Amsterdam 2014, Part I

Amsterdam 2014I’ve been dropping quite a few hints here and there that I 1.) went on a vacation and 2.) went to a place far, far away. Well, I am finally able to share with you my adventure to Amsterdam! We stayed in Amsterdam for about 5 days before jet-setting again to our next destination.

Amsterdam is absolutely stunning. It’s a beautiful, beautiful city with a lot of history. Here’s a photoblog and summary of the first part of my trip!

The Day We Got There

First, of course, we landed in Amsterdam and then drove to our house to get some rest and put our bags away. After all, it was a 10 hour flight we were just on. Then after a few hours of rest, we headed on the metro to Amsterdam Centraal, also known as Central Station.

Amsterdam Centraal/Central Station
Amsterdam Centraal/Central Station

The first thing we did was take in the beautiful view. Amsterdam Centraal towered over us as we laid our eyes on the brick-paved roads, t lean buildings brick buildings, vibrant greenery, and of course, flowing forest green canals.

Amsterdam Church

This beautiful church was right across from Amsterdam Centraal. Notice how huge it is!

Amsterdam HouseboatsIn the large canals, there were many houseboats situated in the canals. Even the houseboats were beautiful. Some of them had overflowing flowers and greenery on their decks from their container gardens, and most of them had small boats docked next to them.

Amsterdam Streets: Canal

As you can see here, each canal is bordered by a little parking for teeny tiny cars, then bike lanes, sidewalks, and of course tall homes and cute cafes. Biking is widely popular in Amsterdam! Not too many people own cars unless they live far away from the middle of the city. Everyone is also very respectful of the bikers.

At this point, we were starving! We decided to eat dinner at a small Indian restaurant and then walk around more. Amsterdam

We wandered off towards the Nieuwmarkt area. While this was not the cleanest area to photograph, I loved how absolutely loved the architecture and the order of the buildings. It’s straight out of a storybook (minus the trash!)! All the cute restaurants and cafes underneath homes…so vibrant! Niewmarkt Metro StationHere’s the metro sign for the Nieuwmarkt station. We took the metro nearly everywhere we went in Amsterdam. The public transportation system there is very well done and also very popular.

Anyway, after wandering around, we took the train back to the house we were staying in.

Day 2: Anne Frank, Van Gogh, and Tulips

The next day, we rushed over to the Anne Frank House to secure a spot in line in the morning. It’s easily the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam (Even Beyoncé was there). Even though we got there “early”, we still had an hour-long wait in line. The only nice part about it was that the line moved pretty quickly and that there was free wi-fi.

Unfortunately, no photos are allowed at the Anne Frank House but if you visit Amsterdam, you must stop there and see it for yourself. It’s very moving to see how her family lived during the Holocaust.

Afterwards, we headed towards The Pancake Bakery to grab some Dutch pancakes! We looked it up on Yelp beforehand and saw that it had great reviews from US tourists, so we thought it would be a good choice.

The Pancake Bakery Dutch Pancakes at The Pancake Bakery

It was totally a good choice. I loved my pancake! It’s basically a huge crepe with a ton of chocolate syrup, four heaps of vanilla ice cream, and powdered sugar to top it all off. Oh, and there was a side of whipped cream. Basically I was dipping pancakes in ice cream and chocolate syrup. Near the end of my meal, the pancakes were completely soaked through with ice cream. It was a dream.

We then went to the Amsterdam Tulip Museum because it was only a block away.

Amsterdam Tulip Museum

We learned a little about the history of tulips within Amsterdam (it’s a riot!) and then went on our way to Museumplein. Tulips were highly valuable in Amsterdam and there was a tulip market, similar to a stock market, that crashed. I had a giggle when I read that in the museum.

Tulips in Amsterdam

We decided to walk to Museumplein, which looks a lot closer to the Tulip Museum on the map than it is in reality. On our walk, we stopped at Cloud Coffee and got lattes to give us a quick energy boos. Then, an hour later, we were finally in Museumplein. Cloud Coffee LatteArt Is Therapy sign Amsterdam The “Art Is Therapy” sign in Museumplein. Museumplein is basically a plaza with a bunch of touristy museums and the extremely touristy “I Amsterdam” sign where everyone and their mother bust out their phones and tablets and click away.

In the Museumplein, we headed to the Van Gogh Museum, where once again, photos were not allowed. This museum was extremely crowded. Everyone formed a line and moved around the room viewing every painting.

Some of his most famous works like Starry Night were not even mentioned in the museum, while the other works that they did house there were played up. Many of Van Gogh’s paintings were actually discolored because the paint had faded over time, so basically they would predict that a faded blue was originally a purple paint on the canvas and so on. Also, in the vast three-story building, not all the works there are Van Gogh’s. Many works are his friends’ or from the same era, and the top floor actually features modern art exhibits.

After a few hours there, we headed back over towards Amsterdam Centraal and went on a Canal Cruise. The cruise gently coasted around the center of the city. Here are a few snapshots from the cruise:

Amsterdam Canal Ride Houses Amsterdam Canal Ride ChurchAmsterdam Canal Ride Pink FiatAfter the cruise, we were wiped out and exhausted! We grabbed a quick dinner at a Greek fast food place and then caught a metro train home to finally rest up for the next day’s adventures.

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