I had been waiting for March this year like never before, because we had a trip planned to Amsterdam, Netherlands. The biggest reason to visit it during this time of the year was to witness the beauty of the world’s biggest and most beautiful tulip gardens, Keukenhof. It is open only for two months from Mid March to Mid May every year.
I and my husband had a crazy busy schedule and needed a relaxing holiday away from the hustle bustle of the city hence we booked a cozy Airbnb cottage on the outskirts of Amsterdam. It had a garden for the kids to play and sunbeds for relaxing our bums. The pearl white bedroom was set up with a crib and pack-n-plays for safe sleep. The heating was optimum as the host was aware we would be getting toddlers.
The comfortable beds rivaled any luxury hotel. All the amenities and finishings were pristine. In the backyard, there was an open beautiful dining area which made the accommodation, a perfect shelter for us for the next 3 days. It was at a 30-minutes drive from the main city center, located at quite a serene and picturesque location at the riverside.
Our flight landed in the late afternoon and then we boarded a bus directly to our accommodation. Traveling in public transports was very convenient, so we could save a few Euros. The first evening, we relaxed in the Airbnb and then walked to the riverside to enjoy the orange hues of the Sunset. The cool breeze touching our faces was magical and soothing. We just roamed around the area and absorbed the raw beauty, the yellow lilies spread on the green lush fields and the gabbled facades narrow houses.
Exploring the city
The next morning, after having breakfast, we headed to explore the beautiful city of Europe. We bought two I Amsterdam city cards for ourselves as the kids travel till 4 years is free. This card gives you the free entry into many museums and other famous tourist spots along with free travel on the public transport operated by GVM, a free canal cruise and many other giveaways and discounts on the surrounding areas of Amsterdam.
It is available for 24 hrs, 48 hrs, 72 hrs and 96 hrs at different rates. We opted for 24 hours as we had just one day for the city and the next day was booked for Keukenhof gardens where this card was not applicable. You can buy it online as well as physically in the below stores:
Amsterdam Central Station: I Amsterdam Store which is located on the north side of the Central station.
Airport Schiphol: I Amsterdam Visitor Information Centre and Arrivals Hall 2-Amsterdam Tourist Information
Amsterdam Central Station: I Amsterdam Visitor Information Centre at Stationsplein 10
So, here goes the list of places we covered on the second day in this city:
This is the most lively and the biggest square of the city. Endless eating and shopping options make it the most favorite of the tourists, especially in summers, when the local street performers create magic on the roads. Through this dam, the Zuiderzee Sea swarms into the city. The bars and cafes here are mostly packed with people, resulting in a long queue to the get into the establishments.
There are many other places to visit nearby like in the center of Dam Square, is The Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace), which used to be the home of the Dutch Royal family earlier. Just outside the Palace, is the Hotel Krasnapolsky. Other monuments are The National Memorial Statue which has a rich history of World War II. Madame Tussauds, a famous wax museum, and the Beurs van Berlage, that used to hold the Stock Exchange in the past which has now turned into a site of the concert hall and an exhibition space.
The Amsterdam Museum:
This museum provides the history of the beautiful city of Amsterdam and in just a hallway takes you to the entire culture. There is The Sound of Amsterdam display where you can experience the audio storyline that accompanies the different time periods of Amsterdam. The museum entrance costs 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for minors. Children below 4 years get in free.
This museum is for photography lovers and has a huge collection of around 5000 photographs. It includes contemporary as well as historical photos. You can check out their website for their regular displays and exhibitions and plan your trip as per your interest. Entrance for adults is 5 euros and free for kids. There is a discount on the tickets for senior citizens and a group of more than 8 persons.
Leidseplein (Leiden Square):
Popularly known as Entertainment Square, it is located at the Southern Amsterdam. A square which is now turned into the city’s transport hub. It serves several trams offering access to city’s shopping and nightlife. You will find many street artists performing and entertaining the crowd here. Another attraction is Apple and BMW flagship stores whose interiors are quite unique.
It is generally more packed with tourists in winters than in summers. There are many food stalls and the square’s outdoor terrace is covered and an ice skating rink adds more to the fun. You can find many Chinese, Italian and Argentian restaurants along with many other high-end restaurants too. Nightlife is cool here and can best be enjoyed at Kleine Gartmanplantsoen.
I AMSTERDAM Sign:
Whenever I had dreamt of visiting Amsterdam, I found myself posing at the I AMSTERDAM sign. My happiness knew no bounds when I finally arrived in one of my dream locations. It was just outside the Rijksmuseum and highly crowded with people like me to get themselves clicked at the sign. It was amazing and after clicking on pictures, we enjoyed the street performance of the artists in the center.
Van Gogh Museum:
Being an art lover, an amateur painter and a big fan of Van Gogh artwork, this museum was on my bucket list for years. It has the largest collection of artwork by Vincent Van Gogh in the world. The most organized and well-planned museum I have ever visited, I must say. Despite the huge crowd visiting every day, its highly accessible and everyone can enjoy individual pieces of artwork.
Divided into four floors, one floor has a cafe and gift shop while the next one has the chronological look at Van Gogh’s paintings. One floor is for some temporary exhibitions and the last one displays the contemporaries, which focuses on his influence on the art and how they were connected to Van Gogh. This museum offers excellent programs for children and encourages the new generation of artists.
Red light Area:
I had heard a lot about this area so I wanted to explore more about it. It’s not just about brothels, sex shops, and prostitution, in fact, it is one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city. Cobbled narrow streets, passing through the canal, amazing 14th-century architecture, churches, Oude Kerk, being the most famous one. The Amsterdam Red Light District area is simply beautiful with oodles of charm. I don’t find it dangerous or unsafe, in fact, it is a well-controlled area with lots of pubs, cafes and tree enshrouded canals. It is totally prohibited to click pictures here else you can be kicked by the bouncers.
This is Amsterdam’s largest park and the Netherlands most famous park. It has an open-air theatre where performances take place in the summer. The entry to the park is free but it is advisable to make reservations for the performances you wish to watch. Spread is a lush green area, this park is a home for many beautiful florae, herbs, and birds, ducks which makes it and an apt location for people to relax and for cyclists too.
Main attractions within the park are cast iron music dome, the statue of the famous Dutch poet, Vondel. There is a restaurant, Vertigo and a huge playground for kids, Groot Melkhuis. There is a street named Vondelstraat that runs through this park, where the visitors can many old and beautiful Dutch houses.
As we had just a day to explore this gorgeous city, we ended our day after buying the world-famous cheese from the Cheese museum and headed back to our accommodation to hit the bed.
The next day, we headed to the Tulip Gardens about which I would be sharing in my next blog.