Part One: Amsterdam. Get Lost.

Matt and I just got back from a two-week vacation to Europe.  We visited Amsterdam for the first four days and then traveled by car through France for the remainder of our two weeks.  We have a lot to share with our readers so the following posts will be told in a 3 or 4 part series.  Mostly, our posts will be about the food, wine, and beer we consumed along our journey.  Also, we will include a few traveler tips. Let’s start at the beginning: Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a magical little city that was unexpectedly postcard beautiful.  Beyond the canals, quaint streets and historical architecture, there is a vibe about this city that is undeniable.  We found the Dutch very friendly and helpful, and indeed wished we had more time to spend exploring the surrounding areas.  Although we understood that bicycle was the preferred method of transportation, we had no idea how innovative the bikes would be.  From toddlers strapped into baby bike seats to wagons and side cars alike, the entire bicycle culture is fascinating to watch from any outdoor cafe or bar.

Tips for travelers to Amsterdam:

1. The Dutch do not eat late.  It was nearly impossible to find any restaurant serving food after 10 pm.

2. You can rent bikes from many street corners, but if you cannot ride a bike (don’t get me started) the trams and trains are easy to use.  However, you can walk the whole city within a day! We encourage walking. Get lost. You will find your way back.

3. The red light district is a big tourist attraction and the only thing we found interesting was how everything was illuminated at night.  Other than that, you can skip it.

4. The folks who work at the coffeshops are generally very cool and extremely helpful…especially if it is your first time.  There are a variety of ways to enjoy your “coffee”… just ask if you do not feel like rolling it up (the preferred Dutch way).  Stay away from the big touristy ones if you can.  And lastly, they are everywhere…literally.  So no fear if you are afraid you won’t find one before you go.

5. You can drink in public.  Just don’t get wasted.

6.  (Endearing mom comment here) Amsterdam is chilly.  Bring a sweater or two and long pants!

There is a variety of food and drink one can consume in Amsterdam.  This is what we think is worthy.

Viaamse fries, which translate to Flemish fries can be found on most corners and markets in Amsterdam. The name pays homage to the northern Dutch speaking part of Belgium where the fries originated. Mayonnaise is the preferred sauce but ketchup and even curry sauces and peanut sauces are available at some stands.

Last but not least, we could not write about Amsterdam without including this place: Sonchi Sushi and Wok. Holy balls. We found this place by accident, mostly because it was the closest place with late night food we could find and we were without a doubt surprised. The owner, originally from Tibet, serves up stir fry rice and noodle dishes until 1 am. You can choose everything that goes into your dish including sauces, proteins, and veg. We never got a chance to try the sushi, but the stir fry was seriously fresh and disturbingly addictive. This is a must for a late night food craving if you are in Amsterdam.

Must See’s and Do’s:

Picnic in Vondelpark.

Visit Jordaan. A beautiful neighborhood of Amsterdam filled with art galleries and specialty shops. Rembrandt spent the last years of his life and was buried here.

The Van Gogh Museum. It is beautiful.

Take a boat tour on an open air boat. If you can, rent a houseboat for your accommodation while visiting.

Rent a bike.

Do the Heineken tour.

Have fun.

And always remember…

The end.

3 thoughts on “Part One: Amsterdam. Get Lost.

  1. Oh Jenna, the bicycle has haunted you for too long my dear! However, I love this piece and very much look forward to reading the rest!!

    You two are doing a fantastic job with this!!!

    • It was a nightmare. Bikes…literally, everywhere. Thanks for the compliment and for reading! We are feeling the love.

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