14 Things A Teenage Girl Will Enjoy in Holland ...
Recently my fourteen year old granddaughter and I had the fun of travelling to Holland together. As a grandmother who loves to travel my goal was to accompany her as she got her first taste of Europe. Why did I choose Amsterdam?
In the past I've enjoyed The Netherlands many times. In fact, in my role as a travel expert I've often been called upon to pick my favorite solo and female-friendly city, one I would choose for a North American female's first trip abroad. For several reasons Amsterdam has always been my top choice. Most people in Holland speak English yet the Dutch culture is different enough to be interesting. I love the fact that it's also small enough to do day trips to other parts of the country without traveling for hours. The Dutch are wonderfully pragmatic. In fact, they honored women's rights long before other parts of the world did. In all the time I spent there I was never harassed and I always felt safe.
Setting Up Parameters ...
It's no secret that teenagers have their own ideas about what is fun and how they want to spend their time on vacation. I understand and respect that concept. My goal became to fill my granddaughter's head with sightseeing ideas that she just couldn't resist. She could then choose which ones most appealed to her. I hoped she'd leave Holland with a better knowledge of the country, its culture and its people. Equally important was for her to come away with good travel safety concepts to be used when she came back to Europe on her own.
Starting early in the day is not a teenager's idea of fun. So what if we weren't out the door at the crack of dawn? I agreed completely so while I waited for her to get ready I caught up on my reading and loved this extra relaxation time. Equally important, I chose a hotel with free WIFI so that my granddaughter could stay in touch with friends and family back home. Once we were done sightseeing she was free to go online to chat about what she had seen and done during the day. Knowing also that she loved browsing the shops we agreed on one major guideline. For every hour spent on cultural pursuits my young traveller could have the same amount of time checking out the stores, shopping for herself and her family. It worked perfectly!
I chose a hotel in the middle of the action...
A first time visit deserves full-on sensory stimulation so I chose a 3-star hotel smack dab in the middle of the action. Rho Hotel is small, modest, and beautifully located on a tiny, quiet street right off Dam Square. It's close to trams, a big supermarket, and within walking distance to the main Central train station, the Anne Frank House, and the Wax Museum. It was perfect for our planned itinerary. Big breakfasts were included in the hotel rate, we had a fridge in our room, free WIFI, and the staff was always kind and thoughtful (one evening even offering dishes from the kitchen so we could eat our store bought supper on real plates). The room furnishings were simple, the bathroom modern enough, and during that week we had only two small complaints (1) Though our flight from Canada arrived in the very early morning, the hotel's check-in time was not until 2:00PM. (2) There was no air-conditioning; we had only a fan in the room along with the ability to open windows. I imagine that during a heat wave that could have been a real problem. Address: Nes 05-23, 1012 KC Amsterdam, Website: www.rhohotel.com
Getting from the airport to Rho Hotel...
We took the train that takes you straight from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam's Central Station in about 20 minutes. The cost when we visited was €4.20 per person. You can buy your ticket online before you travel and have it with you when you arrive.
Once we arrived at the Central Train Station in Amsterdam it took us less than 10 minutes to walk to our hotel. Ask a local to point you to Damrak Street and walk straight to Dam Square. On the square cross to the left, along the monument. Nes Street has a shop with a giant yellow dutch shoe at the corner. You can see the hotel from the corner.
Amsterdam City Cards
While we were in the airport we popped into the Holland Tourist Information shop (arrivals 2) to pick up our 72 hour Iamsterdam City Card. This pass, bought online, is an excellent bargain for a short visit to the city, covering a great cross-section of the best sites and providing free transport between them. We checked on the freebies and discounts provided and then planned our week so that we did those things in three consecutive days. This way we got the best savings and bang for our buck.