It is raining so hard in SoCal for a couple days now, and it reminds me so much of Amsterdam. Raining with sunshine.
We visited Amsterdam in the beginning of September. Not too cold but the rain could make wet clothes heavier. An unique traveling experience.
Amsterdam was our last minute destination. So it made Amsterdam even more expensive than it already was. Fortunately, we found a very great hotel in the urban Almere. Hotel Apollo Almere. It was located in the center of Almere and a-ten-minute-walk to the train station which wasn’t bad at all. The ticket costed to travel to Amsterdam was around 11 euro/ person/round trip.
The room was very decent and roomy. Very well-decorating also. It was two single comfy bed put together to make it look bigger but if you like to cuddle, this isn’t an ideal bed for that.
They offered free breakfast but we didn’t try it. The staff was okay. Before booking, I read good reviews about their staff but we had bad experience. The girl was at the front desk wan’t helpful at all. She was rude and not willing to answer all the questions. We asked if we got food delivery, please give us a call. The sushi was delivered an hour before we called to ask. They apologized.
It was located in the center as I just said. Many shops and restaurants were surrounding the area so it always took us a long time to decide what to eat next.
First night we tried the famous De Beren Almere’s BBQ ribs. It was right across from the hotel.
It was a very busy night. We waited around for 15 minutes before we got served. Many options to choose from, however, if you like Phil’s BBQ, you would not like this place.
The meat was very dried, and flavor was kinda heavy. ( I also eat very salty food.) Anyhow, their staff was outstanding. They paid great attention to details and the food was fast serving even it was a mad house the night we visited.
We spent the rest of our first night experience near by market and shops. Very clean. People was friendly. I love their supermarket. They had self serve orange juice which I loved.
We woke up very early cause I wanted to analyze Amsterdam to the max. What makes this city becomes one of the top destinations? We took the 9 a.m. one to the Amsterdam Central. The train was about half hour and we saw many interesting things on there as well.
First stop: Flower Market.
I live in Southern California so Los Angeles is also well-known for its flower market. The only thing that amazed me was how organized the market was. Early morning but everything was already displayed neatly. The canal in the back was also a must visit. All the shops replicated the look of the green house from the back. So it made Amsterdam’s famous flower market unique in their own way.
We could not say no to coffee shops. It was expensive tho’. Bring cash.
We spent another hour just to walk around the canals. That city was truly covered by “green”.
Second: Heineken Experience
I booked the tickets in advance directly on their website. Tickets included a canal cruise and 2 free drinks per each person. And you know who finished them all. Hint: not me.
The whole experience was very entertaining and interesting. They also taught us how to drink accurately. Laugh on drunk people.
I very enjoyed the 3D experience that they also offered. Imaging myself swimming in the beer tank …hmmm… beauty tips.
The whole experience was about 2 hours long. No need to say more, Mike was kinda tipsy after all the alcohol. I, was also, woozy hanging out with tipsy people in Amsterdam.
The feeling did not last long since we had to walk everywhere in this little-but-not-so-little city. Plus, I couldn’t get enough of canal pictures so getting lost was more fun for me.
And it rained.
Third: Van Gogh Museum
Paris Hilton claimed that she invented selfie. I’m sure she has not visit Van Gogh Museum yet. He took selfie to a whole different level.
The museum has 3 levels. First level was gift shop, cafe, and lockers.
Second floor was highlighted by a room filled with all his “selfie” paintings. He painted his own portraits a lot. It was a crowed Saturday afternoon. We couldn’t get through all of his paintings since tourists totally took control of the whole house. We left early by that reason.
Tips: having a joint before visiting would make the participation different.
Review: I love the experience despite all the bad services that I got. Amsterdam is kinda rude toward Asian. I’m Vietnamese married to Greek husband. They always ignored my questions but reached out to him asking if he needed help. Some ladies at the locker area also gave me a face. I did not take it offensive, I just think they need to improve their discrimination.
Bye Van Gogh.
We wandered a couple more museums which were on the free list of IAMsterdam Pass. And we also paid to get into Weed Museum. Duh, have you met my husband? He was such a bad influence.
It was a small house with all kinds of news and history about weed. They also offered one free hit when we exited out.
Day 2 ended with a heavy rain so we ordered sushi delivery to our hotel. It was okay.
We were going to leave for Paris later on that day so we packed everything and left it at the luggage store near Amsterdam Centraal. The price wasn’t that bad. 15E/bag/2 hours.
It was also a heavy raining day. We first stopped at Hermitage Museum Amsterdam. (It was free with IAMsterdam Pass).
The building was amazing. I thought I was entering into a modern castle in the middle of somewhere could not be found. The paintings were mostly represented the old Russian monarchy. Most of them had explanations next to the piece audibly or visually. It was such “a modern way” to see arts.
I could spent days just to visit the museum but there were so many. See you again in April.
Tips in Amsterdam:
- Buy IAMsterdam pass as long as possible. There’re so much saving by using the pass for trams and museum tickets.
- If you have T-mobile. You’re in luck. This carrier works extremely fast in Netherlands. Having troubles, stop by T-mobile stores.
- Most stores close on Sunday. Wanna do some shopping? Sunday is not the day.
- Wearing very comfy shoes. Preparing to walk everywhere.
- Having some space cake helps.
- Their caramel waffle is must try.
- Starbucks has their own coffee for Amsterdam. Please ask for advise.
- If you’re Asian like me, don’t take their look too personal. They will stare at you as long as they want too.
- Please be polite. Don’t walk on the streets. Side walks only please.
- Have fun, be safe. I will have a 5-day-trip-update in April.