single in amsterdam

Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:11 PM
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single in amsterdam

hello out there, i'll be travelling to amsterdam for the first time (6 days), single lady >40yrs..staying at Hotel Le Coin. What are the best day trips out of the city, maybe 2 different destinations (Hague, Delft, Leiden, Utrecht)? Also what are some nice places to wine/dine alone? Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Oh one more thing where are the best christmas markets?
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 09:50 PM
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Hi pixie - We'll be visiting Holland at Christmas, so I've been doing some internet searches (as well as asking for advice on this forum). Here's a rather good link I found with information about Christmas in Amsterdam that you might find helpful, and hopefully it will lead you to other links which may answer more of your questions.
http://www.amsterdam.info/events/christmas/
I'll defer your question about best day trips out of the city to some of the more experienced travellers here. Have a wonderful time in Holland!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 04:42 AM
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Pixie --

I hadn't heard of the Le Coin, but what a terrific location. (And a great name for a hotel that's across the street from the place where coins were minted!)

I travel solo a lot, and finding a place to eat where I can feel comfortable is often a challenge. Hotel restaurants are often good bets: in Amsterdam, I can recommend the ground floor cafe at the American Hotel in Leidseplein and the excellent restaurant (name escapes me) at the Sofitel Grand. I'd imagine that the Hotel de l'Europe (near your hotel) would also have a nice place.

A great place for solo diners is the cafeteria-style restaurant at de Bijenkorf department store in Dam Square.

As much as I enjoy Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam, they cam be a bit problematic for single diners. Rijstaffel is usually fantastic, but it's not practical for a single diner. (Though I believe that the Puri Mas restaurant near Leidseplein does offer a Rijstaffel for 1.)
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:16 AM
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If a rijsttafel is too much, see if you can order a Bami Rames or Nassi Rames. It is a miniture version of Rijsttafel on a plate.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 08:05 AM
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I ended up eating at a casual tourist Greek restaurant near Leidseplein a couple night (I was solo and they made me feel comfortable). My best meal was some amazing take-away Italian food from a deli that sold everything by weight, that I had in my room with a bottle of wine. You just never know!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 08:12 AM
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I've traveled solo to Amsterdam quite a lot and have never had a problem eating anywhere alone. I've even had Rijstaffel alone. Although there are a LOT of dishes, they really are just a couple of bites in each dish. I think there are enough business travelers in AMS for solos not to stand out.

I agree the Cafe at Hotel American is a fun experience. I also enjoyed one of the Argentine Steak Houses. Amsterdam is an easy place to be solo. Have a great time!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Hey Pixie,
I too will be alone in Amsterdam, 12/15-?. I will be the one cursing that my backpack is to damn heavy. If you see me say hi!!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 08:44 AM
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Maybe you've seen my rave posts on the Hotel Residence le Coin. We were there in June and really enjoyed it. The street it's on has two very nice cafes-- Cafe Kateon on the corner, which has a university feel, with great prices and simple menu; and Cafe le Jarden (sp?) which has a great deck for watching the canal drift by and a slightly more upscale menu which is very good. From le Coin, you'll be walking distance to practically every spot in town, and the front desk people are very helpful with suggestions. From whichever direction you walk, you'll find great things. If you click on my screen name above, you'll find my detailed trip report of London-Paris-Amsterdam, with specific names of more cafes and restaurants we enjoyed there. We loved Amsterdam. I don't think you'll feel uncomfortable as a solo traveler there. Have fun!
 
Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 08:47 AM
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Pixie, I took the liberty of pasting below my Amsterdam report. Note what I say re: using cash vs. credit.
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.

 
Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Pixie, I think MaureenB has given you some excellent suggestions! I live in Amsterdam and all of the places she mentiones are very popuplar with a lot of locals. I would recommend all of them as well. Just one thing, 'cafe Le Jarden' should be 'cafe De Jaren' Also I'm not sure if Eleven at Reestraat 11 is a place where you would feel comfartable dining alone (although it is a really great restaurant).
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 02:55 AM
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hmmmmmmm, ... sorry that should say 'comfortable'
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Thank you all for the great tips and information. Looking forward to my exciting trip and all of the yummy dining suggestions.
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 09:59 PM
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Vakantie, I loved hearing you say the places I mentioned are popular with the locals. We were just lucky enough to have found them by walking and looking on interesting streets. Again, we loved your city.
 
Old Nov 30th, 2005, 02:04 AM
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MaureenB, nice to hear that you enjoyed Amsterdam so much. I just made a lunchdate with a friend at Frenzi for later this week and promise to drink a cappuccino to your health!
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Old Nov 30th, 2005, 03:42 AM
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Can't say that my DD and I enjoyed Den Haag, but we both rave about our day trip to Brussels. Easy,inexpensive, scenic train ride, complete with windmill sightings and interesting people to talk with. Beautiful city that's very different from A'dam. They complement each other well. Have a great time.
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Old Nov 30th, 2005, 07:53 AM
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Vakantie, sounds like fun! I can still picture perfectly the interior of Frenzi. We chatted with the owner, a very nice man, and I think I remember he's from the States, that he visited Amsterdam and loved it enough to stay. He was also very hospitable, as we gently twisted his arm to get a meal at 10:05 p.m. Enjoy your cappuccino there!
Then walk down the street and get a chocolate at the wonderful shop there, too!
 
Old Nov 30th, 2005, 11:06 PM
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aaah yes, I'm trying to stay away from Puccini Bomboni (not always succeeding though)...don't want to have to go to the gym more than I already do!
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