From Ireland we made our way over to Amsterdam, Holland. We would be doing a three day city break there.
One thing I learned and a heads up to those who have never been to Schiphol International Airport… To get to the city center or in general wherever you are headed next, you need to hop on a train. Except, there are MANY trains, and they go every which direction.
For this part of the trip we were staying at an Airbnb, in Witte de withstraat. A suburb of the Netherlands and a twenty minute walk to the city center of Amsterdam.
For those of you who don’t know, Airbnb is a marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. I like to consider it a step up from staying at a Hostel, and prices are very reasonable and better than compared to staying at a hotel. Another cool thing about Airbnb’s, you still get to meet new people!
After an hour of hoping on and off the wrong trains, trying to find someone who spoke some English, feeling sleep deprived and crabby, and literally lost, we somehow managed to find our Airbnb.
Word of advice: When you’re lost, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and ask for help. Sure you may ask some people who don’t speak any English or your native tongue, you may have to ask multiple people for help and directions, but eventually you find a way, get a little help and guidance, and eventually get back on track to where you need to be and which direction to go….Patience is Key.
Our first day consisted of just settling in and taking a nice long well deserved nap. Our Airbnb host was a young man named Bastiiaan. We were renting a room in his apartment. His place had a very cool vibe to it, and even included an entire wall covered with chalk of: favorite places to eat, sights to go see and do,parks to go explore, along with traditional dutch food to try. An avid traveler, he wanted his guests to have the best possible experience they could while in Holland.
After a good nights sleep Brooke and I were ready to go explore the wonderful city of Amsterdam. First on the list was getting breakfast! A traditional dutch food we were told to try was Poffertjes. We made our way to a little cafe to grab a coffee americana along with some pofferties. They’re a tiny fluffy pancake topped with powder sugar, and are oh sooo good.
From there we made our way into the heart of the city. Our first stop was at the Magna Plaza shopping center. Located in a historical building behind the Royal Palace. Built at the end of the 19th century, this former post office is now an exclusive shopping destination with a new exhibition space spread over four floors.
Most of the afternoon was spent walking around and sight seeing.
At 5:00pm we had reservations to tour Anne Frank’s House. -> Another word of advice: Buy tickets in advanced so you don’t have to wait in a long line for hours on end. We managed to buy ours online. When you get to the house, you just show your tickets and get to step right in.
From the moment the tour started, I felt the chills throughout the house. The tour begins with a half an hour presentation of what life was like for Anne Frank and her family before, during, and after the war. From there you get the chance to walk through the house. Reading articles of Anne’s diary, and seeing the original images she posted on the walls. While walking through the house, you get a feel of what life was like for her and her family. Crawling up the stairs to the secret attic where they stayed. Imagining how quiet they had to be at all hours of the day. It was also raining outside when we did the tour so that set the mood even more.
It was quite an experience and I definitely recommend Anne’s Franks house a top thing to add to your To Do/ To See List while in Amsterdam.
After the tour we made our way over to the Red Light District. –> Now this wasn’t something that was on the top of our lists to go see, but from speaking to friends and locals, it’s a unique part of what makes Amsterdam the city that it is today, along with everything else that is legal there and in the Netherlands (If you know what I mean).
Amsterdam is also what I like to call: The City of Canals and Bikes
After observing and witnessing our first and second day, Brooke and I knew we wanted to rent bikes and to be like the locals.
There were many things learned that day:
1.) There’s the road, a bike lane, and a sidewalk….Bikers get ALL the lanes
2.) Ringing bells on bikes = MOVE, or I’ll run into/hit you…Bikers don’t stop for anyone or let anyone get in their way
3.) Don’t start your biking skills off in the city, you’ll be a nuisance and in the way of a lot of people. Instead start off at a park –> We made our way to Vondelpark
Back in the States it was also Thanksgiving -> The American Holiday where we sit around the table with friends, family, and loved ones, and dig in on abundant amounts of good food and beverages.
To celebrate and keep the traditions going, later that night Brooke and I cooked ourselves along with our host and the others who were staying at our Airbnb, a Thanksgiving meal. It was fun to sit around the table and learn about each others cultures, traditions, and holidays that they each celebrate. As a tradition for Brooke and I, during dinner we each went around the table saying what we were thankful for.