Thursday, April 26, 2012

Amsterdam: City of Bikes and Food

We are back and home safely from our whirlwind Amsterdam trip! We had such a blast and, although I looked at a guidebook before leaving, I'm glad we basically went into it with no expectations because it was spectacular! 


Basically our days went like this: 
Morning: Wake up | take 10 minute metro into city centre | Find delicious breakfast & coffee
Afternoon: Acquire some lunch somewhere | Walk another 10 miles around the city taking in the sites | Sit and sip drinks by the canal while soaking in the sun | eat second lunch
Evening: Find some special place for dinner | Eat pre-dinner snack before going to said special place | Walk around the city for a few more miles & take in some markets | Drag our tired feet home to bed

So, in case you didn't read all that, basically eat and walk and eat and walk and eat some more. Throw in a few touristy things like renting bikes, trips to the park, and a visit to a few museums and that was our trip. All in all, it was incredible. Just the rejuvenation we both needed!


Day 1: 
We flew in around 11am and then took the train to our flat we were renting from AirBnb. Have you ever heard of AirBnb.com? It's amazing and you should definitely try it out for your next trip. They have hundreds of different places to stay in hundreds of different cities. It really allows you to live like the locals do!


After dropping our stuff off we jumped back on the metro (which was SUPER easy to use, even though none of it's in English!) and headed back to the city centre to explore. 



We went to this amazing place called Burger Bar for our first meal in the city. The "restaurant" was literally a hole in the wall about 30ft x 10ft with a bar for everyone to sit and eat. The food was amazing! We both had a Portobello mushroom burger, mine with goat cheese and his with jalapenos. We actually ended up eating at another one in town (they have 3 in the city) for our last meal before we caught our plane on Monday. That time I had an incredible gourmet grilled cheese with goat cheese and onions! 


  
Day 2:  

We went to visit Anne Frank's house in the morning. It was quite incredible and very moving to see the actual space where she wrote her famous diary. They even had parts of it on exhibit. I would have loved to snap some pictures of it but given its tiresome state we weren't allowed. 

Something that did stick with me though was the absolute darkness of the rooms. I have read her book several times but never did I get the same impression as I did when I walked into that dark and cool room. I think, in my head, I always imagined when she said "drapes" that she meant thin cloth blinds. But this was the furthest from what it actually was. Basically imagine if they had boarded up all the windows with thick oak logs and that's how dark this room was, all the time.

While the weather was nice most of the time, we did get a bit of rain. And unlike Edinburgh's sprinkles, it poured and poured rain in Amsterdam for about an hour straight. We loved it!

 




Now you'll notice the title of this post is "City of Bikes and Food" well that is for a good reason. We have already covered the food aspect of it and now I will explain to you the extreme amount of bikes they have in this lovely city. I have NEVER in my entire short-long life seen this many bikes in one place! It was incredible how seamlessly they all worked together: the cars had a lane, the bikers had a lane, and the pedestrians had a lane. Everyone stayed to their own lane and it was all good. If you ever heard the little chime of a bike bell, you better look around you otherwise a bike may run you over (and rightfully so because you are probably accidentally walking in their lane!). It's quite an incredible thing to see. Just to get an idea of how many bikes there are here are some pictures. 



There are bikes everywhere in this picture! Look up to the left top and you will see even more bikes in their own type of parking garage!


And everyone rides them! Some bikes have a seat on the front for a small child, then the regular bike seat for the adult, and then another seat on the back for another child! Also they have a lot of these cool things called Bakfiets where you basically push your kids in a trailer in front of you. Ingenious, I tell you!












I realize this post is getting kind of long so if you want to check out our pictures from Day 3 & 4 with Rembrandt's house and us going on an awesome biking adventure to Vondelpark then go here. Pin It

2 comments:

  1. I. Love. Goat Cheese. (Great pictures...as always)

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    1. Oh Elizabeth! I am totally on board with you. Cheese is like ice cream to me - I can never get enough of it! The stinkier and messier, the better!

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