Dark and gloomy under the cover of thick rain clouds in December Amsterdam still managed to charm us. Luckily my two friends from Spain and I were already used to this very weather from Galicia in June. Kid you not.
On our first day we only walked around town, to soak up the atmosphere and get a feel for it. The cute and distinct little houses with canals in between are what did me in. Cafés (not to be confused with Coffee Shops) and bars did not hurt either. I have some recommendations for you here:
De Laatste Kruimel sells scrumptious cakes and tasty coffee.
In Temple Bar you can enjoy different craft beers, some of which are local.
Red Light Bar in the Red Light District had amazing music to dance to, especially if you have lived in Spain for some time!
And last but not least: fries! Vleminckx sells the best in all of Amsterdam, according to our guide. They were surprisingly cheap and really very tasty.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when visiting Amsterdam: bring an umbrella. It does not matter if the sky looks baby blue when you look out the window in the morning, chances are it is going to rain at some point during the day. Now, the rain may only last for a few minutes, but it arrives suddenly and strong enough to soak you. Not the best feeling in December.
Bicycles go first. Always. They rule this city, after all.
We almost got run over on our first day, because bicycle lanes are not marked very clearly, at least for the eye of an out-of-towner. But in general, they are everywhere. Even in the canals. The canals are said to be 3 meters deep: 1 meter of mud, 1 meter of bicycles and 1 meter of water. Every year they fish about 25,000 of them out of the water. Mindboggling, isn’t it? No wonder then, that the black market for bicycles is huge in Amsterdam.
For everyone who loves shopping, Amsterdam has lots to do. So many stores which can be found in all of Europe, and so many more I have never seen before. Leidestraat is only one of the streets where lots of shops are located. Others you can find on Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk
Surprisingly, you cannot buy all that many bouquets of flowers at the flower market. This is where you can find bulbs for the tulips the Netherlands are so famous for. In addition, you can buy great souvenirs for a small price.
ANNE FRANK HUIS
You would not have seen Amsterdam had you not gone to the Anne Frank House. Such a symbolic place of the history of Europe. We reserved our tickets online well in advance, so we would definitely be able to enter.
The exhibition is sobering. It makes you very aware of the horrors millions of people had to live through during World War II. Anne Frank’s diary tells her story and that of her family: years spent in hiding, only to be discovered and murdered in one of the concentration camps.
Sadly, we did not make it to the Rijksmuseum. Three days is not at all enough to see a city like Amsterdam. In the Rijksmuseum alone we could probably have spent a whole day. The good part about this is that I now have a reason to come back to Amsterdam one day!