I mentioned in my previous blog post, that Ian and I spent a few days in Amsterdam for my birthday. Ian had been a few times before on layovers when travelling for business, but it was my first visit. Like it does in everything we do, food and drink featured heavily. Along with this, we did pretty much what one would expect during a mini break in Amsterdam.
Sightseeing in Amsterdam
The architecture is absolutely stunning. I hadn’t realised that almost all of the houses in the city are tall and narrow. The reason is that land was incredibly expensive, so property space was maximised by building upwards. A lot of them look really rather precarious, and higgledy-piggledy; characteristics which add to their charm.
Amsterdam is famous for its tulips, but it was the wrong time of year to visit the fields. The market stalls gave me my floral fix though.
It’s also famous for its canals. There are countless opportunities to take a cruise. We went during the day, but there are evening cruises complete with wine and dinner too.
Jordaan is a gorgeous district in Amsterdam with a beautiful shopping area called Nine Streets. Think quirky independent, artisan shops and laid-back eateries. If you’re as much of a turophile as Ian and I are, then De Kaaskamer will be just up your straat.
From cheese to beer and the Heineken Experience. I’m not a beer drinker but I am interested in production. I’m also a good fianceé and was more than happy to go because Ian was particularly keen. It was great. Good fun and very informative.
The tourist attraction that I particularly wanted to see was the Van Gogh Museum. I thought I knew a lot about him and his work, but I found there was so much more to learn about this complex character. I honestly don’t know what my favourite Van Gogh piece is, but The Sunflowers is definitely up there. And just for information, I found out after the fact that photography is forbidden in most areas. There are however, some designated “Instagrammable” areas in which photography is actively encouraged.
Eating Out In Amsterdam
Pancakes and waffles appear on most breakfast, brunch and lunch menus in Amsterdam. I could never tire of them and ate at least one every day.
It rained heavily the first evening we were there so we didn’t venture too far from our hotel for dinner. We ate at a nearby Cuban tapas restaurant and cocktail bar called Café Cuba. It was empty when we arrived but was full and buzzing when we left. I highly recommend the quesadillas.
The day we visited the Van Gogh museum we walked more than 15km. We were ready for something substantial to eat that evening. We came to Termarsch and saw that the menu was ideal. Ian had steak and I had a chicken burger, which were both excellent, as was the cava. But it’s the wallpaper that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s called Menagerie of Extinct Animals by Dutch company Moooi. I would love to put this in our downstairs loo or the utility room, but at £135 per metre(!), I might have to try to forget about it.
The food highlight of our trip though was a 15-course tasting menu at Wolf Atelier. We went there for my birthday and it was absolutely outstanding. Each dish was small but beautifully executed. I would love to go back and eat there again.
Amsterdam has, perhaps unsurprisingly, a lovely laid-back feel to it. Every single person we spoke to whether in a restaurant, a shop, behind a bar or on the tram was incredibly friendly and welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble. Our hotel wasn’t too far from the Red Light District, but we felt totally safe when walking at night. It’s a clean, cosmopolitan city and I would go back in a heartbeat.