Adventures in Amsterdam: Part I

While it was really quite hard to say goodbye to Berlin, Derek and I were so, so excited to meet Amsterdam. Like so many of these cities we’ve had a chance to visit on this trip, this was our first time here so we were both extremely eager to get out and start exploring.

I really don’t even know where to begin. Amsterdam is just such a mesmerizing place, and has charm written ALL over it. From the canals to all the bikes and houseboats, it didn’t take long for us to fall in love. The best part about this city is that for the most part it is very walkable — although we might not be the best ones to decide since we’re gotten used to walking about 10 miles per day!

I’m so excited to share some of my favorite photos with you of our time here. However, because it was so picturesque, I kind of went a bit photo-overload. To prevent an endless scroll, I once again decided to break up our time in Amsterdam into two parts. They’ll still be kind of lonngg, so be warned…

Without further ado, let’s get started with Part I!

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We got lucky once again with our Airbnb. I fell in love with this teeny apartment for so many reasons. For starters, it was called the “little toaster,” which I just couldn’t get over. Secondly, it had “king” and “queen” bedside sconces. If you look closely, you can see the different crowns on each. How cute is that!?

And lastly, we were greeted with beautiful fresh tulips, as well as locally brewed coffee and the traditional stroopwafel cookies. I am such a sucker when it comes to those nice welcoming gestures. To me, it’s those small details that make for a lasting impression.

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We started our first morning off with one thing in mind: pancakes! We decided to go here, but there were literally pancake shops everyywheree. And I mean everywhere. Like on every street corner. Which was fine by me.

Derek opted for a gigantic dutch pancake — it was delicious! — and I went with the teeny-tiny ones called poffertjes. Small bite-sized pancakes sprinkled with powdered sugar. Pretty much the sweetest breakfast ever.

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After we devoured our body weight in flapjacks, it was time to get the day started. And time to start walking off our sugary breakfast. We strolled through countless canals. It was so nice letting ourselves get lost with every twist and turn, and not worry about the time or which direction we should be going.

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So. Many. Bikes!

We almost got hit a couple of times. Who am I kidding…practically a bunch of times each day! But with trying to watch for cars while crossing the streets, we would forget to watch out for bikers, too. Not really a good practice on some of those busier streets, as these bikers mean business. They don’t have time for any dumb tourists!!

With so much navigation it was as if we were inside a video game trying not to get hit, ha!

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And boats!

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The streets lining the canals were all so gorgeous. Everything was so clean and nicely manicured. Not to mention the beautiful stoops and doors. It reminded me of Brooklyn in that way, you know besides the canals. We spent so much time strolling from street to street pointing out which all were our favorites.

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Ah, and so many good coffee shops. And by that I mean real coffee shops for coffee!! There were of course dozens of other “coffee shops,” too. Those were practically at each corner!

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We casually stumbled upon Bloemenmarkt, which apparently is the world’s only floating flower market.

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I won’t lie, it was on the touristy side and mostly filled with those touristy souvenirs. Not really my taste, but I did love these dried hanging flowers.

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We also came across a local farmers market, which was a lot of fun. I always love strolling through these, as they are the perfect place to pick up fruits, veggies and snacks for a random picnic.

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Just as with Berlin, there were so many amazing shops. It was quite clear art and design were a major focus here. We had so much fun popping in and out of stores. There was just so much inspiration all around, I loved it all!

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Ah, the houseboats. What a unique way of living. They all looked so peaceful, too, sitting so still on the water. We tried looking for a houseboat on Airbnb to stay in for one of the nights we were here but had no luck. It was still really cool to walk past so many. They were all just so different.

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I really loved all the random flower stands everywhere. They made the streets pop with such vibrant color. I don’t know what it is, but whenever I walk past tiny flower shops I can’t help but smile. Derek laughs at me because so many times I’ll stop for a quick second just to smell the bunches. But who can resist the smell of fresh flowers!?

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Another really cool shop we came across. It must have been some sort of party store, because there were so many cool decorations inside. So many fun knick-knacks.

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I just couldn’t get enough of the buildings here. There was certainly nothing cookie-cutter about these homes. Standing side by side, they were all tall and skinny but so different looking. Staggered tops. Teeny-tiny windows with itty-bitty shutters. And some that were extremely narrow. They were all so unique!

My favorite part was that if you studied them long enough, you’d notice that so many were actually crooked. To me, this just made these homes even more precious looking.

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Ah, and the itty-bitty cars. Derek seriously fell head-over-heels for these little babies. We once saw one use the bike lane and couldn’t help but start hysterically laughing.

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Do you see how narrow that one house is below?! I just want to squeeze it!

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This man below melted my heart. While waiting to enter the Anne Frank house, I noticed him sitting quietly painting. He looked so happy and content. You could just tell he was spending his day doing what he loved and didn’t worry about how much money these paintings would make him. It was such a blissful moment to watch him as he created these gorgeous bright landscapes on small canvases. What a beautiful kind of artist!

On a side note, I would highly recommend visiting the Anne Frank house if you have the opportunity. It was a really powerful experience. To walk through her hiding place, where she spent several years, was so special and surreal. Even though I read her diary many years ago when I was younger, visiting the place she wrote about firsthand made me want to read it over again. Such an important piece of history.

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While the weather was a bit cloudy when we arrived, the sun finally decided to show, creating the most beautiful bright blue sky. That, on top of the houseboats’ reflections glistening on the water made for such a pretty sight.

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Okay, okay. I’ll stop with the picture below to wrap up our first couple of days in Amsterdam. These really were some special moments. This city is just so fascinating. Be on the lookout for more of Amsterdam coming your way. I will try and have Part II up within the next couple of days!

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