We’ve just finished up in Amsterdam & what a blast! Amsterdam has to be one of our favourite cities we’ve visited so far. It felt a bit like Venice except with better infrastructure (roads, trams etc) and a target market closer to our age group. We found that there was a lot to see and do including something’s that we’ll save for next time (including Anne Frank’s house & the Van Gogh art gallery). It was very easy to make your way around with just English and we found on the whole people to be very friendly and helpful.
Amsterdam used to have a tax based on the width of your house…this guy is winning…the thinest house in Amsterdam,
The netherlands are pretty famous for their tulips!
Canal cruise Amsterdam
Mike’s Bike Tours & Rentals
Cycling in Amsterdam was on my bucket list, it one of those quintessential things to do in Amsterdam. A city where the cyclists are king! It was hilariously good fun & incredibly efficient being such a flat city. We took a bike tour with Mike’s Awesome Bike Tours of Amsterdam who were good fun & really knew their way around. They also had some great tips about local markets and stores. They put us onto the market & Winkel that we talk about below.
Our tour bikes
It’s surprising how few Dutch themed restaurants are in the centre of Amsterdam, we only found one which was really overpriced, instead we found a strong Argentinian & steakhouse contingent of restaurants. We imagine that you’d find a normal run of the mill Dutch restaurant out in the more suburban areas of Amsterdam. So if you’re like us & you want to eat local on a budget, we recommend some of the following places:
Doe maar Noordermarkt
Offers a great selection of local produce & is located right next to Winkel (below) on Saturdays
Doe maar Noordermarkt – I didn’t even know there were this many varieties of edible mushrooms!
Doe maar Noordermarkt – so many cheeses!
Febo is a Fast food chain here in the Netherlands that serves the classic dutch dishes of Kroquettes (Crumbed & Chips covered in mayonnaise. The dutch seem to be really into these two dishes, especially their chips – which they do really well, a good mix of crispy crust & soft potato centre…as for the mayonnaise, I think I’m a convert! The real highlight of Febo in particular though is the chance try food from a heated vending machine! It sounds gross but don’t knock it till you try it! A whole wall of each febo is dedicated to the vending machine of which is restocked from the restaurant behind. Put in your euros 1.60 Euro per Kroquette & I recommend the kroquette with peanuts in it, yum!
Another Netherland’s classic dish is the herring, which can be found in stalls throughout the city. The herring is served raw but marinated in salt and spices with a side of pickles & raw onion. It may sound a little much, I was personally anxious before trying it, but it is actually really delicious (especially for any sushi or gerkin fans out there).
Advertisement for herring
Jenny just about to devour some raw herring
This is no red herring, this is legit
This café (pronounced ‘Vinkel’ – which just translated to ‘shop’) seems to be a hidden little secret of Amsterdam. We’d been told on our bike tour that we needed to go check this place out for their famous apple pie. When we arrived there was literally a line out the door and around the corner. Inside you realize that their apple pie is actually a big deal, that’s pretty much all people order here and for good reason, it was the most delicious apple pie I’ve ever had! To give you an idea of scale, apparently they make 140 pies per day on average, each of which get cut into about 8 pieces, so on average these guys are selling around 1120 pieces of apple pie a day, that is some popular apple pie! The other item on the menu of significance is their fresh mint tea with honey, so delious and freshing! Having both a slice of pie and the tea will set you back 6.5Euro, so worth it in my opinion.
Wikel (awesome apple pie & fresh mint tea) – there was a lul in the line just as we went to leave
The famous Winkel apple pie & fresh mint tea – next to the Doe maar Noordermarkt
This chocolate shop sells an impressive array of store made chocolates. Many of the flavours on offer where new to me, based on the quality of the shop, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them were original. We personally tried the peppered chocolate, lemongrass chocolate & the Drambuie chocolate, all of which were delicious. We’re told that this shop is renowned within the international chocolate circles, so if you’re interested in the best chocolate that money can buy, this place is for you! Ironically the chocolate shop is also located directly across from a ‘coffee shop’ (that sells weed) so I also imagine that Puccini would be perfect for the munchies haha.
Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution
Having decided not to go to a sex show in Amsterdam we felt like Red Light Secret, which boasted to give a behind the scenes look into the life of a prostitute, would provide a good alternative without the visual explicitness. In particular what attracted us to the museum was the promise to hear real life stories from local prositutes around how they got into the business, how they feel about it now & where they see themselves in the years to come. We were not disappointed, at only 8Euro each (normally 10 but the 2Euro discount is widely available from booking offices), the museum offered a good mix of class & fun. We found it interesting that the FAQ sections around the museum often painted prostitution in a reasonably positive light but many of the included stories from the women spoke reasonably negatively about the business (1 was tricked into it, another wasn’t proud of it and a 3rd didn’t like sleeping with so many guys therefore began to specialize as a dominatrix where sex was not required). Other highlights for me included the screens that give you an impression of what its like to stand in the windows & the confessional wall which provided a bit of a laugh. Overall, I was really impressed by the museum & would suggest it to anyone and in particular those for whom want an M-Rated Amsterdam Red Light District Experience.
We’re thinking of upgrading our car – this is probably all we can afford at the moment…