Do it for the (Amster)gram
Updated: Jan 30
Visiting Amsterdam has always been at the top of my bucket list so when I had the opportunity to visit I was so excited. My best friend Kat and I went from November 8, 2019 - November 10, 2019.
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Where We Stayed
After Kat's and my disastrous experience at the Castle Rock Hostel in Edinburgh, we knew that we needed to prioritize our accommodations for our next trip. After doing some research, we found the "Deluxe Studio" in Amsterdam-Noord on Airbnb. We were skeptical at first because we booked a private room attached to someone's house; however, we were pleasantly surprised when we knocked on the front door.
A young couple greeted us and escorted us to our room. We had a private entrance and complete privacy from the main house.
Aside from the nice living quarters, the location was also superb. To get to the house, we had to take the free ferry from the Central Station to the Buiksloterweg Station. The ferry ride was about 3 minutes and operated 24/7.
Staying in Amsterdam-Noord had several benefits. For starters, Kat and I got to see a more suburban part of Amsterdam that we would not have visited otherwise. Amsterdam-Noord is filled with cute houses and restaurants. Another advantage Amsterdam-Noord offered was amazing housing for a cheaper price than staying in the middle of the city.
What We Ate
"Don't count the calories, remember the memories." - Hop & Stork
Day 1: Similar to my other trips, food was the top priority. Right when Kat and I got off the ferry in Amsterdam-Noord, there was a street vendor selling Olliebollens, a dutch pastry. After dinner, we popped into a sweet shop. I ate a strawberry glazed waffle and Kat ate an extra chocolatey crepe.
Day 2: For brunch, Kat and I went to The Butcher. For 23 euros we were allowed to pick one item off of the menu and have unlimited access to the buffet. To drink, I had grapefruit juice, orange juice, apple juice, beet/watermelon juice, carrot/orange juice, an apple/ginger shot, tea, and champagne. To eat, I had roasted veggies, Lebanese cheese, smoked salmon and poached eggs on bread, a croissant, an apple tart, grape leaves, and bread with Nutella.
Despite all of the food we ate, Kat and I still made room for Dutch pancakes and fries.
As you can probably imagine, after our huge brunch and our large snacks, Kat and I were not very hungry for dinner. However, we wanted some food in our system before we went out so we went to De Pont. I took the following picture from their website to show how cute the restaurant is. It shows the ferry dropping people off in Amsterdam-Noord. Across the water you can see the Central Station. At De Pont, Kat and I split smoked salmon.
Day 3: On the third day we randomly found Magna Plaza. Our hands were freezing from the wind so we needed somewhere to quickly warm up. The Plaza has a ton of cute stores and an unbelievable food court. At MATTS Wonderland I had a veggie hot dog with pickles and curry. Afterwards, I went to Sushito to try the sushi burrito.
The last food stop on our tour of Amsterdam was Van Wonderen Stroopwafels. I must say, the dessert shop lives up to all of the hype. The stroopwafel was my favorite thing I ate in Amsterdam and perhaps my favorite dessert of all time. It was so good that I didn't try to recreate the famous Instagram most tourist take. On the left is my picture of the Stroopwafel. On the right is a picture posted on Van Wonderen's website.
What We Did
1) Red Light District
When in Amsterdam, you must see the Red Light District. In my opinion, the Red Light District must be one of the craziest places in the world since everything from recreational weed to prostitution is legal.
To be honest, Kat and I did not spend much time there. It was fascinating but it was also kind of sad. I personally did not like seeing the women in the front of sex shops waiting to be bought for a few hours.
2) Nine Streets
My favorite store in the Nine Streets was Kauf Dich Glucklich. Below is a photo of their plant collection.
3) Anne Frank's House
Unfortunately, Kat and I could not see the inside of Anne Frank's Secret Annex. In order to get tickets, you must book far in advanced. Our trip to Amsterdam was booked two weeks prior so all of the tickets were already sold out. The museum holds tickets that you can purchase daily by calling ahead but they sell out quickly. Even though we both called right at opening, we were unable to purchase tickets.
In spite of that, Kat and I knew it was important to at least visit the outside of her house to see where she and her family hid from the Nazi's during World War II. For other tourists that are not able to purchase tickets, the museum offers a virtual tour that you can find here.
I would also recommend reading The Diary of Anne Frank before your trip.
4) Bike Tour
Kat and I booked a bike tour of Amsterdam through Airbnb. We decided to use Airbnb because the tour came with a complimentary 1 hour canal ride, it was reasonably priced, and it had good reviews.
Although I would certainly recommend scheduling a bike tour during a trip to Amsterdam, I would not recommend this exact tour. Our guide had a great personality, however, we did not have the chance to see everything that was promised to us. If I were to go back to Amsterdam, I would either rent my own bike from one of the many bike shops and give myself a tour using Google Maps or I would call the company ahead of time and make sure they guarantee we hit all of the attractions. With that being said, I am still happy that Kat and I got to experience biking through Amsterdam.
5) Canal Ride
The last activity Kat and I did was the canal tour. As I previously mentioned, we got the ticket for free with our bike tour. I would highly recommend going on the Lovers Canal Cruise, even if you are only with a friend!