If you know me then this is no news that when it comes to travel, Fred organizes, I don’t. Despite some bumps on the road every now and then, I tend to improvise a lot, that’s my way. So when I decided to spend a couple of days in Amsterdam with some friends, you can easily imagine how professional and thought-through this was going to be. Scouting, gathering info, contacts? Oh, come on! We’ll trust our instinct (and the wonderful collective memory). Because seriously, how wrong can you be these days with a bit of common sense and a data plan?
To Amsterdam and through
First thing to know if you plan on spending some time in Amsterdam: prefer the public transport. Parking your car in the city center is pretty difficult and costs an arm. Instead, use the « P+R » (which obviously enough means Park and Ride). If you do that, get a tramway ticket and validate it before leaving even if you don’t need to take the tram ! That way the 24 hours of car park will cost you only 1 EUR (plus the tram ticket of course) instead of 50 EUR. You’re welcome. Good to know: if you plan on driving to Amsterdam and trying to park in the city center or around, you can do it the smart way and book your parking ticket ahead from the comfort of your couch. Again, you’re welcome.
We came from Liège so the train was our best option. You could choose the Thalys option which is faster-ish but quite expensive. Instead I recommend you to get on a regular train to Maastricht and change there for a train to Amsterdam. If you book your tickets early enough it will cost you something like 18,50 EUR. A Thalys will cost you more than three times that price and won’t get you much faster there.
You’re now in Amsterdam, good. You’ll need to move through the city and again there’s a plethora of options. You’ll notice rather quickly that there are two groups in this city: those on bicycle and the others. The first rules the streets, period. At some point I would say it is more dangerous to cross the street than to buy drugs (OK, I may exaggerate a bit but I liked the sound of it). But seriously, be cautious if you decide to visit on foot. Cyclists are silent and they brake for no one. You would think they’ll warn people in their way instead of just hitting them down… Haha, you’re funny :D.
For the lazy ones (and those who miss the colonial era), there is a kind of « cyclo cab ». As it is obviously not allowed to whip the driver while yelling « faster! » like in the good ol’ days, we decided to walk. We came here to shoot some street photography after all, right?
Drinking and eating in Amsterdam
It was not my first time in Amsterdam and from what I could recall, there is a wide choice of places to eat. Street food, restaurants from all over the world, trendy bars… you name it. The first time Fred and I came here, a friend of ours took us to an Ethiopian restaurant and it was delicious!
As we hadn’t prepared anything, we counted on our sixth sense (and our smartphones) to conquer the flavors of Amsterdam.
« Quartier Putain »
Where to get a good coffee is a matter of the utmost importance. And one of the easiest way to find a good place to get one is to spot a hipster and follow him. Because you have to admit it, they are pretty reliable on that matter.
But stay vigilant! In Amsterdam, a guy with a beard going out of a Coffee Shop is not necessarily a hipster. And the so-called Coffee Shop may not (only) sell coffee. So before you open the door and order your « moccachino », check the general mood which should be relaxed… but not too much!
On a more serious note, Quartier Putain (yes, it means exactly what you think) was definitely my favorite place to get coffee in Amsterdam, and if you are lucky enough, you’ll get their Orange Peel Brownie which is to die for! (no photo here, I ate it before taking the shot… sorry!)
Plain and simple: apple pie! The place is quite crowded so don’t be surprise if you have to wait outside for a table. Don’t expect to find a sit on Saturday morning and noon (that’s when the market is open). You can take your order away and eat it while walking along the channels.
As for your bagel, are you more of a pastrami or peanut butter person? Yeah, I know it’s a hard one… Let’s get them both, shall we?
The name is pretty obvious and straight forward: you’ll find Tibetan food here. It was my first encounter with this cuisine. There was 3 traditional dishes that were getting my attention and I couldn’t chose one. So I tried them all (don’t judge!): Sha Phala, Sham Dea, and Red Bean Masala. If you ask me which one I preferred I couldn’t tell you, they were all delicious!
And by the way, Brad Pitt and the Dalai Lama ate there too. But not on the same table. And not on the same day. Anyway…
Amsterdam Cheese Company
You didn’t think heading back home with empty pockets right? What could be better as a souvenir than a small cheese wheel? All the cheese I tasted there was like super good but if I need to point out two of them, it would be the pepper Gouda and the goat cheese without hesitation.
Amsterdam is close from where we live and this is one of my favorite cities in Europe so I’ll go back there pretty soon I guess. Care to share your best spots there?