After Scotland, Jeremy and I traveled to Amsterdam. A few years ago I visited Amsterdam with girlfriends (see blog post recap 1 and recap 2). However, Jeremy had never been so we made a short trip. On Monday July 9 we took an early flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and arrived in the early afternoon. During our visit we stayed at the super trendy W Amsterdam. The hotel is split into two separate buildings across the street from one another. One building was a former telephone exchange building and the other was a bank. When we arrived to the W our suite wasn’t ready so we ventured out into the city to our lunch reservations at De Kas.
De Kas Restaurant and Nursery
Our friend Marjorie just moved to Amsterdam and so she gave us amazing food recommendations for the time we were there. For lunch Jeremy and I had a four course tasting at De Kas. De Kas is situated in Frankendael Park. The restaurant is in a set of greenhouses which date back to 1926 and used to belong to the Amsterdam Municipal Nursery. Every day the menu changes as the chefs prepare the tastings with the freshest ingredients grown in their nursery. I wish I had taken a photo of the tasting menu because it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. So, if you go to Amsterdam you must try to get reservations at De Kas. The restaurant was booked for dinner during the days we were in Amsterdam, so the only time we could eat was for lunch. After we finished our tasting menu Jeremy and I walked around the nursery and gardens.
Then, we headed back to the W. We had a busy couple of days in Scotland and were exhausted. We barely woke up for dinner, but we made dinner reservations at Blauw, another restaurant Marjorie suggested so we knew we had to try it!
Blauw Restaurant serves classic Indonesian dishes. Jeremy and I had never had Indonesian food before so we just tried everything. We started with four tastes of Indonesian street food and then for dinner I ordered the seafood and vegetables rijsttafel and Jeremy ordered the meat and vegetables rijsttafel. Basically they are a bunch of different small dishes with rice. Marjorie told us to only order one rijsttafel for Jeremy and I to share because she said it was too much food. But, we ended up ordering the two and ate everything because it was just so good. You can check out the menu for the seafood and vegetables rijsttafel and the meat and vegetables rijsttafel here. We ate so much we didn’t have room for dessert so just went back to the W and passed out.
Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam
Since Monday was basically a travel (and eat) day we got up early on Tuesday to make the most out of our only full day in Amsterdam. My other friend Amy highly recommended Mike’s Bike Tours so we could see the majority of Amsterdam in a day. We took the 3 hour city tour. When we arrived for the tour there were about thirty people. But then we were broken out into smaller groups to go with a guide. So, everyone can stick together as you ride through the city. Our group was about ten people. Our guide was always in the front and he nominated Jeremy to be in the back because he’s so tall. Then, everyone else biked one after the other like a row of ducklings between our guide and Jeremy.
Let me tell you biking in Amsterdam is pretty scary! Biking is one of the main modes of transportation so the locals are pretty intense and get easily annoyed with tourists. Plus, we had to cross major intersections with cars which wasn’t always easy either. So, it really helped with the guide always being in the front and Jeremy always being in the back so we didn’t lose anyone. I’m not the best biker, but I made it, and only had a handful of locals hate me.
City Bike Tour Highlights
Our tour guide was awesome (I wish I remembered his name). While on tour he gave us an overview of the history of Amsterdam and the culture. By biking we were able to cover so much ground and navigate the canals and waterways like locals! On our tour we saw:
- Museumsplein: a public space in the Museumkwartier neighborhood where many of Amsterdam’s famous museums are located, including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. Last time I visited Amsterdam I toured the Van Gogh Museum.
- Vondelpark: the largest park in Amsterdam and centrally located next to the museum quarter.
- Magerbrug: a bridge that connects banks of the river at Kerkstraat, between the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht.
- Canal Belt: beautiful historic canal homes dating back to the 17th century and are part of the UNESCO World Heritage site and so are historically preserved.
- Jordaan: a quaint neighborhood in Amsterdam where we stopped during our tour to have a coffee break.
- Anne Frank House: we only biked by the Anne Frank house. However, last time I visited I toured the house and the museum. As hard as it was to see, if you can get tickets you should go.
- Red light district: we ended at the red light district, which honestly I wasn’t a fan of, but had to go with the tour. Last time I visited with girlfriends we didn’t go here.
After the tour we just walked around the city a bit more. Jeremy and I tried to tour the Rijksmuseum museum but just couldn’t make it in time before it closed. So, next time we visit Amsterdam I definitely want to to see the Rijksmuseum museum.