I have to admit that I had very little expectations of Amsterdam. I studied abroad in London when I was in college and Amsterdam was not even on my list of places to visit. Even long afterward, for some reason, I have always seemed to bypass a trip to Amsterdam. But now that I have finally visited, I’m wondering why it took me so long. It is so incredibly charming and sophisticated!
We took the train up after a 4 day stay in Paris, and I’m so glad we did. It was fun to cross into Belgium, and then into the Netherlands with a nice, civilized spacious ride. We took this standard train time from Gare du Nord to Amsterdam Centraal using this site, which I highly recommend. It is easy to navigate and you can get the best prices.
Once we got into the city, we took a taxi to our hotel, which was ridiculously expensive. A word of advice – if you can figure out the metro and the tram system sooner rather than later, it will be your best friend. It cost us €50 in a taxi and if we had done metro, it would have been less than €4.
However, with that behind us, it was time to start exploring the city. One of Ry’s clients was actually born in the Netherlands so he shared lots of good tips before our trip. I also have a gorgeous friend and fellow yogi who I met in Portugal who is married to a Dutch man and she gave me lots of good pointers, too. My cousin and another friend also recently visited so we came really prepared!
For those of you who know nothing (like I did), Amsterdam is chock full of museums! There are about 75 museums just in Amsterdam. Their biggest museum is the Rijksmuseum, which is the museum of the Netherlands with the largest collection of Rembrandts. We did not actually go into the museum, but had fun visiting the outside grounds.
We did, however, make it to the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank Huis, and the MOCO Museum. They were all incredible. You do have to purchase your tickets online for both Van Gogh and Anne Frank beforehand so prepare, especially with the Anne Frank House. These tickets do sell out and you are out of luck if you do not have a ticket in hand. I overheard three college-aged students pleading (sadly to no avail) with an employee at Van Gogh since they were only there for the day and all tickets were already allocated.
More about the Anne Frank House – we were so moved! It definitely was the highlight of our trip. I am so glad I was a crazy woman about getting these tickets. I literally had 4 browsers open to make sure that we would be in the top 200 in queue to get tickets on the day we visited. No photos are allowed of the house’s interior, and I’m thrilled Jax was able to see it in person. At the end, we purchased a postcard of Anne Frank so that he could remember her. It is very sad that this event even happened in our history.
What else? A trip is not complete without a canal ride (we did an open boat tour) and a walk through the Red Light District.
Finally, we were able eat lots of good food and yummy treats, including the most delicious chocolate Stroopwafels at the Albert Cuyp Market.
We finished our trip with a quick visit to Vondelpark before we headed out to the airport back to Seville, Spain where we are living for the summer.
Ahh… I miss Amsterdam already, but I’m so happy I have these delicious Dutch treats to eat for a while!
Links to more places we saw:
Safraan de Amstel (we discovered this Turkish restaurant by just walking and it was so delicious!)
Rudi’s Original Stroopwafels (The best, most authentic, delicious stroopwafels)
Tony’s Chocolonely (I cannot get enough of these chocolates! Soooo good!)
De Bijenkorf (High-end department store worth visiting!)