8 great things we did in Amsterdam
1. Ate stroopwafels
We hunted down the original bakery that has been making them for 100 years and they did not disappoint. Not only were they the size of my face, usually a great sign in terms of baked goods, but they were also warm, sweet, crunchy, and seriously delicious.
2. Visited the Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh has been my favourite artist for years and being able to see such a vast collection of his work, alongside more personal items like letters to and from his brother and friends, made for a remarkable experience. There was also a visiting exhibit about fin de siècle print ads from Paris that was one of the most wonderfully curated exhibits either of us had ever seen. We didn’t organize our tickets ahead of time but because we got there right at the start of the day we didn’t have to line up for more than 5 mins. That being said, when we left the museum a few hours later the line up was massive so I’d recommend planning accordingly.
3. Visited Moco Museum
We ended up choosing the smaller Moco museum over the mammoth Rijksmuseum and, although it felt like a bit of a gamble, it definitely paid off. The Moco museum has a continuously changing exhibition and we happened to be there for Banksy and Salvador Dali. It was a really interesting collection of pieces all housed in a beautiful old house right in the middle of the museum square. Also, who knew that Dali designed the logo for Chubba Chups?!
4. Went on a canal tour
We did this on our final night and it was wonderful. We were a bit apprehensive after watching other tours go by during the few days we were there because everyone on the boats seemed miserable! I don’t know what they were doing because we had a great time. The information was corny and the view as the sun began to dip behind the canals was beautiful. It was also great to see that we had walked through most of the center, as there wasn’t a single canal that we didn’t recognize.
5. Ate delicious things (in a converted factory)
We had great luck with all our meals in Amsterdam, and it truly would be hard to pick a favourite. For location alone though the Foodhallen was pretty neat. The space was a buzz with people hurrying around with all kinds of treats, precariously balanced as they hunted for a free table. The hall is lined with all sorts of different vendors and it took ages to figure out which one to go for. In the end we opted for some Dutch bitterballen, hot dogs and some oh so British cider.
Everything I’d read about Amsterdam advised wandering as the best way to enjoy the city and I would definitely agree. Now don’t get me wrong, we did just that…but we also had a good amount of research about the particular areas we wanted to wander down and a few shop and restaurant recommendations that guided us along the way. This was me being spontaneous. We poked our way through the winding canals hopping from shop to café and hitting any design stores that fell in between. It was a beautiful way to see the city and I loved being able to explore at our own pace.
7. Nearly died on a daily basis
After a few years now of living in Edinburgh Chris and I are serial jaywalkers. Jaywalking actually isn’t a thing here so really we’re just great at crossing a road in between cars. We’re quick and so far have yet to be hit. That nearly changed in Amsterdam on a daily basis. The trams, cars, motorcycles, regular cycles and pedestrians basically all share the same space, with only a hint of a suggestion of a curb to differentiate between the lanes for people on foot and the lanes for those on wheels. It was a bit mad and a bit hectic but by the end of the four days, we were still completely as useless as when we arrived. Despite my best efforts not a single person, nor Internet search, could tell me who had right of way. I guess we will never know.
8. Left with armfuls of Dutch goodies
Schiphol airport is great and it wasn’t hard to leave armed with the necessities; stroopwafels, gouda, poffertjes and salty licorice. All together we had a fantastic, sun filled few days in Amsterdam and I know both of us are eager to return again soon. Perhaps Chris will even convince me to get on a bicycle. *
* He won’t. I would die.