Amsterdam is one of those cities that was always on my list of must sees. However, being so close to the ‘Venice of the north’, I constantly kept putting it off. Then it got to the point where every single one of my friends had been multiple times and didn’t want to go with me! Finally, I picked a long weekend in November to head to Amsterdam and explore the canals.
Being a budgeting traveler, I decided to get the cheapest tickets possible and ended up taking a over night bus both ways. Note, this is definitely a money saver but it is not very fun. If you can, I advise splurging a little more and taking the train.
A cyclist city
My first impression, this is a cyclists city. Whether you’re walking around on foot or traversing the waterways by boat, you’ll notice that there are bikes everywhere! I got off at central station and there was a gigantic parking lot devote to bikes only. So, I decided to do as the locals do and get myself on two wheels. The easiest and most interesting way to get yourself on a bike for a few hours is to take a bike tour. I totally recommend Mike’s bikes. There are a sister company to FatTire bike tours here in Paris and they offer the same great experience. Having a local guide expose the romanic essence of this city with some fun facts along the way is my favorite way to experience this historical city in it’s entirety.
After a city tour, I can always find my bearings and know where to go next. Usually I head in the direction of food. Being a tourist can be exhausting. Refueling is a necessity. I ate a lot of delicious treats in Amsterdam. I don’t really stick to a certain style or type of food. I just follow my nose and my hungry belly makes the choice for me.
I discovered the cutest brunch place where the eating is in the basement and the kitchen is on the ground floor. Best eggs Benedict at Greenwoods. I couldn’t wait to eat it so as you can tell, my photos are limited. Then, I hit up the best pizza place in the city, La Perla, recommended by my bull frog bikes tour guide. It made me think I was back in Brooklyn and with a wood-fire oven cooked personal pies of perfection. I definitely recommend you to take a moment here if you do ever visit Amsterdam. I did keep is classy and went for a romantic candle light dinner for one with very good service and even better food. While the food was amazing, my Amsterdam trip did not revolve around food, but culture.
Lots of culture
For quite a small city, Amsterdam has a lot of culture. There are several museums to choose from and tons of historical buildings to check out. I took advantage of both the artsy side and the history. I made sure to visit the Anne Frank Museum. It was the most intense and yet gratifying experience. This is a must see in the city. Don’t get scared away by the Q to the entrance. Order your tickets online and grab a hot coco to go before you get in the Q. By the end of the visit you won’t have words to explain the feels this museum evokes in people. I’m telling you it’s a must see.
Then to lighten up your day, hit up the museum row. This is the area where you will find the big Amsterdam sign but also several museums. The Van Gogh, Stedelijk and Rijks museum are all lined up right next to each other. I unfortunately couldn’t get into the Van Gogh museum, -way too many people. So I opted for the Stedelijk which is the modern and contemporary art museum and I was very happy I didn’t get into the Van Gough experience by the end of my visit. The permanent collection is interactive and interesting. The traveling Jean Tinguely exhibition was absolutely endearing. I had so much fun!
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