::Amsterdam – a City of Charm

As I am sure you have gathered by now, we took advantage of a three day weekend here in Poland and traveled to Amsterdam! I had never been to Amsterdam and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the design of the city – so many boutiques, buildings full of charm and perfectly styled bicycles lined each and every street. Yes, this city has a reputation but, honestly, it is so much more than what you’re probably thinking it’s all about.

Let me start by saying there are hundreds of canals in Amsterdam. Yes, hundreds. But let me also add there are thousands of bikes – and by thousands, I mean over half a million. There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam. Can you believe it? As I went through my pictures nearly every street looked the same: canals and bikes, bikes and canals – a beautiful scene around every corner.

More bikes and canals 😉
We had pretty crummy weather nearly all weekend (rain, hail, clouds, a bit of sun, a downpour shower and a rainbow) –  but it didn’t even matter. With an umbrella, we were still able to wander around the entire city. I think visiting anytime other than summer would be ideal – less tourists in a super touristy town. My advice? This is totally a destination you could enjoy in cold weather. Don’t save Amsterdam for only a Summer vacation, it’s beautiful all year round.
P.S. Below is the line to visit the Anne Frank House in “off season” – it wraps around the block.
OMG and the curb appeal here is just to die for! Seriously, just look.
Don’t you just want to live here? As I mentioned, this is a city of design. Go to the Jordaan and de Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) districts. So many unique boutiques can be found at every price level. This was my absolute favorite part of the city. It felt so SoHo to me.
Can we also talk for a moment about the number of electric cars we saw here with charging stations? I saw cars that were charging that I didn’t know even charged… Side Note: One car per week drives into the canals of Amsterdam on accident.
Of course, no trip would be complete without a visit to the iAMsterdam sign.

On this trip, my husband also decided he wants to retire on a houseboat. It doesn’t look too bad. FYI I saw some signs for Bed and Breakfasts on actual houseboats! If you’re planning a trip, look into this option (at least do it for me so I can live vicariously through you). Hotels are expensive. There is no getting around it unless you are a study abroad student and can’t get enough of hostels. We, on the other hand, are a bit too old for the hostel life. Especially in Amsterdam. The ‘legal’ houseboats are equipped with water, electricity and gas and were originally placed in the city as a temporary solve for a housing shortage.

Anyways. We also just so happened to be in Amsterdam on Museum Night! This event takes place once a year (on the first Saturday in November). For 17 Euro, we purchased a wristband and had access to 50+ different museums around Amsterdam from 7pm-2am. The museums are complete with DJ’s, bars, entertainment, etc. and you can walk around the exhibits. We managed to drink beer in two of the most popular museums in Amsterdam: The Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum (Rembrandt). A seriously unique experience. Not too dressy, but felt to appeal to a young audience. Really cool and I highly recommend. (Buy your tickets in advance. It always sells out.) Here is a look inside the museums on Museum Night.
We concluded our trip on Sunday with a relaxing, hour long boat ride down the canals and into the old harbor.
(If you look closely, there are seven bridges through this tunnel.)
Plus, when you take a canal tour you get to see this boat that was completely built voluntarily by the unemployed people of Amsterdam. Fun Fact: It took five years to build.
Our boat ride was a perfect sendoff back to Poland.
We loved Amsterdam and would recommend it to anyone. A beautiful city with so much charm to offer its visitors.
Getting There: I mentioned flying Wizz Air previously, let me now say that we flew into Eindhoven, not Amsterdam directly because the flight was $40 vs. $300. A no brainer really. If you do this: there is a bus that goes straight from the Eindhoven airport to Centraal Station in Amsterdam. You can’t miss it when you get off the plane. This was (I think) 24 Euro roundtrip and took a little over 2 hours door to door. Allow more time, just in case of traffic, a random hail storm (not kidding), or if you are like me and have high AA (Airport Anxiety). As for the amount of time to spend in Amsterdam: three days is enough, unless you are on a museum tour then you might need a year here because there are so many of them in the city.

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