4 days in Amsterdam - a few questions

Aug 10th, 2015, 04:27 PM
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4 days in Amsterdam - a few questions

My husband and I will be in Amsterdam at the very end of August. We're in our early 60s. We arrive early on Friday morning, and leave for Bruges on Tuesday. We're staying at the Sir Albert Hotel, in the Pjip district because it seemed to be pretty well located for us.

Since we get in early, I figure we'll go to the hotel to drop off our luggage (maybe, if we're very lucky, our room will be ready). The hotel is very close to the Albert Cuyp Street Market, so I thought we'd go there first, eat, look around etc. Maybe a canal ride the first day? I always have trouble that first day until my body clock regulates and I get that first night's sleep.

We'll want to visit the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and Ann Frank House. Other museums are maybes depending on what else we do and how time works out (I don't like to RUSH).

I read about a Jewish Amsterdam tour that I thought we might consider for Sunday. We like walking tours in general, so I figure we can find others.

Here are my questions:
1) I have tickets for Ann Frank house, and even though I thought I was WAY in advance, we ended up with evening tickets, on our LAST night. Which is fine, but I was quite surprised. Should I buy tickets ahead for the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum? As far as I can tell, they aren't timed, or even tied to a particular day, but save you waiting in the ticket line. Is that right? I have looked at the various passes you can get, but I'm not sure we'll see enough to make a pass worthwhile. Also, I did not see special senior prices - do they not do that in the Netherlands?
2) Weather for late August - certainly cooler than where we are in Wash DC. Will a jean jacket or short rain jacket be enough? I'm trying to pack light and can't figure out if it will be 'summery' or more fall type weather.
3) Food - I know to go to an Indonesian restaurant, but where's a good source for nice neighborhood restaurants and cafes?
4) Other specialized walking tours or canal tours - any recommendations?
5) The other museum I'm considering is the Dutch Resistance Museum, and also Our Lord in the Attic - worthwhile?

With Vondel park nearby, I think we'll be able to fill up 4 days pretty nicely. And help is greatly appreciated, as always.

Alice9 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2015, 04:41 PM
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A thin rain jacket (the tissue kind) or a light sweater should be plenty for evenings (put the two together if you get some oddly cool weather).

Definitely check out one of the merchant mansion museums - there are several, each small, but representative of the ruling class of the Netherlands in the 17th/18 century. Really fascinating.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 10th, 2015, 05:02 PM
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"I'm trying to pack light"

Layers! And FWIW, I find that a really lightweight silk scarf and silk gloves can make the difference between feeling chilled to the bone and feeling warm enough to keep moving.

"Our Lord in the Attic - worthwhile?"

I thought so! I found it fascinating, But maybe that just shows what I did (or rather, did NOT) know about Amsterdam's history.

"Other specialized walking tours or canal tours"

I haven't been to lovely Amsterdam since 1991, but at that time, the tourist information office had some great walking-tour recommendations that they tried to match to one's interests. For a canal tour, I just went to the nearest pier. I also took a day-long tour to Volendam, Edam, Zaanse Schans, etc. -- I enjoyed it! I don't know if you have time for it....

kja is offline  
Aug 10th, 2015, 06:11 PM
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Ben de Jong, a retired history professor, leads a WW2 walking tour of the city. It focuses on the Jewish experience in the war. Excellent tour.

Edward2005 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2015, 07:50 PM
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"Maybe a canal ride the first day?" If you are coming from the DC, a canal boat ride would be quite soporific and helps you go to zzz.... while on board.
greg is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 04:15 AM
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A definite yes to the Dutch Resistance Museum. While it's possible to see the exhibits in a half hour or so, I spent nearly 3 hours there. I learned so much about the innovative and creative ways the Dutch resisted the Nazis, and in a few cases, collaborated with them. This place is well worth a visit.
takeaway7 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 12:15 PM
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Does anyone have some more walking tour recommendations?
eastenderusvi is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 04:23 AM
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Dear Alice,

We are planning to be in Amsterdam next July (we are also in our early 60s) and we are planning to stay at the Sir Albert Hotel. Can you tell us your experience with this hotel and the neighborhood? Thanks.

gdelpino is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 08:00 AM
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Some locals diss the idea of the rijstaffel - a mainstay of Chinese-Indonesia restaurants - in this long thread I and others say about things we like and dislike about Amsterdam.

Weather an be very cool and rainy - 50s highs or it could be nice and it can change very quickly - layering - bring a sweater or warm outer garments and bring rain gear - all those Dutch elms lining canals have green moss growing on their sides for a reason!
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:20 AM
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Well, locals may diss rijsttafel, but it's delicious and plays a role in Amsterdam's history. Plus, what else ya got? Pea soup? I've had some good food in a"dam, but most of it is ham, ham, and more ham, and cheese, cheese, and more cheese. Rijsttafel hits the spot after a few meals like that.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:25 AM
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I agree - rijstafels I've had were a real treat though jaded locals may not think so.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:31 AM
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The comment by St.Cirq is quite misleading - there are plenty of options in Amsterdam besides ham, cheese, pea soup and rijstaffel. Hopefully she was kidding (or ignorant) of the current dining scene in Amsterdam. We ate at a great Italian restaurant, Cinema Paradiso, and there are other options galore including brown cafes that can have a wide variety of cuisines.
suec1 is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:33 AM
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Indonesian restaurants, yeah if you can tolerate the smell of a Taco Bell. Pea soup is delicious, but only available in the winter. Holland is not culinary heaven, but it has a lot more than ham and cheese. Raw herring is one of my favorites.
spaarne is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:42 AM
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I was talking about Dutch "cuisine." I've been to Amsterdam quite a few times and have had good food - Italian, French, Indian, Thai, and Chinese. I've eaten at many a brown café and never had anything I would consider special. The best meal I've had in Amsterdam was at the terribly expensive MOMO, and while it was good it wasn't particularly reminiscent of Dutch food.

Maybe if I could spring for a dinner at the Intercontinental Amstel, I'd change my mind.

Raw herring kind of proves my point.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 12:53 PM
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If folks are interested in healthy foods try the cafe at the famous Melkweg (Milky Way) - a legendary municipally run youth center in Amsterdam- at night it is a concert venue but in the daytime the cafe is one of the more interesting places in Amsterdam to relax and have healthy real Dutch food- whatever that is.


In all my years in Amsterdam I have rarely noticed a Dutch cuisine restaurant but there is a myriad of ethnic restaurants so that Amsterdam is a foodie heaven - lots of these are 'Petite Restaurants - small intimate places.

Amsterdam has tons of great food choices no matter what you are looking for.

for real Dutch street food stop by any FEBO dotting the city's streets - like Frikendel and of course Frites - they even have some Chinese-Indonesian fare in their slots:

PalenQ is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 01:12 PM
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There's decent street food to be had at the Albert Cyup street market in Amsterdam, better than anything I had at a brown café.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 01:23 PM
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For good traditional Dutch cuisine and a pleasant ambience, you might try Haesje Claes on Spuistraat. It gets very busy so you should reserve. I'm sure you can get pea soup, but there's much more to the menu than that.

laverendrye is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 02:12 PM
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Dutch department stores, usually on the upper level, have cafeterias with down-home Dutch foods - there is often a view over the town too. Inexpensive, quick and not tourist-oriented.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 05:17 PM
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I have a reservation at The Pantry. From what I have read they have traditional Dutch dishes. For Rijstafels I have a reservation at MAX. We will be in Amsterdam the first week of July. If you are interested I can report back. In the meantime you can read reviews on YELP and Trip Advisor.

Good luck and happy planning!
Teacher91 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 06:32 PM
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StCirq on Jun 2, 16 at 3:42pm
Raw herring kind of proves my point.

spaarne is offline  

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