Amsterdam is one of the places that has been on my “to visit” list for ages. I’ve always had a vision of how it should be in my head, and fortunately it didn’t let me down.
My best friend Charlotte and I went in August of this year, and we were blessed with perfect weather throughout the duration of our trip. Honestly, people were saying it was going to be cold, which being British I was fully prepared for, but it was absolutely glorious. The only downside to the lovely weather was that we got rather uncomfortable on the boat tour we took (Londoners, think the Boris Routemaster bus type uncomfortable). It was like sitting in a greenhouse with the sun beaming down, the only comfort being that we got to explore the beautiful surroundings in the best way possible.
The food and drink was absolutely delicious. I’m actually surprised I didn’t take down the plane on my return trip with all the food I had eaten. If you’ve never been to Amsterdam before I’d highly recommend the pancake restaurants. We visited one the last two days we were there, and even though it’s clearly aimed at tourists as no local would pay 14 euros for a pancake, they were very tasty if not extremely calorific.
We were meant to go on a brewery tour at Brouwerij ‘t IJ (no idea how you say that either, can anyone Dutch help me out?). It is a quaint little brewery set beside a windmill. It took the best part of a few hours to walk there from the Jordaan area where we were staying (with a few pancake stops on the way). Unfortunately, we went on a day they weren’t running tours, so we obligingly stopped for a beer taster or two instead. After a few testers I forgot which beers are which, but as a rule of thumb, the darker beers had more flavour and tasted less hoppy.
We stayed at The Times Hotel in Amsterdam, and these were the views from our hotel looking out onto Herengracht (which is one of the most important canals in Amsterdam). I’d highly recommend the hotel, it wasn’t too expensive and it was ideally located within walking distance of most things you’d want to do in Amsterdam. Also, just look at the view!
I love how the houses are different colours, and lean this way and that. Apparently they lean because they’re either built on unstable ground, or so that furniture wouldn’t hit the house whilst it was being hoisted in through the window.If you’re thinking of going to Amsterdam, I’d recommend the fruity beers, especially the cherry beers.On the Canal tour we did, we went past this house, which apparently is just one metre wide! In London I reckon this would easily go for half a million, and I’m willing to bet that in Amsterdam it’d cost around the same. Amsterdam isn’t the cheapest of cities…
Ok, so not all the food we ate was traditionally Dutch, but my gosh do they have some good pizza! We also walked to the Rijksmuseum. Although we didn’t go inside, we walked around the gardens. Currently, the Rijksmuseum is exhibiting Giuseppe Penone’s sculptures such as the one above, named Respirare l’ombra. The aim, from what I sensed from the sculptures, was to demonstrate the overwhelming force of nature and force you to feel more connected with it. Somehow, sculpting trees and plants into organs and the figure of a person makes them seem more lifelike, and it also makes you realise you’re also a part of your surroundings.
All in all, I really enjoyed Amsterdam and will definitely be back in the near future. It sort of reminds me of Cambridge a bit, with the meandering paths, old-world feel and sheer number of cyclists. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re wanting to plan a short weekend break.
Have you ever been to Amsterdam?