Belgium was over, and our next stop was Amsterdam!
Eurail made our trip from city to city pretty awesome. We had much to learn about train travel in Europe, much of it having to do with having the Eurail Pass. For example – it is worth it to spend a few bucks to reserve your seat! They don’t limit the number of people on trains, and there is a possibility of a pass holder STANDING for the entirety of their trip if a seat is not reserved. There is also the issue of night cars! You will share a car that holds up to 6 passengers if you do not reserve a car for yourself!
But, with these lessons came fun stories and wisdom for next time. This first trip – Brussels to Amsterdam – was particularly lovely because we had seats, and we had a substantially long amount of time. As you can see above, we took time to read and write, eat chocolate, and drink coffee. YES, PLEASE. Here is a view out the window:
When we arrived in Amsterdam, we walked to our Airbnb. We did mostly hotels, but airbnb was great for Amsterdam. We had a spacious apartment right in the middle of the city! On the way from the train, we passed a red neon window with a mostly-naked woman in it. Welcome to Amsterdam! We were just a couple of blocks from her window, and we felt like we were in the heart of the city.
For dinner, we took Yelp’s advice and went to an Italian pizza parlor! La Zoccola del Pacioccone (Nieuwe Nieuwstraat 22, 1012 NH Amsterdam, Netherlands): we’re from New York, but this was the best pizza we’d ever eaten. (Even so, we’re not taking Italy off of our bucket list; I’m sure there’s even better out there!)
From here, we went a-walking:
Amsterdam has a specific feel to it. There are bikes everywhere; between Brussels and Amsterdam a person very quickly learns not just to focus on cars, but on bikes (and trolleys – we almost got ran over by one in Amsterdam!) as well. Know that you as a pedestrian will not be considered 100% of the time by any driver. (But we loved walking nonetheless!) We explored a ton that first night: walked by the Anne Frank House, marveled at the canals and picturesque bikes and houseboats, and missed home 0%! This is a city that will make you feel exactly as you imagined you would once you arrived. It’s a dream…
That night we also went to a piano bar – Maxim Piano Bar (Leidsekruisstraat 33, 1017 RG Amsterdam, Netherlands). We were there on a Monday night and there was just one other couple, a bartender, and a piano man. Great drinks and music, something we’ll remember for a while…
The next day was our time in the Anne Frank House. Tickets need to be booked two months in advance; we had it in our calendars for about a month before we booked, and had our pick of tickets, as they’re timed. We decided to book tickets for 9-9:15am, and felt like it was well organized. There were people there when we arrived, and we lined up as the workers called time slots. Definitely an emotional experience, but an important one. I would absolutely urge anyone visiting to read Anne Frank’s book first (or read it even if you aren’t planning to visit; it’s incredible.) Photos aren’t allowed inside, but just being outside of the house lends an amazing feeling. To know what took place all those years ago and know that you are in the presence of a building that saw it all go down is such an experience.
After our Anne Frank House tour we did more wandering and stopped for…
Stroopwaffles! Basically half the reason I wanted to go to Amsterdam… These are super fancy, and I would say that a normal stroopwaffle set over a hot cup of tea is the best way to go. Leave it on there, and when you eat it the caramel oozes out. Best. Snack. Ever. We ate them in the park without tea, which was almost as good.
The park was stunning, but this was another time when we realized that if we wanted to get to another side of a path we needed to wait, sometimes a minute or two before, so as to not be run over by a bicycle. But the park is beautiful, well taken care of, and is a great place to rest in the middle of a summer day. (I napped on a bench…)
That night we went to an Indian restaurant (as usual, delicious food!) and took some more walks after.
The next day, we had tickets for the Van Gogh Museum. We booked back in February for this date in June, though I am not sure how necessary this was. We needed to check out of our airbnb right at 11 so we dropped our luggage off at the train station which proved slightly stressful at first. Not knowing the language becomes a stressor for me. People would be glad to help but summoning the courage to ask with the possibility of a frustrated local is a bit much for me. But, we found the lockers and managed to figure out how to pay and grab our keys. It was a cheap choice, and we were glad to be rid of the bags before we went for breakfast and our museum adventure.
We ate breakfast at Omelegg, which was fantastic. Number 1 on Yelp from our airbnb, we were glad to arrive early enough that a line was not yet formed outside the place. It is small, but adorably decorated and I know their food was delicious but I can’t remember what I ordered… Not sure where my camera was that morning…
From breakfast we headed to the Van Gogh Museum. There was a Sunflowers exhibit going on and we had a great headphone tour. No photos were taken inside, but the museum was fantastic and we would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam.
The walk to the museum was through this station, and the music played in there was incredible. Between the beauty of the space and the sounds echoing throughout, the walk was a memory in itself.
After our museum time we went out to get Pancakes! These are not your ordinary (American) pancakes…
Sort of like crepes but humongous and circular, we devoured them, splitting one sweet and one savory. If you are interested in getting these, book a table at:
We tried to walk in, but there was a wait and people who had reservations. Next time! The place is incredibly small with a super steep and narrow staircase but it was obvious that the food would have been great; we read that this place is the place to eat pancakes. Live and learn! Not sure the name of the place we went to, but it ended up being delicious as well so it is possible that you just can’t go wrong with pancakes in Amsterdam!
Lastly, we went to ‘t Aepjen (Zeedijk 1 1012 AN Amsterdam The Netherlands) – Monkey Bar! Rumor has it that people used to pay in monkeys! Matt wanted to try this:
I wasn’t a huge fan, but did drink…
Aepjen Beer! Loved this bar. Monkeys everywhere, all dark fixtures, and ‘classy and old’ sprinkled in every crevice. Beautiful place!
From here we headed to the train station, where we headed to Munich! (First we took at train to Dusseldorf. Doesn’t that sound romantic?)
Having a time like this and knowing that more is to come feels too good to be true, and we loved every minute of it…