Tuesday Travel

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Amsterdam. The final stop of our European adventure and the place that may have just stolen my heart. Known as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam is a city inhabited by more bikes than people. Can you believe that? K and I toured the city on bikes our final day and it was unreal how many bikers we had to compete with. What did I love most about the city? The air. It was just delightful. I think it’s due to the fact that the majority of the city is below sea level. It fondly reminded me of my island air. There is so much to see and do and eat in Amsterdam and I fear that K and I didn’t even scratch the surface. But, our favorite spots are below.

Stay

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We went back and forth on where to stay in Amsterdam. A house boat, a hotel, a city flat. In the end, we decided on this sweet canal house in the historic Jordaan neighborhood, which we found through airbnb. And what a terrific experience we had. I know several people have had varying degrees of success with this service but we lucked out. My one word of advice would be to read the reviews and all of them.

There were three hotels that K and I fell in-love with during our research and thus we decided to check them out by indulging in afternoon cocktails. The Conservatorium Hotel has a beautiful bar area and is a close walk to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum and thus the perfect spot for a post-art cocktail. The gin and tonics are served in red wine goblets and are delicious and a little dangerous. The Hoxton, which opened this past July, is certainly the place we will stay on our next visit. The bar scene, decor and location make it a dream place to stay. Sadly, we didn’t make it to The Dylan, but their outdoor terrace looks insane for drinks.

Eat

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The food in Amsterdam is one of the reasons why I loved our time there so much. Great cafes, little bakeries, a restaurant in a greenhouse… the dining possibilities are endless. Our favorites include:

Kantijil – I enjoyed my first Indonesian meal from Kantijil. A little tip. They have a take-out spot behind the main restaurant and thus we decided to grab food to go to enjoy our first dinner at home in the canal house.

Winkel – The best apple pie!

SLA – If I could have brought a cafe home it would have been SLA. Meaning lettuce, this “green” cafe offers delicious salads, juices and soups.

Pancakes! – What waffles are to Belgium, pancakes are to Amsterdam. And Pancakes! is the place we were told not to miss. I tried the traditional bacon and apple {pictured above}. So good!

La Perla – Hands-down, the best margarita pizza I’ve ever had. Period.

De Bakkerswinkel – Great lunch spot. I recommend the toast with pea pesto and old cheese. Perfection!

Pluk – A sweet little juice bar in the Nine Streets area of Amsterdam.

De Kas – I had the most beautiful meal of my life here. And the setting, equally as beautiful. An Amsterdam must!

BUFFET van Odette – A charming cafe offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Foodhallen – Amsterdam’s version of Chelsea Market. The coolest part? They have a bike garage so naturally we had to ride our bikes here.

STACH – Gourmet food store, cafe and home to a brownie dipped in chocolate. It was so good, we went twice!

Vinnies – There is an old Dutch expression that “loves goes through the stomach” and Vinnies shows this through and through. We had our last breakfast at this neighborhood cafe and the eggs were sinfully good.

Do + See

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There are 75 museums in Amsterdam. K and I made it to three. But, I think we picked the not-to-be-missed ones. A visit to the newly restored Rijksmuseum is a must. Close by is the Van Gogh Museum. As luck would have it, on our walk from the Rijksmuseum to the Van Gogh Museum we stumbled upon a kiosk selling museum tickets. So, we purchased our tickets and followed the blue path over to Van Gogh. Thank goodness we did as the line to get in was insane. Speaking of line, the Anne Frank House is not to be missed but I recommend going around 6 pm. We only had to wait about 40 minutes.

You must, must, MUST ride bikes in Amsterdam. We were a bit intimidated by the sheer volume of bikers and thus decided to take our bikes to Vondelpark. I highly recommend.

Many asked and I am happy to report that we didn’t tour the Red Light District or a local coffee shop. Since I’m no longer in college, thought it was best!

Shop

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K and I had a blast walking around our neighborhood and the historic Nine Streets to do a little shopping. And let me tell you, that shopping in Amsterdam is some of the best. Our favorite shops include:

Restored – A shop filled with gifts for you and your loved ones. I fell in-love with a wallet here that I didn’t buy but may just need to call to have them send it to me.

Six and Sons – A wonderfully curated selection of clothing and accessories for women, men and the home. I picked up a pair of Danish sunglasses here that I just love.

Hutspot – Amsterdam is all about this pop-up stores and this is certainly one not to be missed. A barber shop and cafe make a great addition to this pop-up featuring new and interesting brands, designers, artists and entrepreneurs. A must in Amsterdam!

Sukha – This shop takes merchandising to a whole new level. The hanging tent bed above it just one of the many displays that will make this a shop you will never want to leave. A must in Amsterdam!

Pieters Zoon – Although this is primarily a leather goods store, K and I found a wonderful throw and picture frames that journeyed home with us. And the shop owner was just the sweetest thing!

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