A couple weeks ago I shared my summer travel plans and if you saw them you know what an amazing journey I had planned. I’m currently in the middle of my tour of European capital cities and let me tell you – I am hardcore holidaying. Now, the first in a series of posts attempting to make you totally envious (that’s why we go on vacations, right?). Could potentially be used as a travel guide as well.
My first stop was in Amsterdam and although the journey there had potential for disaster (due to pilots on strike) it went without a hitch. I am lucky to have friends in many different countries who let me stay with them. In another sense it’s rather unlucky since I see them very rarely. One of these friends is Selene, who is doing her Master’s Programme in Amsterdam. If you’ve ever had a friend you haven’t seen for many months or even years you know what a treat it is to be reunited. Not only did she let me stay at her place, she also let me drag her along for the full tourist experience.
First we explored the Rijksmuseum and its adjoining gardens. Although the museum was filled with amazing art, what struck me the most was the architecture of the building itself as well as its impressive library. Heading in the general direction of our lunch destination we passed Zevenlandenhuizen (a row of seven houses, each built to represent the architectural style of a different country) and discovered that Vondelkerk deceptively is not a church.
After a delicious lunch at Singel 404, picturesquely situated next to a canal, we continued walking through the city cntre until we reached Hannekes Boom. At this charming and eclectic hangout spot we not-so-randomly found fellow Fembot Alison, as well as Kayla, Aisha, and Mariah. We decided to split briefly after this – Selene, Mariah and I taking the (free!) ferry to Amsterdam North, to explore the EYE Film Institute. For me, the architecture alone is enough to recommend it, but the bottom floor (optional entrance fee) is also great.
The whole group reunited again we set out to find some food. The samples at the Amsterdam Cheese Museum were good but not enough to fill our bellies. In our haste to find something more suntantial we decided to eat pancakes, which in retrospect was probably not the smartest decision. It was however a tasty one. The evening ended at Tales & Spirits with cocktails, spirited conversation, and the tale of that one waiter (hi Dan).
Sunday was yet another day of adventure. My friend Shelby happened to be in town but unfortunately left wifi zones before we established where to meet. With only a vague idea of where she could be Selene and I set out to find her. Despite not finding her at the botanical gardens, Hortus Botanicus, we had a lovely time exploring the plant life of different climates. Then the stars aligned (i.e. our phones connected to the Internet) and we told Shelby where to meet us next.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ is a brewery in a windmill so needless to say it felt like an extraordinarily Dutch experience. Following this we sought out what was said to be the best Dutch apple cake in Amsterdam at a place called Winkel 43. Stuffed to the brim with beer and food we rolled back home for a solid night’s sleep.
By this point it felt like we had done almost everything there was to do. Only one item remained on our list. In neighborhood De Pijp is the open-air market Albert Cuyp. Exploring each stall was fun until the skies opened up and we became drenched. A freshly made, still-hot Stroopwaffel warmed our hearts and souls (this is a non-negotiable must-eat unless you are allergic or really don’t like caramel) but was not enough to make us stay outside.
Besides, Selene and I had a plane to catch. So after saying see-you-soons to Shelby, we headed to the airport and onwards to Berlin. What we did there you’ll have to wait and see…