A Week in Amsterdam

Well, I’m writing this post from bed in Paris because I’m sick. This is my third day in bed, and I feel worse today than the past two days, so that’s fun. It’s my birthday tomorrow and we had these grand plans of going to a cheese shop and wine shop and picnicking in a park with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I’m remaining optimistic that I’ll miraculously be better by tomorrow morning, but we may have to postpone the birthday celebration. Over the past few months, I kept telling myself that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t gotten a cold or anything yet, after having bouts of poor sleep and being around so many people while traveling. I never said it out loud though, in case I jinxed it. When we arrived at our housesitting assignment in Paris on Friday, I noticed the daughter of our host seemed like she was getting over a cold. I made a comment to Jeremy about it, and we both brushed it off and agreed that I wouldn’t get sick. Well, I woke up feeling like crap on Monday, and have felt worse ever since. At least my body waited until we were settled in somewhere for a while, instead of wasting half a week in bed in a place we were just visiting for a short time.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be feeling better real soon, and Jeremy is taking good care of me.

I wanted to share some pictures from our week in Amsterdam, which was really fun. Neither of us had ever been before, and the only things I thought about the city before visiting were weed and canals. And it’s true, there are lots of both of those things, but it’s also a really charming, clean city that has beautiful architecture and a lot to explore.

Leaving Berlin.

Leaving Berlin. Only half-thumbs up since we loved Berlin so much and were sad to leave.

We took a train from Berlin to Amsterdam, which was supposed to take about six hours. Since it was a long ride and the price difference wasn’t much, we bought first-class tickets so we’d have more comfortable seats. Turns out that on these specific trains, the only first-class cabins are compartments with six people in each. I thought it would be weird to be in a little enclosed room with six people for six hours, but everyone else ended up leaving after a few hours, and Jeremy and I had the whole compartment to ourselves after that, which was really nice.

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Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. About two hours away from Amsterdam, the conductor announced that the train was going to stop and everyone needed to get off because two of the cabins of the train didn’t have air conditioning and it was hot. There weren’t really any other instructions after that as to how to actually get to our destination, but we all got off the train in some random town in the Netherlands, and everybody was confused. We found an American family to talk to and ask, but they were just as clueless as we were. A regional train pulled up and everybody started getting on, so we got on too. Well, just a heads up: if you travel by train to Amsterdam on a Friday afternoon, people will be partying (could have also had something to do with the Germans just winning the World Cup). People had huge coolers full of beer on the ground in the train and music with speakers, and there were lots of drunk people. One guy dropped a beer next to me and Jeremy, and luckily it just got on my clothes and didn’t soak through my suitcase or anything (I guess that’s lucky?). I felt like such a square because I’m sure I was frowning disapprovingly when everyone else was just trying to have a good time, but I was just over it and wanted to be in Amsterdam. We ended up getting off that train after a little while because some other people were (the blind following the blind), then we took another train that eventually got us to the Central Station in Amsterdam, and we took a tram from there. Our Airbnb host gave us wrong directions so we got lost wandering around for a while after that, but we finally made it. Phew. From there, it was much smoother sailing, and we spent the week exploring the city by foot (as usual).

Finally arrived in Amsterdam!

The Central Station in Amsterdam.

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Inside our Airbnb apartment.

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I feel like we hadn't had a picnic in so long. We got a couple good ones in last week.

I feel like we hadn’t had a picnic in so long. We got a few good ones in last week.

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We went to the Albert Cuypmarkt specifically for these stroopwafels.

Fresh, hot stroopwafel.

Fresh, hot stroopwafel – two thin waffles with a caramel-like syrup in the middle.

Albert Cuypmarkt.

Albert Cuypmarkt.

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Beer tasting at the Amsterdam brewery, De Prael.

Beer tasting at the Amsterdam brewery, De Prael.

Huge rounds of gouda cheese. My heaven.

Huge rounds of gouda cheese. My heaven.

More pretty canals.

More pretty canals.

A little dish filled with local specialties... except we didn't know what any of it was. But it was good!

A little dish filled with local specialties… except we didn’t know it was, really. But it was good! Tasted like potato salad, maybe tuna salad. And mayonnaise. And maybe meat? Who knows.

One of the more interesting foodstuffs I found, sheets of coconut to eat on toast! They were absolutely delicious.

One of the more interesting foodstuffs I found, sheets of coconut to eat on toast! They were absolutely delicious.

Of course we had to visit the famous sign.

Of course we had to visit the famous sign.

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I’m in there… somewhere.

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Another picnic.

Another picnic.

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I found organic peanut butter and it wasn't expensive! And it was gone shortly after...

I found organic peanut butter and it wasn’t expensive! And it was gone shortly after…

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Amsterdam Noord

We took a day trip to the northern part of the city, Amsterdam Noord, which turned out to be a cool area with a lot less tourists. The ferry leaves from behind the central train station, and it’s free. We brought a picnic with us, and found a nice lawn outside that big white building in the picture below, which is a cinema museum called The Eye.

We took a five-minute free ferry to Amsterdam Noord and had another picnic.

We brought the middle beer from Berlin, and the Tripel Karmeliet is a beer I used to drink at a place in Athens, Georgia, when I was in the mood to buy an expensive beer. It was at the grocery store for so cheap!

We brought the middle beer from Berlin, and the Tripel Karmeliet is a beer I used to drink at a place in Athens, Georgia, when I was in the mood to buy an expensive beer. It was at the grocery store in Amsterdam for so cheap!

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I love these tiny cars. They drive in the bicycle lane!

I love these tiny cars. They drive in the bicycle lane!

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We found this place called Noorderlicht made out of huge see-through greenhouse/airport hangar-type building and stopped for a drink.

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It was right on the river and had a really nice view.

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Apartments made out of shipping containers.

Apartments made out of shipping containers.

A boat made into a hotel.

A boat made into a hotel – Botel.

Seen on our ferry ride back.

Seen on our ferry ride back.

A few observations:

– We made almost all of our meals at our apartment, and the grocery stores in Amsterdam were by far the nicest we’ve been to during our travels.

– They are very serious about their bicycles in the Netherlands. There are big bike parking lots, and if you step into the bike path without looking, prepared to almost get side-swiped. Tiny cars and motorcycles/scooters can also use the bike paths, so you’d better watch your step.

– It was really crazy to be walking around and see and smell people smoking pot out in public. There are about 200 coffeeshops (the name for the cafés that sell marijuana) in central Amsterdam alone, so you are guaranteed to walk by a few even if you’re just going a short ways. We went into a couple – just to see what they were like! – and the people working there were very nice to us, and there are menus with descriptions and you can just order whichever strain you’d like.

We really liked Amsterdam, and the next time we return to Holland, I’d love to explore other cities, and take a bike ride through the countryside (which we were hoping to do, but it didn’t happen).

20 comments

  1. Well goodness that’s quite a trip to Amsterdam! I’m glad you guys got there safe, and I hope you feel better soon! It looks like a beautiful place…I would not have guessed that it had such cool architecture or tasty looking food. You’re making it very hard for me to be willing to stick to our original honeymoon plans haha. So much more I want to see thanks to you!

    1. It’s so hard to be in Europe and not want to visit each country and city because everything is so close to each other and easily accessible! At least you can rest easy knowing no matter where you go, it will be incredible 🙂

  2. Next time you visit Holland, please spend some time examining the dykes that protect the population. I’m told they really are fascinating. I went on the roadway on top of one of them way back in the late 1960s but apparently they are way more extravagant today. An engineering marvel, I’m told.
    Loved your photos of the various foods, cheeses, and beers. You really have a knack of pointing out stuff like that.

  3. Crazy that we almost moved to Amsterdam, eh? This recap makes me kind of sick that we didn’t! Oi! Anyways, I hope you feel better, because I need you at 110% next week! Tomorrow is the big birthday so hopefully you get better and CELEBRATE, because that birthday picnic sounds magical! xo

    1. After visiting Amsterdam, I really wish you guys would have!! It is so great. But at least you can always visit 🙂 I will definitely be on top of my game by the time you get here, my body did me a favor and got it out of the way early. Love you!!

    1. Thank you!! At least we don’t have to do any actual traveling for a few weeks and can just stay put. That would have really sucked if we had a long train ride or something, I’m in rough shape!

    1. Thank you! I know, when we get home I’m going to have to learn how to recreate Bavaria’s huge pretzels and the Netherland’s stroopwafels!

  4. Hope you get to feeling better, lady! And maybe you will at least get to do SOMETHING fun on your birthday.

    I always thought Amsterdam was dirty and all people did there was a bunch of drugs. Ha! Good to know it is actually a really nice place. Except I hate the smell of pot, so I am sure it would drive me crazy smelling it while walking down the street.

    1. Well I stayed in bed all day, but we rescheduled my birthday… that’s allowed right?

      Haha, yeah I’m kind of used to it after living in California, but it really wasn’t that bad, just maybe right in front of the coffeeshops.

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