We took a trip to Amsterdam, our first time returning since living there for a couple of months back in 2010. We’ve only lived in our small town for six months, but it’s crazy how fast you forget the big city. I was so enthralled by the lights on the first night we arrived, and how beautiful the buildings are that line the canals.

Matt wasn’t inclined to agree with me, but for our night arrival the overall impression of Amsterdam was very different to anywhere in Italy. There was so much more light on every street, than I have ever seen in an Italian town. Amsterdamers don’t close the curtains on their living spaces, nor do stores shutter their large windows. Compared to Italy, where everyone lives behind their shutters and shades, especially the shops who, even when they are open, are very discreet with their small windows. It took us close to a month of living here to realise just how many businesses there were on our street, even a bread shop on the corner!

But now, for recommendations for my Mum when she next holidays there:

The 9 Straatjes (the 9 streets)
Nine streets between Leidsestraat and Raadhuisstraat full of cute, often specialty, shops. There’s one that specialises in toothbrushes/paste and has a toothbrush carousel in the window.

The way I could never make them, at the Pancake Bakery (Prinsengracht 191). I order them with butter and icing sugar, then add syrup from the bottles on the tables.

Preferably in Vondel Park. Preferably with a proper dutch bike, or whatever you can get your hands on.

City views
From the top floor of the city library (close to the Centraal Station). I think there is a restaurant up there, but you don’t need to go through it to access the outdoor terrace.

The Albert Cuyp Markets
In De Pijp (giant, fresh stroopwafels optional).

In any of the bruine cafes. We had particularly delicious bitterballen and goat cheese crokets at Magere Brug, a café on the corner of Nieuwe Kerkstraat and the Amstel river (over the Magere Bridge).

Buy a hot chocolate!
They will serve you warm chocomel (chocolate milk), delicious.

Canalside house museums
Museum Willet-Holthuysen (Herengracht 605) and the Museum Van Loon (Keizersgracht 672).

Houseboat museum
A canal houseboat, that is now a museum (Prinsengracht 296).

A shop full of postcards
That was visible from one of the bridges on Leidsestraat, but I can’t remember what canal it was heading down.. possibly Keizergracht? Not such great advice I’m afraid.

A Middle Eastern (Morrocan, Turkish, Lebanese, Iranian) restaurant housed in an old church (Albert Cuyp Straat 182). We didn’t eat there this time around, but it was pretty delicious those few years ago.


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