AMSTERDAM: More Than Just "Coffee Shops"

September 22, 2015  •  1 Comment


Since Brussels is our home base (for a whole 2 nights), we're up bright and early to catch the 6:26 am train out to Amsterdam. Fare costs about 25 euro each way, and you're there within 2.5 hours. Leaving the train station, we're greeted by the friendly and extremely helpful peeps from the I Love Amsterdam Visitor's Centre - they hand you over a free city map and give you the main sights to see, as well as answer any questions about anything in the city. 

 


AMSTERDAM


Amsterdam is one of the best cities in the world for just walking. Head out in any direction and you'll stumble upon interesting architecture, green parks, narrow canals, brand name shopping spots, museums, restaurants.....and more (will talk more about the Coffee Shops and Red Light District in a separate post here). Be alert of the bike lanes (we came oh so close to a crash or two), but once you've mastered the art of dodging cyclists, all you need is a comfy pair of shoes and off you go! 

Amsterdam's Old Town is home to the Nieuwmarkt, the ever expanding Chinatown, the 14th-century Oude Kerk (Old Church), De Waag, and of course the infamous Red Light District. The New side technically has Dam Square, the Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace), Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Kalverstraat & Nieuwendijk (the city's prime shopping streets) and the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market). I won't go into details about all of these places, just a couple below.....and of course an entirely separate posting for the Red Light District!

 

DAM SQUARE


I'm a sucker of town squares. Why? Not quite sure. Maybe because it's usually where all the action is - located in the historic centre of Amsterdam and one of the largest squares in Europe, the Dam seems to be a natural gathering spot for both locals and tourists like moi. Surrounded by souvenir shops, cafés, it's here you'll find the Royal Palace and Madame Tussaud's - but other than that - it's simply a great spot to people watch for a bit. 

 

BLOEMENMARKT (Flower Market)


So, the Flower Market wasn't quite what I expected. It's one of those places that totally doesn't live up to the expectations that I had for it. I expected to see tons of gorgeous flowers, especially tulips....but such was not the case. It's still a sight to see - it's been around since 1862 and the flower stalls are floating structures over the Singel Canal, but instead of actual flowers on display, all you get is bags and bags of bulbs and kitchsy souvenirs. 

 

Waiting for the first train out from Brussels to Amsterdam!Waiting for the first train out from Brussels to Amsterdam!

Waiting for the first train out from Brussels to Amsterdam!


2.5 hours later, we're at Amsterdam Centraal2.5 hours later, we're at Amsterdam Centraal

2.5 hours later, we're at Amsterdam Centraal


The I Love Amsterdam Visitor's Centre is right outside the station to help with any questions

The I Love Amsterdam Visitor's Centre is right outside the station to help with any questions


View of the train station on the left and the Church of Saint Nicholas on the right

View of the train station on the left and the Church of Saint Nicholas on the right


Better view of the immense Amsterdam Centraal train station

Better view of the immense Amsterdam Centraal train station


Typical Amsterdam - bikes locked along all of the canals

Typical Amsterdam - bikes locked along all of the canals


The city slowly waking up

The city slowly waking up


A bit early for Heineken, but I might be back for you soon!

A bit early for Heineken, but I might be back for you soon!


Loving this sign!

Loving this sign!


Chinatown in Amsterdam

Chinatown in Amsterdam


 

Cutest little cafe called Latei....no, it's not that type of cafe

Cutest little cafe called Latei....no, it's not that type of cafe


They've got fresh juices and yummy pastries

They've got fresh juices and yummy pastries


And a super cute black cat guarding the door

And a super cute black cat guarding the door


De Waag, once part of an ancient wall is now home to a trendy organic restaurant in Nieuwmarkt

De Waag, once part of an ancient wall is now home to a trendy organic restaurant in Nieuwmarkt


Red Light District

Red Light District


De Oude Kerk (The Oude Church), right in the middle of the Red Light District

De Oude Kerk (The Oude Church), right in the middle of the Red Light District


Churches, houses, restaurants, coffee shops, exotic bars.....all exist in harmony in the Red Light District

Churches, houses, restaurants, coffee shops, exotic bars.....all exist in harmony in the Red Light District


Gorgeous terrace in the Red Light District....I wonder how much a spot like this goes for?

Gorgeous terrace in the Red Light District....I wonder how much a spot like this goes for?


I think anyone that's been to Amsterdam has a shot of this particular row of houses

I think anyone that's been to Amsterdam has a shot of this particular row of houses


Beautifulness everywhere you look

Beautifulness everywhere you look


One of many "bar boat" canal cruises you can take

One of many "bar boat" canal cruises you can take


Dam Square

Dam Square


Dam Square with the neoclassical Royal Palace

Dam Square with the neoclassical Royal Palace


The Royal Palace - notice the wanna be Darth Vader in the picture!

The Royal Palace - notice the wanna be Darth Vader in the picture!


H.H. Petrus en Pauluskerk - an old church that still remains, even though the entire street - Kalverstraat - has turned into a shopper's heaven

H.H. Petrus en Pauluskerk - an old church that still remains, even though the entire street - Kalverstraat - has turned into a shopper's heaven


Amsterdam Cheese Company on Kalverstraat

Amsterdam Cheese Company on Kalverstraat 


Teeny tiny wooden shoes

Teeny tiny wooden shoes


Time for a quick lunch at La Place

Time for a quick lunch at La Place


You can find pretty much anything in here, and all reasonably priced

You can find pretty much anything in here, and all reasonably priced


That's the Flower Market on the right

That's the Flower Market on the right


You will find flowers here, but not as much as I expected. You'll mostly find bulbs.

You will find flowers here, but not as much as I expected. You'll mostly find bulbs.


More stuff in the Flower Market

More stuff in the Flower Market


All kinds of souvenirs can be found here

All kinds of souvenirs can be found here


The Munttoren (Coin Tower) on Muntplein Square

The Munttoren (Coin Tower) on Muntplein  Square


Good luck finding a spot for your bike here

Good luck finding a spot for your bike here


View of the Singel Canal

View of the Singel Canal 


View of Freddy's Bar from Doelensluis

View of Freddy's Bar from Doelensluis


Houses along the Singel Canal

Houses along the Singel Canal


Not sure what this is floating down the canal

Not sure what this is floating down the canal


Rowing down one of the canals

Rowing down one of the canals


Super cute houseboats

Super cute houseboats


Gardens on your houseboat, why not?

Gardens on your houseboat, why not?


Maybe I should rent one of these next time

Maybe I should rent one of these next time


So peaceful here

So peaceful here


Looks like a good spot for that beer

Looks like a good spot for that beer


Bye bye Amsterdam - until we meet again!

Bye bye Amsterdam - until we meet again!


Photos taken | written by JENNIFER MAHON


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Comments

Antoine(non-registered)
Love it! Waiting on the RDL post now. Very curious to see that!
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