Short Amsterdam Trip Report

Old Jun 1st, 2009, 12:30 PM
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Short Amsterdam Trip Report

The trip was short. The report is also short.

We spent a few days in Amsterdam over what was the US Memorial Day holiday weekend. My husband was on business in London and as we had not been to Amsterdam before we met at London Heathrow for the quick flight to Amsterdam.

Arrived midafternoon. Took train from airport to central station. The train ticket machines before you exit baggage claim seem to take only European chip and pin credit cards (no US cards and not even Euro coins). Out in the main hall of the terminal which is also the train station, just before you go down the escalators there are machines that take Euro coins.

With construction at Amsterdam Central Station it is a bit crazy exiting out there. It was only about a 15 minute walk to our B&B once we got our bearings but if I had to do it again I would have splurged on the luxury of a taxi. (And rolling your suitcase on the cobblestones is not that easy.)

Our B&B (Jordaan B&B) was great. A simple place but we had a quiet garden room. We kind of missed the communal breakfast table but the owner does bring you breakfast to your room and it is quite nice.

First day there just wandered Jordaan area and into center of town. Stopped a couple of places for a beer. It was a nice afternoon. The Jordaan side of town is especially pretty and and fun neighborhood.

Dinner that night our B&B suggested de Reiger nearby in Jordaan. Great bistrot type food and lively crowd and service. Later we realized it is recommended in a number of guidebooks, but it wasn't touristy at all.

Sunday we had booked ahead Van Gogh tickets (the special exhibit of his night pictures). Definitely worth booking ahead. Besides the special exhibit and the regular Van Gogh floor, we especially enjoyed the top floor of the museum which has some of his contemporaries and another collectors collection from about the same time. In the afternoon we headed to the Het Spui and Leidesplein areas for an art show they have there every Sunday. Just enjoyed the beautiful day out. Sunday evening we had dinner reservations at Zuid Zeeland, a restaurant my brother and his wife had raved about from an earlier trip. Principally a seafood menu and quite lovely it was our "splurge" dinner. Again very good service and very good wine service.

Monday we had Ann Frank House tickets early also booked ahead on the website which was a good idea. If you know her diary you have to see the place. There we bought a little pamplet about Jewish Amsterdam which included the sights along the way from West to East from there to the Amsterdam museum of the Dutch resistance. A very well done and very moving museum. Dinner that night was Indonesian, at Long Pura, also in Jordaan and recommended by our B&B when we asked for a rijstaffel suggestion. Beautiful restaurant and excellent service from the couple who run it.

Tuesday we had left open. It turned out it was dark and a bit rainy after three beautiful days, but we made a nice day of the Amsterdam historical museum (quite underrated I think as we really enjoyed it) and the 9 streets shopping area nearby. We had Dutch pancakes for lunch at Pancakes! in that area. Dinner Tuesday was a place again in Jordaan, Oliva a tapas bar we had walked by many times which is actually much more sophisticated than it first appears. Again excellent food, wine and service.

Wednesday home. We had the B&B call a car service for the airport as our flight was relatively early. For 28 euro it was well worth it. Transfer back through LHR T5 through T3 uneventful (the best thing they ever did there is make the "transfer" signs purple to distinguish them from the "exit" signs which are yellow).

Surprises? 1. We walked one evening through the redlight district. It is not as seedy as you might think and actually is a bit silly whether its the sex or the dope on display. You have to see it once. 2. High quality of service. We had very friendly, patient, always English speaking service at sights, restaurants, shops, etc. who made our weekend especially pleasant. 3. All the bikes. Yes, you know they use bikes but until you see an entire 3 story parking garage next to the Central Station full of thousands of them you don't really realize it.

Recommendations? All of the above. If you haven't been before, go. It is now one of my top 3 cities and I have spent time in quite a few.
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 01:01 PM
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Thanks for your report Laurie Ann. I have planned 3 days in Amsterdam for my next trip and keep wondering if I should take them off and spend more time in Paris (there for 10 days). Sounds like I should keep them.

Emerald125
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 01:11 PM
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Sounds like a great trip, laurie_ann! Thanks for posting.
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 02:27 PM
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I enjoyed reading your trip report to my all-time favorite city, Amsterdam. I'm glad you had a great time, and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Robyn
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Yes, Jordaan is a nice part of the city. Glad you saw the wonderful VanGogh Museum exhibit. Many folks do order Ann Frank House tickets in adavance but it really isn't necessary...lines aren't that long. Yes indeed, the bicycles...thousands of them...but dangerous. Many people ride them going to work in their business suits. And the trams are good. I only wish the U. S. had such excellent public transportation including the commuter trains. You didn't mention the canals which I love. Amsterdam is a fun place.

Ozarksbill
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 05:14 AM
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Great report! I want to go at the end of September, and right now, I am playing chicken with the airlines ! I think Amsterdam sounds wonderful, thanks for posting! I will look up the Jordann B&B.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 07:56 PM
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Thanks for the thread..

It is nice how you didnt cram too much into everyday.

I cant wait until my 4th trip this coming Sept.

In my 3 trips I have yet to go into the Anne Frank house.
I do go by the statue and give her my regards..

We will be staying in the Jordaan at http://www.valens.nl/nlhtmldocs/canalsite.html

The Jordaan is my favorite area for strolling.

The Redlight district is a must see for sure.
Im a hick gal from the midwest so I was shocked a bit a first.
I even got brave enough to look a few gals in the eye.
They just smiled.

Thanks for the Long Pura recommendation.
we were thinking about doing a rice table.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2009, 08:03 PM
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judyrem,
are you signed up for www.kayak.com fare alert?
Thanks to them I was told about a one day sale where I got tickets for $548. RT SEA-AMS. NON STOP on NW airlines.
Before that day and since the prices are $800+
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Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 10:50 AM
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My favorite in redlight district was a window display of a device called "omibod". It rhymes with ipod and in fact hooks into your ipod and uses it as a kind of battery to run -- well how do I say it - - a personal sensory item.
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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Yes jetsetj, but not for Amsterdam. I will go and change it,,thanks for reminding me. BTW, I love that apartment...I would love to stay there.
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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Nice, laurieann! I actually recognized the cafe in Arles Van G painted at night. Was sitting next door and when what I was looking at dawned on me, it brought goose bumps and tears.

More to add to my ever-growing list of places to visit!
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 04:14 PM
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We also just got back from Amsterdam and it also is now one of my favorite cities in Europe. We stayed at Hotel Agora which was next to the Flower Market and it was a great location.
The highlight of the trip was Mike's Bike Tour out in the countryside. We enjoyed a 4 hour level bike ride on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon with Shawn who told us so many interesting facts about Amsterdam. Not to be missed!

The Red Light District was rather amusing and again not as seedy as I thought it would be.

We also enjoyed the Heineken Brewery tour - it's rather Disney Worldish but still fun. The small Pub across the street had the best sandwich and fries of our entire trip.
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 05:00 PM
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Do you remember name of pub ?
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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Hi carmar - We stayed at the Hotel Agora 10 years ago. We had a great room in the front of the hotel with views of the Singel, and also really liked the location of the hotel. It's centrally located right down from the Koeningsplein Tram stop and the Albert Hein grocery store, and the Flower Market and the Spui. I'm glad you had a great time in my favorite city.

Robyn
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