I haven’t met anyone who’s been to Amsterdam who hasn’t said it’s one of their favourite cities in the world. When you hear of Amsterdam, it’s easy to instantly think of marijuana or the Red Light District. Within just a couple hours of being there, I finally understood why this city is so special to so many people. My dad and I spent a week in London (read here) but while booking our trip, I suggested that we take off for two days somewhere since flying throughout Europe is so cheap (Canada, step it up). He was looking at the map and lit up…”Amsterdam!”
The whole trip was me navigating and planning our itinerary, showing my dad around London…but it was exciting to arrive in Amsterdam knowing that we’d be experiencing a new place for the first time together. We stayed at The Tire Station, which is about a 10-minute bike ride from the canals and the main “hub” of the city. I chose this hotel for a couple of reasons. One being that it seemed very trendy and secondly, because it’s one of the Conscious Hotels in Amsterdam who pride themselves in being as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible, which is pretty important to me. You can learn more about them here. The staff was incredibly friendly, filled us in on where to visit and how to get there. Amsterdam is all about biking (there are more bikes than people!), so the hotel offers bike rentals for €10-€15 (from what I remember), for the day.
We didn’t have much planned upon our arrival. We had some breakfast, checked out some cafes and spent some time near the I Amsterdam sign (the Van Gogh Museum is right by this). It was nice to have nothing on the agenda. I think my dad and I were both content with this as we instantly felt we would be back at some point. Everyone has different experiences with the people they come across when they travel. I can only speak for myself, but I found the people of Amsterdam and general attitude of the city to be very welcoming and easy-going. We felt right at home.
We stopped for some wine and cheese at Cobra Cafe where we had a moment to take in our trip so far. When you’re busy travelling, sometimes it’s not until you get home when you start to absorb everything that just happened, so it was nice to have this time to reflect.
We ended the night spending way too much time in a cafe and a word of advice (from my dad) in regards to Amsterdam cafes…know your limit.
On our last day, I made sure we checked out the Instagram famous Polaberry. Literally, the best and prettiest strawberries I’ve ever tasted. Afterwards, we grabbed some breakfast near the Anne Frank House. These tickets sell out quickly, so get your tickets online as soon as possible. They release a small amount to purchase online the day-of but unfortunately, those sold out quickly too.
Right near the entrance to the Anne Frank House, we hopped on a boat cruise which cost about €17 for a 70-minute tour, which included free wine and Heineken beer. Being unfamiliar with Amsterdam, we really enjoyed seeing the city from the canal perspective and learning more about the city’s history. The staff on board were fun and engaging, so overall it was a fun experience. We even met a few other people on this cruise who we chatted with and got to know…something I always enjoy while travelling.
Our last stop was Bloemenmarkt, which is a floating flower market. We gazed at hundreds of different flowers, stopped in all the gift shops, and ate stroopwafel (best sweet ever, don’t even argue this with me). This was a super quick trip and it felt like a mini vacation from our vacation. My dad is convinced Amsterdam is where him and my mother will retire on a houseboat.
It’s strange to think, “this isn’t goodbye, it’s just ‘see you later'” to a city, but if you’ve been to Amsterdam, maybe you understand.