I left my heart, and as it turns out, my laptop charger, in Amsterdam.
It is not often we visit a place and start to plot to move their within a couple of hours of setting foot in it.
We arrived, knowing not a jot where we would go. Dave, always cool in these matters, steered us in the opposite direction of the teeming tourist crowds at Amsterdam Central with backpacks on their fronts, and peace fingers. After only a few minutes and an excellent spot of luck, we stumbled on our favourite spot of the trip, Vinnies. It makes great coffee and delicious, super healthy food. We couldn’t quite believe our luck and this blundering, under researched, but brilliant discovery mirrored the rest of our trip.
9 highlights of our trip to Amsterdam
- Van Stapele Koekmakerij. A shop only selling nothing but one flavour of chocolate chip cookie claimed my heart immediately. You know when you taste something so decadent it makes the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, and your eyes slightly roll back in your head, in a not altogether attractive way, but you don’t care because oh-god-the-chocolate??! That. Chewy with a gooey white chocolate centre and slightly crispy top; it was a disgustingly amazing slice of chocolate heaven. AND there is a secret trap door which has little presents for children. Come. On.
- Vinnies. Excellent coffee, breezy mid century interior, lovely staff, free wifi and the most delicious superhealthy food. Hooked.
- Harlem soul food. Recommended by some trendy locals in a vintage shop, it serves really simple but delicious portions of strip steak and nacho’s, and is pretty cheap too. Ace, even if our table did get accosted by a drunken dude who insisted on regaling us with his life story. Thanks pal!
- There are tons of amazing contemporary galleries here but Foam Gallery was excellent. We really loved the Charlie Engman portraits for Hermes, and they were also showing a pretty shocking/sobering show from Larry Clark too.
- Waterlooplein market. Recommended to us by all so we extended our stay to explore this market. I remember how good this was from my visit a decade earlier and gosh, it didn’t disappoint. We came away with some vintage cushions, a bed sheet and a huge old clog. I couldn’t not buy a clog, ok?! And YES, of course we have room in our car for more vintage tat...
- Amazing colourful street art. Everywhere.
- A boat trip around the harbour and canals. So touristy, but I think seeing a city from the water is always romantic and wonderful. Plus we found a pretty cheap place that does it.
- Exploring the canals by foot. Lined in large trees, harbouring the most amazing house boats (another post!) and often overlooked by picturesque cafe’s and bars, we spent hours crossing bridges, getting lost down canal side streets and dream-house-boat-spotting
- Cheap vintage shops. My favourite was Wini's with a 5 euro pile (heaven or what?!) but cheap vintage is in abundance.
P.S I'm writing this from a wild and stormy remote corner in Holland. It sure is windswept but it's brilliant too. But. A strange thing is happening. I have never been so sleepy and happily spaced out. Is this relaxing?! I am leaving, forgetting and losing things allll the time. Slightly alarming when you consider that I am supposed to be remembering to drive on the wrong side of the road. (driving going ok so far though!)
P.S.S Here is a link to Davina's Top 5 Things to do in Amsterdam with Kids