A little note to start with, I have a number of travel posts from various trips I’ve taken this past year that I’m going to run through over the next few weeks. Sorry it’s taken me so long! I’m going to work my way backwards until I’m up to date. First up Amsterdam…
I have this thing – I hate doing stopovers in places I haven’t been to before. It drives me crazy that I’ve technically been in a place without seeing it. Chicago, Boston and Doha are on my list of irritants and until recently Amsterdam was also there. You see back in March 2015 I had two stopovers in Amsterdam whilst traveling home to Ireland and then back to Abu Dhabi. It drove me crazy that I had actually been there, but not really. Nothing would do me until I got to be there properly.
Whilst on my summer holidays in Ireland my mom and I decided to book a short European getaway. For me I really wanted to go to Amsterdam, but I wasn’t sure if it was a great mother/daughter get away for obvious reasons. Amsterdam has it’s reputation, but a number of my friends had visited it and loved it. We decide to give it a go. I’m so glad we did because I fell in love with it.
We stayed in The Hoxton and I just want to live there. Any place that has parquet floors and old-school photo booths is just the best in my opinion. Located centrally on one of the beautiful canals The Hoxton was just perfect from start to finish. Breakfast is included with all room rates and is delivered to your room each morning in a cute paper bag. It was a lovely touch that was sufficient in keeping us going until lunch.
We had a mixed start to our trip by having our first meal in Sara’s Pancake House. It was beyond average and considering we got burnt eggs I’d advise that you give it a miss. We were left highly impressed with the restaurant in The Hoxton and dined there twice. We also had drinks there one evening and indulged in some Soy Chicken Wings, which were delicious. Even if you don’t chose to stay there I’d recommend popping in for some food downstairs or sip some cocktails in the library upstairs while overlooking the canal. One of the things that was on my must do list was to try Belgian fries. I had heard a lot about the fries from Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx and I just had to try them. It’s a tiny hole in the wall type place with a mass of people milling around either queuing or indulging in fries. Well worth a stroll down. Just as we were getting ready to leave we came across some beautiful looking cafes and restaurants that I’ve already earmarked for our next trip, like Pluk. There really is so much choice.
For the most part we avoided “that side” of Amsterdam. And it really is just one tiny side to it. I had no interest in seeing any of it to be honest. You really can easily forget about it. We did unwittingly find our way into the Red Light District whilst searching for Museum Ons’Lieve Heer Op Solder. One moment we were walking around a normal street and then bam we saw girls in the windows and knew we had gone a little wrong. In fact Museum Ons’Lieve Heer Op Solder is actually smack bang in the centre of the Red Light District and we ended up seeing a bit more of it unwittingly trying to locate it. The museum was exceptionally worth the possible trauma, so persevere to find it. It’s actually a church secretly built in the attic of a canal house. On the outside it just looks like one of the normal houses. It’s incredible and so worth a visit. You get to tour the old house as well which is so interesting in its own right. The museum ended up being a highlight.
As is was peak season Amsterdam was very busy. I’ll admit that for once I didn’t do much research ahead of time, so I missed out on the fact that you should book the Van Gough and Ann Frank Muesum ahead of time. The queue for all the museums was insane so we didn’t even try go near them, which was fine. We enjoyed just wandering around. Amsterdam is such a perfect, picturesque city to just wander around. You find the nicest little stores and beautiful streets.
I loved Amsterdam. It has a beautiful, old-world charm about it. It’s definitely a place I can see myself visiting again. It’s so diverse and has so much to offer everyone.
Have you been to Amsterdam?