This trip has been full of rain, but it hasn’t got my sprits down yet. Even with all the rain, still ended up visiting enough of Amsterdam to be satisfied. This time around I was much more rested than the last few city changes, probably because I took the train from Paris to Amsterdam this time around. Taking Thalys’s high speed rail is always a joy. It’s a 3 hour ride so that’s a long enough nap, plus the previous night’s sleep. I was well rested and ready to spend the rest of the day exploring Amsterdam, once I arrived.
I ended up finding a place pretty close to central Amsterdam. About 15 minutes away by bus. The first thing I did was grab some of my favourite fries from a local snack shop. Had some fries with my favourite satay sauce and mayonnaise. You have to try it sometime. It’s probably the best combo, after poutine of course. Also, grab a sausage too, called a Frikandel, which is made from horse meat or donkey meat. It’s kind of taste like something in between pork and beef. Not quite the same as either though. Maybe you can pick up some from a local grocer in Toronto. You’ll also find plenty of Turkish restaurants in Holland. Love that food too. They have this thing called Turkse Pizza. But, it’s not a traditional pizza as most Canadians would know it. Think of a really thin pizza, like Mama’s Pizza. Then take that pizza and wrap it up like a pita with all the inners you would get at any Mediterranean restaurant, like lettuce, onions, tomatoes, garlic sauce, and hot sauce. Probably the best kind of wrap ever. It’s basically a shawarma wrap but with extras. You can usually choose to add chicken shawarma or beef shawarma. For 4 Euros it’s well worth it. It’s only 2 Euros if you get it without the meat.
During the summer I kind of skipped over Amsterdam and visited mostly the country-side like Zandvoort ann Zee. The first thing I ended up visiting was the Van Gogh museum. It holds the largest amount of his collection and for any artist it’s a great place to get some inspiration. For a smaller museum, the way the museum is setup is really nice. It has English for tourists, computers on every floor if you want to do more reading on the pieces, and plenty of places to sit and enjoy the art. The only complaint about the museum was the waiting in line. It was pouring like crazy and I was pretty soaked when I walked in. I guess that’s my fault for not bring an umbrella, but still. It’s not very fun waiting in line in the rain.
I also visited the place Amsterdam is most famous for, the Red Light District. For something that is so tabooed back at home, it was so strange. Strange because I saw families bring their children into the district, even if they were tourists and didn’t know, you’d think the stores would set off some alarms to hide their children’s eyes. Not to mention to smell in the air. Those coffee shops are definitely not only selling coffee to help people get their kick, if you know what I mean. The district is pretty nice overall though. There are some nice spots to just sit down and relax. Like the rest of the Netherlands, there’s a bunch of canals running through it. It’s pretty hard to miss where the district is. The minute you come out of Amsterdam central train station, you will see a huge XXX flag flying on top of a building. Head that way and be amazed.
On the last day, decided to go out of the city to see something different. The person I was staying with suggested to go to Zaanse Sachs (I can’t even pronounce it properly). It’s a really famous suburb of Amsterdam that’s known for its windmills. There’s a huge canal and along it you’ll find six really big windmills. Some of them you can go into and the others you can’t. The town itself is pretty small. There’s a history museum that holds exhibits about the town and there are a few other small shops and a spicy museum. Originally I wanted to go to Alkmaar for the cheese market, but the market isn’t open at this time of year. It opens mainly in the summer. Maybe I’ll visit it on my next visit to Europe.
As per usual you can see the photos below. Enjoy!