2 days in Amsterdam
One of the most expensive cities in Europe and yet it’s a treat to be here. Amsterdam you beauty! You taught me how people have fun in everyday life.
We visited Amsterdam in Europe Summers! But don’t be fooled, it is windy and chilly even during the day. Definitely great weather for Indians who want to escape the hot sun.
Generally, people do 3-4 days in Amsterdam, however we had only 2 days here and wanted to make the most of it. The fact that the sun in the summers sets at around 9 pm here gave us a lot of extra time – psychologically of course 🙂
We started our day by vising the Rijks Museum. Amsterdam is known for its rich art culture and an art lover or not a visit to Rijks Museum or Van Gogh Museum is a must. Personally we were a group who were not very knowledgeable in Art. So we took the audio tour guide and believe me, it was the best decision. It’s a 90 minute tour and by the end of it you really marvel at the actual meaning of the art as opposed to what one can only see. Total cost of the museum and the audio guide is around 25 euros.
Next we visited the Vondel Park in the afternoon. We picked up lunch from a close by supermarket with drinks and made our small little picnic in the park. A huge park and beautiful whether to just relax, soak the sun, watch the families and just chill out. The concept of relaxing is so different there and you actually feel calm as opposed to horns/shouts etc in India all around you which keeps you on the edge.
We had pre-booked our canal ride at 5 pm and that’s where we headed next. The canal ride takes you through the canal system and highlights all the important aspects of history. It is a beautiful 1 hour ride. We saw the Anne Frank House (You can choose to visit the house / museum as well). We were content to just look around the beautiful, colorful and narrow houses.
Left free for the evening we decided to have pancakes and waffles that Amsterdam is famous for at Amsterdam Central. Later in the evening we picked up drinks and headed to the most famous De Wallen or the red light district of Amsterdam. It’s a network of alleys and is alive till late in the night. The brave hearts can try out the space cakes and spend time here.
Now when tourists visit Amsterdam, they generally keep 1 day for Hague and Rotterdam. However, we decided to do something else.
We took a 40 minute train ride to visit Zaanse Schans – to see the famous windmills and the cheese farm. This was a great place for a nice walk. You can also rent bicycles and peddle around the farm. The majestic windmills, mouth watering cheese shops, farm animals, wooden shoe shops and decadent chocolates, this place was out of the world. We tasted a lot of different types of cheese and finally picked up something that suited our palette. We had lunch at a quiet quaint restaurant.
Second half of the day we decided to visit Haarlem – which is a 20 minute train ride from Amsterdam. However, you can directly reach Haarlem from Zaanse Schans. If we thought Amsterdam was beautiful, we were totally at a loss of words for Haarlem. A beautiful, small, quiet town with a canal system which was – if possible, even more prettier than Amsterdam. Walking down the lanes and seeing the architecture and beautiful houses, I truly wondered how would it actually be to live in a town such as this. Clean Air, good food and above all value for life and a zest for living – that’s what the Dutch believe in. We spent the evening here, had dinner at a local café and felt totally content.
Stay in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an expensive city and staying close to the city center can really dig a hole in your pocket. We stayed at Hotel Dutch Artemis which was quite far from the city center but a great hotel. The positive was that the tram station was close by so we used that for travel.
Bicycles, trams, buses – u name it and it’s there. The ride on Tram Route No. 2 is very scenic. National Geographic rates this ride among the top 10 tram rides in the world. You would not want to miss this.
In case you have more time in Amsterdam, you can visit Anne Frank House, do the Heineken Experience, visit Rotterdam and Hague as well.