Having just returned from a whirlwind trip to beautiful Amsterdam it is safe to say I am suffering withdrawal symptoms of the highest order (rocks back and forth in blanket). If I’m being honest I didn’t really know a lot about Amsterdam other than it being the stag and party capital of Europe, but I can now happily report that it is SO much more than that.
The first thing that struck me about Amsterdam (very nearly literally) were the cyclists. I have never seen so many cyclists in my life – it seemed like the cycling population of the world had all joined forces and headed to Amsterdam for the weekend but I now know better. Cycling is a way of life here, cyclists rule the roads/streets/every piece of land there is so you either learn to keep to your (restricted) slip of pedestrian territory or risk your life. Listen for the bells – they loosely translate to quick, dive get out of the way, you’re about to be mowed down!
We stayed in The Albus Hotel which was literally 2 minutes up the road from the flower market and right around the corner from Rembrandt Square. The location couldn’t have been better and the hotel itself was lovely (rooms were amazing and so roomy). Staff were super helpful and the complimentary coffee/infused water every morning was the biz. My only complaint was that it could get very VERY loud at night but I learned to drown it out over the few days and the pro’s definitely outweighed the con’s (maybe ask for a quieter room if you plan on staying here to be on the safe side though).
As per usual, I went restaurant research mad before voyaging to the land of tulips and had pre-booked dinner for the 3 nights. Night one consisted of some snazzy Italian food at Campo de’ Fiori on Reguliersdwarsstraat. Everything here sounded delicious so I had my work cut out actually trying to choose “the right dish”. The food was so fresh and zesty however we were waiting almost an hour and 45 minutes for our main course so maybe not the best if you’re in a hurry. We were in no rush though and enjoyed our leisurely meal over wine and chats and all that other good stuff.
The second and in my opinion best restaurant we ate at was De Luwte located on Leliegracht in the hip (cannot believe I just said hip) Jordaan area and was just around the corner from the Anne Frank museum (where we were headed after our meal). There was just good vibes all around at De Luwte – the sun was shining through the window (I’m convinced I got sunburnt) and it was filled with locals (generally the sign of a good spot). I could have stayed there for hours basking in the sun and only wish we had more time to revisit (there’s always next time though) *wipes tear*. P.S the food was divine but I’m sure you gathered that already.
We decided that it would be best to try the Albus’ hotel’s own restaurant Senses on our last night as we had a pretty jam packed day and wanted something handy and stress free. The only option available at Senses was the 3 course (plus extras) tasting menu which was shrouded in mystery with each dish being explained as they were brought to the table by the waiter.The food looked and tasted amazing however the dining room seriously lacked personality and was set to a soundtrack of elevator music. Whilst the tasting menu was something new and I’m glad we tried it I still really missed the motions of going through a physical menu and picking my faves (control freak alert). Still, top nosh though.
Alas, the food extravaganza did not stop with dinner. Oh no, we had 3 and a half days filled to the brim with delicious eats and phenomenal coffee.
Not forgetting plenty of this.
While it may seem like we spent our whole time stuffing our faces (only partly true) we genuinely packed so much into our few days. The Anne Frank museum was one of the highlights for me and a must if you find yourself in Amsterdam (be sure to book beforehand as tickets are in extremely high demand). As is the canal boat tour – such an amazing way to see the city and soak in the culture. I could happily pack up my belongings and take up residence aboard a houseboat on the canals of Amsterdam (still holding out for that winning lotto ticket). A girl can dream, eh?
What are your Amsterdam musts? Best restaurants? Top museums? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time,