Before I even start talking about Amsterdam, let me settle one thing first. I did not go there to smoke, although even my dad was joking about it. On the contrary, when I was googling some cool coffee shops to go to for a brunch after our arrival, I was surprised by finding places with rather "green" menus, completely forgetting that this is exactly what Amsterdam is famous for. Yet, it turned out that me and my friend had no need of visiting those special cafés to be full of cheer. We were quite happy with the sun and the atmosphere, walking around, taking a lot (a lot!!) of photos, visiting some hipster cafés with coffee and toasts, and just chilling with a bottle of beer at the bank of one of the many canals you can find in the city where the chances of getting hit by a bike are literally on every corner. But seriously, the hierarchy in Amsterdam is completely different than in other cities. It goes like this: bikes - cars - and then people! So please, be careful and look around when crossing a street. In the first two hours I almost got hit by at least ten bikes.
As we were visiting the city for no more than seven hours, we decided to skip the museums (even Anne Frank's house, although one day I want to return, get through the endless line and visit the well-known place). Instead, we were simply exploring both the main and the hidden streets, admiring roses hanging from the downpipes and buying tulips at the flower market. Well, see yourself. I am adding some tips for the places you should not miss on your next trip to Amsterdam.
- Pluk (Reestraat 19) - this café is only about ten minutes' walk from Anne Frank's house, so I would recommend to refresh here before you will head to the endless queues for the tickets. Everything is homemade, the atmosphere is amazing, and the service is very friendly and quick. If you are a fan of a goat cheese, I would recommend you to go for a sandwich with slightly grilled goat cheese, honey and vegetable. It was the first time I regretted getting an avocado toast!
- Lavinia Good Food (Kerkstraat 176) - a coffee shop near to the flower market. We came before 4pm and most of the food was already gone, except the last pieces of delicious cakes. So I would recommend to come here around 1pm to try their veggie "meat" balls or pizza. Oh and they have an amazing bathroom. Yes, I am one of those weird people who are able to judge a restaurant or a coffee shop based on its bathroom. But this one has a hand cream with pear and black pepper! How can you not fall in love with it?
- The Book Exchange (Kloveniersburgwal 58) - I only found this place on the internet and never got a chance to actually visit it. But I think that it must be heaven for every booklover. If you go there, let me know!
- De 9 Straatjes - Emily's mom gave us the tip for these nine streets with the shops of famous or less famous brands, and a plenty of restaurants situated right in the beautiful old city centre. And even if you do not get to buying anything, just stroll around and enjoy the atmosphere.
- Canals - I believe that everyone who has visited Amsterdam has a photo of him standing on a bridge crossing one the many canals. I am no exception as I ended up with photos of at least five different bridges! If you want to get one as well, do not rush it, take your time, walk around and find the one with a lot of flowers and bikes.
Fun fact - notice that some of the buildings do not stand straight, but slightly lean on one side, or a little bit forward. The same thing happens to some of the windows. This had fascinated me until Emily pointed out a hook hanging from the top of basically every building in the city centre. As the houses are often not wide enough, back in the day people had no chance of getting furniture into their flats by door. Therefore, they came up with the system of hooks and ropes, lifting the furniture and shuffling it through the big windows. The houses slightly lean forward so as the furniture is being lifted, it does not scratch the front walls. This information literally made my day!
Note: I would like to thank my friend Emily for all the lovely photos she provided me, including my new cover photo on the home page. Follow her on Instagram.