“I’m starving,” I leaned over and whispered to Hung. “Do you think they feed us on this flight?” After sitting on the flight with only about two hours left until we arrived in Iceland, I realized that I had not done my homework and apparently, this was a budget airline. We were flying Icelandair for the first time and I couldn’t nap. The entire flight I was extremely uncomfortable and hot. I was sweating. My stomach was rumbling and they didn’t even feed us snacks. We would have to pay an arm and a leg for subpar airline food.
When we arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland for our layover there was so much confusion. Icelandair kept changing the gate that our flight to Amsterdam would leave from. We had to move back and forth between gates a few times (even after confirming a gate with their customer service agent). Finally, we left for Amsterdam.
We arrived in Amsterdam on November 20th and began searching around for public transport that would take us to our hotel. We bought our metro passes for the three days we’d be in town. The woman that sold us our passes offered us political asylum from “Trump-anitstan.” Since we were only a couple weeks past the election it was a sore topic. I wished I could just stay in the Netherlands.
We successfully navigated our way to our hotel. We were staying at the Qbic. It was a hip, modern, and small room. The only thing I’d warn you against staying there would be that the bathroom, it doesn’t have a door. It’s a very open concept.
Since we weren’t able to sleep on the flights we ended up napping in our hotel room much longer than I’d care to admit. (Yes, we wasted precious exploring time by sleeping. We are weak.)
That night, we decided we would check out Febo. Febo is a well-known vending eatery in Amsterdam that we just HAD to try. We had no clue what anything on the menu was but we tried one of each that they had.
Day two, we headed out for brunch at Omelegg to try their baked egg. Just our luck, they were sold out. I love the baked eggs in Seattle at the Fat Hen. We even started making our own versions. So we were very disappointed.
For our first activity of the day, I had purchased tickets to the Anne Frank Huis in advance. There was a long line to get in. We skipped ahead of the line with our pre-purchased tickets. The museum was so powerful and moving. It was a reminder for us to never forget the past. The unfortunate thing about it was they didn’t allow pictures. So the pictures that I do have are minimal.
Another big menu item I wanted to try in Amsterdam was the stroopwafel. I searched on Yelp and TripAdvisor and found Banketbakkerij Lanskroon. This was my first stroopwafel. I loved it, put up pictures on Facebook, and had a Facebook friend tell me that the best ones are made fresh at Albert Cuypmarkt. This location was then marked for our adventure the next day.
As we walked the streets we stumbled upon a Gouda cheese shop. They had samples galore that we indulged in. We decided to buy several. One for a wine cheese night back at the hotel and others as souvenirs for friends and family.
Next, we stopped into Pancakes Amsterdam and tried the bacon, paprika, mushroom, cheese, and onion Dutch pancake. We topped it off with powdered sugar poffertjes. I never thought I’d have a savory pancake. It was a mix between a crepe and a pancake.
On our final full day in Amsterdam, we started off the day by going to the Albert Cuypmarkt. Hung tried the herring sandwich that he had on his list of foods to eat in Amsterdam and I got the fresh stroopwafel. It was amazing!
Before we came on vacation, I bought a canal cruise pass and tickets to the Van Gough Museum with extra credit card points that we had. I had scheduled our visits for this day. We walked to the Blue Boat Canal Cruise to start our cruise. The cruise was informational and it was a nice couple of hours to relax.
Fun fact, I learned on the cruise. Do you see the pulleys at the top of the homes below? Those were used back in the day to move things up the floors because the hallways and stairways are too narrow for larger items. We actually saw a ladder lift the other day and we were talking about how dangerous it looks. It all makes sense now.
We also went to visit the Van Gough Museum and checked out some graffiti art at Flevopark. The graffiti art wasn’t worth it. I was mostly excited to check out the MOCO Museum to see the Banksy and Warhol exhibit. I loved it!
These museums were by the infamous I AMsterdam sign. We set up our GoPro and took a few shots around here.
For dinner, we decided to try Tempo Doeloe for the Indonesian Rice Table. I was told that it’s a must to try the Indonesian rice tables in Amsterdam. We found out about this place through an Anthony Bourdain show. It was our first Michelin star restaurant. Now during the Indonesian rice table, they brought out three heaters and placed three large plates on it…each plate held six small bowls of different Indonesian dishes. The variety was fantastic. However, I’d like to try another Indonesian rice table place for comparison sake!
During dinner, we sat next to a woman from London and a gentleman from Amsterdam. The entire two hours we were there they talked about American politics. Some direct quotes from the woman I found very fitting:
“It’s very American…me and my land…and my gun…” said mockingly.
“In current events, the lessons of history do not give an optimistic prediction. The lessons of history say – be afraid, be very afraid.”
On November 23rd, we took the train from Amsterdam to Antwerp, Belgium. It was my first official train ride in Europe. I wish trains were this convenient in the States.
Follow along to hear about what to do in Belgium in my next blog post!