I arrived in the city on a rainy and windy morning. I walked straight to my hostel right on the edge of the red light district from Centraal Station. The city was gloomy and gray in the pouring rain. I kept seeing drug & sex related stores on every street, as I hid from the rain under my umbrella! I was very surprised to say the least. Some people come to Amsterdam for a wild weekend, but I came for the art, museums, and history!
Van Gogh Museum
I made a reservation and ran across the city in the rain to one of the most popular museums: the Van Gogh museum. I bought the audio tour and was guided to all of Van Gogh’s most famous works. Sunflowers was the highlight, but I also learned more about Van Gogh’s focus on color throughout his career.
I grabbed a crab and shrimp sandwich on a corn bread bun for lunch in the museum cafe.
The historic opera & orchestra hall in the city. This beautiful building is right next to the main museum district.
I then went strolling from the concert hall to the city’s central park. I stumbled on beautiful flowers and homes on my way. Still the rain continued!
I arrived in Vondelpark with cold hands and an umbrella that had been tested by the wind. This is the perfect park for a picnic, unless it is freezing and raining. lol. I only saw a corner of the park due to the weather, but it is enormous!
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
I had not planned to go to the Stedelijk at this time, but I decided to take refuge from the rain and headed inside. This is an amazing & interactive modern art museum. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph the main exhibits!
I Amsterdam Sign
Huge tourist destination. Apparently the city is going to remove the sign in the near future because it attracts too many people. I asked multiple strangers to take my photo until they got it just right!!
I headed by inside to the Rijksmuseum after getting my photos. This is Amsterdam’s premiere museum, featuring The Night Watch by Rembrandt and many other masterpieces. The building itself is a work of art.
After visiting three of the cities best museums, I went back out into the rain. I walked through Leidseplein Square towards main shopping district.
My friend Shannon had suggested that I tried FEBO, so I stopped into this fast food restaurant. I put two euros in a slot, and out came this croquet filled with chicken, veggies, and rice noodles. It was kind of like fried chicken noodle soup, so I cannot complain! An interesting experience for sure.
This is Amsterdam’s famous floating flower market. Although I visited during winter, there were fresh flowers, lots of bulbs, and many fake flowers for sale. A necessary tourist stop!
van Wonderen Stroopwafels
I had discovered van Wonderen Stroopwafels on instagram. This tiny corner shop makes fresh stroopwafels, which are two waffles with caramel in the middle. They dip half in chocolate, and I chose marshmallows and m&ms as my topping.
De Oude Kerk Church
The Oude Kerk is the oldest building in Amsterdam. The monumental church is situated in the middle of the Red Light District.
Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder
is a 17th-century canal house, house church, and museum in the city center. The Catholic Church was built on the top three floors of the canal house during the 1660s. It is an important example of a “schuilkerk”, or “clandestine church” in which Catholics and other religious dissenters from the seventeenth century Dutch Reformed Church, unable to worship in public, held services.
Once the museums in the city closed at 6, I decided to walk around to see the Christmas lights before meeting my friend Mackenzie for dinner.
Dam Square and the Royal Palace (Day & Night)
Evening with Mackenzie
I scurried over to the other side of the city to meet Mackenzie for Ethiopian food at a restaurant called Abyssinia close to Vondelpark. We shared a meal of meat and vegetables that is eaten using Ethiopian pancakes instead of silverware. There is an Ethiopian restaurant in Lincoln, NE that I had eaten at in the same style before!
Following dinner, Mackenzie and I walked around a Christmas market area in the city called Rembrandtplein. She explained to me details about the red light district and marijuana use in the city. It was my first time being in a city where marijuana is legal. She walked me back to my hostel which was on the edge of the red light district, and we said goodnight!
End of night one. Continue reading: