Going Dutch

With more stereotypes than most cities,

: AMSTERDAM will satisfy

every kind of tourist and

traveller. Words: Simone Baird

Amsterdam gets more popular every year. As hundreds of thousands of tourists pour through

the city, seeking Rembrandt and the

Red Light District, canals and coffee shops, it is becoming harder to get a feel for what one of the most beautiful cities in the world is actually like. Your best bet is to

deliberately wander off the beaten

track and discover the youthful, vibrant, international and downright sensible city that is


Just south of Centraal Station lies the Red Light District, an infamous part of the city since the 14th century. While this is undoubtedly one of the most popular ’sights' in

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Cafe culture: Amsterdam

Amsterdam, it is far more interesting to simply ’people- watch'. Drug users and dealers, entire families, boisterous

stag parties, wannabe pimps and people of every

nationality wander the streets here throughout the day and night gawking at the women behind the glass. Amsterdam's liberal attitudes to soft drugs means that there are coffee houses aplenty which sell marijuana. The famous ones include the Grasshopper, Bulldog and Bulldog Palace which are found immediately outside of Centraal Station, but these are very commercial, touristy and quite impersonal. The better shops are smaller, a

little out of the way but well worth the effort. Noon, run by two pleasant Americans, has a great ambient atmosphere and tables outside, while Kandinsky has some of the most comfortable couches in all Amsterdam.

Make sure that you wander west of the city centre to The .Iordaan. This old working-class neighbourhood is now a bohemian retreat full of students, artists and exceptionally trendy types. The maze of narrow streets and even narrower canals has become a much sought-

after residential area and is full of cafes and pubs.

STA Travel's top ten bargains around the world

Hong Kong Star Ferry one way from Hong Kong to Kowloon 7p. Malaysia - Entrance fee to Taman Nagara National Partk one of the world’s best and Asia’s largest tropical rain forest 15p.

Prague pint of draught

pilsner 20p.

India unlimited vegetarian thali

at the Sri Krishna villa,

Madras 23p.

Peru Cuzco: re-stitcjing a pair of Dr Marten’s boots 80p.

Istanbul let off steam and relax

with a full massage in a Turkish bath £1.

Hawaii unlimited breakfast including steaks, full English fry-up and fruit salad at Perry’s Smorgy in

Honalulu £2.45.

Bolivia Soranta: a room in a former rubber Baron’s colonial mansion £2.80.

~ Africa scenic train from

Mombassa to Nairobi, 3 course meal and sleeper carriage £4.20. Thailand flight on Thai Airways from Chaing Mai to Mae Hong Son


Stating the obvious

Rijksmuseum Holland's national museum which houses over 200 rooms of work by the Dutch masters.

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Self Portrait With Grey Hat by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh Museum An extensive collection of all periods of the one- eared fella's work, including 'The

Anne Frank's House The famous

rooms where Anne and her family hid throughout the Nazi occupation. The Vondelpark South west of the city centre lies this extremely beautiful and popular park, attracting flocks of people all year round.

The markets There are markets everywhere, selling everything from flowers to paintings, clothes to food.

The List alternative

Magna Plaza A converted cathedral full of boutiques, coffee shops and trendy young things.

Friday Night Skate Hundreds of skaters converge outside the Filmmuseum at 8pm for the 15km route, skating their way through the city.

Melkweg A multi-media club, coffee house and more at Lijnbaansgracht 234a.

New Deli Eat In/Take Out A new minimal, relaxed Japanese influenced deli at Haarlemmerstraat 73. Homo-monument On the corner of Keizersgracht and Westermarkt, a series of pink granite triangles commemorate homosexuals who died in Nazi concentration camps.

Getting there

STA Travel offer return fares from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Amsterdam from £128 inc tax.

The List has five copies of the Lonely Planet Guide To Amsterdam to give away. To enter send your name and address to: Lonely Planet, 10a Spring Place, London NW5 38H.


STA Travel are at 184 Byres Road and The University of Strathclyde, 90 John Street Glasgow. Tel: 0141 338 6000

27 Forrest Road, Edinburgh. Tel 0131 226 7747 o 30 Upperkirkgate, Aberdeen. Tel 0122 465 8222 0

118 THE “ST 24 Jun—8 Jul 1999