As usual, Jon insisted that we arrive at the train station super early. After hauling ten pieces of luggage to the station, we have TWO hours to putz around. Going to take this peach for a walk around the station so she can burn off some energy.
The sandwiches at the café car don’t look appetizing so we are eating chips and peanut M&Ms for lunch while Theta naps.
We checked into our Airbnb apartment -- the ceilings are nice and tall, the décor is eclectic in a good way, and there’s a high chair.
We walked around and familiarized ourselves with our new neighborhood. Then we grabbed dinner at this casual and friendly pizza place.
Though it was a bit chilly, we spent the morning checking out the neighborhood park. There is a large play area with sand, tire swings, and this crazy walking bridge thing. This is a good place for Theta to get over her fear of sand.
There is a stylish hotel adjacent to the park, where we enjoyed a coffee on the terrace. Inside, the restaurant is roomy and bright, with lounge-y seating along the windows and around a cozy fire. Though the restaurant looks nice, it gets low ratings, so we won’t be trying the food here.
Trying out a decently rated restaurant near our apartment. I had the tomato soup and oysters -- both were okay.
Playing with a ladybug in the back garden of our Airbnb home.
Doing a bit of exploring and shopping on our first day. We came across this Dutch store (with kind of an odd name) that sells simple but nice clothing, homeware, stationery and kids stuff.
This is a fun place to browse. They sell a variety of knick knacks at IKEA prices -- we bought Theta a simple puzzle toy.
Had a heavy, meaty dinner at this brasserie with cheeky decor. We tried classic Dutch bitterballens for a starter -- they are basically meat croquettes. Not my cup of tea. The classic burger and ribs were pretty good. It was rather dark in there so I could only take blurry photos.
It seems like Amsterdam is a lot more kid friendly than Paris when it comes to dining out. Even a loud, divey pub like this has a high chair.
Got a carrot cake to go while waiting for our Uber.
Jon read somewhere that 70% of the world’s flowers come from Holland. They are cheap here, so I bought a bunch of white tulips for 3€. Within hours, all of them fell limp except for one. Not really sure why.
This complex is similar to Chelsea Market in NYC and the Ferry Building in SF. However, in addition to a food hall and crafty shops, it also houses a movie theater and a small public library. There was a decent variety of food to choose from -- craft beer, burgers, seafood, traditional Dutch food, Mexican, Vietnamese, dim sum, etc. We tried a bunch of things, including a burger, fries, Vietnamese spring rolls, and this soft shell crab bao that looked more appealing than it tasted. The food could be better, but it’s a nice space to meet up with friends.
On my way to the Dutch version of Whole Foods, I walked through a quaint garden that had a nice little cafe. Crocuses were in full bloom.
More scooting and shopping after Theta’s nap.
Had an average dinner of crispy pork belly, oysters and linguine with clams. I miss the food in Paris.
Amsterdam is beautiful with its charming canals and architecture. We enjoyed a nice sunset as we walked home from the restaurant.
This morning we checked out De Pijp, a neighborhood located directly southwest of where we’re staying. There are some nice boutiques and restaurants, including Broer & Zus (which translates to brothers and sisters), a cute shop for kiddies. Theta took a liking to these Veja shoes.
Then we walked through Albert Cuypmarkt, described as one of the largest open markets in the Netherlands: www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/what-to-do/shopping/amsterdam-markets/albert-cuypmarkt.
Though it was interesting to visit the half-food, half-flea market, it was a bit ho-hum compared to the ones in Paris. I know I sound like a total Francophile right now, but it’s tough not to compare the two since we were just there.
Afterwards, we ate at kitschy Middle Eastern restaurant that was once an old church. I had a durum, which was a grilled kebab rolled in garlic yogurt sauce and flatbread. It was a nice change from all of the bistro and brasserie food we’ve been eating for the past month. The bathroom decor was pretty neat.
Scooter sesh at a nearby park and zoo. Also came across this crazy building.
We enjoyed a relaxing morning at this cafe, which is outfitted with the usual hipster accoutrements -- high ceilings, oversized industrial pendant lamps, a large communal wooden table, indie music, and cozy benches covered with sheepskins. I had a green tea and a delicious vanilla muffin.
This cafe was bustling, so we decided to have lunch here. We shared a cauliflower and cabbage soup, a goat cheese salad, and a pastrami sandwich. Service was friendly, but the food was average. I’ve come to realize that the standards of food in Amsterdam are rather low.
I tried to snap a photo of Jon and Theta while we enjoyed IPAs at this microbrewery. It’s tough to get a good shot of the little one these days.
Right next to Westergasfabriek was a bright and garish carnival. I imagine this might be appealing to kids, but it just feels like sensory overload to an oldie like me.