Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam was probably one the most expensive places we have been thus far. It didn’t stop us from having a lot of fun while there (just tried to stay on budget for as much of it as we could). There’s a fine balance between staying on budget and remembering that this is a once in a lifetime thing and we don’t want to look back and wonder why we didn’t do certain things because we were being cheap. I think we know how to prioritize, so this hasn’t been a huge problem for us.

We flew into Amsterdam pretty early and were luckily able to check into our air bnb right when we got there. I was honestly impressed at the location of the place we were staying. It was right in the heart of everything. Lots of good food, bars, dancing, and close to any sights we wanted to see. Our first stop after dropping our bags was lunch. Scott found a Vietnamese restaurant that had rave reviews, and we noticed the area of town we were in had a large Asian population so it wouldn’t hurt to try it out. The place was called Pho King and it did not disappoint. In fact, we went back to Pho King for a total of four times while we were in Amsterdam, it was that good! We ordered traditional Pho with Vietnamese spring rolls and Shu Mai…. Every time. 

After that great food experience we had a feeling that Amsterdam would have a lot of great food to offer and we weren’t wrong. Over the course of 4 days we had there we ate fries out of a cone with plenty of sauce, fresh stroopwaffles with caramel, chocolate, and all the toppings you could imagine, we had pancakes filled with apples, ate dark chocolate cookies that were fresh out of the oven with a white chocolate filling (this shop only made one thing and it was only one kind of cookie and there was ALWAYS a line), and tried Nepalese food for the first time and fell in love. It was an unexpected place for extraordinary food. 

That evening we checked out Amsterdam’s famous red light district. It was pretty much everything you would expect. Girls scantily clad, trying to seduce men, peep shows, and massive crowds trying to take in the scene. It was fun to walk around and feel the energy people had compared to the rest of Amsterdam at night which seemed like a ghost town. 

Most likely if you’ve heard anything about Amsterdam it’s the red light district and that there are bikes everywhere. They aren’t kidding about either! I don’t know that I’ve seen so many bikes in my life and we live in huge biking town back home. Luckily, there are plenty of bike rental places in Amsterdam for relatively cheap so we decided to do a 24 hours rental and get out of town a little bit. 

Scott planned out a fantastic route that took us to a small fishing village called Volendam. We got incredibly lucky because the weather was perfect, sunny and not too hot. The only thing we wished was that we brought swimsuits to the fishing village because the ocean was calm for once and it would’ve been a great day to lay out. Regardless, we had an awesome day. Amsterdam has bike lanes everywhere so you pretty much always have a path to follow, even when going a few miles out of town. We took a ferry across the canal and then headed through parks and along canals all the way to the village. We stopped at a traditional clog shop on the way and the Henri Willig cheese factory. I hadn’t heard of Henri Willig until then, but we are glad we did because it was some of the best cheese we had ever tasted. They lead us on a tour, had us samples at least 30 cheeses and in the end we even bought a few. It was fascinating how invested Norsk people are in dairy.

After our detours we enjoyed some tasty treats of cod bites, mini pancakes, and Scott got a waffle because when in the Netherlands you must eat all the doughy treats. We walked through the small village and enjoyed it’s quiet quaintness, it almost looked like a picture it was so perfect.

Our last day (or so we thought) in Amsterdam was relaxing. The good weather had come to stay so we were soaking up every second we could. We walked down to the famous Vondelpark and laid out, chatted, and played paddle ball (we bought in Greece and had yet to find a good place to play). The paddle ball was short lived because of course we got a little too competitive and broke the tennis ball, but it was fun while it lasted. 

When we got home to check into our flight for the next morning we were surprised to find out that the date was wrong… We actually had one more day in Amsterdam, oops! With no place to stay we scrambled to find a last minute hotel close to the airport with a free shuttle. I’m honestly surprised that it took this long to mess up a flight, we’ve been on 19 flights since May and this is the first we messed up! I feel like that’s a pretty good record.

Our trip is winding down, we’ve only got a few more places til we are back home for a bit!

Places we ate and loved:
Pho King- Vietnamese 
Van Stapele Koekmakenj- Dark Chocolate Cookies
The Happy Pig- Pancake Shop
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx- Fries in a cone
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels- Hot Stroopwaffles
Bhatti Pasal- Nepalese food
Henri Willig- Cheese

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