Amsterdam: the city of 160 canals that span 60 miles. Supported by over 11,000,000 wooden poles that hoist up the city: grounded in 11 metres of sand. With over 881,000 bicycles to a ratio of 799,400 people – it’s always been somewhere that I’ve wanted to go. To see the streets in Spring bloom, and to ride a bike across the canals in April weather.
Well, my friends & I finally decided that enough was enough and it was time to see the beautiful city – so one day we booked an impromptu trip for a weekend in Amsterdam! (and, spoiler alert: it was so good that we’re looking at returning in December! I’m already having visions of the Christmas Markets.. )
European cities are always a great idea for weekend breaks from England: flying from Liverpool John Lennon to Amsterdam is only an hour and a half by plane, and we got our tickets for as cheap as £35 return! The ease of this is both a blessing and a curse, however, because it’s no secret now that I want to go back to Amsterdam as often as possible, and I’d even love to live here one day. Oh well, I guess you can always dream!
Before heading to Amsterdam, I had done some Pinterest research on food (the most important kind, I know) and found out that there’s a certain bakery amidst the streets that sells only one item: but that particular item is so well made that they don’t need to actually sell anything else.
This bakery is called the Van Stapele Koekmakerij found on Heisteeg 4. The food they sell there is practically a chocolate cookie – although it’s soft and large and filled with a vanilla creme that’s so gloriously delicious you’ll be u-turning back for seconds before you’ve even finished the first. We ended up going there each day because we just couldn’t resist the call of Van Stapeles!
Quick side note that I remembered while typing this: if you’re ever in Amsterdam: go into a store and look at their chocolate selection. I’m going to say that their chocolate trumps England’s chocolate by a long shot. I’m there for the Milka. And for the red chocolate truffle bar with the elephants on. They’re the sort of things dreams are made of.
Another thing you have to do while in Amsterdam? Rent a bike and ride around the canals. Especially to Vondelpark if you can, not only is the atmosphere amazing but from May till September, they host an Open Air Theatre every week that’s full of performances of all kinds of genres and shows!
And for any literary lovers too (like me!) make SURE you find The English Bookstore. This quaint, ‘second hand’ (I use quotation marks because although all books are advertised as second hand, you’d never know from the condition. And I’m not just saying that – as someone who buys hundreds of books, you’d never know!!) bookstore sells everything for €5. €5!!! And look what I found hiding between the stacks.
There wasn’t just this title, either. They had the entire collection of this binding, as well as the other Penguin Collection dedicated to Evelyn Waugh. These beautiful, hardcover pristine-bound books retail at £20 each in England. EACH! I’m just going to leave that there. The English Bookstore is a gorgeous little shop that has all the aesthetics of somewhere any bibliophile would prefer to hole themselves in and drown in the fiction.
Amsterdam is an amazing cultural hub – I could spend a day talking about the museums, too, but I thought that since most people discuss those when they travel there – I’d keep this travel diary a little more hole-in-the-wall!
If you’ve been on the fence about going to Amsterdam, I honestly advise that you definitely do! It’s such a beautiful city, with gorgeous views, brilliant transport links & such rich culture. I can’t promote it enough!
Let me know if you have any stories or places you like to go when you’re in Amsterdam, I’d love to hear them!
Until next time,