My sister and I recently got back from a week in Europe – just us girls! It was the trip of a lifetime for us. We’ve never taken a trip so far away, just the two of us. We’ve also never spent every second together for an entire week, haha! The trip ended up exceeding my expectations and reconfirming that my love for all things European runs deep.
We decided on a week in Paris with a quick day trip to Amsterdam via train. I’ve been to Amsterdam before, but it was Heather’s very first time stepping foot in the Netherlands. We took the early morning train from Gare du Nord to Amsterdam Centraal station. Since we arrived at Centraal station we were a quick walk over to the center of the city to start our exploring! Surprise to absolutely no one, we started our day off with pancakes at a cute little spot called… Pancakes! In all honesty we were starving and it was the first place we saw upon leaving the train station, haha. It ended up being exactly what we needed though. The pancakes were DELICIOUS and the mint/lemon/ginger tea was a refreshing wake up!
We spent our entire day walking. We walked quaint and quiet streets with our favorites being Groenburgwal, Raamgracht, Kloveniersburgwal, Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Herengracht. I particularly loved strolling those streets because my most beautiful photos from that day are of the canal houses located there.
One area that I wanted to spend some time in was De Pijp, located directly south of the city center. I’ve heard that it’s a fun neighborhood to explore, so I’m happy we to got to spend some time there. We visited the Albert Cuypmarkt and indulged in fries with fritessaus (so good!) and then stopped in Bakers and Roasters for some coffee to keep us going!
Amsterdam, to me, is the absolute most picturesque place my eyes have ever seen. I’m perfectly happy to just throw on a pair of comfortable shoes and explore by foot – which is exactly what we did 🙂
After a tearful goodbye to Paris, we hoped on another train to take us to our final destination of our European vacation; Amsterdam! Amsterdam was absolutely charming! We were in the city for 4 chilly, but mostly sunny days. My absolute favorite thing about the city is that the canal houses have pulleys on the top of the building to lift furniture up and through the windows because the doorways and stairs are too narrow. Just a fun fact about this little city.
Everything about this city was good. A little cold, but so good. Plus, Nutella seemed to be on every corner. So I know that if I ever live here, my sweetooth is in good hands.
Where we stayed: This AirBnb in Amsterdam-Oost. Our AirBnb was a bit on the smaller side, but perfect for two travelers that plan on just using the apartment to sleep, haha. The apartment was located at the very top of a narrow and steep set of stairs on the 4th floor. Each time we got to the top of the stairs we were so vertical that it felt like we were actually climbing up the stairs. From what we’ve heard this is totally normal in Amsterdam! The location was great and only a 10-minute walk, or a 4-5 minute bike ride into the city center.
How to get around: Bikes!
What we loved: Riding bikes with the locals, wandering around the canals, sampling every flavor of cheese, stroopwafles, Febo, frites and fritesauss, pancakes, small beers, Zaanse Schans, windmills, techno music playing all over the city, finding “our bar” and “our bartender”, watching Luke karaoke with the locals.
Recommendations: We also found that every person we encountered spoke English, which made communication with locals very easy.
We really recommend to try and bike everywhere. It’s a huge part of the local culture and once you get over the initial shock of the number of bikes going in every direction, it’s a fun way to see the city.
Visit the Anne Frank House. You’re not allowed to take pictures here, but the experience walking through the house is incredibly moving. Purchase your tickets online in advance, otherwise you’re likely to wait in a 2+ hour line to get in.
Eat all the cheese you can get your hands on!
– Photos © Holly Copeland –