Amsterdam Day 2
For those that need to catch up, here’s Amsterdam Day 1.
Sunday, Day 2, our first full day in Amsterdam. Today was spent doing touristy things and getting a better lay of the land. We started out with breakfast at Gartine [again]. I made a reservation yesterday because I knew I wanted to bring Mike back. Today he got the large breakfast and I switched it up with a croissant and scrambled eggs on sourdough. The eggs were scrambled with fresh chives and served on top of the thick sourdough…so delicious, as expected. This place was such a cute little find and if they weren’t closed on Mondays and Tuesdays we would probably return for breakfast the next couple mornings as well.
After breakfast we set out for tourist activity #1- finding a double decker bus stop. Mike and I are big fans of the double decker bus tour when we first arrive in a new city because it helps give us a quick overview and lets us hop on and off to cover more ground in one day. We rode the bus to the Heineken Experience where we got off for tourist activity #2.
Neither of us are big Heineken fans, but we figured we might as well make the stop to see what it’s all about. We’ve been on several brewery tours in the states and we both agreed that this was probably the most impressive tour we’ve been on. It was definitely designed to be visited by those who have stopped off at a coffee shop beforehand (i.e. people that are high), but it’s still pretty cool for those who haven’t (in case you were wondering, we were definitely the latter!). It’s an interactive, self-guided “experience” where you stop along the way to watch videos, pose for photo ops, and participate in other activities. A lot of time was put into this place and it shows. I’d say it’s worth a one-time visit if you have enough time. At the end of the tour we enjoyed our 2 Heinekens that were included in the 16€/person price and moved on to our next stop.
Next we walked from the Heineken Experience over to the Museumplein. This is where you can find the “I Amsterdam” sign, the Rijksmuseum (reopened after 10 years this past Saturday), and the Van Gogh Museum (currently undergoing renovations and relocated to the Hermitage Amsterdam). With the Rijksmuseum just opening the day before and it being a Sunday, it was very crowded but we just kind of strolled around the grounds and took it all in. We plan on going back on Monday or Tuesday when it’s not so busy.
We hopped back on our double decker bus and made our way back towards Centraal to check out a beer bar I had heard good things about, Arendsnest. On the way we stopped for chocolate covered waffles-because there is always room for chocolate covered waffles…
Arendsnest was very cool, just a small little place next to a canal with a large list of beers and friendly bartenders. We had no idea what any of the beers were because they were all Dutch, but we just asked for a stout, an IPA, etc and they were able to recommend a few that we enjoyed. After beers we headed back to our apartment, stopping to admire some of the house boats on the canals along the way.
We picked up some more wine from a great little shop called Cave Rokin as well as cheese and sausage from Cheese & More and settled in for happy hour at our place. Today was the first nice day in Amsterdam this year so the streets and bars around us were even more lively than yesterday. A guy showed up breathing fire right outside our window and some rowdy football fans decided it would be a good idea to burn the other team’s flag….
We took a quick nap and gathered up some energy to do a little more exploring. We grabbed a couple quick bites at Tapas bar Catala because it was literally 10 steps from our doorway and decided we should probably go and see what the Red Light District was all about.
I was extremely nervous about exploring the Red Light District at night. I had no idea what to expect but I was afraid it was going to be super sketchy and people would harass me, even with Mike there. We showed up on the main stretch along the canal and the picture I had in my head couldn’t have been father from actuality. Mike compared it to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but thought that Bourbon St. might actually be a little more seedy! It was probably around 9:30pm when we got there and people of all ages were roaming the streets-we even saw a couple children in strollers. Just tons of tourists doing the exact same thing we were doing. Yes, there were scantily clad girls in windows trying to convince you to buy them, but it was nowhere near the shady underground scene I was afraid of.
We lucked out near the end of the strip and found a small pub called Cafe De Zeevaart that had a few tables outside so we snagged a couple seats and settled in for a little people watching. It was such a nice night, the atmosphere was so lively, and let’s be honest-who doesn’t love a great people watching spot?! We stayed for a little over an hour before deciding to head home and then one of the best stories of our trip happened…
Across the canal from our patio seats were several windows filled with working girls. Of course this was another plus to our people watching spot and obviously we were waiting for some shady business to go down, but the majority of the time we were just talking to each other and/or eyeing up the passersby. After our last drink we decided to walk down the side of canal in front of these girls, since we had come up the other side. As we’re passing one of the girls’ doors, she opened it up and started throwing some type of carbonated beverage on us, saying we’ve been “giving her shit all night”. Mike and I just looked at each other kind of mystified, thinking she must be throwing this soda on one of the other people walking around us. No…she was definitely throwing it at us. I don’t know exactly what we did to set her off, but we both can now say that we’ve had soda thrown on us by a whore in Amsterdam. Ok…we’ll probably have to put some context around that sentence when telling people the story…but still, it’s a pretty good one.
With half of our bodies damp from the soda, we headed towards home, still in disbelief about what had just happened, and decided we probably needed one last beer before calling it a night. We found another small pub called Cafe de Dam that looked right up our alley-small, old, and full of character. We chatted with the very friendly bartender, met an American that had just had her passport pick-pocketed in Brussels, had one last beer, and THEN called it a night….after one last stop for a late night french fries and mayonnaise of course! Solid 2nd day in Amsterdam…can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings…