Finding Amsterdam

Without doubt, Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in Europe and maybe in the world. I'd leave Berlin in an instant for Amsterdam - and I might even do so at some point. Here's a little recap of a weekend retreat in autumn.
Amsterdam-8967
14 Dec ’12 by Sara Travel

I’ve been to Amsterdam dozens and dozens of time and I’ll gladly return again. It’s a fantastic city with the perfect balance of chill, beauty, history, liberalism and urban grime. This time, I went on a sweet wellness-y luxury retreat – it was supposed to be relaxing, after all.

The Canal House

We wanted to chill, hang out, and relax. That’s why we picked out a really comfortable and cozy hotel. Two nights in what might possibly be the biggest bed I’ve ever slept in and a top notch view: The Canal House. If you’re not intending to spend much money on activities, you might just as well book yourself a great hotel that you feel comfortable in. It was perfect for us. We even ended up playing Chess in the lobby. I think we both lost.

The Canal House is located at the rim of the Jordaan, the eye candy district of Amsterdam. It’s full of posh boutiques and breakfast cafés, generally tidied up and less packed with tourists. The Jordaan is named after the gardens in the courtyards of most of the buildings. The Canal House has one of those gardens. That’s a rare sight in the narrow streets of Amsterdam, where the buildings are usually as close as possibly to the water and shaped too tiny for some actual greenery. On the edge of the Jordaan located is the Anne Frank House. On my last trip to Amsterdam, I visited this extraordinary museum and left shaken and crying. I know, that doesn’t sound like much of a positive experience, but it’s worth it. Same goes for the FOAM, the photography museum of Amsterdam.

Being a tourist in Amsterdam

If you haven’t been to Amsterdam: I can only recommend a short city trip. I love everything about this beautiful city, even the tourist traps. The inner red light district is very interesting in architecture and people. Also, there are the coffee shops which are usually packed with amateur tourist smokers. Makes for a fun experience to watch.

Amsterdam is Europes poster-child city. Untouched by the wars and built on beautiful water canals. The locals seem totally unbothered by the swarms of tourists. On those rare occasions when the clouds broke up and let some sun flood the streets, we headed outside and mingled with the rest.

We had a boat tour through the Grachten. That’s what you do when you have time to waste. Turns out it’s not as lame as I would expect. On the other hand, you’ll probably find better tours on bike.

Besides the boat ride we also spent an hour atop of the Sky Lounge. It has a top-notch view over Amsterdam.  It costs no cover to get to the Sky Lounge but the drinks are fairly pricey.

We ended up at the Oude Pijp, another nice quarter of Amsterdam I have never been to. We enjoyed Surinamese food  (AWESOME) in the Oude Pijp, some really good stuff if you’re into East Asian kitchen. The restaurant was recommended to us by a local, and I would love to pass it forward: Warung Spang Makandra was extremely delicious.

No Amsterdam visit without a walk through Vondelpark! It’s a large park that feels tiny relative to any park in Berlin. And we just kept on walking this miniature city. It’s a big plus to Berlins vastness. You can reach everything by foot or bike in a short time… convenience at it’s best.

 

Six comments

  1. BABO-style. Mal wieder.

  2. Nice to see cool pics of my homeland :) The war may not have left many traces on the surface, but very ugly scars remain from the large Jewish community that was killed with help from the local authorities, and countless city planning cockups (the new metro line is Amsterdam’s version of BER airport).
    Next time perhaps skip Mokum (as the locals really call it!) and check out some other beautiful and much less touristed places like Leiden, Utrecht, Gouda… true Berlin fans should like the energy and modern spirit of Rotterdam too. All within day-trip distance of Amsterdam, if you must stay there.

  3. Nice, though in reality it’s less impressive then how the photography makes it look, that nice hazy effect and soft lighting is all in the camera and post.

  4. Nice article about Amsterdam, good pictures. Keep it up!

  5. Very nice travel report about Amsterdam and absolutely great photos. Living in Düsseldorf and thinking to do a weekend trip to Amsterdam. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Amsterdam is a wonderful, and I think you really captured it’s spirit. Indeed it’s not a huge city, but it’s a classic case of quality over quantity. And that’s really it’s biggest strength… a high concentration of cool and quirky. Ik hou van Amsterdam!