Amsterdam

August 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

We got a 4 day weekend over Easter, and since it fell in mid-April this year, we figured it was the perfect time to go see the tulips in Amsterdam.  Turns out, I think the rest of Europe had the same idea :p.  Despite the crowds, we had a great time.  The city is beautiful and not called Venice of the North for nothing.  It’s such a different look from London and Paris.  I loved how all the buildings had these big windows to let the light in.  We took a boat tour through the canals, which, despite being a bit pricey, is a nice way to see the old city and learn a bit about its history.  See those hooks near the top of the buildings?  They’re used to hoist furniture and other big items into the upper floors, since the stairways are super narrow.

We tried to go to the Anne Frank House twice, but the queue was super long both times :(  We did finally make to the Van Gogh museum on our last day, which was really nice.  I wish it wasn’t so crowded, but they had a lot of interesting pieces, and with the help of the audio guide, I learned a whole lot more about this very interesting artist’s life. We also spent an afternoon at the Rijksmuseum, the Museum of the Netherlands.  It had just reopened after a long renovation, and it’s amazing.  It was definitely a highlight.  Again, we got the audio guide, which led us through a highlight tour of the museum (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, etc.).  I highly recommend the guide, it’s much more informative than just reading the captions.

As it was the height of tulip season, we went to Keukenhof Gardens, the largest tulip garden in the world.  I’m not sure it was really worth the time it took to get out there, it was stunning, but also uber crowded.  I wish the flowers had been arranged more creatively, instead, it was mostly just laid out in massive patches, which, while still pretty, just wasn’t quite as impressive as it could have been. Still, if you love tulips, it’s probably worth the trip.

And last, but, not least, the food.  I didn’t really have super high expectations, but it turns out Amsterdam is a super foodie place! Of course, we had to have Dutch pancakes.  I think I liked them more than Drew did, especially the apple ones. We also had apple pie from Winkel, which was filled with tons of apples. We shared an amazing burger and sandwich from Lombardo’s, ate a fancy meal in a converted greenhouse, tried an Indonesian rice table, ate a stroopwafel, and topped it off with getting a bottle of supposedly the best beer in the world.  Drew said it was good, but maybe not best :p  Anyways, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

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P.S. This was the first time we booked our accommodation through Airbnb.  It was great!  We rented a studio with ensuite bathroom.  It did require going up some steep stairs, but other than that it was bright, clean, and super convenient.  And, importantly, super affordable.  We had such a good experience, we’ve pretty much gone with Airbnb for all our trips since!

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