Hello! As promised, I am here with the first day of our mini adventure to Amsterdam.
We arrived mid-afternoon on Monday so I’ve piled our evening activities in with this post. This’ll be one of three posts giving you a rough structure for a day, including some of our favourite spots for eating and exploring. However, there may be some gaps as we ate so randomly and I didn’t snap pictures of all aspects, so you’ll still need to do some work yourself 😉
11am: we were up late most days. This day we felt we needed it after the travelling but the other days it was just nice to wake up as and when we pleased and enjoy a lazy morning! We grabbed the tram most places (I spoke about that a bit in my general planning post here) and our first day I’d read in the travel guide about a little cafe-bakery called De Bakkerswinkel. I was desperate to hear there! The tram we were on got diverted (though we didn’t know this until we panicked and got off at a random stop!) We were getting hungry and nearly gave up on heading to this little gem. We are so glad we didn’t!
The original ‘De Bakkerswinkel’, Roelof HartStraat 68, cafe-bakery. Tram 3/5/12/24 to Roelof Hartplein.
We kicked off our brunch with a huge pot of Earl Grey tea. And so the love affair begins… Scott was OBSESSED! To be fair, Earl Grey is pretty great! This place is a bizarre mix of pretty china and vintage elements with a laid back, modern feel mixed in. We felt like we could have sat there for house (and we did!) and have been welcome the whole time. The staff were lovely and our waitress was particularly nice, offering us plenty of milk and an extra teabag upon realising we were British! Very sweet, hehe. This was my lunch. Oh my gosh. I have never had salad, or quiche, quite like it. And I am NOT a big salad fan. I was eating thinking how proud my Mum would be! I don’t know what made it but something did and it was delicious. Scott had a sesame chickpea soup and Scottish Smoked Salmon sandwiches because… well, when in Rome 😉 Their sweets were equally as delicious! I went for traditional warm apple pie which was the best I had the whole trip (and I had a lot!) and Scott had a scone with a range of homemade compote. We tried them all. Pineapple and basil? Weird but so good! The passion fruit was also delicious! As I said, this was the original De Bakkerswinkel but I’ve looked online and there are many throughout the city, all featured on their website! This one was a little out the way for other activities but it was nice to be in a different and much quieter part of the city.
2pm: Next up, we headed back to the Museumplein. We’d decided we fancied checking out one of the three museums here (Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh and Stedelijk). Despite the Van Gogh being highly recommended, we went for the Rijksmuseum, just to mix it up a bit, ahaha! Oh, look. A yellow background. Who wanted to stop and take pictures there?! Hehehe! Museumplein is lovely for a wee wander. It’s nice feeling surrounded by all the beautiful buildings and knowing the contain such works of art- literally! I expect in summer it’d be wonderful for a picnic but January brought ice skating to watch instead. Just as special!
The Rijksmuseum itself was such a beautiful building. Admittedly, I’m not in to art. I can appreciate it and love beautiful works but don’t necessarily want to stand and read a painting for a long time. We did go quite late in the day so didn’t see as much as we’d of liked to or really should have, however the entry was reasonable and the gift shop and cafe were open an hour later than the museum so you didn’t feel rushed out and could appreciate the grand entrance. We paid for audio guides too which came with the option of a guided tour. We didn’t follow one but looked at them and it looked like a great option for people with limited time or no idea of what they want to see! There are also lockers available for coats and bags so you can comfortably enjoy your time there if you wish to stay a while. The gift shop was lovely and Scott and I both got souvenirs from there! Pretty blue and white EVERYTHING. I could not resist, so I restrained myself to two beautiful teacups.
5.30pm: we left the museum as it was getting dark. Right outside is the iamsterdam time so you can snap away there and as it was winter, this was the beautiful site we were greeted with! Those pretty trees, so magical ❤
Scott had never ice skated before so he was very excited to give it a go! It was loads of fun though we didn’t stay on ice long. Once again, there were lockers there and skates to hire which made things easy and meant we didn’t have to plan ahead. There was music playing and pretty lights changing so it felt pretty magical with the chill on our faces as we zoomed around.
Well… I say ‘zoomed’…! 6pm: as I said, I’ve merged the two together so this was actually the activities of our first night in Amsterdam. We decided canal tour was a good way to make the most of our time before we actually got our bearings and understood the city by daylight. It was so easy to find in the centre. Any tram toward Central Station, we hopped off at, I think, Nieuwezijds Kolk, and it was a 5 minute walk to Damrak where all the canal boats head off from. We were running late so only got a sip of our mulled wine and hot chocolate before we hopped on board and took our seats.
The lights were beautiful and I’m fairly certain we wouldn’t of spotted them just wandering around the city so it was a worthwhile trip. It was very peaceful with some information about each light show but nothing to overwhelming. I do wish we’d of done a day canal trip too, as a chance to get better snaps of the pretty buildings and also to see and know more about the whole city.
7pm: we wandered the gift shops and cheese shops along here. Right on the corner of a street along Damrak, there was a huge cheese shop where I bought a beautiful blue and white tile with a woman churning milk. It’s lovely and everytime we passed the shop, all the colourful wheels of cheese looked lovely! For dinner most nights, we stopped at a place, again, right on Damrak near the canal tour bases, called Manneken Pi’s for chips. Scott had them smothered with mayo while I went for ketchup. They truly were some of the best chips EVER!
After that it was just an easy one in the room, catching our families up on our days, playing bananagrams and listening to music.
Join me for day #2 tomorrow!