Amsterdam on footPosted on: 19 September 2019 by mars webb
Mars Webb visits Amsterdam and finds a beautiful, eclectic and trendy city full of hidden gems and so many places to explore that she's already looking for an excuse to go back.
I visited this beautiful city when I took my daughter there to study at the end of August and I took a few days over the weekend to explore this city by foot.
Everything in Amsterdam is easy, the transport, the Dutch speak English and the city is very cleverly designed with canals, cycle paths and transport all making it very accessible and very inviting.
Hotels are expensive in Amsterdam, but we found a reasonably priced 4-star hotel via Bookings.com (and collected my BA Avios) that was very stylish and trendy with really interesting décor. It was about 6Km from Anne Frank’s House and the city centre in a residential area, but it was only 8 minutes away from a train station, so easy to get in and out and if you were happy to cycle even easier with bike hire from the hotel. We actually enjoyed the location of the hotel and in fact, it was quite a welcome respite from the centre which was busy August Bank Holiday weekend.
Hotel V Fizeaustraat are a small chain of hotels and I’d definitely stay there again. Bedrooms are very comfortable with everything you need, and we loved the beautiful bathroom products called? The breakfasts were delicious and in fact great value with a good selection of freshly cooked food and plenty of teas and coffee. The staff at the hotel were amazing, so helpful and friendly and gave my daughter and I some great advice (thank you Rachael). Plus, they were very kind and didn’t charge us for bike hire for an hour one day when we just wanted to have a go and get her confidence up and we had great fun. The food at the hotel was fabulous, and the deserts were in fact the best I’d had in a very long time with rhubarb, raspberry’s and pink Valrhona chocolate.
The first few days were mainly shopping, getting what we needed to kit our daughter out for her halls. The shops in Amsterdam are plentiful with a great selection and we made use of shops like Hema, H&M and Zara Interiors. The interior shops are simply beautiful, and I detoured often exploring shops like Hay as I love Dutch /Swedish furniture. There are some great markets such as the Waterlooplein Market which is on everyday I believe apart from Sunday. Do be aware though of some rip-off merchant bike sellers who are selling bikes that really aren’t fit to ride but you can pick up lots of vintage clothes and some fun bargains.
Amsterdam by Foot
I’m not a great cycle fan to be honest and apart from a bike ride near our hotel I didn’t want to hire bikes, so we mainly explored the city by foot which was a joy and on average we did around 31,000 steps a day! August was busy, it was hot also but walking around the city and the network of canals was wonderful and easy to do with plenty of places to sit and enjoy people watching plus the city has some wonderful parks to walk in and enjoy such as Vondelpark.
Amsterdam by boat
The canals and the little bridges are truly delightful and walking along the canals was just wonderful, this city is full of little interesting shops and cafés dotted the way. On one of our days we opted to do an open top canal tour with Blue Sky Boat Company whose boats were small and open and we had a 75 minute tour by the captain who took us through the canals and acted as a guide which was a perfect amount of time to see everything and get a good insight to the history and geography of the city.
This is a truly cosmopolitan city with a fabulous food culture. Besides the hotel food we headed to the Red-Light District one afternoon and went to Bird Thai Restaurant where we had fish cakes and Prawn Pad Thai which was delicious and very reasonable.
One evening we enjoyed delicious and simple Italian in a very local Italian near to the hotel one night called Eddy Spaghetti which was authentic. In the day time we sampled the delights of Bagels by Bea which is a chain but serves great filled bagels.
Another night near my daughter’s halls we ate Indonesian in Café Kadijk which we enjoyed and the area near the Science Museum is stunning with lots of local cafes and a great pizza (Pizza Sotto) restaurant where the staff are fabulous, and pizzas are cooked in clay ovens.
The city is full of great bagels shops for lunch called Bagels & Beans lovely little chocolate, ice cream and biscuit shops offering .. which are delicious.
I actually made a conscious decision that I would be back again in this stunning city, so I decided to give all the big museums a miss and enjoy a more outdoors exploration of the city. We did book and visit Anne Frank’s Museum one evening which was incredible and truly humbling and well worth doing. It is very busy so it’s important to book well before you go.
Exploring outside the city
After days of shopping and sightseeing on one of our days we decided to head out to the lakes and one of the very cool ladies at our hotel recommended Beach Club Eiland One to visit in . Called Vinkeveen, we headed out there to see how people outside the city lived and it was worth the visit with a stunning lake and gorgeous homes gracing the shores. We chilled on hotel towels and had a delicious tapas lunch at the beach club soaking up the sunshine and relaxing.
Another day we headed to Central Train Station and there is a free ferry boat that goes across to NDSM Pier 28, an incredible place where they have built an urban beach, host festivals and concerts and have built clever accommodation made out of shipping container. It really was very cool, easy to get to and had fabulous graffiti and a fabulous use of space.
There is so much to see in this city, it’s very beautiful and is actually an incredibly eclectic and trendy city, with interesting architecture. The canals at night are magical and by day are full of hidden gems that you just want to keep exploring so I’m looking forward to having an excuse to go back again.
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