I went to several cities in Europe during August, and Amsterdam was one of the destinations and first on this three-week trip. When most countries in Europe are hot during summertime, Amsterdam is always cool. I have learned that it maintains the same temperature throughout the year. So in addition to all my summer outfits, I also brought a lightweight military jacket and a gray cardigan. These two can mix and match with any dresses and tops.
I stayed in an Airbnb house near the street “Beethovenstraat”. My host told me that this neighborhood is the most upscale part of Amsterdam, and it is very safe. It has lots of coffee shops, bistros, and high-ended boutique shops. The public transportation is also great. Few lines of trams are running along the Beethovenstraat street, and they can get you to the city center and all the tourist places. For all the trams, metro, and buses, it is 2.90 euro per ride or you can get an unlimited ride ticket (1 to 7 day ticket, 7.50 euro to 34 euro). I won’t suggest getting the unlimited ride ticket because the city is not too big and most of the tourist places are clustered. Most of the time, you will be walking from one place to another, or you might want to bike, which is the most popular transportation in Amsterdam.
I arrived in the late afternoon. Right after I dropped off my luggage at my Airbnb, I headed out to check around my neighborhood and get food. Afterward, I went to Anne Frank House, which I did not purchase an advanced ticket. From what I read on the internet, if you didn’t reserve the ticket in advance, queuing in line could take few hours to get in. I didn’t make any plan and just wanted to try. The last entry to get into the museum is 9pm. I got there at 8pm, and surprisingly the line wasn’t that long. Guess what? I got in at 8:30pm, only waited for 30 minutes. So, for those who couldn’t get the advanced ticket, you might want to go there during a later time of the day. The visit to Anne Frank House was so great. It is the showcase of all the things happened in this house during that time. I highly recommend. The last stop of the night, I went to check out the Red Light District, which is well-known in Amsterdam.
Whenever I think of Netherland, I will see windmills situated in a beautiful natural landscape. While I was doing my research before the trip, I found this historic town Zaanse Schans, which is quite near Amsterdam. There are two ways of public transportation to Zaanse Schans, by Bus or train from Amsterdam Central station. Bus—takes 40 minutes and will take you right there. Train—takes 17 minutes, but requires additional 15 minutes walk.
I spent almost the whole day in this picturesque Dutch village. It is so beautiful, and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the surrounding throughout the day. There is a huge river, surrounded by 6 wooden windmills on one side, and a row of traditional houses on the other side. You can also hop on a boat and take a windmill tour. Besides the iconic view of the windmills, there are also museums, restaurants, shops along the river. If you have extra time, you can also bike around in this village. I had a long lunch break in the restaurant right next to the river. I sat on the outdoor patio, with an awesome view of the river and windmills…very relaxing!
The EYE Film Museum, has a unique and futuristic architecture, is located on the north bank of the river, along with the waterside. Since the museum is conveniently located right across from the Central Station, after I came back from Zaanse Schans, I immediately took the ferry (free) to the north bank. I wasn’t really into the film collection and the exhibition, but I couldn’t resist taking a closer look of the architecture.
The last day here I decided to rent a bike and tour around the city, instead of by foot and tram. The whole city is very bike friendly. There are bike racks wherever you go, and wide designated bike lanes. The whole city is not that big, and because I was biking, I was able to hit all the tourist spots. I started my day in the Museum District. I visited the Van Gogh Museum, took some pictures in front of the “IAMSTERDAM” sign, made a quick bike tour around the Rijks Museum (I didn’t go in). Then I went to the luxury shopping street, “Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat”. I went there not for shopping, but I wanted to see the Chanel Crystal House designed by MVRDV.
I continued to bike, to the Flower Market, and of course, I crossed many canals connected with small bridges. I really enjoy biking around in the area where all the canals are. The area is chilled and peaceful. The Amsterdam style houses and the rows of trees along the street made the overall scenery even more unique and memorable. After I made a short stop in the Flower Market, I biked to the Nine Street area. This area has lots of unique boutique shops, cafe, and cute restaurants. I can see myself come here often if I live in this city. I had a quick coffee break in one of the cafes, and then cruised around a bit. Finally, I headed to the Heineken Brewery before they close for the night.
For restaurants, I randomly talked to a girl while I was exploring the city. She suggested me to go to Lindengracht Street and the surrounded area. There are a lot of good and less touristy restaurants there. So I went there and just randomly went into one of the restaurants, Bleu Bistro…and it was really good.