Winter Holiday in Amsterdam

After a few days in Brussels, we took the train to Amsterdam. My advice, if first class is only a difference of say $20 definitely upgrade. First class included large, comfy assigned seats, a meal with wine, and free wifi.

We debated on going to the Heineken Experience but since I’m not a fan of beer, I figured House of Bols would be more my speed. It’s located near the Museumplein, the area where many of the larger museums are located. When you walked into the house, you begin a self-guide journey starting with the history of the brand.
The part I found the most interesting was the section where you sniff their over 30 types of liqueur and try to guess the flavor by scent. After exploring the house, there’s a kiosk that tells you which drink you would like based on a few very basic questions. The last step is the bar. Your tickets includes two full size cocktails, so you order one of the ones the machine suggests or have them make another cocktail with their many Bols liquers.

Red Light District
No trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a tour of the Red Light District or De Wallen as it’s know to locals. I’d read so much about it before going so I was somewhat underwhelmed when we finally made it there. There were a few cool shops that were closed by the time we made it there around 8:00 pm. One shop we passed by had every shaped condom you could imagine. Think Eiffel Tower, clowns, and random fruits all on display and hanging in the window for all to enjoy.

After journeying down another street, we came across the many shops with women selling their “wares” if you know what I mean. Was kind of sad to hear them knocking on the windows from inside trying to entice the men, women, and anyone in between to come in. But to each its own. Don’t forget no photos of the women in the windows, it’s not allowed.

Finally a good meal in Amsterdam
We made it to dinner at The Lobby Restaurant & Bar, a restaurant our hotel concierge had recommended and secured reservations. It was located in the Red Light district at another hotel. I was skeptical at first because I typically don’t like to eat at hotel restaurants but let me tell you everything we had there was amazing, from the heavy pours of wine to my chocolaty dessert. Make sure to try their Flammkuchen, it’s the Dutch version of flat bread pizza.

Next Stop Holland
The next day we headed out to see the windmills. I’d booked a half day tour that would give
us a taste of old Holland. We took a coach bus about an hour and half outside of AmsIMG_5285terdam to a small town where we got to see how they make the infamous wood clog shoes and my personal favorite Gouda cheese.

Seeing the windmills at Zaans Schans was definitely the highlight of my day. We had the chance to learn more about them and how they impacted the way of life for many. The tour even included a 20 minute boat ride where we could purchase hot cocoa and warm up for a bit. I’d highly recommend this tour if you want to get away from Amsterdam and take a glimpse into the countryside of the Netherlands, the area that was known as Holland.

Putting on the Rijks
As a fan of art, especially classical, I knew a trip to the Rijksmuseum was a must. You could easily spend the entire day exploring gallery after gallery of incredible works of art and the best thing is they let you take photos. When we were there they had an exhibition featuring some Mondrian-inspired dresses created by Yves Saint Laurent. Because the Rijks is a tourist attraction, I highly recommend you purchase your tickets in advance so you don’t have to worry about the long lines, just show your receipt and you’re on your way.

They offer free concerts at Museumplein on specific days at 12:30pm so get there to enjoy lunch outside.

Overall, Amsterdam is a very unique place and I could spend all day standing on the bridges just people watching. Something about seeing people riding by on their bicycles in droves at all times of the day and night is mesmerizing.

Here are a few other places we didn’t make it to but are on my list for next time.

  • Check out Amsterdam’s “Quartier Latin,” or De Pijp, is known for its breathtaking 19th-century architecture, unique shops and cafes just one mile south of the city’s center. The Albert Cuyp Market, one of Amsterdam’s famous street markets, is also located in the trendy De Pijp area.
  • Foodhallen, Amsterdam’s indoor food market, opened in October of 2014. It’s a great place to visit in Amsterdam’s colder months, and there are so many different options for food and drink, you can go back day after day without having to eat the same thing twice.
  • Places to eat and drink…
    — High Tea at De Bakkerswinkel
    — Dinner at Henri 
    — Breakfast at The Pancake Bakery
IMG_5364
Patiently waiting to take a photo at the Iamsterdam sign.
 Check out a few more photos from my trip here.
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One thought on “Winter Holiday in Amsterdam

  1. Pingback: Winter Holiday in Belgium – EXPLORE SAVVY

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