Amsterdam Day 3
I can’t believe it’s the end of our third day here in Amsterdam! The time has flown by; we’ve had the chance to see and do so many cool things, but I’m sad that the end of our trip is drawing near. I think Saturday-Tuesday (leaving Wednesday) was the perfect short trip to Amsterdam for us. We had the weekend to explore and experience all the hustle and bustle and now we have 2 weekdays to see the museums and other points of interest with less crowds. If you’re planning a short trip here, that would be my recommendation, although I could definitely stay here for another week or more!
Our B&B (MNQUE) is really turning out to be the perfect location. We’ve been able to walk nearly everywhere and there are so many great bars and restaurants right outside our door, including today’s breakfast spot- Broodje Bert. First off, I need to say that the coffee in Amsterdam is awesome. Very strong, more similar to espresso I would say…is that a European thing?? I’m not usually a coffee drinker but I’ve had it here every morning and am loving it! Anyways…we each ordered the Suisse Omelet and I’m pretty sure we could’ve shared just one. It was hearty and delicious and held us over until dinner!
After breakfast we caught the #5 tram and headed to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. A little history on the Rijksmuseum-it is an art and history museum that was originally opened in 1885 and just reopened this past Saturday after 10 years of renovations. So crazy that we were here right when they reopened! The outside of the museum looks a lot like a fairytale castle while the newly renovated inside is sleek and modern. We were afraid it would be too crowded to have a comfortable visit but we waited until Monday and, although there were still crowds, there were far fewer people than there appeared to be when we first walked around the Museumplein on Sunday.
Mike and I are not the most avid of art enthusiasts, so we were in and out of the Rijksmuseum in about 2 hours-stopping for the highlights and getting a quick look at everything else. The ticket lines were long but fast moving. I believe you can buy tickets ahead of time and skip the lines but we didn’t have a printer available so we were stuck waiting. There will be 2 lines when you walk in-the ticket line is ON THE RIGHT. Gardenrobe means coat check, that is on the left. Yes…we waited 15 minutes in the coat check line before figuring that one out, even though the word “Tickets” is on the wall near the ticket side…but let’s not get into that….
So…the Rijksmuseum has one of Europe’s top collections of art and historical items and the world’s largest group of Dutch Master paintings. Easily the most famous painting at the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt’s Night Watch can be found in the same room as it was prior to the renovations at the center of the building on the 2nd floor. Other highlights include Rembrandt’s Waterloo and a Van Gogh self-portrait, along several others that I recognized but didn’t know by name. I would definitely recommend a visit to the Rijksmuseum to anyone visiting Amsterdam, even if you don’t have much time you can at least breeze through like we did in just a couple hours.
After the Rijksmuseum we stopped at the “I Amsterdam” sign for some quick tourist pictures. The sign is very crowded, even on a Monday, so don’t go thinking you’re going to get a picture alone with the sign because it ain’t gonna happen!
From there we headed to Stadhouderskade 30 (right in front of the Hard Rock Cafe) to hop on a Blue Boat Company canal tour. We took the City cruise that was 15€/person for a 75 minute tour. Most of the boat is covered so they run rain or shine but they also have an open area in the rear which is great for an unimpeded view. Inside they offer headphones with pre-recorded audio commentary, which you won’t get if you sit outside. Mike opted for history inside and I opted for photos outside.
It was cool to get a view of the city from the canals and if you have the time I would definitely do the canal tour and the bus tour because you get such a different perspective from each. However, if we had to choose between a canal tour and a bus tour I think we enjoyed the views from the bus to be a bit better. If you opt for the bus, try and board the bus at Centraal or the stop right before Centraal so you can get a front seat on top for the best views.
After our boat tour we walked up the street and enjoyed the sunshine and a drink at the Leidseplein, a square filled with tables and chairs from the surrounding bars and restaurants for outdoor drinking and dining. I could sit here all day long and be perfectly content!
From the Leidseplein we walked up Leidsestraat and stopped into some of the many cute shops along the way. There is definitely no shortage of cute little shops in Amsterdam! We stopped for another quick beer at Gollem Beer Café before heading back to our apartment for a quick rest/happy hour before our 8pm dinner reservation at Vlaming Eten & Drinken.
Vlaming was the one restaurant I picked out and made a reservation for prior to our trip. Usually I’m a little more structured with restuarants but we wanted this trip to be more of an “on a whim” type thing so I restrained myself. Vlaming is rated the #2 restaurant in Amsterdam on Trip Advisor and after dining there it’s really no surprise. The service, the food, and the wine were all great and we were very happy with our choice. Mike ordered their giant burger and I went for the pork tenderloin in a truffle sauce. We finished our meal off with the BEST hot chocolate cake I’ve ever had. You may think that one chocolate lava cake is the same as the next, but in Vlaming’s case it definitely is not!
Towards the end of dinner we heard about the tragedy that happened during the Boston Marathon. It’s crazy how quickly news can travel via email/social media. We were both very affected by all the news coming in so we headed back home just in time to watch President Obama address the nation. It’s difficult to enjoy the rest of our time here knowing about the tragedy that continues to unfold in Boston, but we have one more day here and are determined to make the best of it.