Screams spring, doesn’t it?
Continuing on with my Dutch Series, what did I do with the rest of my week? Well, after securing tickets for my sunny day visit to the Keukenhof Gardens and then accomplishing my visit to the Noordermarkt in the Jordaan district on Saturday (just after my arrival the afternoon before), I had a few other ideas.
I often start my travel in a location with a guided tour to lend some orientation to my landing–usually, walking or boat. So this seemed obvious for me to do–a canal tour. I am so directionally challenged that I need all the help I can get!
I wish this article had been available to me, as several of these tours have an interesting twist to them but my tour was a traditional historical English commentary one and, actually, just fine: https://www.tripsavvy.com/guide-to-amsterdam-canal-cruises-4019100
It allowed for views of various styles of architecture. Here is a very brief summary of the article below: These Dutch canal houses can be as old as 17th century and almost always a narrow width in character. As already mentioned, I explained that in my weeklong apartment rental, the narrow and highly steep interior stairs were why I needed assistance accessing my 1st floor (like the 2nd floor in the U.S.) apartment with my luggage!
The canal houses were built to be for more than private housing of a family. The attic provided for storage, then, of course, there was the residential use but also commercial/business transaction space was provided too.
If you look closely, in some of the photos, you will recognize a crane or a post jutting out from the gable of the house. That was used to allow for goods/furnishings to be brought up to the higher stories of the houses since it was clear that the stairs could not be utilized in that way!
Here is the link for the article: https://www.citylab.com/design/2020/01/amsterdam-architecture-history-canal-houses-urban-design/604921/
My first ever hotel stay in Amsterdam was at the Pulitzer Hotel with my daughter. We were provided a private canal ride with the hotel’s boat and driver. Definitely a treat. So, as said, there are a variety of ways to take a canal tour!
What was most interesting here? The elaborate building or the well-maintained barge/houseboat?
The Amstel Hotel is what I would consider further out in the harbor waters. It is now an Intercontinental Hotel and has changed hands in more recent years but still kept its Intercontinental Hotel management. Here is the historical description from the hotel’s website: https://amsterdam.intercontinental.com/en/luxury-hotel-amsterdam/history
No two alike! Character!
And, as you get out further, there is more depth to the harbor, allowing the accommodation of ships.
Even the ships….no two alike!
Seemingly, an endless stream of architecture.
Tram wires seen in photo below.
And, then some modern architecture can be seen, now and again, too.
Good photo of the post/crane location on this Dutch canal house.
You can also do your own touring by walking or renting a bike–Take note of this quote:
Missed taking a photo of the bike storage at the Amsterdam Central (Train) Station. But just take a look here: https://www.google.com/search?q=Amsterdam+Central+Station+bike+parking&client=safari&rls=en&sxsrf=ALeKk029NNiGlhLJA7E-vAdkU5aavLeS_w:1590268903015&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=28P5TvgXfq6lNM%253A%252CFLkcsp4Hks0FwM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kTEJsxqJkSOPFCI-8_Y7Qw9pGiFOA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjB2L6o9crpAhXJpJ4KHQA0AScQ9QEwA3oECAQQHA#imgrc=jfZacyS5xHU2SM
The tram is easy to hop on and off. You do need to pay close attention to bikers, trams, taxis, and cars when making your way around the city.
These tiles were on the well worn tables in this sweet and tiny restaurant. A stop for lunch…for a Dutch pancake…Dutch baby? This was a must for me. I discovered this pancake restaurant through another source, but it is the first one described in this article: https://www.tripsavvy.com/best-pancake-restaurants-in-amsterdam-1456921
Or maybe a stop in a few specialty shops to pick up some wine, cheese, and meats for lunch. Oh! And dessert! When I came around the corner and saw the size and abundance of these cheese wheels, well, let’s just say I was impressed! And, I have been to many a cheese shop!
Take the picnic food to Vondelpark? Central to the city and, again, with a number of bike riders and walkers but also wildlife and flowers: https://www.hetvondelpark.net
Shopping is always a possibility. I plan to head back to the 9 Streets, when I return. On one of my short visits, several years ago, with my daughter accompanying me, we spent a day with a great shopping guidebook that took us all around the 9 streets in search of handmade products. Unfortunately, the book is no longer available but the shop(s) may have changed hands too.
Yes, Amsterdam does have all levels of shopping. From upscale boutiques to HEMA, for instance. To me, HEMA is similar to Target, full of vibrant colors, interesting creative, inexpensive products, which makes it fun to browse….or buy!
See this link: https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-shops-in-amsterdam
Just to be clear, these photos are not indicative of just the 9 Streets but rather here, there, and everywhere. But the 9 Streets encapsulates the feel of Amsterdam, not only with the creative, playful, and sometimes oblique styles of products but also the architecture, eats and drinks places too. Here is a link: : https://de9straatjes.nl/nl/winkels/branch/food-drinks-sleep
OR, buy museum tickets ahead of time so no waiting in line. Either online or have your hotel concierge help you out. I had been to Anne Frank’s House on an earlier Amsterdam visit. But I did make it to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum this time. What a delight to see tulips displayed in this way as I came near the museums.
Rijksmuseum in the two photos below and the 3rd photo is from the Van Gogh Museum.
Here is a link giving a short explanation/virtual tour of the various Amsterdam museums: https://360stories.com/amsterdam/story/rijksmuseum
If it is late afternoon, it’s tea, and then apertif/cocktail hour/happy hour…whatever you want to call it, is a little later. I just don’t have the time for all those breaks or the capacity for all those liquids, so I just select the one that involves bubbly/spritzy! One of my choices was the Cafe Americain at the American Hotel. As they tout on their website, they are very centrally located and well known.
Here is the link to the American Hotel: https://www.amsterdamamericanhotel.com/en/hotel/about-the-hotel/
and just to be sure, here is a direct link to the Cafe Americain: https://cafeamericain.nl/en
It was a busy, happening place when I arrived there.
However, the Cafe Hoppe was not. I’m not sure why, as it is known to be one of the oldest cafes in Amsterdam.
The link: http://cafehoppe.com
This ‘Eats’ place was one of my highlights for lunch or dinner, due to its vibrant chatter as well as both fresh food and a style to match. Best to make reservations as I am not the only one that feels this way about this place! There is more than one location. I went to the one pretty near to Vondelpark.
Seafood Bar and the link to its website: https://www.theseafoodbar.com/homepage
In another April quick stopover in Amsterdam (after my weeklong stay by myself) with a travel partner, our timing ended up being during the annual celebration of King’s Day, which actually starts the night before. Orange is the color! Here is quote from a Culture Trip article:
Aside from perhaps Pride, King’s Day is the biggest, annual celebration in Amsterdam and always involves massive citywide parties, outdoor music festivals and street markets. The holiday was originally created to honour the Dutch royal family but has essentially turned into an expansive carnival that is celebrated in almost every town in the Netherlands.
Always willing to have a return visit to Amsterdam. I also like the idea of tagging on The Hague and Utrecht as they are starting to get my attention as well. What about you?