After the winter exam season here in the UK, I headed off to Amsterdam and Prague for a couple of days each. I don't think I've ever jam packed so many things into such little time in each city. For now, I'm going to give you a quick recap of the touristy and local places I visited in Amsterdam. I think it's important to note how pricey it can get in Central Amsterdam, aka tourist centre. A 45 minute walk led me to more local cheap areas where the Dutch people seemed more laid back and genuinely kind. Here are some places I checked out in my 2 days:
- White Label Coffee
A local cafe (not coffee shop) serving their own beans freshly roasted from down the street. A quick google search on great coffee places in Dam brought me here. As I eagerly waited for the joint to open at 9 am, I was greeted by smiling faces and many good-morning's. The barista opened the door for me and the smell of fresh coffee filled my lungs, along with the sweet sounds of Bear's Den in the morning. The interior was quaint and warming. We bonded over our admiration of the band, as he suggested some places to check out that were definitely tourist free. One of those places was the Makers Market.
- Anne Frank House
You can visit the House one of two ways: booking a time slot ticket where you're expected to arrive at a specific time, or queueing for the 3:30pm entrance (for those without tickets). This queue had been rumoured to be anywhere from two hours to three hours long at worst. I thought my trip was going to be a complete bust since I didn't get a chance to buy a time slot ticket in time. I arrived at 2:30pm hoping to start queueing an hour early to enter the House at 3:30 (yes, I was desperate to visit). I asked one of the workers if there was a line already forming, she said no and let me in on a secret. She told me that she recently just released 5 tickets for 3:15pm and told me to quickly get on the wifi and buy one before they disappear. With my luck, I managed to grab the third of five tickets. I've always been fascinated with Anne Frank ever since I was in elementary, and this tour was completely worth it. I left the House teary eyed and with chills. This was an experience I won't ever forget.
- Makers Market & The Local Goods Store
Timing worked my way when visiting Amsterdam. The weekend I visited coincided with the monthly Makers Market. This event collects Amsterdam’s most innovative young creatives together to sell their work at De Hallen. From leathered goods to health foods, everything here is one of a kind. I decided on purchasing a leather key ring, and the gentleman who sold it to me was the maker! Definitely check this place out if the timing is right for the neatest one-of-a-kind gifts. More local products are found inside De Hallen at the Local Goods Store. So if the market isn't on when you're visiting, just take a peak into this shop.
- Misc Store
A neat shop I stumbled by on my walk to White Label Coffee. Initially an online store, the Misc Store holds a carefully hand-picked range of stationary, design objects, and furniture for the work place. If you're a stationary junky like myself, bring your credit card cause you'll want to purchase everything! The interior of the store mixed with the beautifully picked items satisfied my internal neat freak. They ship worldwide, so definitely check out their online shop.
- Red Light District
Infested with tourists, it was a must-do visit. Crowds of foreign students filled the canals of the District. Bustles of people headed off to their next coffee shop or bar. It was interesting seeing the workers in their red boxes. But good for them, it's your body! #shebodypower
- Partaking in Some Local and Legal Activities
Whilst visiting for the first time, I made it a goal of mine to fully immerse myself in the culture. This included trying new things out! The product was fresh and easy on the inhale. I tried my first ever Space Cake as well. But most of all, I had a close-eyed mind rave instilled by a certain edible truffle. It may not be for everyone, but even for a goody-two-shoes like myself, I'd definitely try it again. ;P
If you're ever in Amsterdam, check out the places above, I enjoyed my time here! If you've been, maybe let me know if I missed something that I should check out. Till next time!