travel guide: amsterdam
amsterdam was our first stop on our european adventure last summer! looking back at our pictures, i almost was confused and thought they were taken in two different countries because of some differences.
there was the very touristy city, amsterdam itself, then there was a quieter country side just outside of the big city. (where our airbnb was) i definitely preferred the country side! our airbnb host was amazing and had everything mapped out for us in a small book, it was so sooooo helpful! she also had bikes for us to get around. the bike system was crazy good! they have their own roads and stoplights for the bikes.
things i recommend:
zaanse schans - this is where all the old windmills are! along the riverside are HUGE old windmills from the mid 19 hundreds. it's such a sight to see, simply stunning! there is also a little shop where you can watch them make wooden clogs! it's such an interesting process, i wish i bought some to bring home! also we think the whole town smells like chocolate. it was amazing to stroll past the bakeries and cafes here. also, you'll see the picture of water...this was heaven to us. the water is not that great in amsterdam and it costs a fortune to buy bottled water.
the bike bridges open for the boats and ships to pass through! yes i was one of the many people taking pictures of this...the locals must get a good laugh out of us tourists.
amsterdam central - wow this place was PACKED. as soon as you walk off the train there are tourists everywhere, shoulder to shoulder i kid you not. BUT you have to experience it. ;) now there is a lot to do downtown, here is what we did:
canal tour - this. was. amazing. probably one of our top favorites! when you get off the train into the central station, you will see tons of canal tour people trying to get you on their little boat. the ones right up front are the most expensive! if you walk a couple more steps there are other ones for less. it is such a fun way to see the city. i loved learning about the history of the building. our tour guide was funny too ;) the funniest thing we saw, however, was a boat going around to clean the canals from all the BIKES!
iamsterdam sign - i don't know if there really is a good time to take pictures here. it is ALWAYS crowded. but it's right behind (or in front of? not sure) the rijksmuseum, a museum of dutch art and history.
food - two things. fries and waffles. try the fries with a unique fry sauce (i just got ketchup and regretted it because it's not normal ketchup) don't play it safe with these. i ate all of aaron's because it was so good! they even give you a little fork to eat them. it's quite the experience. next is stroopwaffles. two very thin waffles held together by caramel. we picked some up near vondlepark by the iamsterdam sign and they were HUMONGOUS and so warm.
note: don't get a bike in the city! we didn't because it was so scary, it's hard to ride your bike with so many people in an unfamiliar place. but YES in the countryside. it was breathtaking.