As a birthday present I flew to Amsterdam for the weekend (lucky me!). Some friends live there and were kind enough to let us stay in their apartment while they were traveling about. So basically, a really cheap weekend for me.
The first thing we did was jump on a bike and start cycling. I haven’t done much exercise in a while and it was great to just to coast along the canals with little effort from my legs. However, after a couple of days, my butt was a bit sore.
As with any start to the day, the first stop was a cafe for breakfast. I would have to say that I had the best eggs with hollandaise sauce ever! I was so consumed by the dish I forgot to take a picture until it was too late. If you get a chance, check out Valerius Eten & Drinken. Really friendly staff too.
Next stop, the House of Bols for their Cocktail & Genever Experience. What’s wrong with enjoying a cocktail after breakfast? I should point out that our breakfast was mid-morning, so it was technically lunchtime when we got to the House of Bols and when you’re on holidays, it’s ok to drink at lunch. After a quick tour about the history of Bols, we head up to the bar and choose our cocktail. Based on your preference for sweet or sour and simple or complex, the machine recommends a cocktail for you. We also tried a couple of shots of Bols’ famous liqueurs.
The afternoon was spent cycling around the canals and streets and just soaking up the city. It was also restaurant week in Amsterdam so I had pre-booked us into “ctaste”, as they had a €27 3-course meal. The reason why I picked this place out of the thousands of choices, was because you eat the meal in the dark. I don’t mean dimly lit and moody. I mean pitch-black. The waiters are blind or vision impaired and work well in the dark. They guide you to your table and help you sit down. You couldn’t see you hand in front of your face. He explained where the cutlery should be and I fumbled about the table looking for it – yep, two forks and two knives to the right of me.
After dinner we headed to the red-light district along with hundreds of other tourists. Quite a sight if you’re not used to the liberal natures of these ladies of the night. I thought it was funny that amongst the bikinis and boozers were these beautiful white swans just chilling in the canal.
Sunday we spent cycling around “De Negen Straatjes” or nine streets. Some really cute boutiques and cafes. We also saw hundreds of paddle-boarders paddling up on of the canals. If you need to wear a dry-suit and a beanie, I’m not sure it’s paddle-boarding weather yet.
I loved the style of the buildings along the canals, although it seems there’s a bit of a sinking problem as some were a bit wonky. And it’s quite clear that cycling is well and truly the mode of transport in Amsterdam.
Another fine weekend in a lovely European city.