A day of authentic Amsterdam experiences

Our first full day in Amsterdam, we walked around ALL day and saw a lot of the city. We started of strolling along Amstel Canal towards Rembrandt Square.

Walking along Amstel Canal

I just love the tall, narrow houses that line Amsterdam’s canals. They look so clean and neat. Almost every house is painted either white, navy or black, which you might thing eventually gets boring and monotonous, but it really looks elegant and charming. It’s a very different vibe from the rest of (non-nordic) Europe. I gotta admit, it wouldn’t be a bad lifestyle to live in a classy flat along a quiet canal, riding your bike everywhere. However, I do have a feeling that many of my pictures will look the same, since the entire city is literally made up of these canals. Amsterdam is a great city for walking around, though.

We walked to Dam Square, which was overwhelmingly filled with tourists, but not much to see due to renovations on the main buildings there. So we cut down Damstraat Street, and came across a really cute cheese shop. We bought a little wheel of tomato-basil gouda cheese (yea, yea, yea – it’s on my list of “forbidden” foods) and some crackers to eat along a canal. A great Amsterdam experience on a beautiful sunny day!

Cheese!

We headed back towards Dam Square and turned up a random narrow, winding street towards Central Station. Unlike some narrow, winding streets in Europe, this one was neither quiet nor quaint, but rather lined with stores and souvenir shops.

We turned east before Central Station and walked through streets lined with coffee shops (ones that sell coffee and “the other kind of coffee.” Talk about contact high! I must admit, certain areas of Amsterdam straight up stink of weed.

Crazy streets of Amsterdam

We walked back west to finish up sightseeing. And by sightsee, I mean just walking past Anne Frank’s house and taking a photo of the outside, rather than going in to visit. It took us a minute to find the right house since the entrance and line were going into a super modern building. I deduced that couldn’t be Anne Frank’s house, and after walking two houses down, we saw that the actual house is clearly marked with a sign by the front door.

Walking along Prinsengracht Canal

We crossed Prinsengracht Canal and walked through the quiet and quaint streets of western Amsterdam. Here, you can also find coffee shops, and they’re much more chill than those southeast of Central Station.

Quiet streets of west Amsterdam

After all the walking, we headed back towards the hotel along Singel Canal. Nap time!

By the time we napped, got up and got ready to go out it was midnight. Oops… Regardless, we headed out to grab a snack and check out Leidensplein. This square is definitely rowdier than Rembrandt Square. It’s lined with bars and clubs and patios (and Burger King). We settled into a table at The Hole in the Wall and ordered a bottle of wine. And some beers. And then some more beers. Including Peroni beer, which smelled like weed. Then again, everything smells like weed in Amsterdam.

When Frances was done explaining why she’s “above me,” we ended up striking a conversation with the Irish waiters. Well, Frances initiated a conversation since we all know the extent of my social skills.

Chatting up Irish bartenders while drinking Italian beers at The Hole in the Wall

Next we went to another bar along the square so Frances could experience her Eurotrash night. After we checked that off the list, we met up our new Irish friends at another hole-in-the-wall bar. At this point it was 4 a.m.

After we closed down the bar, Frances and I were in dire need of some Burger King. We staggered over to BK and ordered Whoppers. And apparently made a ridiculous video on Frances’ iPhone while waiting for our order, which will hopefully never be seen by anyone else!

I don’t think our hotel receptionist appreciated us waking him up at 5 a.m. to get our room key and some water.

Talk about a productive day in Amsterdam!

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