Boats, Diamonds, Pizza and Hummus. Good times in Amsterdam.
We were sad to leave the cruise ship but excited to be in Amsterdam for the first time. After we disembarked from the cruise ship we immediately got sucked in to buying hop on hop off tour tickets. These are something that we usually avoid but unlike most cities the tickets we got included bus and boat which we thought would be pretty fun.
We had a long time to wait before we were able to check in to our Easy hotel.
The Easy Hotel was adequate but it wasn't our favourite place to stay. Firstly, you have to pay extra for EVERYTHING. Do you want internet, TV, extra towels, extra pillows, earlier check in, coffee, tea, hair dryer, etc etc? It's all available with an extra fee per day. If you basically just need a place to crash for the night with no frills then all the extra costs don't matter much. When you are on holiday and spending time at the hotel or wanting to research places to go on wifi, it's not the best option. Secondly, the rooms are bare bones with just a bed and in our case an actual bathroom. We got a disabled room. Normally the bathroom at an Easy Hotel is just a toilet and shower surrounded by frosted glass. Don't stay in an Easy Hotel with someone you aren't very comfortable with.
We could have easily taken the bus or tram to our hotel from the cruise terminal. We had plenty of time to kill so we walked. Walking is underrated. We really enjoy walking as a way to sight see.
For information on using Amsterdam's public transport here is the link: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/public-transport
The train in The Netherlands is super easy to use. It is very clear at the stations where to go, the platforms are labelled well, and a sign lists all their destinations. We were a little confused with buying tickets from a machine (Which only takes card) Some stations have customer service desks where you can pay for tickets in cash though! Link to Train lines in The Netherlands here: http://travel.thetrainline-europe.com/netherlands-trains/
The weather couldn't have been any nicer. The only downside to walking was that Amsterdam side walks are not made for rolling your suitcase on.
We made a vlog to go along with this blog post. Check it out:
We saw lots of cool sights along the way. We were trying not to head up really busy streets with the suitcase if we could avoid them. We avoided walking through the red light district as well.
There was this bird outside of a sea food shop. He was waiting for the shop keepers to give him something to eat. They threw him some fish.
Amsterdam is a very scenic city. It was a pleasure to walk through. We really took our time walking. The suitcase on uneven ground made it difficult to walk fast anyway.
We stopped at a cafe for some coffee while we waited for our check in time at the Easy Hotel. We found our Easy Hotel and got all checked in before heading out to find food. Our hotel was located in a cool part of town called De Pijp.
We used the happy cow app and found a cafe nearby called Deshima.
The cafe was a short walk away. It was pretty close to the place we had coffee earlier.
Our lunch was healthy. We had sushi and pastries. We also had a tempeh meal with rice, veggies, etc.
Most of the food was alright but nothing stood out as really tasty. The lunch special was okay but the black noodle looking things were some kind of seaweed. They did not taste very good. That's okay though because the dessert was amazing.
For dessert we had some tiramisu and a tart.
The tiramisu was the best. We'd go back just for the tiramisu. We should have just eaten a whole lot of tiramisu for lunch.
After eating we took a walk to see more of Amsterdam. We were searching for the "I Amsterdam" sign but we weren't sure exactly where it was.
Somehow we thought that we would just run into the sign no problem.
We walked around looking in the shops searching for a magnet since that is the only souvenir that we buy anywhere. We buy magnets in the shape of all the countries we go to.
We found tons of people but we didn't see the "I Amsterdam" sign anywhere.
Amsterdam is packed with people and bicycles.
The shopping streets are nice looking but extremely busy.
We had to ask someone in a museum where the "I Amsterdam" sign was and they showed us the way and gave us a better map. We had a hop on hop off map, an Easy Hotel map, and a museum map. That's a lot of maps.
We found the sign! It was in front the the Rijksmuseum.
The sign is crowded with people all the time.
Close by there is a bunch of other museums such as the moco museum.
|Banksy Moco Museum Exhibit.|
Here we are telling everyone to keep it real outside the Moco museum
After all the walking we went to get some pizza at a place near our hotel called Sugo. They had a vegan option.
Their vegan option was a no cheese pizza. It was pretty plain looking but not bad. They made up for the lack of toppings with garlic and spiciness.
We explored the neighbourhood a bit and found a place called Sir Hummus. We made a point of returning later when they were open since we are huge, and I mean gigantic, hummus fanatics.
Vegan friendly sounds good. We like when we find places the old fashioned way. Happy cow is cool but it's more fun to walk around and discover.
We went back to the hotel and slept.
The next morning we woke up at the crack of 11 and got some hummus meals from Sir Hummus.
Yummy. It was a delicious hummus and lots of tasty pita and veggies to dip. Surprisingly the place is not vegan since you can get your hummus topped with hard boiled eggs and beef. Any non-vegans out there find that tasty? We'll stick to pita and veggies thanks.
After feasting on hummus we travelled toward city centre to get a sightseeing canal boat.
We got the city sightseeing hop on hop off tickets.
The boats and busses have earphones where you you can listen to audio guides explaining a bit about the landmarks in Amsterdam.
Boat rides are fun. This has got to be the best way to see Amsterdam. The weather was great too.
There were lots of different boat tours going on.
We got off the boat to take a free tour of Gassan Diamonds.
It was a free tour. We watched people working on the diamonds.
They had displays with diamond jewellery.
We even got to try on some diamond jewellery.
The free tour was obviously designed to get people to purchase jewellery. Somehow we managed to resist the urge to buy anything.
We looked at some watches we couldn't afford in our wildest dreams.
After the diamond store tour we got some of their free tea and coffee. Next we took a short walk to the other hop on hop off boat.
It was fun going along the canal under all these bridges. Some of the tunnels were a pretty tight squeeze.
The dude in front of us was waving at everyone that we passed. It was fun.
We got off the boat and took a look at the Anne Frank House.
We didn't go inside unfortunately because the queue was too long for us to wait in. We got some outside pictures just to show we'd been there.
Then walking along the street we spotted a vegan place called Vegabond. Our eyes are always peeled, looking out for food.
It was a store and cafe.
We got some peanut butter green shakes.
We got a brownie with whipped cream.
....and we got some open faced sandwiches.
We decided to get some stuff for later as well.
Next we took a walk through the red light district for a bit. We saw some prostitutes hanging out in their windows advertising their services. It was strange thing to see.
We didn't take any pictures of the prostitutes as there were signs everywhere that said not to. Most of them were pretty much naked in the windows. As the polite Canadians we are, we did as we were told.
After the Red Light District we decided to take the hop on hop off bus to see some of the parts of Amsterdam that we missed.
We got on the upper deck of the double decker.
We stopped at the Holland Casino to try our luck.
|Picture in the Women's Washroom!|
Turns out our luck was bad but you wouldn't know it by our faces. Next we took a walk in the park on the way back to our hotel.
We found a closed raw food cafe on the way back. We considered waking up early in the morning before our train in order to eat breakfast there. That didn't pan out as we are not morning people. We're more wake up eventually kinda people.
We got some takeaway Sugo pizza again. Sugo's vegan option was essentially tomatoes and crust, yet we came back for more. Basic food is all you want sometimes. The garlic and spiciness are what saved this pizza from being boring.
After sleeping well we went to a juice place to get some vegan breakfast smoothies.
We loaded up on our favourite protein cookies as well.
Then we took a short walk to the train station.
We really enjoyed our stay in Amsterdam and we can understand why Amsterdam is such a tourist destination since there are many sights to see, the canals are a lot of fun, and the atmosphere was very unique.The Hague (Den Haag) - Where we stayed for a few more days.