Amsterdam: MY City of Canals
Updated: May 25, 2019
Apart from the stereotypical assumptions about Amsterdam, I was pleasantly surprised with my visit and booked another trip to come back within three weeks. To me, Amsterdam is the place that you go to fall in love over and over again.
I knew it was a “city of canals,” but I did not think they were going to be so breathtaking. Amsterdam has 165 canals (thanks Google), and each of them offers a different view or site. My suggestion would be to book a canal tour, no matter how big or how small, there are canal tours every hour through various companies. Floating through the canal gives you a change of perspective that you can’t get on foot. At one point, you enter into the largest canal in Amsterdam and are surrounded by other canal tours, dining boats, paddle boaters, you name it. The 360 view you get from your boat makes you want to move there. A fun fact that I learned on one of my tours, is that at the top of the buildings in Amsterdam there are large pillars that stick out. Since the houses are so narrow, these pillars were used to lift-up furniture when people moved in. It’s the nuggets like that which resonate in me.
What to do?
Upon my return (and trust me, that will not be my last), a group of us rented bikes. This was around 10 Euro give or take a security deposit, which you get back at the end of your time. We had no plans, or places to see besides one place: The Cheese Museum. I highly would recommend to stay away if you are or think you are in the slightest lactose-intolerant, because they give out samples like candy (and to you cheese lovers like me, cheese is equivalent to candy). We biked aimlessly around Amsterdam, trying not to hit pedestrians. But, we did not have the best luck when one of our group members collided face-on with an elderly man biking (He is fine! Although, he did yell at her in Dutch).
Another must of the city is the Floating Tulip Market, otherwise known as the Bloemenmarkt. Your typical flea market is transformed into a delicious-smelling extravaganza. You have the option to buy tulips, wooden Dutch shoes, and the tiniest, quaintest souvenirs all in one booth. The beauty of that is, you walk outside and the next booth has even more options! I could have spent hours getting lost in the tulips and the culture, but I will just have to reserve more time on my next trip.
The Heineken Experience. This place is great even if you don’t like beer. You get to go through the fermenting process of their beer and get to see how much of a “party beer” Heineken is in their party room. You also end up on a rooftop bar and get one free (smaller) beer. I would suggest booking in advance through their website. It’s worth the money.
There's no wrong place to eat in Amsterdam. There are so many restaurants and cafés by the canals that you can sit outside and enjoy your time. We ate at De Carrousel, which is located close to the Heineken Experience and is an old Merry-Go-Round. We ordered the Poffertjes, which are small dutch pancakes and are to die for. They are so easy to just pop in your mouth, so warning now that you're going to get FULL!
Of course, you have got to go searching for the "Wake Me Up When I'm Famous" wall. It's located in the area around the Heineken Experience, but it's still a bit of a hike. We just happened to walk past it, but if you google it, and you're itching to go, it's never very packed so a great opportunity for photos.
On the contrary, one place in Amsterdam that is ALWAYS crowded, is the I Amsterdam sign, which is located behind the Rijksmuseum. Honestly, if you want to get a photo you have to go really early in the morning, or just be aggressive and claim your letter. Know that you won't be able to get a hold of the whole sign for your one photo, but if you are clearly at one letter, people will back off. But I'll be the first to tell you, it's not as glamorous as the photos seem.
Lastly, any museum you can dream of is (almost) accessible here. Whether you want to visit Anne Frank House, see a Van Gough, or check out the Rijksmuseum (pictured below). You can do it all in one or two days if you plan accordingly and book in advance.
Have fun in Amsterdam and I hope you fall in love like I did.