOU SAID ITS NICE???!” By this point she was laughing so hard she could barely talk and admitted she had been joking.
We left the hotel as soon as possible and tried to enjoy the rest of the day, but it was difficult considering it was misting rain and was terribly cold. Within 30 minutes of leaving the “hotel” I was screamed at (in Dutch) for accidentally stepping into the bike lane. If you do decide to ignore all my advice and visit Amsterdam, make sure to STAY OUT of the bike lane!!! You are risking your life by not triple checking every time you think about crossing the road. It is not a pedestrian city!
When we returned to the hostel late that night, I was surprised to discover there were three other men sleeping in there (I was the only girl!). The man sleeping in the bed 3 feet away from mine was at least 50 years old and reminded me of the Hargrid character from the Harry Potter movies, however less trustworthy. He begin making conversation while Jacob and I were getting ready for bed, asking us where we were from, how much he loves Amsterdam, etc. Meanwhile, he also started getting ready for bed. This process included taking out his fake eye in front of us and putting it in a glass filled with some kind of solution. I was obviously trying my absolute hardest to convince myself this was a normal behavior, and said nothing. He explained to us that he lost his eye in a car accident (one of many in his life) and then began to recount each of them for us, in detail. He also confided about his health insurance in six different countries and multiple passports. I had head enough by this point and I was in bed, covering my head and trying not to cry. At five in the morning, I woke up to him having a late night/early morning snack of two full bags of chips.
The next day, I insisted that we check into a different hotel so I could take a shower and actually feel clean afterward. The shower that morning had been less than successful considering the amount of mold I was exposed to. We checked into the Hotel de Paris, conveniently located next door, however the rest of the girls we were with decided to stay at Marnix. Their situation was slightly better because it was only the five of them in a room together, and although it was extremely small, they at least had a window, which also provided some fresh air.
The following day, we had to check out of the Hotel de Paris because they had no vacancy for the night. We ended up back at Marnix, begging to change rooms. The man at the desk had no sympathy for our situation but eventually agreed to put us in a 12 bed room. [He also very rudely started questioning our friend Kelli, asking if she had actually paid to stay there or not. She explained that she was in a different room and gave him her key. The man didn’t believe her!! For some unknown reason he had the idea that someone would actually want to stay there after seeing the rooms. Eventually, after some harsh words and lots of dirty looks, he allowed her to go upstairs to her room.]
When the next morning came, I could not have been more ready to leave Amsterdam and on to the next part of our trip, Barcelona!
[You may have wondered why I mentioned nothing except the hotel situation, however its because there isn’t much more to say and I am in the process of blocking it all out of my memory. Between the prostitution, the dirty “coffee shops” everywhere, the carnival -like atmosphere, the crappy food, and the constant feeling of being part of a disgusting bachelor party, I can honestly say that the only thing you want to do after leaving Amsterdam is to take a long hot shower and go to confession!]
Here is another blogger’s experience with the Marnix “Hotel”: