Friday, November 16, 2018

My Weekend in Amsterdam!

Helloooooo Amsterdam!!
Thursday night we took an 18-car train (extra-long) to Amsterdam!
There was an international jewelry convention this past weekend, so the city was hopping, as was the train.

We stayed in one of the only available hotels left in the city, the Ramada Apollo Amsterdam. It was a beautiful four-star hotel. A high rise, right on the park on the outskirts of town.
Beautiful views, roof-top bar, and very comfortable living arrangements.
We even rented bikes from our hotel.
Biking was so fun.
I really enjoyed feeling like a local and getting to see the city on a bike.
It was a bit dangerous though.
Motor scooters are allowed to be in the same lane as the bikes and it was a bit dangerous.
Even just biking with other bikes was scary because TOUT LE MONDE was biking at the same time.
I may or may not have crashed into someone… Oops.

Thursday night we watched the Fault in Our Stars, only fitting, considering we were in Amsterdam, the city that Hazel and Augustus visit.

Early wakeup call Friday morning to go to the Anne Frank House.
We biked all the way there, got online, I had all the tickets ready, until we got to the door and I had bought the tickets for the wrong weekend.
I was so mad at myself.
I was so excited to go, and there were no more available tickets for the whole weekend.
Word from the wise: buy your tickets WEEKS in advance!
I was so sad I couldn’t visit her house and now I feel like I will have to return to Amsterdam one day.

But everything happens for a reason.
In the end it worked out because we found this amazing pancake restaurant, way better than IHOP and a tourism office where we were able to buy tickets for the Heineken Experience and the Amsterdam Ice Bar for later in the day.

We biked to the famous Amsterdam sign, if you went to Amsterdam and didn’t take a picture in front of this sign, and didn’t post it on Instagram, then you didn’t even really go to Amsterdam.

We took a ton of pictures and then went to the Rijksmuseum, which is right behind the sign.
It is one of the biggest museums in the world.
There were impressionist paintings there, as well as Van Gogh and other interesting artifacts. 
There was even a 35-karat diamond sitting in a little box that I almost walked right by.
Very cool museum but probably not as cool as the Van Gogh museum that we went to on Saturday.

We carefully rode our bikes back to our hotel during rush hour and decided to give up on any more bike riding.

Amsterdam has a great Tramway system, so we took the tram to the Heineken Experience.
I didn’t know that Amsterdam was the home to Heineken!
The “Experience” was 18 Euros per person and included a guided tour of the old distillery, games, photo opportunities and three Heineken beers.
It was so silly and fun!
I learned that it takes 28 days to make a Heineken beer. 
We had a great time, and it was perfect for ladies and gents, but mostly the gents.

For dinner, I made reservations at Levant. A white table cloth and candle Turkish restaurant right near the Heineken Experience and the Rijksmuseum.
The food was delicious.
Amsterdam is known for their seafood, but we wanted to dabble in the Turkish genre instead.
We even had Turkish wine, however it does not compare to wine from Burgundy.

After our alcohol filled evening, it didn’t stop there.
At 11 pm we were off to go the Ice Bar Amsterdam.
We got all bundled up and braced ourselves for the below freezing temperatures.
With that 15 Euro ticket, we were able to get three drinks. Two drinks served in glass that was made of ice inside the ice bar, which was literally a meat locker covered in ice, and one in the pirate themed bar that was attached to the ice bar.
The staff gives you a winter jacket and gloves to wear in the ice box, but I was still cold with that and my big NorthFace parka on underneath. 
It was a cool experience, literally and figuratively.
It is kind of a weird concept if you think about it, but overall fun, but never really want to do it again.

Saturday brunch commenced at 11 am at Mook Pancakes.
Delicious pancakes about a 10-minute walk from the Amsterdam Palace and lots of tourist shops, including marijuana shops.
We saw the palace, but not very well because there was a huge protest going on in front of it.

We did some shopping and made our way to the Van Gogh museum right next to the Rijksmuseum and the Amsterdam sign.
I couldn’t take pictures in the Van Gogh museum, but it was an incredible museum if you love Van Gogh. He created so many pieces of art in such a short time.

Dinner was at 4:30pm.
Stuffed and satisfied we went to bed early to wake up at the crack of dawn to make our voyage home.
It was supposed to be an 8-hour train ride that quickly turned into a full 12-hour travel day.
Our train was canceled so we had to take a total of five trains, one bus and one metro to make it back to Dijon.


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