After a short layover at Heathrow, the one plus hour flight to Amsterdam flew by and we arrived feeling refreshed and ready for the next four days hanging out in one of our favorite cities. Having been to Amsterdam twice before, we were already familiar with the De Pijp neighborhood and felt at home instantly. Our very cozy apartment was just a few blocks away from the famous Albert Cuyp Market and about a ten minute walk to both the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. One thing we’ve learned from previous trips is to plan for a chill-out first day. Nothing to do, no place to be. We unpacked, got our tech all connected, wandered to the grocery store, and even got in a nap before dinner.
One of the many things we love about this city is the variety of restaurants in terms of both type of food and price. Within a short walk from our apartment we had a choice of Greek, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Indian, Indonesian, Irish, and American. We opted for Indian and had a wonderful dinner at Balti House just up the street from us. Feeling refreshed from our naps, we met up with a friend for drinks at an Irish Pub and closed out the evening with yummy shawarma sandwiches at Moe’s (their garlic sauce is amazing!)
We awoke to a gorgeous sunny day and headed out to stock up on goodies from the Albert Cuyp Market, which dates back to 1905. Both the street and market were named after Albert Cuyp, a painter from the 17th century. There are no fewer than 260 stands offering everything from seafood and produce to clothing and shoes to roasted chickens and candy penises. After filling our bellies on yummy tosties at the Chocolate Bar, we walked the length of the market in search of souvenirs and munchies to take back to the apartment. Dutch cheeses are some of the best in the world so of course we picked up some Gouda and a creamy herb goat cheese. One of my favorite stands sells nuts and a bag of their warm cashews is at the top of our shopping list every visit. We discovered a new stand this time that sells Middle Eastern deli goods and we bought olives stuffed with almonds, pita chips, marinated mushrooms, and garlic humus. We rounded out our indoor picnic shopping with grapes, apples, and a 6 euro bouquet of fresh-cut flowers.
We spent a very leisurely afternoon wandering around De Pijp and hanging out with friends at De Plug Guitar Shop. We’d met the owner Peter on our first trip to Amsterdam and have kept in touch ever since. It’s a great place for musicians and music lovers to visit, not only for the great selection of vintage guitars and the spontaneous jams, but for the chance to meet folks from all over the world. Music is truly universal and it brings people together no matter how far from home they are.
For dinner, we decided to splurge and ate at The Seafood Bar near our place. With its proximity to the North Sea, Amsterdam has an amazing selection of fresh seafood and this restaurant serves top quality fare in a casual and relaxed setting. While waiting to be seated, we overheard the couple in front of us speaking English and struck up a conversation. Meeting fellow travelers is a great perk of traveling, especially when you “click.” We ended the evening enjoying a lively conversation with our new friends from the US. A very memorable end to our first few days in Amsterdam.