Saturday, 5 September 2015


When I think back of our 3-day-trip to Amsterdam in September 2011, this loveable city still puts a smile on my face.

Being the Netherland's largest city (805,166) and capital, Amsterdam often gets viewed as one of the top financial centeres in Europe (the stock exchange is the oldest in the world!) as well as a cultural capital with the highest density of museums.

Expecting a big city feeling when in Amsterdam? Far off!

Swans swimming in the gorgeous canals, hundreds of friendly Dutch people on bikes, the relaxed atmosphere around the Coffee Shops and areas overgrown with weeds everywhere in the city make you feel like you're on a country trip.

We wanted our trip to be as authentic as possible so we chose not to book a hotel room, but instead to live on a houseboat just like approximately 4500 other people in Amsterdam. And we would definitely do it again!
The lovely Annette that owns Ark16, which is a housboat anchored in a former workers district called Jordaan, was such a great host.
Ark16 was a great basis for us to check out the city and as many attractions as you can see in 3 days. 

Here is my Top 7 of things to do:

1. You probably expect me to say "Rent a bike.". Umm, no! Simply because there's SOOO many bikes out there (approximately 50% of the population rides their "Omafietsen").
Even worse: there are so many tourists on bikes which are not familiar with the traffic in Amsterdam - it can quickly turn into quite a dangerous fun thing. Infact, isn't experiencing a city by walking everywhere much more rewarding?

2. Eat a Herring! Raw Herring! Actually: eat as many Herrings as you can, they will never taste better anywhere else! You will find a quality fish stall on almost every corner where this delicacy gets served either with or without cornichons, onion and bread.

3. Visit at least one of their beautiful markets around the city! We went to Lindengracht Market ( which is located in Jordaan which has become one of the most upscale locations of the Netherlands and a favourite place for students, artists and young professionals. While you're there: don't miss out on Poffertjes! These baby pancakes are deliciously fluffy and traditionally served with powder sugar and butter.

4. Visit the Anne Frank House. Walking through this part of our history will send a chill down your spine and even I may have cried a little. Worth seeing, but best to go there relatively early as queues get very long. 

5. A cheese shop! You have to indulge in all those varieties of cheeses as they might not be available in other parts of the world.

6. Go to the Bloemenmarkt - Amsterdams flower market - to buy tulip bulbs for your loved ones at home.

7. Take a stroll though the Red Light District, but be prepared because the beautiful girls in the windows don't care if you're female. They will still try to pick you up. On this note: while we were strolling through the city we saw these...umm..modern (?) Public Toilets everywhere. Strange to see and hear certain parts of someone elses very private business!

There's so much more to see and do in Amsterdam, like going to the Rembrandt or Van Gogh Museum or take a canal tour, but we simply ran out of time. But there's no doubt - we'll be back one day!

With Love,


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