I ran off to the chill streets of Amsterdam to indulge in the best foods, sights and sounds of the center of the world.
Maybe I did leave a little out, an hour before our flight took off I told my boyfriend where we were going as his birthday present, major girlfriend points to moi.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at the Mauro Mansion, which I highly recommend if you want the authentic ‘dam experience, having spent forever trying to find a place that was right on the canal, with the most beautiful rooms and within walking distance of everything we needed.
This place has a slice of rock’n’roll with metal furnishings, random ladders, and the grooviest furniture. Personally I just wanted a large window in a tall building to get heart eyed over by the canals. For the reasonable price you pay, the service was top notch, and when I say top notch I mean there was a free bottle of bubbly in the fridge and a lovely Happy Birthday note for Guinny when we arrived!
WHERE TO HAVE BREAKFAST
Amsterdam is the home of the ultimate breakfast or brunch experiences. Personally there’s nothing like an egg and bread based breakfast. If you’re like me and love an omelette with a side of juice, look no further as Omelegg have everything you want with 40 different choices it’s hard not to find something for everyone. I went for the Viking Fisherman a smoked salmon, cheesey and herb combo. Everything is served with a slice of bread, rocket salad and a smile.
WHERE TO CHILL OUT
I love me some moggies. It’s a 20 minute tram ride away but introducing the Cat Cafe of Amsterdam is one of the hidden treasures of Amsterdam. It’s 3 euro for entrance to 8 kitties to pet and play with for two hours. My advise is to go either at the beginning of the day or around lunch for a delicious cattacino as they get a bit tired of being petted all day, sassy little felines.
WHERE TO WINE AND DINE
We didn’t try out any quintessentially Netherland food for our evening meals but we did however vouch for French cuisine and Italian, close enough right?
I saw on the menu garden snails and knew I had to go to Bistrot Neuf. When I see my parents they usually cook French food but strangely enough I realised this was my first french restaurant experience, odd!
I definitely wouldn’t knock trying snails, the taste of them is one of the most incredible foods I’ve ever had, once you get past the sight of them and realise they’re cooked in a gorgeous herb and oil based sauce you will never look back. For mains I went for the Atlantic cod, whilst Guin went for the steak.
We indulged in their cheese platter over a bottle of Bordeaux based red wine, they go hand in hand so perfectly! A set menu for 31 euro is quite incredible!
Meanwhile on our first night we tried out an Italian restaurant as we failed to locate one that didn’t show up on google maps. We soon discovered the best places in Amsterdam are the unplanned destinations on the streets.
I truly fancied having a risotto with a slice of tiramisu, and while I fell in love with the food, I really fell in love with the restaurant. I adored their art deco paintings of Italian women and their spirit and passion for all things Italian and truly getting the vibe down to perfection. Want a romantic dinner for two, bounce down to Ristorante Italia Oggi!
WHAT ELSE CAN I SEE?
Amsterdam has so so much to offer, I feel like it’ll take me years to truly get around every corner and see the beauty of the canals from top to bottom on multiple trips, so please don’t try and squeeze everything in, Amsterdam is supposed to be taken with a slow stroll so you can sigh and take in the sights.
But if you need a few days to occupy I highly suggest going to the Heineken Experience, the Sex museum (always a good giggle!), the coffeeshops if you’re a brave sort, or the Red Light District if you’re even braver! Want the simple life of getting a canal cruise?
They do a hop on hop off service so it’ll cover all the tourist attractions from the beauty of a sheltered canal boat.
The other mis-conception is that Amsterdam is only made for the summer, I really do love it in the winter too. It gives the place a sense of magical-ness, they still haven’t taken down most their christmas decorations (even in February!) and as long as you wrap up warm in a big fluffy coat like moi then you’re good to go!
If you want some goodies to take back as souvenirs please do go to the famous Cheese Museum where the funkiest man in clogs will greet you as you spend half the day eating all the best cheeses made. It’s pretty easy to walk out with 6 cheeses whilst sampling roughly about the same quantity. Luckily they’re all plane safe if you keep them wrapped up!
Amsterdam has a very special place in my heart for a little escape from the outside world, even on the busiest of days the chimes ring and the place has an overall aura of simple elegance full of fun people who just want to be happy.
If you’re ever doing a Euro trip like I’m planning for the summer make it the start or end of your trip and Amsterdam will treat you with kindness.