I from the bottom of my heart LOVE the city of Amsterdam. Amsterdam (in my opinion) is a city that represents freedom. I probably can't say I know the city well, but from a tourist point of view, I would MOST DEFINITELY want to go back again.

Thank you Amsterdam for the blue skies, strong winds, beautiful canals, perfectly lined boathouses, friendly genuine people, and the best weekend vacation I have had.

'Till we meet again.

Enjoying the Last Bits of Amsterdam

4 September 2014

One complain Jerald has about travelling with me is that "plan my food places". In my defense, I don't PLAN where to eat, I merely go online, do a little research and plot these food places on the map as OPTIONS. We usually don't end up going to the places I plot on the map anyway, but well, our food experiences in Amsterdam were pretty enjoyable!

After settling down in our AirBnB, it was roughly 10 pm when we decided to try our luck in the streets hoping there would be a restaurant or 2 still opened. And lucky for us, we found a small restaurant - Torino - serving fusion food nearby. It was a cute little restaurant, mostly older clients (who i would like to believe live in the area and are good friends with the restaurant owner - like we see in the movies), but the interior design was really amazing, considering it was not a renown restaurant. Lighting was pretty bad for photography, but Jerald and I got a soup, Orange sauce Chicken and Salmon + Mushroom Spaghetti tossed in olive oil. I was pretty 'meh' about my food, but Jerald loved his spaghetti. The Chicken in Orange sauce was not bad, it was just more of an acquired taste.

Alkmaar Cheese Market
It was nice to see the way the carried the cheese to the main area for sale. Those men lifted the cheese stacks up like they weighed nothing. I couldn't even lift one off the ground on my own (and I would like to think i'm quite strong!) 
They were selling Pancakes as well as fries (or what the dutch call Patets) at Vlaamse Friet. We got one each to try and they were not bad :) We had our fries with Curry Sauce but really, there were so many other options!

Bagels and Beans 
A breakfast chain around Amsterdam. Heard a couple of good reviews on tripadvisor, but didn't expect much because somehow franchised food shops sometimes do end up pretty mediocre. It could be that I was really hungry, or for the fact I down played my expectations, but this was GREAT. 
Jerald and I got a savoury BLT w hollandaise sause as well as a sweet Banana and Cinnamon bagel. We had a great time hiding out from the rain while waiting for the rest of the market vendors to fully set up their stalls. 

Other interesting food we found in the supermarket can be found below. And I cannot even begin to explain what they were. Didn't try any of them but I must say i've never seen such food in asia/ever in my life.

The 2nd evening in Amsterdam, we wanted to hit up some local dutch food stalls. Unfortunately it was a Saturday and we realised, just like france, many food places were closed. And those that were open were unfortunately full and we couldn't get it without a prior reservation.
After being rejected by 3 different dutch restaurants and walking up and down the same street 3 times, we settled for Indonesian Food. 
Read online that Indo food in Amsterdam is pretty decent, plus we get a little reminder of asia/home! :)
We ate at Kantjil & de Tijger. Once again, nice lighting and atmosphere for a dinner place, but not good for photo taking. Trust me, we had a pleasant meal!

De Carrousel - Not my favourite, but Jerald like his pancakes. That being said, I love how they had a huge carousel in the middle of the cafe!
Unfortunately, on the last day we were in Amsterdam, it got pretty rainy. Wanted to take away burgers from Lombardo's to Vondelpark for a picnic, instead, due to the limited space in the café, we stood at a corner under a shelter munching on our huge ass burgers and hiding out from the rain. 
BUT, the burgers were great and it was worth it. 

Places we wished we visited - Restaurant Café in the Waang
In the evening they light up candles all around the restaurant, doesnt it sound amazing? Unfortunately, its pretty expensive, and we were never in the area during dinner time (or rather always starving by the time we feel like having dinner we would rather not take another step). 

Food in Amsterdam - Part 3 of Amsterdam

2 September 2014

Finally edited the first set of photos for Amsterdam :) Shall split my Amsterdam blog post into 4 parts. 2 weeks ago, Jerald and I hopped on the Thalys Train to Amsterdam straight after my work. It was the first time I've taken an Intercity (Inter-country?) train and it was FUN! 3hrs of watching videos on the train ride, occasionally getting to see various suburban cities along the way. Pretty enjoyable indeed! 
We alighted at Amsterdam around 8.45pm, and headed for our Airbnb. Below is the canal right outside our landlord's place. Amsterdam is BEAUTIFUL.
Stepping out of the train station, I was so in awe of the architecture of the station itself! People were really helpful too, a lady offered to take a photo for Jerald and I when she saw us hopelessly trying to take a selfie with this tower! Great first impression indeed!

Amsterdam is a lot less crowded compared to Paris, a lot cleaner, people speak FLUENT english, and the Dutch are really very genuine! 

Morning along Magere Brug (otherwise known as Skinny Bridge)

There is just something so peaceful and serene about the winding canals. Very touristy, very cliché but not one bit disappointing. We did not get to go on a canal ride due to the schizophrenic weather, unfortunately.

Flavoured ciggarettes, Space cakes, Weed coffeeshops, condoms on display, lollipops with cannabis in 7-11, definitely only found in Amsterdam.

De Wallen - the infamous red light district. 
Honeslty, it fell a little short of my expectations, nevertheless an interesting sight. I expected a little more.. honesty(?) in the environment, but it felt as if it was another tourist attraction like skits/a show put up to entertain tourist. Then again, it was filled with tourist, so no wonder.

Begijnhof - famous court where Beguines lived
We were eaves dropping to what a guide was explaining to a group of tourist on a walking tour, it's sad to hear about the discrimination the Catholics face because of the taking over of Protestants, and the Begijnhof being the only roman catholic institution existing.

Discrimination is just horrid under ANY circumstance, protestant to catholics, whites to blacks, europeans to asians (vice versa for all). Accompanied with the times i've been subtly discriminated during my time here, just makes me want to ask people, at which point in your life did somebody tell you that you were better than somebody else just because of your skin colour or the language that you speak? But more about this for another time.

Musicians playing on boats in the canals, definitely never boring! Even the guy living in the apartment above the canal stuck his head out to watch these 2 talented men.

Amsterdam by night is just as beautiful, and seemed really safe! Didn't have to constantly be on the look out for people who would randomly "knock" into be on the streets, partly because there weren't that many people to begin with!

On the last morning of our trip, we took a short walk and came across a quiet neighborhood with beautiful flowers along the roadside, and obviously, we had to stop and take photos. Nobody passes up photo opportunities with beautifully bloomed flowers.

Other tourist attraction we visited that we visited included Anne Frank's House (no pictures allowed unfortunately, but a very good musuem to visit), Alkmaar cheese market and Windmills in Zaanse Schans, the Heineken Experience, Vondelpark, Bloemenlarkt (flower market), Dam Square etc. Pictures in the upcoming posts :)

I'll be forever missing Amsterdam. It was such a refreshing change to see streets sans the multitude of cars, the old and young riding on bicycles carrying their luggage in one hand and navigating with another, people cycling along the canals on waterbikes, parties on a boat where everyone sings loudly to random songs as the boat cruises slowly. Amazing city with its own unique charm.

It was such an enjoyable long weekend! Really do hope to visit other cities in Netherlands one day!

Highlights of Amsterdam

27 August 2014 Amsterdam, Pays-Bas

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