Amsterdam, city of bikes and scooters!
It was way back late 1993 when I was last in Amsterdam and 21 years later I decided to return, this time with Captain on tow! It was his first visit to this amazing city and what he saw was not what he expected. After 21 years, Amsterdam to me was still the same city I remember it to be and it was nice to again experience the city as if I never actually left!
The Bulldog Coffeeshop in the Red Light District, is one of the many coffeeshops in Amsterdam
There is so much more to Amsterdam than the usual cliche it normally is associated with - drugs and sex. Sadly the normal scene would be groups of youngsters wondering around the city enjoying the freedom this city embraces yet forgetting to actually 'see' the beauty it has to offer. Besides the many coffeeshops (places to enjoy marijuana, not to be confused with cafes) and the colorful Red Light district, Amsterdam is filled with museums and fabulous architectures. The highlight of this trip was a visit to the Van Gogh museum to see his famous master pieces and my one favorite, The Sunflower in person. There was also the Museum of Handbags, (can you believe it?), Anne Frank House, The Rembrandt Museum and the gorgeous Rijksmuseum just to name a few.
Mike's Bike Tour has some fabulous excursions to enjoy
We decided to take a bike excursion outside the city just to get away from the hustle and bustle for a day. The whole trip took about 5 hours and it was worth the effort. It was interesting to learn about the protocol of cycling in the city and to enjoy the fantastic scenery along the journey. The excursion took us to see one of the windmills Holland is famous for. This particular one actually has a family living in it! How cool is that? We also visited a small family run shop that makes cheese and clogs. It was a great experience and I highly recommend the bike excursion if you ever in town. Lets just say we learned a lot through the trip :) and dinner was well deserved!
One of the many boat houses!
Since this was Captain's first trip to Amsterdam, we had to do the tourist must - the cruise on the canal! This is the best way to see the city besides the city excursion by bike. More romantic ;). I especially love the cute boat houses and I was telling Captain that the next time we are going to be in the city, we are renting one of them!
A replica of the old Dutch East India Company, part of the Maritime Museum
These houses along the canals were not exactly straight and some even lean forward!
The gorgeous view from our window
The busy street of Amsterdam came night fall
At night Amsterdam was transformed into the most spectacular scene. It was end of November and the city was already decorated with Christmas decoration and lighting. The walk along the canal at night on the way back to our hotel, The Ambassade, which was away from the busy area, offered a breathtaking scenery. The rippling water of the canal reflecting the street light giving the most romantic feel. Yes, Amsterdam at night was truly amazing!
Long Pura, a Balinese restaurant served some amazing flavorsome dishes
Speculoos! We brought back jars of it!
Eating out was another experience. One could get any sort of cuisine in Amsterdam. We tried a variety. I discovered Speculoos on one of our breakfasts and I must say it was love at first bite! How is it possible that I didn't know about this delicious spread earlier?
Sniffing cacao, anyone?
At the end of the trip Captain confessed that he was not expecting Amsterdam the way he experienced it. He had always thought Amsterdam to be a sleazy city, based on what he loosely heard. Instead he concluded that it's a city that was honest, liberal, cultured and had tons to offer. Me, I just had to confirm that after 21 years!
Have you been to Amsterdam? What was your impression of it? Do share your experience here :)