Amsterdam is an amazing city that has something for everyone! But in my case, I fell for its rare architecture and perfectly placed bikes. I could point my camera in any direction and it would be my favorite type of picture. Jorge and I visited Amsterdam in May and the weather was pretty perfect. A somewhat chilly 60-70ºF with the evenings being a little cooler.
Amsterdam is a city that literally has more bikes than people, those who live in boat homes also own separate boats, weed is legal, and window shopping takes on a different meaning. It really is a fascinating place and one that should be experienced by everyone.
That building with the red door above looks so charming, doesn’t it? When I walked a little closer I realized there was a woman (maybe in her 50s) sitting on a chair in her underwear. Just there, in her underwear, in the window. We were nowhere near the Red Light District, so just be aware that you may see that in more places than one.
Book your own private boat
If you’re not really into doing tours with groups, rent your own little boat! It’s a great way to see a lot of the city before exploring on foot. You can bring your own food and liquor and cruise the canals for hours! We went with Boaty rentals and had no issues with online booking or customer service.
The only problem was that it was chilly and none of us –– Whoa, let me stop right there! Forgot to mention that my brother-in-law Manny, and his girlfriend Jill were with us for the first day in Amsterdam. It was right after Iceland, so we decided to do the boat tour together.
Anyway, none of us were properly dressed for the chill so we cut our tour short because Jill (really it was me) couldn’t handle it anymore. We ended up at a cute cafe drinking some hot choco, so it all went well!
Manny’s got all the jokes after drinking the brennivin we brought back from Iceland.
Best Location to Stay in Amsterdam
I booked an Airbnb in the BEST location to stay in Amsterdam, Jordaan, with an incredible view of the canals and street cafes. However, it turned out to be one of the worst Airbnb experiences we’ve had to date lol, but the view and area made up for it. It was a company running it instead of just one person (beware of people with multiple listings).
Things weren’t as tidy as I’d like, the heater didn’t work right so I was always cold, the pillows were as thin as the cases, and the bathroom was so tiny my feet were literally in the shower when using the toilet, and I’m not a tall person! I can’t stop laughing just thinking about it now. We were laughing then, too!
Oh, and the staircase in the building was a little wider than me and very steep. I had to hold onto the wall (or Jorge) every time I made my way outside, but this is the norm with the narrow buildings in Amsterdam. Point is, this view was everything so I dealt with it. Plus, we were close to so much and Anne Frank was just down the block. I just bought a dozen tulips at the market for $2 to spruce up the apartment.
Notice the couple sitting out on their front porch. What a life!
Have I mentioned how much we love to eat? I was so happy to learn about all the great options!
Here’s a list of the restaurants we liked best in Amsterdam:
Winkel 43– Thank’s to my Instagram friend @hashtaganika I learned that Amsterdam is huge on apple pie and mint tea and that this was the place to get it! She was right, best apple pie we’ve ever had. We even went back for more before the week was over. No shame in our game.
image source: contentedtraveller.com
Chipsy King– As we were running to get to our boat reservation we stopped here for a quick bite not expecting much at all. We got a chicken wrap and Belgian-style fries and it was all pretty damn good, and not too expensive.
Screaming Beans– We tried to do a coffee crawl in Amsterdam, but eventually my stomach couldn’t handle the cow milk any longer so that had to stop (I can only handle coconut for coffee). However, this place went beyond their good coffee and they offer delicious things on their menu for breakfast and lunch. We visited twice as well. Side note: Coffee Shop’s equal weed. Cafes equal coffee. Make sure you’re going into the right one!
Bakers & Roasters– This place had a vibe that took me back to San Francisco. The food was pretty good, and it had typical brunch prices. I think our meal was about $40 so we didn’t do that place twice.
The Pancake Bakery- We had to try the traditional Dutch pancakes! This place was highly reviewed, and it was near our Airbnb. Dutch pancakes kinda remind me of crepes, and I love crepes. So no bad things to say here. Try them!
The Pantry– We stumbled upon this place while deciding what to eat for dinner. It’s tiny so you definitely need reservations. We had to make one and come back later. They serve traditional Dutch food, which was an experience all on its own! I didn’t know there were that many ways you can eat mashed potatoes. It was all really good, and the restaurant itself was so charming –– it felt like we were in somebody’s home eating their traditional dishes.
image source: thepantry.nl
Haringhandel Frens– Oh that husband of mine is so bold. This place serves traditional raw herring. Jorge learned about this specific spot from Anthony Bourdain so of course, he had to try it. I went the safer route and ordered kibbeling, which is fried cod. I loved mine, Jorge was glad he tried his raw fish, but he probably wouldn’t order it again lol.
Moeders- I love the concept of this restaurant! It’s called “Moms” in dutch and tons of people donated pictures of their moms to cover all the walls inside. It was really sweet. This place was also very popular so we had to make a reservation. We also tried the traditional dutch food here and we got a whole feast, it was amazing! Highly recommend!
Frites from street vendors– If you’re anything like me you go from craving sweets to salty food back to craving sweets and so on. It’s actually a terrible habit. I loved that when I was craving something salty I could just stop at one of the many fry stands and get some yummy frites! They serve them in a paper cone with a multitude of sauce options. They say it’s not mayo, but it tastes a lot like different versions of mayo. I love me some mayo so I was a happy girl!
I don’t think these streets or frites ever get old. So it’s safe to say, Amsterdam is definitely a city I’ll be returning to.
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