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Please help with Amsterdam itinerary and lot of questions

Please help with Amsterdam itinerary and lot of questions

Old Mar 20th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Please help with Amsterdam itinerary and lot of questions

We’re going to be in Amsterdam for three full days. We arrive April 12 (Thursday) and leave April 16 (Monday). We want to see the following:

Van Gogh Museum
Anne Frank House
Canal cruise

We’re staying out of City Central so I plan on buying the Amsterdam card. That way we don’t have to worry about the expense of getting on the wrong tram or subway and museum tickets are already paid for.

I know to visit the Anne Frank House late afternoon or in the evening.

Tulips – can we see tulips without going to Keukenhof Gardens and by using public transportation? These Gardens look fantastic but I think they would eat up a full day.

Windmills – Robyn, you recommended Molen De Valk in Leiden, but I don’t think we have time. But to me, going to Holland, you have to see at least one windmill.

Canal cruise – I’ve found the Canal Company. This looks like an inexpensive way for an hour and half cruise. Is there a canal cruise that goes past tulip fields? That way we could kill two birds with one stone.

Are there certain destinations listed that we should do on certain days or time of day?

We’re planning on spending our evenings exploring brown bars. And I think we will have to take at least one walk through the red light district.

PalenQ – We’re staying on De Boelalaan in the Buitenveldert area. You said that you have spent a lot of time in this area. Do you have any bars or places to eat to recommend? We’re not foodies and like good value.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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No not really but there is a windmill very close to you - near the Amstel River.

no cruise with tulips i know of

tulips are at least an hour away by public transport.

but the famous flower auction at Aalsmeer, quite close to your location is fascinating - the market where flowers, tulips included, to be auctioned off before being sent to nearby Schiphol Airport to be flown all around the world. buses go there from your area i believe. Google Aalsmeer Flower Auction.

restaurants in this type of area of Amsterdam i've always found cozy and pleasant - many are very tiny - i'd ask a local or hotel desk.

i was in Amsterdam recently in April and during tulip season and was surprised by the lack of tulips in Amsterdam.

Escorted tours go to Keukenhof from Amsterdam and in a half day you could do it easily this way. Or you can quickly enough get there - take train to Leiden (from RAI station from your area) then buses from station go straight to the gardens every few minutes. Avoid weekends because of huge crowds.

Haarlem is a great city only 20 mins by train from Amsterdam if you want to see one of the neatest Dutch regional towns.

You may well fly right over the tulip-flower fields when landing at Schiphol airport so keep your eyes peeled for a quick look - landing or taking off.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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You could do the Van Gogh, Rijks and Anne Frank in one day if want to. Start at the Van Gogh, have luch there, then stroll round to the Rijks - which is still being rebuilt so isn't as huge as normal, and then Anne Fank late afternoon.

There is a windmill in old Amsterdam, but you would be better off going to Zaanse Schans probably.

You can do a canal cruise from close to Centraal Station which covers pretty much everything and takes a bout 1.5 hours, or use the museum boat. If you do that on Thursday it leaves more time for the other things you want to see. You could even do an evening candlelight trip

Tulips - hire a bike by Keukenhof and go for a tulip tour or go on an organised trip.
You can find lots of trips here: http://tinyurl.com/2llfzn, but if you Google the VVV Amsterdam there will be more ideas there.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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The trip out to Zaanse Schans takes about 20 minutes by train with another ten-minute walk from the station to the site itself. There are several windmills there and at least one is usually in operation which you can walk all the way through.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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train to Koog-Zaandijk then walk to the open-air museum Zaanse Schans - this is a really neat place besides the windmills - old buildings have been moved here from around Nord Holland and they have working demonstrations of old crafts, etc. Plus the group of windmills, much more awesome even than those standing solo silent sentinel to times long gone.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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Hi Bonise - To really see the tulips, you will need to leave the center of Amsterdam. As PalenQ suggested, there is a 4-hour bus tour that takes you through Haarlem (no stopping), then through the tulip fields to the Frans Roozen Tulip Show, which is a retail bulb outlet where you can buy bulbs and have them shipped to you in the autumn, then on to the Keukenhof Gardens. When we did this tour many years ago, it only left us with 1 1/2 hours to explore the Keukenhof, which wasn't enough time. We felt very rushed.

Instead, I would recommend taking the train to Leiden - it takes a little over a 1/2 hour. On the ride there you will travel through many bulb fields, with splashes of color in every direction.

The Molen de Valk is a 5 minute walk from Leiden Centraal station - you can probably tour the windmill in 1/2 - 3/4 hours (or shorter or longer depending on your interest). From the Leiden train station, you take the bus to the Keukenhof, where they will drop you off right at one of their entrances.

I know they sell a combo bus/entrance fee ticket at the train station. They use to have a deal from Amsterdam Centraal station which included the train ticket, bus & entrance fee. However, I don't know if it's still available.

You can easily do the train trip to Leiden & the Keukenhof in half a day, which will still give you a half day in Amsterdam plus the entire evening. The Dutch have really made travelling to the Keukenhof by train and bus so easy, I really hope you decide to give it a try. I guarantee you won't be sorry.

The Amsterdam Pass offers two different canal cruises, but neither go past any tulips. They do, however, take different routes, so if you have a chance to take both of them, you might as well do it since it's included in the pass. We did one during the day, and the other at night.

The Houseboat Museum is also included on the Pass, and only takes 15 minutes to tour. If you're walking in the area, it could make for an interesting diversion. As a side note, there is a pissor (sp?) right on the corner where the Houseboat Museum is docked. If there's any males in the group, perhaps they might want to give it a try.

Here's a link to windmills in Amsterdam.


We visited de Gooyer on one of our trips to Amsterdam, however, you can't go inside (I think it's an apartment). We took the tram over to see it, past the Tropen Museum. I saw a windmill symbol on my Falkplan map, which is how we discovered it.

If you're visiting the Red Light District, perhaps you might also consider a trip to the Sex Museum (Damrak 18). It's informative, fun & hokey, all wrapped up into some very memorable displays. Admission is only a couple of Euros.

I think that's all I have for right now. Please post if you have any additional questions. Peace, Robyn >-

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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 05:30 AM
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Thanks all of you! The detailed, current information you provide is fabulous.

Robyn, I love the step by step instructions. I think we will follow your directions Friday for Keukenhof. Maybe the crowds won't be as bad. We'll watch for the pissor if we get to the Houseboat museum. Maybe I can talk DH into a Kodak moment. When we went to Venice we missed the sex museum. We'll try to get to it.

Saturday we'll do the museums.

This will leave Sunday for anything else. Maybe we'll have time for Zaanse Schans. I googled it and it looks wonderful.

PalenQ, DH loves flowers. I think we'll have to try to get to Aalsmeer.

Oh and Robyn, thanks for the tip about canal cruises with the Amsterdam card. That will save some money.

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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 09:49 AM
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 10:11 AM
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We were in Amsterdam in 2005. Here's my trip report, including some great 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."

Enjoy wonderful Amsterdam.
Old Mar 21st, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Bonise - Just another suggestion... on our first day in Amsterdam we always make our way over to the Bloemen Markt (Flower Market), located on the Singel between the Muntplein and the Koningsplein, and buy one or two bouquets of tulips & flowers for our hotel room. Ask at the hotel desk for a vase.

You can check out the website for the Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer (Flower auction in Aalsmeer) -


It's not open on Saturday or Sunday, so you would have to do it Friday morning, between 7:30 - 11:00. Your hotel location is not far from Aalsmeer, and I believe Bus #172 will take you there (this is not an absolute).

Robyn >-
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 07:20 AM
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And a pleasure of Amsterdam or any Dutch city are the ubiquitous flower stands - the Dutch are obviously big on flowers and there's something neat about so many folks buying flowers.

The Flower Market on barges covering the Singel Canal is a visual feast - some of the flowers are indeed unusual for a flower market - i've seen peyote cacti and cannabis plants and cannabis seed kits ready to water discretely mixed in amongst more conventional flowers you'd expect.
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