I was reluctant to leave Bruges, the only thing that made the departure sweeter (quite literally) was the box of belgian truffles we purchased before leaving. Keeping the chocolate intake high, our trains to Amsterdam went by rather quickly. Before we knew it, we were in the Netherlands and trying to locate our accommodation for the next two nights.
We stupidly hadn’t bothered to download any maps or instructions as the place we were staying had emailed us a list of instructions that very clearly detailed how we would find them. Unfortunately, instructions are only helpful when they are correct, which ours were not. So after much grumpy wandering, trying to locate street signs and navigate our way amongst the canals, we managed to finally get help from some English speakers who pointed us in the right direction.
The place we were staying in was great, a little apartment in the Jordaan region sitting right beside a canal. The Jordaan region turned out yo be my favourite area of Amsterdam, quiet and peaceful with canals full of houseboats and streets lined with beautiful elegant houses covered in flowers.
We couldn’t have been happier, until we realised there was a cheese museum just up the road.We quickly located the museum, to find that it was mostly just a big cheese shop. This was even better than a cheese museum as we could try everything (and try everything we did). With our bellies quite full from all the cheese samples, we found a little cafe on a side street to grab a coffee and a little vegetarian pastry for some post cheese late lunch.
It turns out that the way we like to choose a cafe is by waiting until we find one with a cat inside. It worked quite well in Amsterdam, where the cat population seems significantly higher than in France. This cafe not only did amazing coffee, but also featured an extremely fat black cat who allowed us to pet him without any reciprocal affection whatsoever (he was lucky I was having so much cat withdrawals).
Amsterdam had an incredible atmosphere, and not just because of the smell of marijuana that was present pretty much everywhere (im surprised easily well we got used to it, at first I was a little weirded out). We walked alongside canals to see the tulip flower markets just as they were closing and then to the busy Rembrandt square where there is an amazing sculptural memorial with Rembrandt standing above life size figures from one of his most famous paintings.
The city of Amsterdam was buzzing with excitement and because the area we were staying was the older rather peaceful neighbourhood so it was fun to wander through the more touristy streets and shops. We also took a brief wander through the red light district, how could you go to Amsterdam and not? It was totally different to how I had expected it to be, but I am not quite sure why. It is hard to imagine what it is like seeing women selling themselves in windows and doorways and even harder to try and understand without knowing the context for this part of Amsterdam’s culture. It was interesting but I can’t say we spent long there haha.
We headed back to our little appartment, only stopping to pick up some beer and cheese (from the cheese museum!) to eat for dinner. I didn’t expect to fall in love with quirky little Amsterdam so quickly, but fall I did. Whats not to love about its beautiful canals lined with gorgeous tall houses, its cafe cats and its characteristic smell. It is hard to not feel happy in a city where it seems like everyone is having fun.
1. Our first beautiful dutch canal (feat. bikes of course because there are more bikes than people)
2. CHEESE. I ate a lot.
3. More canals and bikes. You are gonna get real sick of them.
4. Cause when I go to tulip markets we all know what I really want…
5. Tulips of course!
6. Lions. Not era though 😦
7. Canals and bikes plus bird
8. Such an incredibly beautiful place, especially in the Jordaan area.