I know what you’re thinking. Who goes to Amsterdam with their mom and brother? Well, I do … and I’m not totally happy about it (you will read later on why ) but like I told you guys, my mom gets this vacay allowance so she gets to pick her locations. And this is literally how she picks them:
- Googles a random place. Sees the first 5 photos
- Eww- this looks boring . Or YAY this looks pretty lets go here.
I’m serious. That’s how she picks places (this is how she eliminated Ireland, Berlin and a few other places) – and so once she saw all those pretty canals and flowers and quaint houses in Amsterdam she was like “THIS is where we will go” . None of our objections worked- “But mom, its a party town”..”But mom I wanna go to the Red light district and it will be so wierd with you”… ” But mom I wanna go have a brownie and you will get freaked out ” . Nope. Doesn’t matter. Pretty place- lets go. So after our little stint in Paris & Bruge, we headed to Amsterdayyyummm.
Day 1 : Checked into this hotel room
We stayed at this cute little boutique hotel called “Boutique Hotel View ” in Leidsekade. The location was great- right around the corner from this area called Leiseplein which is a square with a ton of bars, restaurants and a tram stop nearby. (Communicating via email with the hotel was a bit of a struggle but they were super nice during our stay). Plus the chandelier was so cool- it was a regular wrought iron chandelier but covered with like a jute rope.
Ate some Ramen & Watched Giant Chess Being Played
You gimme Japanese food , and I shall be a happy camper. Ramen is probably my most favourite meal , and my brother and mom hadn’t tried it. There was a Wagamama restaurant near us, and we ate there (It’s honestly not Ramen, its just basic noodle soup but we were craving for asian so felt so good). Also, in this square- I don’t know what its called but it was walking distance from the hotel there was this giant chess game happening on the floor. It was really fun to sit around and watch. Also- I bought this cold shoulder dress from Amsterdam from the Berschka store there.
Did the touristy bits of posing with this sign
Ofcourse we couldn’t miss this. So when the brother was his friend doing the kinda stuff boys in Amsterdam do, we were being typical Indian tourists and clicking this photo. This area is near the museums- the Rjiks Museum and the Van Gogh museum. The Van Gogh museum is super overrated by the way and we aren’t museum people per se.
Stopped at this store nearby with some really interesting things
There’s this tiny dutch store near the I Amsterdam sign which had the coolest things. Those Monkey lightbulbs – they are from a brand called Selleti and I would buy that for my house in a heartbeat. Only they cost like equivalent of my entire hotel budget. So like no.
Day 2: Took the Canal Tour
It was sveltering in Amsterdam and we took the very bad decision of doing a 11.00 am canal tour. Not only did we get fried in the boat, it was a very lame-ish tour. I think if you want to do a canal tour- get a private smaller boat and not these huge ones. Its just a thing to tick off your to-do list but honestly nothing much.
Walked around the town and hit the Flower Market on Singel Street
My favourite part of Amsterdam was really just walking around the canals, seeing people all dressed up going on bicycles , and trying to avoid the crazy cyclists. I don’t think we ever took public transport or cabs- we just walked everywhere. On one such walk we randomly chanced on this area called Singel which had a flower market . More than the flower market there were a ton of cheese shops where we bought like smoked cheese and truffle cheese (was kinda gross) and cheesy dips etc etc. There was also a pancake place called Old Pancake House or something which seemed pretty popular
Ate at a Thai Restaurant Called Adam & Siam
Stopped by a Thai restaurant called Adam & Siam and had a nice little meal. We were so craving some asian after the barrage of meaty italian and french fare we had in Paris.
Visited the Anne Frank House
Anne Frank was probably the first book I ever connected with so I knew I wanted to visit. The online tickets had already been sold out for the next two months so we had to stand in line..for …2 hours. Yes. 2 freaking hours to get inside. So annoying- so please buy your tickets well in advance. I did hear a local say though that if you come to Anne Frank around 6 in the evening the lines a lot lesser and we noticed that while we were exiting. I still think the Anne Frank House is worth a visit (if the book holds a special place for you like it did for me) – BUT i have to admit it the whole experience felt a tad bit too commercial. I still do think though you should visit this once.
Had a drink at Leidseplein
There were so many amazing bars and quaint cafes to sit and chill at. So when my mom wanted to call it a night at about 10 pm, me and my brother would grab our friends and head out . The ones we liked near our hotel was this little bar called Palladium with just the nicest drinks and a chill vibe. Probably my best memory of Amsterdam was just chilling here sipping on Mojitos. Also- my local friends recommended to me Bar Bukowski , but that was further away than where we were so we skipped it.
Day 3 : Visited an Amsterdam “Coffee Shop”
For the uninitiated, “Coffee shops” in Amsterdam is basically where you can purchase all your special brownies and other kinds of magical substances that you can smell throughout the city . This, I of-course didn’t visit with my mother but honestly after a whole brownie absolutely nothing happened to me. I don’t understand how one glass of wine can get me tipsy but all this stuff does zilch.
Vondelpark is this really beautiful park in the middle of Amsterdam- kind of like a mini version of Central Park NYC. I loved sitting here, getting a bottle of wine and some glasses and do some crowd watching. There is even a night theatre on here which you can watch for free. Unfortunately we didn’t know about it earlier and went on the day where it wasn’t on, but still was really nice spot for a little pic nic.
Had the yummiest Stroopwaffles at Van Wonderen
While strolling through the city, we chanced upon this little shop called Van Wonderen Stroopwaffles OMG these were soooo yummy. They are like little cookie- biscuit things with half of them covered in different toppings. I had the M&M, the marshmallow and the chocolate and cinnamon. Yummers.
Strolled through the Red Light District
You know how I mentioned you probably shouldnt visit Amsterdam just with family. Well here’s the reason why. I knew I definitely wanted to visit the RLD because which other country has legal prostitution? I was super curious , and unfortunately so was my mother. My brother was mortified and within 5 minutes of getting there was ready to leave (because he was walking with his sister and mom). The RLD is actually just a tiny street, I expected much more..but its a sight to see. You cant click photos there-very strictly forbidden and its surprisingly safe even late into the night. We went at around 8 where there was not much action but after dark, this place truly comes alive. I could have happily strolled about for another hour or two looking at the girls in the show windows, browsing the sex museum and the like…but yeah …not the best company.
Came back to the hotel with a surprise awaiting
Can we just give the boy , the best husband ever award? While I was in Amsterdam, it was 5 days to go for our 5th anniversary. He sent this adorable bucket of flowers to our room , ordering them from India with a cute little message. The very creepy part- he guessed the password to my booking.com account ..yes …guessed it and thats how he found out where we were staying. But hey if creepy things are done with good intentions- its all cool.
Ate at The Lebanese Sajeria
How often is it that you randomly stroll across a tiny restaurant, put it on tripadvisor and see a 4.9 rating?. Not very often right? Well, this lebanese joint had some reallllly realllly good rolls. Specially if you like a lot of veggies like I do- it was so fresh, healthy and a refreshing change from all the meat we were eating.
Overall, I fell in love with this city. It’s so different from any other European town and while it may be known most for all the legal sins, there is so much more to it. Here are a few things my friends reccomended btw:
- Take a walking tour- there are lots of free walking tours in Amsterdam and its the best thing to do on Day 1
- Visit the Tulip Gardens- If yr a flower lover
- Visit Bar Bukowski- I don’t know why but everyone reccomended this same bar
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