Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I amsterdam - Part One

Amsterdam may be known as Europe's Sin City - full of sex, drugs, clogs and everything in between but we totally fell in love with this city for its historical architecture, little niche museums and romantic canals.

Where to Eat?

There is some thing to satisfy every palette here! If trendy is your style, Villa Ruysch has your bistro menu and chic decor or if you are into venturing beyond the city's core, head to Westhaven and have dinner aboard an old disused ferry at Pont 13. Looking for something totally different and unexpected? Bazar is a former church now converted to an Arabic-kitsch café.

While there are no beaches in Amsterdam, Blijburg Restaurant and Bar serves up BBQ and cocktails with little umbrellas on a makeshift island with plenty of sand and live bands. De Bakkerswinkel is your bakery-tearoom where you can indulge in healthy sandwiches or satisfy your sweet tooth. Flock to Eat at Jo's because their fish and meats are always brought in the day of and keep you eyes out for stars who are booked to play at the Melkweg music venue. Rusland is the oldest coffeeshop with multiple floors serving food, 40 types of teas amongst other leafy treats. And you must make a stopover at Metropolitan Deli! It's really questionable how the owner came up with the name because there is not a stitch of meat here but just desserts, gelato and chocolates galore.

Where to Stay?

I stayed at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre and couldn't have asked for a better location. All the main attractions were more or less within 10-20 mins walking distance. The Centraal Train Station is a mere 7 mins jaunt away and the hotel itself is situated in a traffic free zone that is snuggled amongst restaurants and shops that aren't overly touristy. The rooms are clean, comfortable and "spacious" (according to European standards but yes, they are smaller than your typical room in North America). Standard rooms start at $200 CAD per night.

What to See?

  • Anne Frank Huis - Definitely one of my favourite museums of all time! The 17th century house where Anne Frank and her family hid for 2 years during WWII still stands with all its original rooms. Her diary which has been translated into 55 languages and sold tens of millions of copies is also kept here.

  • Sexmuseum Venustempel aka Sex Museum - I sure discovered my naughty side here but I'm not going to kiss and tell you anything else except there's an exhibition for everything you can imagine and some you would rather not.
  • Hash Marihuana Hemp Museum - You don't need to be a smoker to appreciate this shrine dedicated to the cannabis plant. Only in Amsterdam alright!
  • Torture Museum - A display of various torture instruments used in the European medieval times. How creative one must be or how much one must hate their enemy to come up with such cruel and unusual punishments!

  • Heineken Experience - Ever wonder what it's like to be a beer bottle? You can find out here on the virtual ride through the brewery and learn all there is to know about Heineken beer (and drink some too)!
  • Van Gogh Museum - Known for his bold bright colours, you can find Van Gogh's 200 paintings and 500 drawings here.

Stay tuned for I amsterdam - Part Two... Red Light District, Windmills, Shopping and more!

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