Friday, June 9th, 2017
Weather 73-54 partly cloudy
Distance- 24,281 steps, 11.6 miles
I arrived at Amsterdam Centraal Station, put my bag into a storage locker, and since the train station is located near the water headed the only way I could.
The first stop was at Vlaamsch Broodhuys (I later found it was kind of a chain – good food though) I cruised through Prinseneiland to see some of iconic colorfully painted shutters and ended with a beer at Cafe 't Papeneiland, which was founded in 1642.
I wandered through the Jordaan area and I stopped at Monte Pelmo for gelato before I had killed enough time to check in. On the walk to my place I passed by the city centre, a farmers market, and Oude Lutherse Kerk (Lutheran church).
As I checked into my Air Bnb host, Elske, offered me Stroopwafel (Carmel waffle) which is a Dutch treat. For dinner I walked to Salvatorica. It was a small place with only two other people inside and a menu written on a piece of paper, but was recommended and had a perfect score on google. These are the places that will taste awesome and I was not disappointed! Apple pie is a big thing there so Elske recommended Winkel 43 and it was great!
Near by was the Tulip Museum and the Anne Frank house and walked by both. I stopped by Beer Temple before heading to the Red Light District. The Red Light District is a unique experience. Amsterdam is such a nice place and then you come across this area that has a strong scent of weed, numerous bars, hookers in windows, and places to watch live sex. I spent about 20 minutes walking around before heading back home.
Saturday, June 10th, 2017
Weather - 73-55 partly cloudy
Distance - 25,717 steps, 12.6 miles
At the recommendation of Elske I went to Pancakes to get another iconic food, Dutch pancakes. It was very similar to an American pancake just bigger and not as thick. Really good though!
In most cities in Europe I like to use Sandemans tour and signed up. The meeting point was by National Monument in Dam Square. We began the tour in the oldest part of Amsterdam at 700 years old, the Red light District. Right in the middle is a church that was built at the same time. The Red Light District is next to Centraal Station because it was a port and sailors would come in looking for women. They would then wake up and the church would say they needed to work to repent for their sins. Since the sailors could not stay to work they would pay the wages. It was a business for the church to be located there. They kept adding new parts as they got more money. The church bell rings every 15 minutes because that's how long you were with a woman. Odd for a church to help in that business!
The Dutch tend to live by 3 rules. First, is it good for business; second, it can't be hurting anyone else; and third you need to have plausible deniability. So weed is illegal but no one does anything. It is labeled a "coffee shop" and we don't know what happens behind the curtain.
There are 142 man made canals in the city that are built in a semi circle to start and end at Centraal Station. This way they were able to drop off goods to people living in the city. If you look at buildings around the city some are built forward to make it easier to pull up things with the pulley system. They say there are three layers to the canals, water, mud, and bikes because 18,000 bikes are fished out each year.
Amsterdam was the most wealthy nation at one point because of the Dutch East India Company. It grew into the largest and wealthiest company of all time by gathering spices from India. It'd be equivalent to 7.2 trillion dollars now. At the time it had 60% of the world’s wealth. Amsterdam became so wealthy but remained so small that England got other countries to start arguments with Amsterdam. England knew that they would need to hire their Army and made a trade to acquire New Amsterdam (New York City).
We stopped by Bagijnhof which belongs to devout Catholic single women called Begijnen. They perform good works but don't want to live in a convent and haven't taken their vows. If you try and enter after 8pm you have to be a single woman over 45.
The last stop we had was at the Gay Monument. It consists of three triangles. One triangle is under water and faces toward the national monument for those who suffered in the past. The one at ground level is for the present and faces the Anne Frank house, and the one above ground faces toward the gay and lesbian information station. The monument is right in front of a giant church. The church is a big supporter of the Gay Monument for equal rights and places giants flags on all four sides during gay pride week. The guide emphasized that Amsterdam is always very tolerant, just don't hurt anyone.
After the tour was over I went to Hannekes Boom. It is a restaurant on the north east side that is right on the water and it was cool. I walked down south through the city and ran into a farmers market and then by the canals. I walked by all the art galleries, Rijksmusuem, and the Van Gogh museum. Outside of the Rijksmuseum is the I AMsterdam sign.
I walked over to Vondelpark and enjoyed the sun and sat by a pond. They also have the coolest ducks which are all black and have what looks like a white triangle on their foreheads.
After two tries at restaurants I ended up at De Reiger. I then went to Leidestreet which has a lot of bars, restaurants, and younger people. It looked like the place to go, there was even a sword swallower, gets no cooler than that!
Sunday, June 11th, 2017
Weather 80/59 partly cloudy
I stopped by Marqt (which is a grocery store) to pick up snacks for my upcoming trip to Munich. I then went to Broodje Bert for breakfast which was really good, Cafe De Eland to grab a Heineken as I felt I needed to have one before I left, and finished at Koffie Spot.
Getting Around: 10/10
The city is super small and very easy to walk. If not you can always take a bike where ever you need to go!
Things to do: 6/10
You can find things to do whether it was bars, museums, or the Red Light District, but from my experience I was there for a short time and felt like I had done all that I wanted.
I enjoyed everything I had and still choose to get a stroopwaffle anytime I can.
Whatever your vice is you can discover it here. Amsterdam is one of the most tolerant cities in the world. During World War II they were a safe haven for the Jewish and now the church helps to support gay pride. You can stop in a coffee shop to get weed or get into whatever you desire in the Red Light District. People are so tolerant you probably think marijuana is legal there, it's not, they just have a policy of tolerance. As long as you aren't hurting other people you are pretty much good! That isn't the only thing that makes Amsterdam great, the history is fascinating. I learned why they have the canals, how they basically started the stock market, how the church was involved with the Red Light District, and how England acquired what is now New York from them - I could be using Dutch right now!
The city is small, easily walkable, and beautiful. So much so that the whole place is basically a museum and historic buildings since there are almost 7,000 of them. If you don't want to walk you can grab a bike and cruise up and down the canals if you aren't taking a boat tour on them. They also have museums, like the Van Gogh or Tulip, or other historical sites like the Anne Frank house. I really like the food I had and there are Heineken and small older bars galore. I really enjoyed my time there but after a couple days I felt I had done everything I wanted to. I would recommend it but maybe just don't spend a lot of time there. You can see where that ranks against the other places I've gone here.
Non-Obvious Amsterdam Recommendations:
What To Bring
If you wanted to know what I bring on my backpacking trips you can find that here.
If you are interested in getting travel insurance I recommend TravelInsurance.com. They are considered one of best in the industry, you can easily compare coverages and get the right one for you.
What To Do
More Amsterdam Fun Facts:
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HELLO AND WELCOME!
I'm Jake, a dude interested in personal finance and travel creating the life I choose.
In 5 years I went from living in a basement with Craigslist roommates to paying off 90k of debt, backpacking 3 continents, getting a house for myself and 5 rental units.
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