Top 5 in A'dam
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Today I am wrapping up my Amsterdam posts with my top 5 must do while in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has been one of my favorite cities so far while living in England (which is only 9 months) and I would love to return again at some point. I just loved the energy. I am not fond of the hustle and bustle of big cities and Amsterdam was able to offer the attractions that a traveler would want to see but also a sort of calmness as well. Maybe it's the water.....
#5 See the Red Light District
It's a little cliche to go to Amsterdam and see the Red Light District but I think it is a necessary part to a trip to Amsterdam. You know you are curious to see just what the district includes. Go during the day if you are opposed to seeing the working girls. But do go, even if it is just to say you have been! What I found was that it wasn't all bad. There were great little shops and restaurants all throughout the district. It wasn't all about sex and drugs, but that was a part of it. But it wasn't like a bunch of hooligan people are out running around. It was definitely not as bad as I expected. And what is crazier is the fact that there are some beautiful buildings throughout the district. If you have a sense of humour and can be open minded for just a few short blocks, then you can handle the Red Light District.
#4 Take a tour
While in Amsterdam, you must take some sort of tour. We chose to take a WWII/Holocaust Tour through the city and it was the most informative tour I have ever been on. It was a 3 hour walk through the city, learning about important places and people in Amsterdam under Nazi reign. It was a sobering and heartbreaking tour but one that I will be forever glad that we braved the cold rainy weather to experience. You can read more about the tour here if you would like. But if you choose to take another tour, take a canal or bike tour through the town. Amsterdam is a great city to take a tour through. Especially if the tour is through some other form of transportation besides your feet! We chose the canal tour and it offered a wonderful view of the city. Like I said, any tour in Amsterdam should be great and the city has plenty to offer. Do your research ( I love Tripadvisor reviews) and make a choice! Let someone guide you through all that Amsterdam has to offer!
#3 Eat at Cafe Bern
When you walk into Cafe Bern you notice three things; it's tiny, it's completely full, and it smells like old cheese. Kind of contradictory right? This place is AMAZING. The menu, which is in Dutch but the food is actually Swiss, offers only about 7-10 menu items. I don't think I would be making assumptions if I said that I think the menu has probably never changed. And it's for good reason. Having tasted the fondue, house salad, tomato soup, entrecote, house wine and bread, I can say that I have tasted most of their classic dishes. And they. are. DELICIOUS. We visited this restaurant twice, to make sure that the food was consistent. It was. Both times, we did not make reservations and sat at the bar, which was perfectly fine. And both times, we were served by a sweet waitress named Sabine. I literally dream about this place. You must try it. However, after looking their website, their main location will be closed until next summer for renovation. They do have a temporary location and I'm sure it will be just as lovely.
#2 Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House is an absolute must while in Amsterdam. So book your tickets in advance online so that you do not have to wait in the hours long line. To visit Anne Frank House is to step back in time. Most people have read her diary as school age children and it is a humble experience to be able to visit the place where the diary was written. She was such a bright, funny and witty little girl. Her legacy and story will live on for many years to come.
#1 Hang with the locals
The Dutch are seriously cool people. There was not one restaurant, tour, or any place that we did not have a conversation with some local residents. They were all very friendly and wanted to get to know us better. Luckily, everyone in Amsterdam spoke pretty much perfect English so there was never a problem with a language barrier. They even could understand my very Southern Dad :) I really found that the people made Amsterdam what is is. A lovely city.
What are your "must-dos" in Amsterdam? I know I missed plenty :)