It’s hard for me to imagine a European city I love more than Amsterdam. It has incredible culture, remarkable architecture (oh, how those buildings lean!), friendly locals, and an increasingly diverse and delicious restaurant scene. Let us not forget about those bike lanes; I’m in love with them. I suppose the weather could be a bit more reliable but if that were the case we would literally all be living there and it wouldn’t be quite as comfortable.
We had a great, breezy weekend there full of strolling and eating. A lot of Europe has been experiencing an “Indian summer” so we were there at a great time. It rained a couple times, but we heard it was relatively warm compared to what it’s usually like, and walking along the canals was really lovely.
After Adam and I checked into our Airbnb we immediately set out for De 9 Straatjes–The 9 Streets–a great shopping and dining neighborhood. When we arrived at the southern edge of the area and took one look at the shopfronts and signage, Adam rightly declared that these nine streets have more cool in them than the entirety of Switzerland. It was fun to be surrounded by good design and more current styles.
We made our first stop at Café de Pels, a typical brown cafe. It’s a cozy spot perfect for fueling up before shopping. We had sausage, mature cheese and beers, but I can also recommend their bitterballen since we went back on Saturday and had them as an appetizer. HOW did I not know about bitterballen and where can I get a good recipe?!
We did lots of meandering and even picked up a couple of souvenirs. Phil’s flight landed in the evening and we met him for dinner at Wolvenstraat 23, an Asian place with funky decor and cool tunes.
The next day Phil had to work (whomp whomp) so Adam and I headed out toward the Jordaan neighborhood, which is where we stayed last time we were there. I’d highly recommend it as your destination because it’s so quaint and homey.
We stopped in Typique, a letterpress shop along Haarlemmerdijk, itself a great street for shopping and dining. We met René, the artist and craftsman and ended up coming home with a beautiful monotype of the Dutch seashore. It’s a special reminder of our trip and we both think art makes a great souvenir.
On the next block over we stopped for lunch at Restaurant Teun. I opted for a giant salad and mint tea to help offset the cheese, beer, fries, and other delicacies from the trip, but everything on their menu looks great. It’s also a hotel if you’re interested in staying in the area.
After walking, walking, walking, and a freak rain storm in the afternoon we met up with a couple of friends of mine from college at Café Pieper, another brown cafe that was just two blocks from where we were staying. It was established in 1665 and still retains all the charm of the 17th century. Great beer, low ceilings, wood everything, and a friendly bartender. It was perfect!
We then walked over to Café George for dinner before our CHVRCHES concert. It’s a New York-style French brasserie that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day from 11-11. We managed to squeeze in for dinner without a reservation, but I would recommend trying to reserve a table if you can. It was quite full when we got there and still bustling when we left for the show. Our concert was awesome, by the way. The band put on a great show and we had loads of fun dancing and being crazy. It was very sobering, however, to walk out and immediately find out about the tragedies in Paris. Indeed, I shudder thinking about how we had just been in a concert hall, where the same thing that happened at Bataclan could have happened to us. It’s yet another reminder not to take our liberties and freedoms for granted.
The next morning we had plans to visit the Rijksmuseum, but sleeping in came in first on the priority list so we went out for brunch instead at…Café George. I’m not kidding! We had just been there but it was so, so good and we are always looking for brunch spots since they are an anomaly here. We had fresh fruit, eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, and a croque madame, all very delicious.
We did finally manage to get over to the Rijksmuseum, which is just a tram stop or two away from where we had brunch. It’s a beautiful collection and we did the multimedia tour which helped make sense of it all. We spent about two hours there but I could easily see how might find yourself for an entire afternoon. Adam especially likes the Dutch masters so it was great to see so many of them together.
After a quick rest at the apartment we went to Brouwerij’t IJ, along with everyone else in the city. It was completely packed but it’s no surprise given their great selection of beer and snacks. It was pouring outside at this point so the outdoor seating was no longer an option, but I imagine it’s always this full during the early evening hours. Go for the beer and stay for the grillworst and mature cheese.
For dinner that evening we went to Restaurant de Struisvogel, which is in the basement of a shop in the 9 Streets neighborhood. It’s a teeny tiny place—only 34 seats—so reservations are essential. Everything here was so yummy and comforting, and I loved the ambiance. There’s something so cozy about a tiny bistro with wooden tables and chairs and dim lighting. How romantic for the three of us : )
Amsterdam, we love you! It is such a magical city and I’m always delighted to visit. One of these days we’ll finally go when it’s truly warm outside…
Have you been? What did you think of it? Next time I’d love to see the Van Gogh museum and actually make a visit to Keukenhof, the tulip fields.