For our second day in Amsterdam, we let ourselves sleep in before grabbing breakfast at the hotel.
After poached eggs on avocado toast & pancakes with berry compote, we were reading to start the day.
We were led back out to onto the streets, smack dab in between the canals. Strolling along in the overcast weather, we continued to admire the architecture, and peer into the windows – eager to get a glimpse of the dutch lifestyle.
Eager to get out of the tourist area, we walked through the centre and past the world’s only floating flower market, the Bloemenmarkt.
I had expected to see large baskets of fresh flowers, in all colours, sizes, and varieties – but instead it was just a selection of tulip bulbs. A little bit underwhelming, but we moved on!
Turning away from the crowds, and starting along the Amstel River…
Guided only by the brick houses and pedestrian walkways that called our names.
Of course, with the canal network flowing through the city, this led us across the many bridges that link each street, each more beautiful than the last.
We headed in the direction of the Oosterparkbuurt, but lost ourselves somewhere along the way.
Which wasn’t a bother, since each street we passed was stunning. The compilation of exterior homes, the houseboats parked along the river, and the lush trees that overhang each walkway made for quite the scenery. In fact, it was almost impossible to pick a favourite from the bunch.
Now, when you’re in the Netherlands, there is one thing you MUST do. Eat stroopwafels.
They’re made of two crunchy-cookie type waffles, sandwiching a smooth layer of caramel. You can purchase them at the supermarket, but there are a number of go-to spots for fresh stroopwafels in Amsterdam.
So, they were naturally high on my list of necessities.
The best in town was listed as Lanskroon, a tiny unassuming cafe, with only a few bistro tables inside. Even luckier for us, it was only a few blocks away from our hotel. So, we did a big loop of the city, before returning back in the direction of home.
They come a little crunchier, so the trick is to place them over your tea or coffee, and let the steam heat up the centre, turning the caramel into a gooey layer and softening up the cookie shell.
I much preferred the caramel one – but heads up, it looked like they’re only available until mid-afternoon, so go earlier than later.
Now, Amsterdam isn’t all canals & food (as much as I wouldn’t mind if it was). It’s also got a rich culture, with museums such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, and the Anne Frank house. You can buy tickets in advance for any of your visits, but if you don’t want to be held to visit at a specific time, just go early and avoid the lines.
We selected the Van Gogh museum, which at the time had an interesting exhibition titled “On the Verge of Insanity”. It was quite captivating, and we still managed to check out some of his classic pieces afterwards. The smaller size of this museum made it an attractive option, and meant that we would have time to complete other adventures on our list – a little less overwhelming than the Rijks. A great option for an afternoon!
Plus, afterwards, you can head to the Albert Heijn (a supermarket just around the corner), grab a few snacks, and enjoy an afternoon picnic in the park! Even on a somewhat cloudy day, the park was full of individuals hanging out, playing games, laughing together, or just simply grabbing a quick lunch.
And with this view, who could blame them.
We sprawled out on my rollo, set out a few treats, and faced up to the sun as we watched the clouds float by. It was the perfect time to relax & trick ourselves into feeling like locals.
As you can imagine, we were quite exhausted after such a busy day! So, we headed back to the Hoxton for cocktails and took a little time to recharge.
For our last night in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general), we wanted something that we knew we couldn’t get at home: Indonesian food. To be honest, I didn’t even know that I liked Indonesian food until a few nights prior, when we feasted at Garoeda. Since then, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!
Upon recommendation from a friend, I was told that one of the best spots in Amsterdam for such a feast was Kantjil & De Tijger.
The restaurant offered both rice tables (a fixed price for a crazy number of dishes, veggies, and rices) and a la carte options. After quite a day of eating however, we decided to limit ourselves to just a few options from the menu.
The winners? Saffron rice, braised beef (the best!), braised pork, mixed veggies in coconut broth, and chicken skewers with peanuts. Still a feast, to say the least.
The restaurant was packed and I could see why – rich flavours, big portions, and decent prices! I would highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area, but you might want to try & book a reservation first.
The next morning, we grabbed our complimentary breakfast in a bag, and headed to the airport.
All in all, a solid weekend in Amsterdam! At first it was a bit underwhelming, but the city really grew on me in the short time we were there. If you can manage to get out of the tourist areas and explore the city a little deeper, then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!