Brussels/Amsterdam: Day 6- 17 Mar #3

The focal point of public transport in Amsterdam is Centraal station. If you’re coming into town from Schiphol, you’ll definitely need to go through Centraal to get anywhere. That’s precisely what I did. I took a train using the travel ticket from Schiphol to Centraal, then a tram down to my highlight destination of the day: the Heineken Experience.

Now, I had been holding off on buying the tickets to the Heineken Experience till the very last minute when I was on the Thalys train to Amsterdam. (Yes, the Thalys train do have free WiFi, I’d forgotten to mention that in my previous posts) So yeah, I made a split second decision to commit to the visit, and to bump it up in my schedule to my first day in Amsterdam. The 16 Euro ticket offered online is valid for a year from the date of purchase, though it is only one-time use. If you have time and money to kill, why not?

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The Heineken Experience. It used to be an operating Heineken plant. Used to.

There were some ongoing construction work when I passed through the area, and the sidewalk was cramped. Nevertheless, upon entering and asking for the queue for online tickets, I was simply directed straight to the ticket check and the attendant scanned the e-ticket on my phone, gave me a Heineken Experience wristband that from what I understood, was my ticket to the two beers mentioned in the ticket price.

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This was my ticket to a couple drinks.

The front part of the exhibition showcased the illustrious history and achievements of Heineken, then a very simple overview of ingredients used to make the beer and further onto the equipment used in manufacturing in the past. The gigantic copper tanks were something to behold, polished till they’re gleaming in full glory. But I was too busy thinking how much all of this was worth if it were to be melted down and sold. Heh.

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Shiny shiny. They do have projectors in the vats/tanks to show how it would have been like in their operating heyday.

Right after the tanks, you’ll come to a stable where live horses were kept, I suspect, for the purpose of simply having them on display. There’s an explanation on how the horses hauled materials and products in the past, but they were now wholly obsolete except as exhibits. Going up the stairs, I came to “The Brew You Ride.” It’s a 4D-isque contraption that supposedly shows the process of brewing the beer with you at the center of the action, but I was more annoyed by the talking head on the screen than anything else. But if you want to get drenched by the fluid being sprayed from the ceiling, feel free to stand in the middle of the platform.

After that comes the first round of beer. There’s a staff member on hand to lecture you about why the beer foam is there, how to appreciate it among other things. Then you’ll have to pass through a plethora of tourist gimmicks and galleries showcasing their sport sponsorships.

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‘High tech packaging’ lit up in all its neon glory.

The second round of beer comes to cheer you up after that decidedly boring maze of cheap tourist traps, though I elected to have a pass on this due to the queue present. And voila, you’re outside again. I think I spent a little over an hour and half in there, interesting for anyone who has a passion for beer. But if you’re on a tight budget or schedule, I wouldn’t recommend it. One thing I’ll have to note however, the beer served there tastes so much better than those in Heineken bottles being sold outside.

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It was nearly 8pm by the time I came out, but the sky wasn’t completely dark yet. However, it was getting quite windy and cold. Since all trams (or nearly all) terminate at Centraal, I wasn’t too worried about taking the wrong tram. I did stop at Dam Square to seek out dinner. After much effort and no results, including wading into a KFC that is absolutely packed, I opted to have a simple sandwich meal at Delifrance. I don’t remember the price, but having a hot sandwich and soup on a chilly night like this is absolutely heavenly.

-I recalled that I wasn’t exactly pleased with the price

-The food lives up to standard, but again, nothing ‘wow’ing, I’m just grateful to get hot food and some space to eat that wasn’t cramped.

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One of the tram stops, I couldn’t remember which one. Remember: trams are rather rare in Asia.

I pretty much headed back the same way I came. Tram to Centraal, then train to Schiphol and shuttle back to hotel. In fact I only started heading back after my dinner at 9pm, which was pretty late in comparison with my previous days’ return time. Amsterdam just doesn’t have that seediness like Brussels that sets me on edge.

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