Tonight is a whirlwind of activity as I have decided at the last minute to take a long weekend trip with my husband to France. This will be the final finale of the summer break this year!
We are heading to the French Alps where we ski in the winter, so as I know I will have no internet connection whilst I am away I thought, as promised, that I would take you on a quick wander around the old streets of Amsterdam before I leave.
Travelling to Amsterdam last week could not have been easier. We flew from London City Airport – a short flight (under an hour) and we had landed at Schiphol airport. A quick train journey took us to Amsterdam Central and a taxi to our hotel. We unpacked quickly and hit the streets in search of a late lunch. Just around the corner from our hotel we found the restaurant/winebar Dante, which was just what we needed. A lovely salad, delicious soup, a few fries and a glass of crisp white wine started our holiday off in style!
We then took to the streets for a stroll to get our bearings. Although I knew that Amsterdam was very old I was still amazed to see that many of the canal houses were dated in the 1600’s.
We quickly learnt that bikes rule the roads in Amsterdam – cars and pedestrians must proceed with great care in the narrow cobbled areas around the canals.
The canals were lined with boats and the streets with parked bicycles.We were amazed that the cars parked right up to the canals without any form of safety barrier – no room for any driver misjudgements here.
Many of the boats on the canals are houseboats – often with gardens on top.
The cobbled streets were home to many small individual shops and eateries.
After getting our bearings we headed back to our hotel in search of a pot of a tea. We were staying at the Hotel Ambassade, which is situated on the beautiful canal called The Herengracht. Imagine how delighted we were to be shown to this beautiful salon to enjoy our tea – an afternoon ritual was immediately established for our break!
The next morning we up bright and early for a delicious breakfast and then out to find the Rijk’s Musuem. On our way we encountered this quaint button shop:
And noticed some of the more unusual road signage:
We went to the museum via the floating flower market which I showed you on Sunday. Our first stop when we arrived at the Rijk’s Museum was the excellent cafe, which served lovely food and fresh mint tea – London museums could learn a lot from this cafe! What looks like a little egg in the photo is actually a macaroon.
The museum was very busy so I only took a few photos – hopefully this gives you a flavour of the newly refurbished building.
After many hours enjoying the exhibits we had another wander around the streets and then went back to the hotel for our afternoon tea followed by dinner at an excellent local Italian restaurant.
On our third and final day we got up extra early to eat breakfast and join the queue for the Anne Frank museum. I would advise anyone planning a visit to pre book tickets as there was a very long wait time. I have read Anne Frank’s Diary and visited Auschwitz, so I knew what to expect. The reality, however, of being inside the building where that family went into hiding and subsequently were discovered and sent to their deaths in the concentration camps was very hard. We left the museum in a somber mood. After a visit to the Tulip Museum across the road our moods had lightened and we spent our last afternoon enjoying the historic streets once more.
Dinner that night was the food highlight of the week. We ate at a very trendy venue called Envy, indulging in the chef’s delicious tasting menu and sampling a variety of gins.
The weather had cleared as we walked back to our hotel, so we enjoyed the night time charm of the streets before returning for our last time to our hotel.
Despite the cool temperatures and frequent showers Amsterdam was a joy. I am already planning a return trip to see the tulips at the Keukenhof gardens in the spring.
Sadly I will have to miss my usual Flowers On Sunday and In A Vase On Monday posts, but I should be back to a normal routine after that. Hopefully I will find some lovely flowers in the Alps to share with you next week!