JUN 13,2013 - JUN 17,2013 (5 DAYS)
I arrived to the Schipol airport around afternoon time. The airport was very easy to navigate my way around. The faster and easier way to get to your destination however, would probably be the train. Train tickets for domestic travel can be purchased from the yellow ticket machines near the platforms at Schiphol Plaza.
I took a train to Amsterdam Zuid station, and from there I took a local taxi. Taxis are very expensive in Amsterdam, and it's likely that even a short drive will rip you off.
True Italian pizza is located in the Pijp neighborhood, close to Sarphati park. It's always fully booked, but fortunately, my hosts managed to reserve a table for three. Delicious and tasty!, I ate the quattro stagioni and it was incredibly delicious, with excellent ingredients (excellent quality of mozzarella, and tomato sauce). If you have a chance to visit the Pijp area in Amsterdam, you should definitely give it a try.
There are free tours running every day from the Dam square. When I was there the free tours started at 11am and 1pm. I was told by friends that these tours are a great and entertaining way to get to know Amsterdam, and I wasn't disappointed. Apparently this company of free tours (It exist in other cities as well) has grown to be one of the most successful tour companies in the world. More than a hundred people came that day to the Dam square to join the first tour round. Local volunteers split the crowd into a ~30 people groups.
My guide was a young Canadian girl named Mattie, she was extremely qualified, entertaining and added real passion to this tour. She was really cute, funny and told us many stories that I believe we couldn't hear anywhere else. She spoke about Rembrandt and the city, the history of legal drugs in Holland, the number of licensed coffee shops (It appears the government doesn't issue additional license for new coffee shops, which is the reason that nowadays there are around ~200 coffee shops in Amsterdam while there were more than 400 a few years ago), Mattie knew the historical background of most of the places we had seen, and even knew how many bicycles are being pulled from the canals every year.
The tour runs through the following sights:
VOC headquarters in Amsterdam
The tour took 3 hours and was really worth it. a link and more info about this this tours are available at: http://www.newamsterdamtours.com/daily-tours/new-amsterdam.html
Febo - Febo is a top snack attraction in Amsterdam. There's no chance you won't encounter a Febo around the city when you're craving a snack.
It offers a variety of snacks to satisfy your cravings. The trendiest hit is croquet on a roll. What makes it so popular and special is the fact you just insert a coin into the snack wall, staring at your snack behind a glass window, after you feed the wall with coins, you are able to open the glass compartment and you're ready to eat your fresh hamburger, hot dog or croquet. It's obviously one of the ways for a traveler to feel like a real native in Amsterdam.
Walking down from Anna Frank's house south to the Museumplein (a square in Amsterdam where three major museums are located: Van-Gogh, Rijcsmuseum, and Stedelijk museum) I saw the eastern entry to the big Vondelpark, one of the biggest parks in Amsterdam. It was a sunny day, and many people were having a picnic on the grass or riding their bicycles through the park roads.
I had a chance to visit the 'Van Gogh at Work' exhibition in the Van Gogh museum.
The anniversary exhibition, Van Gogh at work shows how in ten years’ time Van Gogh developed into a unique artist with an impressive oeuvre. Over 200 works of art provide insight into Van Gogh’s way of working, including paintings, works on paper, letters and personal effects of the painter,on display were his original sketchbooks, paint tubes and only surviving palette, from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris
For one weekend each year, a selection of canal houses and museums open their doors to the public and reveal the beautiful gardens hidden behind Amsterdam's brick facades. For some (mostly elderly) people it's a dream came true.. to stroll into some of the most amazing houses in one of the world's most beautiful cities and catch a glimpse of how the locals live. Well, the wealthy ones anyway.
The open Garden Days took place from 14 to 16 June, exactly at the weekend I was there. this event is very popular, the three-day pass costs 15.00 euros.
Albert Cuyp Market is located in the Pijp neighborhood in Amsterdam. This market is the busiest day market in Holland;
You'll be able to find a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, fish, cheese, and clothing products. There is a bit of Surinamese, Antillean, Turkish, and Moroccan atmosphere in the market, giving it and its containing neighborhood a strong multicultural feel.
On the third day (Sunday), we went to the Rijksmuseum. It was under construction during the last decade and recently reopened a few weeks ago.
The museum is located in the Museumplein near a big park with street shows, cultural atmosphere and a lot of visitors, one of Amsterdam's main attractions.
The Rijksmuseum building
The museum it self has several floors, each contains art from different century.
I liked the 1st floor (1800-1900) the most, it included nice paintings of Van Gogh, the Waterloo battle and many others..
For 75 euros, you can get a small boat (we were 3 people and a dog) for 2-3 hours cruise, and navigate on your own through the canals and the Amstel river. It's a very pleasant way to have an Amsterdam tour, slowly, with a bottle of wine, just watch out for the big fancy boats.
I've been to several places:
Bella Storia - An Italian restaurant located in the westerpark area. Their antipasti is one of the greatest I've ever had. For the main dish I took a home made ravioli with two fillings: one with lemon and ricotta cheese and the others with orange.