As promised I have finally gotten around to writing about our family trip to Amsterdam last week. (I’m actually at work but it’s a quiet afternoon so I’m sneaking some blogging in. Shhh)
Visting Amsterdam feels like coming home for me. It’s one of those cities where I can see myself completely immersed in daily life, being a local and loving it. It has the wow factor of tree lined streets, canals and gorgeous architecture on every corner. But it also has the cool, calm and casual nature so unique to Amsterdam and Dutch people. Nobody seems in a rush to get anywhere, even the daily commute is so much more picturesque than most people can dream of and people just seem to know how to enjoy every day and take simple pleasure from thier morning coffee to evenings by the canal in adorable bars and cafes.
Being as this was not my first time in Amsterdam I had my favourite haunts that I wanted to get back to, starting with my favourite cafe for breakfast and the best cup of coffee in the Nine Streets district. Ree7 is an adorable, minimalist space with gorgeous muted pastel shades, exposed brick and wooden detailing. It’s a split level shop front with a cute little mezzanine floor where we would take what become our usual table and have a delicous breakfast of omlettes, pancakes, dutch cheese and fresh squeezed orange juice.
After fuelling up each morning we would venture off for walks along the canals, sightseeing, more food and drink stops and, naturally, a spot of shopping. My favourite shopping was definitely in the Jordaan district and the Nine Streets where every shop is curated to quirky excellence and has unique, handmade pieces. Even if you don’t buy anything (which let’s be real, I did) the shopping experience itself is a treat.
After hours of walking and shopping a real treat was definitely an evening canal cruise all through the main canal belt, the harbour and the Amstel river. So much history, stunning canal houses and houseboats on every corner, all while sitting in the comfort of a canal boat while the sun continued to shine well into the night.
That evening we also had the pleasure of dining at one of Amsterdam’s best restaurants. A Moroccan French fusion place called Mamouche. It was exactly the perfect mix between both. We walked through the black door into the dimly, candlelight restaurant to the sounds of French jazz and the smell of Moroccan rose petals. The food was a work of art as well as tasting incredible and though I’m not one of those people that takes photos of thier food, this time I had to make an exception.
One of the biggest highlights of the trip for me though was the half day I spent alone with my baby brother and we went to visit Anne Frank’s house. It was a sobering, emotional experience and for most of the visit through the rooms where the Franks and other two families hid for nearly 2 whole years, we were silent and sombre. Seeing the interviews of friends and those who helped them hide, alone with an interview of Otto Frank himself, brought me to tears and reading excerpts of Anne’s diary all over the museum broke my heart. I cannot explain how important it is for people to visit this house if at all possible. It really makes you have a newfound appreciationg for everything we take for granted and keeps the memory of, not just Anne but all those others who were killed during World War 2, alive.
After Anne Frank house we decided we needed to do something relaxing but also fun so we walked to my favourite park, Vondelpark, on the south side of Amsterdam. We did a full lap around the park and talked about our lives and future plans, my baby bro caught me up with everything going on back in his life in Sydney and it made me so happy to see what a wonderful, kind, intelligent human my little brother is. We also found a semi-hidden obstacle course set up high among the tree tops in the centre of the park and of course we climbed up and completed that bad boy!
We stopped for drinks at Vondelpark 3, a cafe inside the park with fantastic views of the park, and then met up with our parents for lunch. It was a perfect day.
We also managed to squeeze in a visit to the Van Gogh Museum on our last day whitch was a real treat as I had missed that the last time around. We learnt so much about his life, his mental illness as well as his art. What I loved most was finding out that he didn’t even start drawing or painting until he was 27 years old and had no formal training, which goes to show it’s never too late to follow your passions. We also loved his ever changing style and interest in so many different styles of art over his career.
It was a fantastic 5 days away, so much more that I haven’t covered here and yet still so much to see! I was sad to leave my home away from home but I know that I’ll be back soon. Maybe even I’ll actually try living here one day, one can never know for sure.