First off, I'd like to say HELLO to my new subscribers! Thank you so much for joining my reading list - I really hope you enjoy my posts!
Remember a few posts ago when I said I was working 50-60 hour weeks? Well, they hired me to continue working on that job (it was a temporary rotation originally) so now that's my life. I am absolutely thrilled, and it truly feels like a dream job to me, but it's reduced my free time quite a bit. So this post is a few weeks late. We went to Amsterdam over President's Day weekend and had a quick but wonderful trip. I love traveling during the low season because it's so relaxing compared with high season. The weather can be iffy sometimes, but as long as you're flexible, it will be okay. We were a bit chilly at times in Amsterdam, but did a lot of walking so we were able to stay somewhat warm even in the 50ish degree weather. I love that we got to experience the beauty of Amsterdam without the summertime crowds. That said, I think the city would be beautiful during the spring and summer and I definitely want to go back!
We took a red eye flight, arrived Friday afternoon, and headed straight to the hotel. We decided to stay at the W Amsterdam which was centrally located and pretty affordable. We love the W hotels because they often have nice lounges/clubs so you get the built in nightlife. We got settled, changed, and did a bit of exploring, followed by a night out on the town.
- FRIETSTEEG: Fries were the first thing on my agenda. This was a great place for fries. Try the original or joppie sauce - a local favorite. Both were excellent.
- HOUSE OF BOLS: This is an "interactive cocktail and Genever experience." It was really cool to learn about Bols (a Dutch liqueur) and it was fairly empty on a Friday evening, which was nice! The tour also comes with a drink and a mini shot - a major bonus.
- JIMMY WOO: This club was recommended to me by a friend who previously lived in Amsterdam and it didn't disappoint. It was a bit packed - I think we arrived around 1am, but the crowd was energetic and the drinks were decent. Mainly hip hop and reggae/island sounding music.
Day two was full of museums. We were a bit jetlagged (cough cough hungover lol) so we got a late start to the day. We visited lots of museums and did some exploring. The city is so walkable!
- ANNE FRANK MUSEUM: An absolute must see. No photos from this place (not that we would've anyways). Buy tix ahead of time online - you can buy them as far as 3 weeks out.
- PANCAKE BAKERY: Lots of different types of pancakes. They were really filling. It was a good experience!
- BANKSY AND DALI EXHIBIT: Definitely worth visiting. I loved seeing many of Banksy's works and learned a lot about Dali.
- TULIP MUSEUM: More of a shop than a museum. They sell certified tulip bulbs so if you want to bring some back, you can without having to break any laws.
- CHEESE MUSEUM: Two words: FREE SAMPLES. A tiny little free museum with a shop and lots of cheese to taste and buy. I didn't know gouda was Dutch and I learned a bit about Dutch cheesemaking.
- SEAFOOD BAR SPUI: Reservations ahead of time are highly recommended. The food here is outstanding and there's great service. Shoutout to our friend Teddy for hooking us up there! You tha real MVP.
- CLUB AIR: Do yourself a favor and stay away. This place is absolutely ridiculous. The music is not our stye and you have to buy a ridiculous air card and load it up with money in order to buy drinks - who does that? Plus, it was full of teenagers. It was such a nuisance.
- CLUB ABE: This club was much better. Much better vibes and without all the ridiculous card business.
We woke up a bit late (again) and we were famished. We did a lot of wandering; unfortunately the camera battery died so we didn't get a ton of great pictures.
- STARING AT JACOB: This restaurant is owned by a friend of a friend but unfortunately had a bit of a wait and we had tickets for a specific time to enter the Van Gogh Museum. The menu looked great, though!
- FOOD HALLEN: This local eatery was recommended by one of our friends who had recently traveled to Amsterdam. It's a large food hall with little stands that offer lots of different cuisines. It's a great spot and was PACKED. We could've spent half a day eating and drinking and people-watching there if we had the time.
- VAN GOGH MUSEUM: Another must-see. We were there two hours and needed more time. Get there early! We purchased tickets a day ahead so that we didn't have to wait in a long line.
- CAFE DE EBELING: We popped into this little place to pass time before dinner and had a few drinks. It was a nice local spot with extensive beer and wine lists.
- DINNER CANAL CRUISE: Yeah, I got food poisoning from this. So I don't recommend it. I would still do a canal cruise to see the city from another angle, but I'd recommend skipping the food. And doing it during the day!
- RED LIGHT DISTRICT: It's kind of a must-see (as long as you're not traveling with kids!). I found it interesting and surprising. Don't try to take pictures there either - just not a good idea.
Overall, it was a great trip! It was definitely a little too short though - I think we could've used four or five days. I feel like we barely scratched the surface and we had so many things that were recommended to us that we didn't get to do. The club scene there definitely made me feel like I am getting too old to be clubbing but hopefully it was just the clubs we went to and we're not actually getting too old! The W had a nice vibe but we love to dance and it wasn't really that.
Even though we were there a short time, I fell in love with the city and from a practicality standpoint, could definitely see us living there. Everyone speaks English, it's walkable, the canals are beautiful, and it wasn't too expensive. Plus, it was super dog friendly! There were dogs everywhere, even inside restaurants. I also love that it's so bike-friendly (even though I'm not the most confident on bikes lol), and it seemed like a very green city. I would love to go back and spend more time there and would move in a heartbeat if the stars aligned themselves in that way for us!
More to come soon - thanks for reading!