I was so thrilled to finally get back to Amsterdam (Chad and I got engaged there!), and this time with Julian. We were so excited to show him the canal where Chad proposed. His reaction was...underwhelming, to say the least. Maybe he will get it in a few years. Both times that we have been have been TOO quick, and I am always left wanting more, but I still have a pretty solid list of things to do (and eat!):
1. Rent a boat! You can hop on big boats with 50 other people, but you are stuck behind a window, and on someone else's route. You can rent small boats there that you drive yourself (when we got engaged it was just Chad and me in our little boat!), and it is SUCH a fun way to see the city.
2. Go see the prettiest row of houses at Damrak. It is a super touristy area so beware, but bonus: it is right by an ice cream shop I am about to tell you about...
3. Get ice cream sent straight from heaven at Banketbakkerij Van der Linde. It is a super simple vanilla soft serve, but there is whipped cream folded into it, and it makes the fluffiest, creamiest treat you can imagine. Next time I am bringing a jar of Mrs. Richardson's hot fudge and buying ten cones. It is so amazing. Thank you to my sweet friend Morena for telling me about this place!
4. Explore 9 Streets. This area is the absolute prettiest. There are tons of little canals (even complete with flower boxes), lots of bright doors, and even some wisteria! I went back every day we were there this time because I never felt like I had enough.
5. Get traditional Dutch apple pie (with a pile of whipped cream) at Winkel. It is SO good and makes me so happy just thinking about it. I don't why they are so much better at making pie over there, but they are and you have to experience it.
6. Go hear the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, one of the very best in the world. Both times I have been to Amsterdam, they have not been performing, but I have heard them at Carnegie Hall in New York and they are absolutely glorious. To make up for not hearing them in Amsterdam, we did a tour of the concert hall, which kind of made me feel better.
7. Maybe it is silly to even mention the museums, because they are SO obvious, but you have to go to the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and if you enjoy modern art, the Stedelijk. And read Van Gogh: The Life before you go. And cry a few times. And buy your tickets in advance!! If you try to day of, you will most likely be out of luck (to Van Gogh, I was fine walking up with the other two).
8. Another obvious one: Anne Frank House. And another one that is mandatory to get tickets in advance. Then go to the Pancake Bakery down the street for a bit of a pick me up.
9. It sounds a bit silly to go to a movie on vacation, but you really should consider it just to see the inside of the Pathe Tuschinski. It's drop dead stunning.
10. BEST FOR LAST: Van Stapele Koekmakerij!! They make ONE cookie: dark chocolate with a melty white chocolate center. They are continuously baking them all day, so you always get them hot (because there is always a line out the door), and they are so dang good. I was devastated when I asked to buy 20 and they told me I could only buy 14. (I went back the next day.)