Travel Notes: Amsterdam

When the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam came up, I jumped at the chance even if it meant doing it solo. I flew in at around noon and took a cab from the airport to my hotel in the museum district. Not wasting time, I went about exploring the area after checking into my hotel.

The hotel was only steps away from Vondelpark which is the largest and most popular public park in Amsterdam. A few more blocks away was a street lined with high end stores such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Dior, Prada, etc. Another 2 minute walk and I found myself in front of the world famous Rijksmuseum which houses Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to present time.

museum, art
dutch art

Across from the Rijksmuseum is the most visited museum in Amsterdam – the Van Gogh Museum – which fittingly holds the largest collection of his work.

van gogh
van gogh

On the second day of my trip, I got up early and had a cup of coffee and a waffle for breakfast.  

dutch breakfast

Sufficiently fueled, I went to see more of what Amsterdam is known for.

bike culture
Bike culture
In the US, we have garages for cars but in Amsterdam, they have garages for bikes. Behind Copenhagen, Amsterdam is rated as the 2nd most bike friendly city in the world.
Amsterdam Centraal
Designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1889, this Gothic, Renaissance Revival station building with a cast iron platform roof is Amsterdam’s largest railway station.
Canals lined with Dutch townhouses
The canals of Amsterdam are a city symbol and in 2010, the canal ring area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The canal houses were built at the height of the Dutch Golden Age and are often narrow, high, and deep. Hooks were affixed to the top to hoist furniture and goods up and through the windows.
Dam Square
A five minute walk from Centraal Station, this square is a popular tourist destination where the Royal Palace is located. You can also find Madame Tussauds, New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), restaurants, shops, and lots of pigeons on the square!
Rembrandt House Museum
Located in Jodenbreestraat, Rembrandt lived and painted in this house between 1639 and 1656.
Oude Kerk
The Old Church is the oldest building in Amsterdam and was built on top of a cemetery. It is a short walk from Centraal Station and Dam Square and a towering presence in the Red Light District.
red light district
Red Light District
De Wallen is the largest and best known Red Light District in Amsterdam. Window prostitution (legal in the Netherlands) seamlessly co-exists with the Old Church, nursery school (Princess Juliana), and family homes. Live and let live.

On my third and final day, I took a boat ride on the narrow canal from the museum district to trendy Jordaan. This area is known for boutiques, pubs, and hip eateries. Stalls at the Noordermarkt square market offer antiques, jewelry, clothes, and organic food.

Jordaan is one of the most historic parts of Amsterdam and home to the Anne Frank House. This building at Prinsengracht 263 was where Anne Frank wrote her memoir, The Diary of a Young Girl, while she and her family lived in hiding for more than two years during World War II. Make sure to book your ticket in advance.

anne frank house

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