So… we made it to Europe and back. For the whole of October I slipped into a TV coma and didn’t get much else done. Now that I’ve snapped out of it, it’s time to sort, edit, upload, blog, repeat.
Amsterdam was our stop en route to Rome, and we decided to stay the night and see a little more of the city. (Edwin had been to Amsterdam before, while I had only been in its airport way back in 2002.) Also, I wanted to meet up with Selynne, an ex-colleague I hadn’t seen in almost a year since she moved to Amsterdam.
From what little we’ve experienced this trip, I can tell you that the city is clean, friendly, and efficient. We got past customs and out of the airport in no time at all, and got to our hotel via pre-booked airport transfer in about half an hour.
We stayed at NL-Hotel Museumplein, which as the name suggests, is located near several of the main museums. It’s clean and decent, but the room was way too small, and that’s coming from someone who’s used to living in a tiny Hong Kong apartment! The location is certainly convenient, but we’ll probably consider other places if we’re staying for more than one night next time.
The artsy vibe just puts you in the museum-going mood right away.
Five minutes away from Rijksmuseum, which we didn’t visit. But next time we will!
Putting the “M” in Amsterdam.
This sign is an attraction in itself, and a very popular one too. It’s impossible to have it all to yourself!
No truer words were ever spoken (or put up in big green lights).
We had dinner with Selynne and her husband at Cafe Saloon. This was the start of the trip, all the research was fresh in my mind, and I had this mental list of all these Dutch foods to try. Given that we were in the city for less than 24 hours, I think we did pretty well!
We kicked things off with bitterballen. “Bitterballen are deep-fried snacks that are ubiquitous in cafes and bars all over the Netherlands. These savory orbs are battered in a crunchy breadcrumb coating and filled with a gooey mixture of chopped beef, beef broth, flour, butter, herbs and spices. They are typically served with mustard for dipping.” (Quoted from: http://www.awesomeamsterdam.com/articles/55/dutch-foods-you-should-try)
For our main course, Edwin and I shared a steak with grilled onions, served with fries and a salad. The steak was a letdown, unfortunately. We spent forever and then some chewing through it.
You know the saying “as American as apple pie”? Turns out that apple pie (or appeltaart) is Dutch. But old New York was once New Amsterdam, so maybe it’s American after all.
The view, should you decide to dine al fresco. It happened to be 中秋节 (Mid-Autumn Festival) the night we were there!
After dinner, Edwin and I took a walk around the famous red light district, which happens to be next to Chinatown, and the largest Buddhist temple in Europe.
Breakfast at Bagels & Beans bright and early the next morning!
I was very excited to see that my cup of mocha featured chocolate curls. Much better than chocolate syrup!
BLT bagel with pine nuts. I go nuts for pine nuts, so I’m lovin’ it.
Tomato bagel and cream cheese with chives mixed in. BEST BAGEL EVER. (Granted, I haven’t had that many bagels in this lifetime. But still, it’s a good bagel.)
Onboard the Amsterdam Canal Cruise!
The journey is 75 minutes long, and is a lovely way to see the city while resting your feet. Traveling in Europe involves plenty of walking, that’s for sure!
Beautiful flowers in Albert Cuypmarkt. I have a weakness for roses. Can you really blame me?
Poffertjes – fluffy little pancakes with butter and icing sugar. Lots of icing sugar.
Stroopwafel, “a waffle cookie made from two thin layers of batter with a sticky syrup filling in the middle”. (Also quoted from: http://www.awesomeamsterdam.com/articles/55/dutch-foods-you-should-try.) This one’s coated in chocolate. Incredibly happy with the local foods that we got to try!
Finally, we squeezed in a couple of hours at the Van Gogh Museum before rushing off to the airport to catch our flight to Rome. And with that, Amsterdam was forever a chapter in our books.
“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh