I woke up not quite as early as the day before and headed to the museum area. The I Amsterdam sign that everybody has to take a picture with when they go is there. It’s one of the most touristy things to do. It also makes a great photo so everybody will know you were in Amsterdam.
Tip: Get there early! I went at 8/8:30 am, there were like 6 other people there and I was able to get a picture with the sign all by myself. If you go later there’s a large crowd and you won’t get a picture of it all to yourself.
Just a short walk over is the Van Gogh Museum. I decided to go to it instead of the Rijksmuseum which has more artists and is the main art museum in Amsterdam. Van Gogh is my favorite artist and so his museum was my priority, but if you’re not a huge fan of him then go to the Rijksmuseum instead. Or do both! They’re all in the same area so it’s up to you! Tickets for the Van Gogh Museum are 17 euros and the Rijksmuseum is 17.50 euros. Book online and in advance so you don’t have to wait in line!
The Van Gogh Museum was great and it also contains some Monet and Daubigny. It’s really interesting because Van Gogh, Monet, and Daubigny all painted similar things. Van Gogh was inspired by these other artists and so there was a section that put up paintings of the same subject by the different artists next to each other. I’m not amazing at analyzing art, but it allowed me to really see how techniques differed between the three artists.
Next up, I knew I needed to still try stroopwafels so I decided to seek some out. Apparently there are markets where you can buy them hot and freshly made, but I went to this great cafe instead to grab a latte and a stroopwafel. I went to Landskroon Bakery and it was delicious. It’s a small place so I was lucky to grab a table when I went.
You can get stroopwafel tins at souvenir shops, but I suggest finding a more local place to try one. They’re very sweet and one was enough for me.
I walked around the city for awhile now and bought some fries with a mayo sauce because apparently Amsterdam is known for them. I had no idea what sauce to put on them so the lady told me to do the mayo one as it was the most popular. I think it depends on the person, but I wasn’t overly fond of them. They were fine, but nothing special in my opinion.
Around noon I started heading to the airport where I took the number 4 tram to the RAI train station and then caught the train to the airport. The 4 tram has a stop right next to Dam Square. It’s really easy, but make sure to give yourself time because there can be a wait. It’s the cheaper route compared to taking an uber or taxi and since I was traveling light, I found it very convenient.
That was my trip to Amsterdam! It was a great city that’s so beautiful and full of history.
Things I’m Glad I Did:
- Not biking
- Getting up early for the I Amsterdam sign
- Anne Frank House
- My cheese tasting
- Sitting in a cafe and people watching
What I Wish I Had Done:
- A meal on a canal – I saw some really pretty looking boats that you could have dinner on. I think it’d be really romantic or fun with friends to do one of those. I was there solo so I didn’t think it was worth it.
- See the windmills and tulip fields! – A weekend is sufficient to see Amsterdam, but you need an extra day to go see the windmills and tulips. I was also there in winter, so I’m sure it’d be best to do this in the spring.
- Stayed in city centre – My airbnb was fantastic, but it’s a little annoying when you have to pay for public transportation into the centre and allow time for yourself to get there. It’s also difficult because if you want to take a break and rest in your room, it’s not worth it to go all the way back.
- Looked up what kind of adapter plugs the Netherlands use – I had wrongly assumed the U.K. would have the same as the EU, but it doesn’t. Luckily my airbnb had an adapter that I could use and charge my phone. Always look this up because you do not want to be stuck with low battery somewhere and no possible way of charging it.
- Wok to Walk – You can build your wok and pick and choose what ingredients to put in and then take it to go. There is no seating though.
- ‘Skek – Apparently it has a 20% student discount and has great food. It’s student run and has a bar and a restaurant.
- Trust – This is exactly what the name sounds like. It’s a vegan restaurant where you pay what you feel like. They’re trusting you to pay if you can afford it and so there’s an anonymous payment jar.
Amsterdam is a fun and vibrant city. You can do a variety of activities too. The drinking, Red Light District, and marijuana scenes are very casual and accepted. It’d be a exciting to go there with friends and enjoy the nightlife. There’s also a lot of history to the city and beautiful architecture. The houses are so picturesque on the canals they almost look staged. The museums are great and I never felt unsafe being alone on the streets. Granted I never stayed out late, but it’s an easy city to navigate and feel at ease in. It’s a very touristy place though. You feel as if you’re surrounded by tourists and not locals. I understand why people from all over want to visit Amsterdam because it’s a great city, but if you stick around the centre you won’t be seeing as many Dutch people.
I do want to go back one day to explore more outside of the city, but I’m very satisfied with my first adventure abroad.
Do you ever regret parts of your trip? How do you work to prevent that? If you’ve visited Amsterdam, what was your favorite part? Do you disagree with any of my opinions?
Tell me your thoughts!