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Before going on a business trip while living in Europe a few years ago, I had a short time to spend with my cousin who is also living in Germany and my sister-friend who literally moved to Germany due to a job relocation opportunity. My cousin and I planned a couple of events for the weekends that I had left. One event included attending a Jazz Fest in Bengin Germany that I attended last year with a group of ladies that I used to associate with. This was a trip that we planned to take with a local travel agency. The day my cousin attempted to purchase our tickets for the Jazz Fest she was informed the trip was canceled due to low participation. We were a little bummed because our hearts were set on attending. We were a few days from the weekend so I decided to see what trips were being offered for the same weekend and there was an advertisement for an Amsterdam Express Trip. I called everyone up and they were cool with the change of plans. We called individually and booked our seats…We had no idea on what to expect but we were excited…Well except for the 2:30 a.m. show time and 3:00 am a departure. I am just kidding but the time to wake up, get ready and get on our way did come quick.

After a few hours on the road, we made a stop at a McDonald’s outside of Amsterdam. Unlike a McDonald’s in the U.S. you can order breakfast or lunch in the morning. After a few minutes we hopped back on the bus and were on the final leg of the trip. We arrived at Central Station a little after 9:00. The bus driver and tour guide told us to that we had until 1930 to explore. Our meet up point would be where we were dropped off.

We were warned to be careful when walking to make sure that we did not walk in the bike lanes or get hit by a commuter on a bike. If you didn’t know Amsterdam is big on commuting by bicycle. Very much so that there are stop lights designed for cyclist.

With tourist books and maps in hand our first stop was the tourist center. The agent informed us of the wax museum/body museum combination where we could enter both for a total of 34 Euro. We accepted the deal, after we purchased our tickets we were on our way to explore.

Our first stop was the well-known I Love Amsterdam Sign. There were so many people trying to get a picture in front of the sign that we could only get shots of us in front of certain letters. After our mini photo shoots we decided to go to the Madame Tussauds. This was my first time going to a wax museum. I will be honest, I had a blast. There were so many celebrities. I think my cousin and friend will agree with me when I say the Lady Gaga exhibit was the most fun. We were able to dress up using accessories and be a part of her band. Another exhibit that was pretty cool was the fashion walkway. You could actually record yourself walking down the catwalk and email the final video to yourself. After “hanging out” with celebrities like Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Oprah, E.T. and Spiderman, we headed out of the museum where the exit is strategically located in the museums store. There we were able to view our pictures with Lady Gaga and yes, we bought them. We all wanted to have a picture of that memory. The package also included digital copies of the photos.

When we left the museum, the fashionistas found a Forever 21 store and participated in a few minutes of retail therapy. The ladies were satisfied with their purchases and we explored a couple more stores before we decided to eat at the famous Hard Rock Café. We started in what we thought was the direction of the Hard Rock Café, my cousin, our navigator pulled out our handy dandy map and politely let us know that we were not going the right way. We turned around started walking back in the direction that we came from. We hailed a bike taxi to take us the rest of the way. The ride to Hard Rock was an interesting one to say the least. There was a close encounter with our bike taxi and a monorail. After safely arriving to the restaurant we paid the “driver” 20 Euro and made a beeline for the hostess to get a table.

Getting a table was easy. The hostess said we could grab the next available, luckily for us a group was leaving as we arrived. The food was amazing and fresh. I ordered a signature burger, a coke and a fruit drink. The dessert was great too.

As we were leaving there was a group of guys doing a native dance demonstration which was entertaining. We decided to walk to the body museum, it was a good idea after all of the food that we ate. On the way back we stopped in a couple of stores and took pictures along the way. We stopped in a natural cosmetics store where we ended up leaving with free samples. These ladies are definitely who you want on your team when it comes to getting deals and free stuff.

We finally made our way to the Body Museum which consisted of six floors of replicas of the human bodies and organs. It was a nice exhibit and there was a lot to see.

After our tour of the reproductive system we stopped by a souvenir store so my friend could purchase souvenirs for her family members back in the U.S.

We headed back to our pick up location in more than enough time for the bus. We sat inside a restaurant on the canal that had free Wi-Fi. We sat there and talked about the trip, our purchases and how we were ready to get back on the bus. After an hour of waiting, the driver and the bus finally arrived. Grateful for a great day of weather, shopping and good food we boarded the bus for our 5 hour trip back home.

For a last minute trip, Amsterdam was a great time. Have you ever traveled to Amsterdam? What was your experience? Is Amsterdam on your bucket list? Feel free to share you story below.

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