Friday, September 19, 2014

amsterdam 2014.

Y'all. I loved Amsterdam the last time I went and there's nothing different about that love now. It's just such a wonderful place, especially if you venture outside of the touristy city center. It's all the hustle and bustle of a big city combined with the small-town feel of farmer's markets and bike riding and recognizing someone every corner you turn.
Thursday we landed at 8:05 AM and hit the ground running. We bought a map of the city and it's tram lines, stowed our bags in lockers at Centraal Station and were off! Our first stop was Rijksmuseum because we'd already purchased tickets. Slow meandering through an art museum is perhaps not the best use of time fresh off a 9-hour flight, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.  We made our way back to Centraal Station for our bags, stopping first to wander a bit through the Red Light District and to ogle the architecture of Oude Kerk. We finally got to our apartment rented through AirBnB near Museumplein. Highly recommend using AirBnB! It's a great way to really immerse yourself into the culture. We stopped for a quick latte at Two for Joy and then went to Albert Cuyp Market to look around. Right as we got there, it began drizzling so all the vendors were packing up. To get out of the rain, we stopped at a cafe for a glass of wine and some people watching. The people watching here never gets old! In fact, most of the restaurants set up their patio seating to face the street and not your companion. We finally made it home that evening after dinner and crashed. It was an excellent way to start our trip!
Friday we popped into a bakery near our apartment for croissants and coffee and hopped on the tram to the Anne Frank House and Westerkerk. It was my second time to visit this museum and I'd still go back again. It's excellent and sobering and breathtaking. Afterwards, we headed to Vondelpark for more people watching and some lunch. It was beautiful and felt great to slow down and enjoy the sunbeams. We headed home to shower and get ready for a night out. Around 5 PM we went to Leidseplein, known for it's active nightlife. We had a glass of wine and faced the street and played "Tourist or Local?" Ha! We planned to have dinner at a very popular Indian restaurant so we took the tram there and were informed the wait would be an hour, but we could go to the bar next door and they'd come get us. We ordered what is apparently Amsterdam's version  of Smirnoff Ice -- a cider called "Jillz". Hahaha, it was...about as good as Smirnoff Ice. The Indian food was excellent though! On the way home, I told Jamie I wanted ice cream and remembered seeing an "ice bakery by Nutella" so we searched it out and both ended up getting Nutella crepes. YUM!
Saturday - our final day. We began this very rainy morning with a drizzly walk up Leidsestraat to a bakery my aunt and I frequented during our trip to Amsterdam in 2010. We stopped by the Bloemenmarkt and then made our way up to Noordermarkt, an open air flea market and organic farmer's market. You know me -- I enjoyed the sights and smells of the food the most! We headed home to meet up with my friend, Chris, who lives in Amsterdam. On the way, I got asked no less than 3 times for directions. Apparently Jamie and I look like we know what we're doing! Chris came to get us around 2 and we spent much of our time using him as our very own personal tour guide. He was definitely up to the task! We ate Dutch pancakes, moorkop, and tried Indonesian food for the first time! Jamie and I were sad to leave just as we were getting used to navigating the city and really soaking in the culture.

Such a blast here!
On to the next adventure -- London!

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