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Get to know our staff members! Meet Fernando from our MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West.
What’s your name and what’s your job at MEININGER?
I am Fernando, originally from Argentina, and all-rounder at MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West, since its day one.
What is the question most guests ask you in the hotel?
“Is it worthy to rent a bike?” And my answer is… absolutely! Riding your rented bike you will be, immediately, part of Amsterdam’s community. Bicycles have their own rights in the city, with own tracks, own signs and own traffic lights. Besides, is there anything more relaxing than riding along the water on a sunny day? But then, of course, give first a glimpse to the weather forecast. If real Amsterdammers, specially equipped (or not!) continue cycling under sudden rain or storm, you might decide, within similar prospect, that a visit to the Van Gogh or Rijksmuseum, is a better idea…
What is typical about Amsterdam?
The canal rings, without doubt. This hydraulic masterpiece is Amsterdam’s Unesco’s World Heritage, formed by 14km of canals and 80 bridges. And the great thing about it is that, next to its historical value -created in the 17th century, to drain the marshes and to produce land for housing- it offers many ways in how to explore it. Being a Canal Cruise the most classical one, you can also take a Canal Bus, a hop on hop off cruise, which makes stops at many of the most visited attractions. Different, and great fun (kids love it!) is cycling with a Canal Bike. And, if you’re in a more adventurous mood, it’s also possible to rent your own boat. Often run on electricity an easy to drive, this way offers you the chance to scout the canals yourself and determine your own route. Cool stuff.
What do you have to experience in Amsterdam?
In general, my impression is that most visitors already know very well what they would like to experience in Amsterdam, and this is related with other very frequent question: “where is the next coffeeshop..??”. And, of course, here the urge is never about checking how a cappuccino or a latte tastes in The Netherlands… However, without underrating the fun and pleasures that any regular soft drugs menu might offer, in my opinion, a very down to earth tour through the city can be just as exciting. The Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom described Amsterdam as an open book, and those who walk through it as its readers. Full of colorful and amazing contrasts, I simply suggest to try to get a glimpse of the different neighborhoods – City Center, Jordaan, De Pijp, Plantage- while trying to guess and discover how everything stood and came up together. And, last but not least, try to take a stroll in that 19th century gem, the Vondelpark.
What’s your insider tip for Amsterdam?
With its entrance a little bit hidden on a side street, but actually at the city’s heart, Café De Jaren was once a savings bank and latterly offices. I like this place for its casual, open atmosphere and the mixture of locals and tourists, finding it a very good spot to just seat and relax. It’s famous for its two terraces overlooking the Amstel, if you choose the one at water level you will almost be in touch, specially in the summer, with the boats mooring alongside the jetty. And, perfect for lunch, this café has a good variety of delicious sandwiches, not to forget its Tom Kha Khai soup, definitely among the best in town.
Just from the quay behind the Central Station, you will notice this spectacular building of the EYE Film Institute, on the other of side of the Ij Lake. Easy accessible with a free ferry (only 3 minutes), it is very nice to pay a visit to this ultra-modern location after having spent a whole day in Old Amsterdam. Designed by a famous Austrian team (Delugan & Delugan-Meissl), this great piece of contemporary architecture has a bar-restaurant with panoramic views of the city. And, if you’re still not a film freak, you might become one after being here. With a permanent exhibition of classic films, temporary shows on prominent filmmakers, and a programme which includes the latest cutting-edge cinema, the EYE is probably one of the best film museums in the world.