Amsterdam!

Posted on 06.09.2013

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Believe it or not, the trip to Amsterdam actually happened BEFORE the trip north did, I just haven’t had a chance to write about it. We did Amsterdam to make sure that our trip around the European continent included a place we hadn’t been to. Well, I hadn’t been there, but the boy had been there almost 10 years ago, so it was practically new to him.

We planned to hit Amsterdam since we wanted to see two sculptures that were a bit further east… as it turns out, both were closed on the day we’d planned to go, since both were sitting in or near buildings that are NOT open on Mondays!! This was a sad realization that left me near tears, but we soldiered on and TRIED to enjoy Amsterdam, which to me seems like the more experienced older brother to Gent in Belgium.

It was also our first time booking one of booking.com’s ‘secret deals’, where you book the hotel room before knowing its name, since ‘the prices are so much lower than they usually advertise, it would be illegal’. It felt a bit adventurous, but also just barely on the inside of my comfort zone. It was a great deal that got us 50-E off the price of the room, and the hotel was fine, except for that issue that apparently plagues ALL tourists to Amsterdam: no hotel parking! We had to park the car about 1 kilometer away, which was really no issue, but definitely expensive for two whole days!

So we got in after a day of driving around the country and past sculptures that were closed, and decided we should make it two nights rather than just one. Sadly, our hotel wouldn’t offer us the same rate that we had for the first evening, but between the regular and discounted rate, it ended up being really affordable anyway! Our hotel was located a block away from the Rijksmuseum and just at the outer side of the canals.

The first thing we did when we got in was to go over to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum to check their hours. The lines were really just too long, so we decided we’d try to go back later and went to walk around the city instead.

We ended up at the Rijksmuseum’s sculpture garden, since it was right there and lovely.

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After that, my first (and as of now, only) day around Amsterdam ensued. It was really gorgeous, and really easy to walk! I have to say that the smell of pot wafting out of the coffee shops wasn’t enticing at all, and it was clear that this MIGHT get annoying if it were an everyday occurence. However, the canals were beautiful and it’s easy to see why the city is so popular. Next time there WILL be a night tour on a boat!

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We went EVERYWHERE: the flower market (and tried ALL the cheese), the city hall, the red light district, the Renoir house, flea markets, the nine streets (shopping area) and even went into the secret garden of a church. We wore ourselves out, purposefully, and felt like we’d seen it all. We really wanted to eat sushi at a restaurant we’d found for dinner, but they didn’t open until about 6… so we ended up at a café that was friendly albeit a bit… understaffed.

DSCN9171sThis was fine and we weren’t too concerned, but then our order got messed up and we got the croquettes that had meat in them, instead of the cheese ones that we’d ordered. We eventually got the cheese ones we wanted, but then the waiter asked us to pay for the ones we ordered and didn’t eat. I didn’t care about the 7-Euros and said it was no problem, and that at least cheered them up a bit. The boy was a bit pissed about it, but it seemed to come right back to us as we walked back to the Rijksmuseum and a couple just handed us their tickets… which should have run us 30-E. And the museum was sold out at that point, so it really WAS a stroke of great luck!

So we ended up having a nice, impromptu hour at the Rijks. Yes, we could have spent the day there, but the time limit forced us to only go to the floors we were interested in, which was nice at least. And hey, free museum tickets! Lots of Renoir! Awesome.

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After the museum, we laid around the sculpture garden for a bit more to relax and people watch (Amsterdam is FULL of tourists) and then headed back to the sushi restaurant. All in all, I’d say we walked about 75% of the inner city, around all of the canals. I know the photos don’t really show it, but there are only SO many photos of canals that I can post before it starts to get redundant! After sushi we went back to the hotel room and laid around resting our legs and catching up on old episodes of Breaking Bad. It was still light out and we felt REALLY OLD. Sadly, two nights there and we were just too worn out to actually see the city at night. That was sad, and we promised that next time we go, we’ll definitely make sure to sleep in and stay up all night:)

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DSCN9239sI’m glad we booked the second night and glad we got a full day walking around that excellent city. I don’t feel a HUGE urge to go back, although it was nice and I ultimately HAVE to go back that way to see the Claes that was on lockdown. So I guess I WILL be back, eventually. Hopefully then we’ll have more time  to book and we won’t feel the need to do it all in one day. Although, for one day, I think we did damn well:)

 

 

 

 

Posted in: travel