It's now Amsterdam

Sep 15th, 2009, 08:56 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2003
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It's now Amsterdam

Have researched sooooooo much for Prague (going through FRA or MUC and then by train/air) for a very short time duration and decided we couldn't get there from here with the limited time!

Now have decided to try for Amsterdam. Will be using points at one of the Marriotts - any suggestion which one? We have only three days there so the one that would be closest to sites, i.e., Anne Frank House, RLD, etc. Also, husband has trouble walking for too long of a time without sitting.

Have just started researching so don't really know yet what we wouldn't want to miss. I know you have to see a certain amount of museums wherever you go for the wonderful exhibits but would rather be with the people and eating/observing actually. Any ideas?

We like to eat in un-posh places, have typical area food, and enjoy the locals.

So, any site ideas, things to buy and where (nothing fancy), and restaurants or cafes?

Daken and Palenque have been very helpful with Prague. I am saving all of that info for when we can go for a longer period.
emmitt is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 09:06 AM
  #2  
 
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We stayed at the Marriott near the Leidesplein on points. It was very walkable to many of the museums and then every possible mode of public transport is available across the street. It also has a free washer and dryer which was convenient and lots of restaurants nearby.
illnative is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 10:16 AM
  #3  
 
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You can always use the trams and buses to get around. If you go to the GVB information office by Centraal Station on arrival they can give you a map and help with tickets etc.
Have a look at http://www.gvb.nl/english/Pages/default.aspx for their website in English.

I wouldn't bother with the RLD - I can't see the attraction of it. yes it is an historic part of the city, but do you really want to see women exploited? Tourists are part of the reason it continues, and are also part of the reason teh city council want to clean it up.

There is lots of information on what to see in amsterdam on teh forum if you search. If you have more concrete questions I'll do my best to help, as will others of course.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 10:42 AM
  #4  
 
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Though we didn't stay there the Marriott by Leidesplein is very convenient. There are many restaurants close by, Sogno's across the road is more than excellent . Even the restaurant in the hotel was quite good. The canal ride is right across the road and there is a tram right outside the door that took us everywhere we wanted to go.You can walk to the Van Gogh, Vondelpark and the Rijks ( SP?) museum.

One hint , buy your Anne Frank tickets online before you go. The lines stretched for blocks!
avalon is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 12:36 PM
  #5  
 
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Yes, the Leidesplein is a good location - lots going on close by there.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 01:03 PM
  #6  
 
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The closest Marriott within walking distance to the sights you mentioned is the Renaissance. We stayed there several times and enjoyed it. It is a little more "Dutch" than the Marriott and is located in a very old part of the city.

Amsterdam is pretty easy to navigate though, and you should have an easy time getting around regardless of where you stay.
Bird is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 07:02 PM
  #7  
 
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We loved Amsterdam. Here is my trip report, with information on a day-trip and good restaurants:

"Final stop: Amsterdam. Five nights’ stay, first visit for all of us.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Amsterdam! You always hear of the Red Light district and the coffee shops and the laissez-faire attitude, but you don’t hear how open and friendly the people are, how lovely the canals and side streets, how wonderfully trendy the restaurants and cafes, how people are out strolling at all hours of the night and you feel safe everywhere. I think I’d expected it to be quaint and charming (which it is), but in a dark wood-paneled cliché way, not in the young and contemporary way it is.

The standard reply we were given in Amsterdam, when we asked for anything, was always “Of course!” How refreshing.

We stayed in a fabulous location, at The Hotel Residence le Coin, which was directly across a small street from the Hotel de l’Europe, down the street from the Hotel Doelan, on Nieuwe Doelenstraat (sp?). A great neighborhood in the heart of old Amsterdam.

The hotel has a lift and A/C, also free use of the hotel’s washing machine and clothes dryer in the basement (which was welcome as we’d been traveling over a week when we arrived there). Each room has a little kitchenette, a nice-sized bath, large rooms with wooden floors and a sitting area. It’s fairly new, so everything sparkles. Very friendly front desk, too.

Two cafes on the same block as the hotel were wonderful: Café Katoen for a university atmosphere, and Café le Jarden, for great table seating on the canal.

Amazing dinners at two restaurants in particular:
“Stout!”, at Haarlemmerstraat 73 (www.restaurantstout.nl). Fabulous ‘foamy asparagus’ soup with shrimp, chateaubriande, fresh fish, dessert course, wine list. Very trendy lighting. Great service. We’d gone to the neighborhood in search of a restaurant called “Lof” which we’d seen written up. We didn’t like its atmosphere, but were lucky that Stout! was just across the street.

Also at “Restaurant Dining Eleven” we had a great dinner. It’s at Reestraat 11. Also trendy and contempory, well-presented and beautifully-served meal.

Another nice dinner at “frenzi”, at Swanenburgwal 232. Very simple and contemporary. We arrived shortly after 10:00p.m., when most restaurants close in Amsterdam, and persuaded the owner to sell us any left-overs they had in the kitchen! They put together a nice Caesar salad with cooked-in-the-shell shrimp and mango. Very nice.

Also a good brunch at a place across the street from frenzi—called “Puccini”. Creative salads and sandwiches. Very nice also.

We took a canal cruise one evening. Toured the Anne Frank Huis and the Van Gogh Museum. Visited the Nieuwe Kerk (sp?) Our teens went to a concert at the Paradiso and loved it.

One afternoon we did the 2:30 “Best of Holland” excursion to Volendam and Marken, with a stop to see wooden clogs made, Gouda cheese created, and to visit windmills. It was by bus, with a boat from Volendam to Marken. A lot of fun. Even our two teens liked it.

Our teens also liked shopping at one street in particular, between our hotel and the museum district. Also a Zara shop there, and many others like it. They thought the selection and prices were better in Amsterdam than what they’d seen in London and Paris even.

A detail about Amsterdam if you go there-- carry enough Euros in cash, because many places won't accept a credit card for a 'small' purchase (i.e. under 25 EU).

The only unpleasantness we encountered in Amsterdam related to cab rides and inconsistent pricing. Especially when our two teens were grossly overcharged cabbing to the hotel from the concert. They were well aware of the route, having walked it already twice, but we'd wanted them to cab home late at night. They knew the cabbie took a very round-about way back in order to over-charge. Also, when we arrived at the taxi sand at Central Station, I was literally swarmed by rather aggressive cabbies and felt uncomfortably jostled by them all."
PeaceOut is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Save your Marriott points! You can get a 4 star hotel in Amsterdam these days for $65 a night so keep the points until you need them elsewhere.

Go to tripadvisor.com and check the Netherlands forum... the thread re Priceline hotel deals is usually kept on the first page or 2...
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:17 AM
  #9  
DAX
 
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Both Marriott and Renaissance are good but I agree with Bird, the Renaissance is better because it has larger rooms with nice old exposed brick walls. It is much closer to Anne Frank's house (be prepared for long lines) and it's close to the more quaint Jordaan area as well as the Centraal train station. I often visit Amsterdam to meet up with my cousins and overtime the Jordaan area become my favorite area to hang out, it is where the locals hang out. That said the Leidseplein is a good lively tourist central that the Marriott is very close to. I just prefer Jordaan for its canal scenery and the Negenstraatjes (9 little streets) further south toward Leidseplein.

If you want to meet the locals go to one of the huiskammer restaurants (www.huiskammerrestaurant.com) particularly Saskia's huiskammer which is opened only on Friday & Saturday dinners (5 course for under 30 euro). You'll be sitting right next to the locals who book ahead to have dinner made by the talented Saskia in her living room. They don't come there to sit with tourists because it's more of a place for the locals, but the Dutch would always welcome nice Americans. It's on Albert Cuypstraat which is closer to the Marriott. I find the Dutch in general to be warm and outgoing people with a great sense of humor. They are a lot more interactive/interesting than the Czechs in my experience, they tend to master the English language quite well.

Closer to the Renaissance in the north is HUMPHREY'S on Nieuwezijdsvoorburgwaal and De Kolk. It is a great value chain restaurant that's filled with young locals celebrating after work so it's a fun place for people watching but not necessarily for meeting/interacting with them since they come with their own group, but the service is super friendly. It's right next to the Golden Tulip hotel in De Kolk. They serve a generous 3 course dinner for about 25 euro (choose your own appetizer, main course & dessert).

Another somewhat interesting restaurant is Balthazar's Keuken(=kitchen) in the Jordaan area (Elandstraat). It is a kitchen with a long narrow dining area that's open only from Wednesday to Friday. The tables are placed close together so you'll be seated practically next to lots of locals. You can book through the City Eating website or call them directly +31 (0)204202114. The menu changes weekly, about 28 euro for 3 course. It's a simple place but they have white table cloth and they serve a couple of inexpensive french wine (around 5 euro). This place is good if you're looking for creative dishes using some interesting local ingredients. You'll see a huge red lobster hanging in front of the restaurant.

MOEDERS (=mothers) on Rozengracht (Jordaan area) is a warm & cozy eclectic restaurant that's filled with local families. It's a good place to try the dutch hutspot (smashed potatoes with veggie & sausages) & their good crayfish soup or their special dutch rijstafel (not indonesian). www.moeders.com/

There are several good brown bar restaurants throughout Jordaan where you can stop for a thirst quenching beer & snack or a simple meal when you stroll the area. During nice weather you'll see all the locals hanging out in their favorite places so you can choose to eat among the local crowd or in a more quiet atmosphere. One place that's often recommended is De Reiger, but I think it's better to find your own place when you stroll the area. Have a great time exploring Amsterdam.
DAX is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:24 AM
  #10  
 
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I wouldn't spend a lot of time and energy walking around looking for special restaurants in Amsterdam. My experience of Amsterdam is that (a) the soup is usually good (b) the sandwiches are straightforward and (c) the beer can be startlingly good.

I wouldn't want to miss a canal tour. And Amsterdam's stores are a whole lot of fun, with unique offerings everywhere you look.

If your husband is willing, I would contact the Rijksmuseum and see if they will loan you a wheelchair. The museum is under renovation, but it has put 400 of its most sought-after treasures in an annex so they can still be seen. It takes about an hour to see this collection highlights -- and its terrific.
zeppole is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:25 AM
  #11  
 
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PS: The last time I was in Amsterdam I used the services of a bicycle cab at one point to get from point A to point B - and it was quite fun and I negotiated a quite reasonable price.
zeppole is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 06:41 PM
  #12  
 
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A boat canal tour is a 'must' and saves on walking. I think Leideplein is a perfect area to stay in. I much preferred it to the more central area of the city near RLD/Dam/trainstation. I didn't do any special research for food, just ate places nearby that looked good. I had some excellent Italian and pretty good Greek food. One night happened upon amazing fire dance street performers in one of the squares. I spent 5 days there solo, hadn't done any planning just had one guidebook along (Let's Go) and had a great time. It's a relatively easy city.
suze is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 09:18 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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We stayed at the Marriott near Leidesplein for $70 thru Priceline. They have ice machines which are pretty rare in the places we've stayed at in Europe. A nice feature to go along with the free washer and dryer!
cherylgirl is offline  

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