As the Netherlands' capital, Amsterdam is an extremely historic and artistic city- visited by nearly 3.5 million travelers a year. The views of intricate architecture, canal system, street markets, and bike travel left me breathless. With only two days to explore, I decided to ditch sleep (push through some serious jet lag), and begin to explore the city's exquisite character and charm.
Our hotel of choice: HotelNotHotel
As an artist, I cannot tell you how grateful I am that my fiancé researched and found this unique place to stay. Each room in the hotel isn't like any other "hotel room" you've stayed in before- they are all created by designers who allow you to experience a stay unlike any other. Our room entrance was a hidden bookcase, like something you see in a James Bond movie. ( I had to memorize the books on our shelf, just to be sure I was pushing open the right door) Others include an actual tram car, crows nest, or printed house.
Each room is very little over 100sq feet, but the rest of the hotel is created to function as one large living room. The downstairs is filled with great nooks and comfy spots to read a book, fill a journal, listen to some tunes, or indulge creativity. The restaurant bar is as unique as its name, "Kevin Bacon" (yes, the actor) The all-around quirkiness of this place is exactly why we fell in love. AND- the community showers/toilets are extremely clean, which is always a plus.
After checking in to our hotel, we grabbed coffees and headed to Vondelpark, one of the most famous parks in the Netherlands. This park is loved by both locals and tourists, filled with joggers, bikers, rollerbladers, families, and dog walking. We were amazed by how many dogs roamed free- well trained and always returning to their owners. Many locals would strike up conversation and encouraged a game of fetch with their furry friends. How could you say no?! On top of the beautiful 47 green acres, there are also beautiful sculptures, gardens, and an open air theatre.
Being the chilliest part of our trip, we had to stop at a local market and purchase scarves. Grabbing a coffee to go often kept us warm, and encouraged the 15+ mile walk/bike ride each day. EVERYONE rides bikes in Amsterdam, it is a favorite means of transportation for locals; and has me wondering why the United States isn't as "travel savvy" as the Netherlands.
There were too many great restaurants and local cafés to name! One little spot that stuck out the most to me was "Jacketz"- home to the best baked potatoe my lips have ever touched. A quaint atmosphere and a unique twist on dinner is what you'll find in this small corner restaurant. "Jacketz" offers 1lb potatoes with numerous fillings and toppings (I chose the chicken salad and garlic sauce)- and I guarantee you won't be able to finish!
Many trips, I try to stay far from museums or large tourist attractions- but there are some I can't resist! Example: The Vincent Van Gogh Museum. My favorite artist of all time; the one I have studied and idolized since I was a little girl. And let me tell you, this iconic display did not disappoint. As most museums, you are unable to take photos in undesginated areas. But this museum is filled with work all through out van Gogh's lifetime, hundreds of letters to his brother Theo, and family history/biography.
Amsterdam is absolutely, without a doubt, a city for artistic inspiration and historical significance. Until next time.
Next, catching our 7am flight to Prague.