Amsterdam is exactly what you would want and hope it to be, and that is a very, very good thing. Most people are familiar with Amsterdam’s canals, bike culture, Red Light District, and drug “legality,” but some of the most wonderful things we did in Amsterdam went beyond the familiar.
We arrived in Amsterdam around midnight and checked in to our AirBnb. Since Amsterdam is insanely expensive, especially compared to the other cities we visited on the trip, we opted to stay a few miles outside city center to save on costs. It was about an hour walk in to city center, but most of it was along canals and super scenic.
The bike culture in Amsterdam is as prominent as you would expect! There are, what can only be described as, bike highways throughout the entire city and bike parking areas with what looks like hundreds of bikes.
We spent a large part of our time wandering around the scenic streets of old Amsterdam, drinking beer and espresso, and just talking in our beautiful surroundings.
One of our favorite things we did in Amsterdam and on the entire trip was visiting the Anne Frank house. This was the house where Anne Frank and her family hid during the Nazi occupation in Amsterdam. Having read the Diary of Anne Frank and learning a lot about her experience during my time in Hebrew School as a child, I knew this was something that we absolutely couldn’t miss.
The museum was uplifting, heartbreaking, and a completely beautiful tribute. It absolutely can not be missed if you are in Amsterdam. The process to enter the museum is a bit complicated and requires planning, so be sure to be on top of it prior to your arrival in Amsterdam. Essentially you have to buy tickets for a time slot online, and then you have a one hour period of time where you can get in line to enter the museum.
We also made a stop at one of the many cheese museums in Amsterdam, where we sampled every cheese they had available. Did we feel well afterward? Absolutely not. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Another experience you can’t miss in Amsterdam is a canal tour. We spontaneously hopped on a tour that featured unlimited drinks with your ticket (I think this is the norm on most tours). We did our very best to make our money back.
While in Amsterdam, you have to see the Red Light District, both during the daytime and at night. This was probably the biggest culture shock of Amsterdam, which is generally a very Western city. Since photography is frowned upon in the Red Light District, enjoy this picture of a shop cat in the Red Light District.
We made our afternoon all the better by enjoying one of Amsterdam’s famous and delicious waffles!
And I’ll just leave this gem here…
Our second day in Amsterdam started with a delicious brunch at Brasserie De Groot. I got some much needed juice and veggies that rocked my world.
During our second day wandering, we stumbled across a beautiful Auschwitz Memorial. Through our entire trip, we were so awed by how strongly Europe honors Holocaust victims. They definitely have done everything possible to commemorate the victims rather than just ignore their history.
As out trip drew to a close, we were heartbroken to head home. For our final meal, we were so exhausted that we just went to the restaurant underneath our AirBnb and it was actually amazing! It is a bit off the beaten path, but worth the trip.
Even though we are more than 4 months after our trip now, we still talk about it almost every day. We feel so lucky that we were able to experience so many different cultures and parts of Europe. We were already planning our next trip the moment we got on the plane home.
Thanks for the memories, Europe!