Oh Amsterdam you’ve stolen my heart, from your gorgeous buildings with my favourite dutch gables to your chilled out, yet buzzing vibe and the friendly, accepting locals, Amsterdam has it all. There’s a museum for everything, a range of bars to suit your musical tastes and the most incredible walks. Prepare to return home exhausted though! Here are my Snapshots from Amsterdam and the must see and do bits and bobs.
We jetted off from Norwich Airport on Friday morning, for the worlds shortest flight – half an hour! We then hopped on the train to our Air BnB. Oh my it was amazing! We rented a place in-between Nieuwmarkt and the red light district from the lovely Ellen. Her place was incredible! It was a home from home in the perfect location – nothing was too far away (although Hamish and his achey feet may disagree!) If you’re heading to the Dam anytime soon I highly recommend you staying there.
Day 1 – After checking in we headed to book ourselves onto a canal tour. We were smart and picked a more expensive company that had open top boats and only room for 8 people. A lot of the boats were floating greenhouses rammed full of tourists! After booking we nipped across the road to the Sex Museum which was interesting and hilarious! When in Amsterdam and all of that! It was only a few Euros and it was definitely eye opening. After that we decided to make the most of the sunshine and headed to a lovely cafe and sat outside.
The boat trip was amazing. Our guide was a local and she was full of interesting stories and facts about the city. We got go along the smaller canals as well as the bigger rivers as we were on a small boat. It was so relaxing and it was the perfect way of getting our bearings and learning about the city.
Post boat ride we were all zened out, we went for wander around Dam Square before heading back to our apartment via Little Saigon – an amazing Pho restaurant, but more about that on Friday. After a quick drop off and chill in the apartment, we went wandering around the red light district – which is a must see! Seeing the girls in the windows was so surreal. We also headed to the canal of seven bridges and took a walk down the canal side while the sun set. We then headed back via the Bulldog cafe before hitting the deck!
Day 2 – We woke up bright and early as we wanted to make the most of our three days. It was Albert Cuypmarkt day in Amsterdam so we wandered for half an hour to head to the infamous local market. We went via Lite and Dark which was a godsend for me. It was a juice and smoothie bar that sold salads and healthy cakes. I had the most delicious cacao smoothie. If you’re a health food lover – you need to head there! The Cuyptmarkt was really busy, it was lovely wandering through and living like a local. There was a good mix of food, clothes, crafts and cheese of course!
From there we headed to the Blumenmarkt via the Golden bend which is where the posh houses were. Now that area is dominated by the famous Waldorf Astoria. The flower market was heaving! If you’re a succulent lover or a keen gardener this is a must visit. Surprisingly though there weren’t that many tulips there! Most were bulbs or wooden.
Across the canal was the Torture Museum which was creepy and really interesting. Again it’s well worth a visit and only cost a few euros. After that we went on an epic wander and stumbled upon the Happy Pig Pancake House, they did Gluten free pancakes which was amazing! From there we wandered around Dam Square before going home for a nap – how rock and roll! We were knackered and fed up of wandering so we decided to recharge.
In the evening we visited the Anne Frank house which was incredible and really moving. It was well worth the wait in the hour long queue that is permanently outside it. If you’re going try and book tickets online or head there in the evening as the queue is shorter. Anne Franks story captured me as a young girl so I was so glad that I got to see the house. It was a moving and surreal experience, her situation was incomprehensible.
We then went for tapas and home, as our energy levels were severely depleted! We managed to see the original dancing houses of Amsterdam on the way back. (The Norwegian trees planted along the canals caused all of the houses to move.) When your boyfriend is a surveyor you find yourself looking at buildings a lot of the time!
Day 3 – Sunday was our last day. We were doing things at such a rapid rate that we decided to have a lay in before checking out and checking our suitcase into storage. I nipped to Lite and Dark for a smoothie and a brownie to keep me going as food I could eat was somewhat hard to find. More on that here. I also nipped into Bershka and found two pairs of shorts that fit me so yay! Trust me to have to go to a different country to find clothes that fit!
From there we headed out east towards the zoo and botanical gardens, in search of the Tattoo Museum. After wandering up and down a road we found out that it had shut and moved. We decided to take a pit stop at an amazing cafe for lunch and we watched the world go by for a while. We headed out further east to a windmill (Brouwerij’t IJ) which is now a brewery. After a rest and a quick look around we walked along the river and climbed the roof of the science museum where you can see across the whole of the city it was incredible! After chilling out for an hour or two we wandered around the shops and grabbed some delicious sushi and a yummy bubble tea. It was then time to say goodbye to this amazing city. we flew home and witnessed the most amazing sunset too – one of the perks of flying at night!
I’d 100% recommend a weekend break in Amsterdam – prepare to be tired though! It’s a city where there is something for everyone. I’d also recommend getting a lonely planet guide book. Ours was ‘The Make My Day’ Lonely Planet Amsterdam Guide from Jarrold that split activities up into morning, afternoon and evening – it was invaluable!
Have you been to the Dam? What was on your to do list?