During March, my friend Rae and I took a trip to Amsterdam for a long weekend, 2 days and 3 nights. My tips for enjoying a short journey to Amsterdam:
1. CouchSurf! We used the website CouchSurfing to find a place to stay (mostly because we waited too long to book a hostel) and I was so glad we did. I contacted Judith, a German fashion design student, who luckily accepted! It was the best way to get to know an area, as well as another person! Judith made me realize how positive humans can actually be: willing to warmly open her home to random strangers. She was creative, funny and of course, incredibly kind. Also, she lived near the Jordaan area, the prettiest part of Amsterdam if you enjoy sidewalk cafes, small art galleries, and kitschy boutiques.
2. Stay out late but also get up early. AKA, enjoy the coffeeshops and the sites. Don't forget that Amsterdam has great museums and sites as well as fantastic places to smoke and drink. You can sleep on the way home. My favorite museums were the Stedelijk Museum (modern art), the Rijksmuseum (the Royal Museum with Vermeers and Rembrandts) and the Vincent Van Gogh Museum (wonder which artist is in there...). Another stroke of luck: we ran into friends from school who lent us their museum passes so we were able to visit all of them FOR FREE.
3. Buy cheesy postcards and souvenirs. I'll be wearing my giant tulip-print clog house slippers for the rest of my life. Also, as corny as they are, postcards will be much appreciated by your family and friends!
4. Explore areas outside of the Red Light District. Mentioned earlier, the Jordaan is on the west side of the city and is much more charming than the other neighborhoods. Vondelpark is another beautiful area for picnics and frolicking with lakes, swans, willows and more. Also, head up to the docks in the northern area. The Nemo children's museum has a great view of the ships and is wonderfully fun even for adults.
5. Don't feel guilty about not eating Dutch food. The Dutch aren't well-known for their meals so gobble down the diverse array of other nationalities' dishes. For example, chow on Chinese Wok to Wok (stir fry perfect for late night munchies), Middle Eastern felafel, and German pot roast. One Dutch dish you do have to try is stroopwafel, crispy waffles with caramely syrup in the middle. Also, you have to drink Heineken while there. It's much more refreshing closer to the factory where it's produced.
6. Take advantage of the amazing public trans system. The trams and the trains are both fast and cheap, in and out of the city. Also, rent bikes! They're even cheaper and give you more flexibility. You can see much more the city without having to do as much walking.
Now for some photos:
Hat/scarf: Free People, Sunglasses: H&M
Wooden shoe know?
The Zeeburg docks
Rae running with children
Grilled cheese and mint tea
A crane in Vondelpark
More beautiful Vondelpark
Art from the Stedelijk Museum (the contemporary art museum)
The trees were reflective.
Our new friends!
Our amazing Couch Surfing host Judith working on design final
Our beautiful little room!!