Amsterdam is a living city. It's unassumingly lovely, chock full of intriguing nooks and watering holes for the artistically-minded. I wouldn't have guessed it before going, but it was definitely my favorite city on the trip. I mentioned this in some previous posts, but while a lot of cities we visited are postcard pretty, they feel almost unreal in their touristy glamour. Amsterdam is not like that; real people are going about their day, and if you get in the way while ogling some attraction, you'll get hit by a bike. It's refreshing and very real. And since it was my favorite place, I have a lot to say about it. Settle in for a long one.
We had lunch at one place that struck a great balance between good and cheap. I got the sandwich in the first photo for € 2.50. Eggplant and a hunk of mozzarella. Mmm. Yes. And a delicious, relatively large, ice cream cone for another € 2. I don't know what the place is called, but if you're visiting the Bloemenmarkt and you're hungry, the address is 8 Reguliersbreestraat (from what I've gleaned from Google Maps). And it's between a BugerBar and a casino. Have at it.
The next two images are almost cheating; Kaitlyn, Charley and I decided to break up our day at the Rijks Museum with some food and drink. It was possibly the prettiest food I'd consumed the whole trip. Museum cafés are pretty, delicious, and expensive places. I'll admit this open sandwich was pretty pricey, but my eyes and taste buds sang over the sounds of my wallet's tears.
The pizza below is from La Perla Pizzeria in the Jordaan neighborhood, just a few blocks from our hostel. On the evening before Charley had to fly home we wanted to celebrate the end of our trip with a special dinner. We walked there and found ourself in a charming little pocket of shops and restaurants, smack dab in the center of a large residential area. All of the storefronts looked intriguing, and we went back the next morning to explore the vintage boutiques, etc. etc. La Perla itself was darn delicious. We had kind of a long wait, but while we did I enjoyed a ginger beer and watched the dynamics of other groups around the small restaurant. There was a pretty exciting moment in which one poor waiter tripped and spilled a pizza down the back of a woman's coat, in the exact second I was taking a picture of Kaitlyn and Charley. The shock and concern on their faces was documented perfectly. Hilarious.
Our three nights in Amsterdam were spent at the Shelter Jordan. It's a Christian hostel pretty near the city center, with reasonable prices and a free breakfast. The rooms are fairly standard and gender segregated. The experience on the whole was a solid fine, and didn't sway me strongly either one way or the other. Things were pretty clean, but they didn't have a kitchen area for guests to use beyond a microwave and half size refrigerator, which cramped my cheapskate lifestyle. The people who work there are pretty friendly and really try to include the guests in their activities/meetings, but if you're not interested in taking part in anything religious, it's fairly easy to say no thank you.
IF YOU'RE GOING
Also check out this city guide by one of my long-time favorite bloggers, Carrie of WishWishWish. I tried to stop at a couple of the places she recommended and they were visual treats! Amsterdam is pretty big, but a lot of the main things to see are quite centralized. Pack a pair of good walking shoes and get out there. Otherwise, the metro system is really easy to figure out, and you can buy passes by the hour. So have a wonderful time and take it all in!
This is my last travel post playing catch up from my winter trip! I'm excited to start moving into content closer to home, and to what's currently happening in my life. Until the next one, byebye Europe pictures! Hello, Milwaukee!