Travel

Amsterdam: Falling in Love with a Poetic Allure

April 17, 2017

What do you consider the most romantic city in Europe?

It is hard to forget Amsterdam’s cozy vibe, calm canal waters, trendy cafés, and natural charm after spending just under 4 days in the little city. I remember Amsterdam most for its atmosphere – the jewel-like reflections on the canals, the slight breeze from bike riders who rode past me, and the beautiful architecture resonates in me well.

I landed early in the morning at 8am, jumped into my boyfriend’s arms, and then we were off by train to the center of Amsterdam. As I pulled my suitcase along the streets, I was immediately enveloped by the ambience.

OUR AIRBNB

Our Airbnb was located in the Nassaukade area (west) – a little one-bedroom modern apartment in a quiet area with a cozy vibe and huge windows facing the Singel canal. We spent a lot of time cooking together in this apartment, and really enjoyed the intimacy of the space.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB

Arriving so early in the city called for breakfast – we decided to go into a bright, quaint café called The Breakfast Club which welcomed us with a Paris/New York sort-of energy. Their menu provides fancy pancakes, gourmet sandwiches, bowls, and breakfast plates, and of course, fresh juices, coffees, cocktails and smoothies. We ordered Avocado Toast with harissa spread, lettuce, avocado, dukkah, and leek sprout (we’re big fans of avocado…) €7.5, and two smoothies (One with coconut milk/banana/pineapple, and other with celery/apple/cucumber/lime/mint) €5 each.

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Photo by Fashiable

Location: Bellamystraat 2, and Haarlemmerplein 31

CANAL BOAT RIDE

I was treated to a boat ride through the canal and to see the light show by my boyfriend as a belated birthday gift. I definitely would recommend getting something private for a more personal experience with your boat captain, who will probably tell you quite a lot about the places you pass while on your ride. He/she will also likely be nice enough to drop you off at a canal afterwards near the place you are staying, or where you want to go next! As we visited Amsterdam at the end of December, we experienced a very chilly ride – luckily we were provided with big wooly blankets and pillows. We saw a lot of beautiful sights, and a lot of beautiful house boats! If possible, try and get that Airbnb house boat experience.

Photo by Javier M.

I AMSTERDAM SIGN

Rumor has it that the IAmsterdam sign is always crowded, and I have to say I definitely experienced that rumor first hand. I was quite lucky enough to get this photo where my boyfriend hoisted me up onto the M. This is going to be the most touristy thing you will do in Amsterdam, but it’s one of those places you just have to go to once in your lifetime.

Location: Hobbemastraat 19 (However, it changes!)

BEGIJNHOF

The Begijnhof is an old inner court in the city center. Quite a fascinating place that seems almost out of place when moving from the more busy streets, into such a quiet and historical/religious area. It most famous for its association with being almost like a convent – however the beguines were much more free. Many individuals still live here today, which is why the city encourages tourists to be respectful of noise and picture-taking.

Location: Gedempte Begijnensloot, 1012 RM

VONDELPARK

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As it was a very cold few days in Amsterdam when we visited, we didn’t spend much time at all in Vondelpark – however, if you plan to go in the summer this is a must go. People tend to enjoy laying around the busy park on the grass and visiting the neighboring restaurants. Theatre, dance, and music are all played during the summer months at the open air theatre.

Location: Vondelstraat

RIJKSMUSEUM

We spent quite a lot of time at the Rijksmuseum – as we were late risers during our trip it didn’t allow us to see absolutely everything, but we were efficient with the two hours that we had allowed ourselves there. I am a big fan of art, especially Baroque and Renaissance paintings, so I was ecstatic to get to see many of those, including Rembrandt’s infamous ‘Nachtwache’. Not only does the Rijksmuseum have paintings and sculptures, they also provide exhibitions that focus on antiques and even guns, there’s bound to be something for everybody. I’d recommend buying tickets in advance – an adult ticket is €17.50, but it’s highly possible you could find something online that may give you a discount – once bought these tickets can be used any time a year from that purchase.

Photo by Will van Wingerden

Location: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX

ANNE FRANK HOUSE

The Anne Frank House is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for eons. Book your tickets online in advance (way in advance, we’re talking around a month or more here) €9.50 for an adult ticket – I think they are either €.50 or €1 in addition which is more expensive than buying it in person, but that’s obviously nothing at all considering that helps you skip a wait and secure your viewing time at the museum.  From 9am to 3:30pm the museum is only open to visitors with a ticket for that specific time slot! Be prepared! Although I have read the Diary of Anne Frank and studied WWII during my middle school days, nothing can beat that first hand experience looking at the more personal and familial aspects of the story.

Anne Frank House Photo

Location: Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV

RED LIGHT DISTRICT

This was where we spent New Years Eve! If you’re easily offended by nudity or sexuality or anything like that in general you might find it pretty hard to walk around the streets in the area because of the sex workers in lingerie trying to entice clients in the windows. The Red Light District has an insane vibe to it – carnival-esque with great nightlife. It’s a very interesting polar opposite to the romantic and artsy vibe that the other parts of Amsterdam possess. Top/obvious tip: do not buy anything from suspicious drug dealers.

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Location: De Wallen