Last month, my brother and I went to Amsterdam for 3 days. A little heads up, since he spent most of his super long summer break in Europe, I'm going to mention him quite a lot these days. It was actually his idea to go because the only time he's been to Amsterdam was when he was still such a cute little toddler, around 3 years old. What happened to you growing up, lil bro?? You used to be so adorable... I'd better not write anything too harsh about him since we're going to see a lot of each other this summer.
Amsterdam is also a city that's extraordinarily significant to me. My first time ever traveling solo was to Amsterdam in October 2013. I still remember the mixture of excitement and apprehension when I booked the trip. After that trip, I am a changed person. I no longer fear traveling by myself, if anything it's so much fun. Traveling solo is a good opportunity to get to know yourself, what you really like, what you dislike, what you're capable of doing by yourself. Sure, I love traveling with family and friends too, but traveling solo brings about different kind of fun and sensation.
Anyways, on this Amsterdam trip with my brother, we reserved a charming apartment on Airbnb near a lovely park called Vondelpark. If you're not familiar with Airbnb, I highly recommend the site for your upcoming trips. It's a website where people list their apartments, sometimes their personal ones, and you can reserve either an entire apartment or a room according to your budget and your preferred neighborhood. It really is a great alternative to booking a hotel room.
After checking out our temporary home and putting our luggages there, we went to a bakery + café called Vlaamsch Broodhuys on Eerste Constantijn Huygensstraat 64 to grab an early lunch.
Amsterdam is a beautiful beautiful city with numerous canals and people riding bicycles that add enormous charm. Bikes are ubiquitous so please proceed with caution wherever you go.
I also think the Museumplein area is really cool too. There are 3 museums there, located almost next to each other, namely Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, and Van Gogh Museum. Museumplein is also within walking distance to Vondelpark, and the shopping street P.C. Hooftstraat.
Additionally, we took a day trip to Zaanse Schans (see the first picture above), about 30 minutes from Amsterdam by train from Amsterdam Centraal. Granted it's kinda touristy but I find it relaxing. There are several small shops ranging from cheese to Dutch klompen (wood clogs). We also went inside 1 of the 3 windmills that were open for public. We attempted to climb the super scary staircases that are more like narrow ladders. Visiting the windmills is at your own risk so please watch your steps, seriously. My brother and I felt like we could conquer anything after climbing up and down those ladders. Man, I wish I took pictures of it, I guess I was too anxious.
You might have heard that Amsterdam is very liberal. I personally think it's the Vegas of Europe. Marijuana is legal, space cakes are sold casually, and also the red light district (the one we checked out is De Wallen) is like no other. It really is mind-blowing, and definitely very eye-opening. Do check it out when you're in town!
Public transport is also very convenient there. We mostly took the tram and you can buy the ticket on board from the driver.
Other places to check out are:
- Leidesplein, Rembrandtplein (cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs)
- Frederiksplein (check out the shops and cafés along Utrechtsestraat. I like this concept store called Maison NL)
- Café Loetje (great steaks at reasonable prices)