En route to visiting my parents in Holland, my auntie Kate and I decided that as we had to fly into Amsterdam anyway before getting a local train to wherever the barge currently is, we might as well make the most of our time there. Soon after arriving and freshening up, we headed out into glorious sunshine in search of a well-earned, refreshing beer. After meandering through a few different streets, we stumbled across a bar drenched in sunshine next to one of the canals. Perfect!
We sated our appetite with some “fried little snacks”, which turned out to be a mixture of Dutch specialities like bittenballen (croquettes filled with gravy/meat) and Dutch flames (spicy meat-filled spring rolls) plus the usual onion rings etc. All washed down with a huge beer, it was just what we fancied after a long day of travelling. We had planned to visit several touristy places during our time in the city but decided to save these for the following day and instead, just wander aimlessly through the picturesque streets and see what we see.
It really is such a lovely city to visit in the sunshine! We wandered wherever we fancied, including a brief (accidental) stroll through the red light district! It was great to see the different sections of the city, the sex shops bit, the art galleries, museums, book shops, cannabis shops and museums…as night rolled in, the neon lights started appearing everywhere and the city came alive in a different way. It had been busy all day with cyclists – honestly, you know there will be hundreds but you can’t picture it until you see it – tourists by the bus load, the frequent waft of weed on the breeze…but at night, it just exploded.
After another drink, we decided to head back to our hotel. We were absolutely shattered and keen for a good day’s sightseeing the next day.
In my pre-trip planning, I’d come across a brunch place called Bakers and Roasters – a half Kiwi, half Brazilian place – and was keen to try it so after a short walk, we arrived.
I could have ordered everything on the menu. I wanted it all! They also sold my favourite tipple, a Matcha Latte, which earned them extra brownie points! My auntie opted for the Kiwi Brekkie, which looked and smelt amazing! I decided to try the Sweet (as) corn fritters, partly because of the name but mostly because of what it was. Sweetcorn fritters with courgette, feta, mint, beetroot relish and optional bacon (yes please)!
It was absolute delicious and just what we needed before another day of sightseeing. After breakfast, we made our way towards the Rijksmuseum to see the famous iAmsterdam sign, which was absolutely jam-packed with tourists clambering all over it, and then to the floating flower market, which was a bit disappointing really as there were no freshly cut flowers, just lots of bulbs and cannabis tree starter packs for beginners…though it might have something to do with the time of year that we visited?
Our next destination was a fair walk away but so worth the walk! Determined to fit in as much as possible, I’d found a restaurant famed for its appeltaart – another Dutch speciality, called Winkel 43. I highly recommend stopping by next time you’re in the city, if just for the appeltaart alone!
It was absolutely delicious and melted in the mouth. We asked the waitress how many pies they get through a day, expecting the answer to be around 50…apparently some days they get through over 100!
After the pie, we decided to head back to the hotel and make our way to see my parents, who were moored up in a place called Wormerveer. Then, after a 15/20 minute train from Amsterdam Centraal station, we met up with my parents and our main holiday could begin.