The Picturesque Canals

The Picturesque Canals

AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND

I always had an interest to go to Holland; in my head I thought clogs, tulips, windmills and bikes. Well, I was mostly right, minus the windmills. I needed to venture a little further out of the city Center suppose.  When we arrived in the Amsterdam airport, the gift shops were full of clogs and tulips. We were there at the end of February and we had surprisingly delightful weather. We were there for 3 days and the temperature was between 8-14 Celsius, which we were told was rare. We arrived in around 9pm so we took a cab to our hotel, which was really nice named “The Park Hotel” It was within walking distance of The Van Gogh Museum and the luxury shopping street “P.C Hoofstaat” We were hungry so before we packed in in for the night we decided to grab something to eat.

In Amsterdam we learned a few valuable lessons. Lesson one was leaned immediately.  Bikers don’t like you and if you are walking in the bike path they WILL run you over and then continue to yell at you. I guess when I was researching Amsterdam I didn’t look into the “pedestrian safety” rules. Unfortunately for us, our hotel was located in an intersection, where if you needed to get to the other side of the road, you need to cross:

 1.    Bike Lane #1

2.    Road

3.    Street Car lane

4.    Road

5.    Bike Lane #2

Do you know how long that takes without potentially risking your life? A LONG TIME- and after our first brush with death via bike, we were overly cautious. We finally got across the intersection after many tries and continued to the Leidsplein Square.  After dinner we packed it in and got rested up for our first full day

Day one begins and we bundle up ready for a full day of site seeing. We exit the hotel in a cautious manor, looking both ways, 8 times each and then continuing to cross. After the half an hour it took us to get across the street we begin wandering through the beautiful streets, full of waterways, bridges and bikes (which look MUCH more adorable tied up to the fence) we take some cute photos and then continue to a bakery to get coffee and a pastry. We basically walked the circumference of Amsterdam this day, stopping into little shops, checking out Dam square, the train station and the red light district (which we wanted to do during the day being 2 blonde girls and all) If your looking for any of the traditional blue and white printed pottery/plates/vases there is a Delft store in one of the main squares, so you don’t have to venture out of the city to get your fix.

We figured since we were in Amsterdam we should go into the Sex Museum, which was slightly disturbing but when in Rome, right? After that we passed by the classic “I AMSTERDAM” sign and stalked it until it was empty and we could get some photos alone in it. 

Towards the end of the day we went back to freshen up and hit up “The Heineken Experience” which was really fun. We then finished our day with a nice dinner with lots of wine at a little restaurant in Leidsplein Square.

Day 2 begins with some more wandering, which led us to the Anne Frank museum, which AT OPEN had a line so long I didn’t even know where it ended. Lesson 2: if you want to go to this museum, arrive at least half an hour before open. It was cold and slightly raining and the line was STILL at least 2 hours long, so needless to say we didn’t go in.

We decided to head back closer to our hotel and hit up the Van Gogh Museum, which was pretty cool.  The gift shop had a lot of cool prints and I purchased a large one of my favourite painting I saw. We then headed to do some shopping on P.C Hoofstraat, where we splurged on some designer bags.

The highlight of my trip came next: SO I don’t usually break the bank on designer things everyday, but I like to splurge while I’m on vacation, as something to remember my trip by. I buy less but more expensive. SO after I made my purchase, there were two people from the Amsterdam newspaper outside interviewing people for the fashion column. They approached me and asked what I bought then asked if they could take my photo/get my name for tomorrow’s edition. I let this happen and didn’t think much of it and carried on. Fast forwarding to the next morning- we are at the train station, heading to Brussels and I remember to check to see if I made the news. Low and behold, I am a CENTREFOLD! Me, my purchase under my rainbow coloured umbrella. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There staring back at me was ME!! A LARGE ME! I couldn’t help but laugh. I obviously took this home to frame- I don’t think I’ve ever made the paper before, especially for buying an embarrassingly expensive clutch! Which reminds me- the article said how much a paid. I will remember to hide that portion of the article when I show my boyfriend and mother…

Our last stop for the day was to one of the “coffee shops” We figured since we were there we should stop into one just to see what its like, even though I’m not into that kind of thing.  All I’m going to say is LESSON 3: The stuff over there is strong and even though you think your eating half of a cute little cupcake, don’t be fooled by its pretty appearance. I basically decided I am joining the D.A.R.E program after I left Amsterdam. Anyone growing up in the 90’s would know what that is. That was our last night here, we had a lovely dinner at a place in the main square near our hotel and then packed up for the train in the morning. 

The classic "I AMSTERDAM" photo op

The classic "I AMSTERDAM" photo op

Red Light District by day

Red Light District by day