Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Western Europe - Day 8 and 9: Amsterdam

Summary of Day 8:
Breakfast at home
i Amsterdam Sign
Van Gogh Museum
Lunch at Winkel 43
Anne Frank House
The P.C. Hooftstraat
Teabreak at Taart Van M'n Tante
Dinner at Loetje

By day 8, my cousin's family was exhausted from waking up early everyday. So today, we decided to stay in and have breakfast at our very nice Airbnb.
This is a good and cheap brand of stroopwafels you can get from the local supermarket.

We had the stroopwafels and tea from the host (she's so nice rite?) and strawberries that we bought from the Albert Cyupmarkt yesterday.

Ah if only everyday was as chill as this morning.

Anyway, I called today a cultural museum exploration day, since most of the itinerary would be to visit museums.

First up, we arrived at Rijksmuseum, one of Amsterdam's most iconic museum and the largest art museum in the country. And now its my favourite museum of all time.

The building itself is an art.

This library was soooo pretty it reminded me of Harry Potter.

Next up was the Van Gogh Museum, but we would pass by the iconic I Amsterdam sign. Everyone who comes to Amsterdam would have taken a photo at this spot.

But with the huge number of tourists here, it is hard to get rid of photo bombers.

Just a short walk away, we entered Van Gogh Museum much to my delight.

How can anybody not know who Vincent Van Gogh is?

His iconic Starry Starry Night even had a song dedicated to it isn't it.

I was hoping so much to see the Starry Starry Night and Sunflowers painting in the museum, but alas found out that Starry Starry Night was on display in New York! booo.

Ending our museum tour, we took Uber to Winkel 43 for lunch and their famous apple tart.

The food was so-so... and I felt that the apple tart might be overrated.
We preferred the one we had in Koffiehuis De Hoek though..

Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: Approx EUR 9.50 per pax

Then it was a short walk to the famous Anne Frank House.

No photography inside the other parts of the house.

Feels surreal to be inside the house that many Jews stayed in secretly during war time.

And, do remember to buy tickets way in advance because the queue outside the house was freaking long!

I didn't expect this place to be that popular with tourists and locals alike.

After the surreal experience, we parted ways with cousin's family and headed off to The P.C. Hooftstraat, a luxury shopping street. I visited Chanel in the hopes of getting the classic flap bag there, but as usual, it is sold out.

But my main aim was to get the Longchamp bags, and I did. hahaha.

After that, we decided to stroll back to our Airbnb since the weather was cold and good for walking. Something luxurious that we would never do in Singapore due to the hot weather here!

On the way back, we chanced upon Taart Van M'n Tante, one of the cafes that my host actually recommended.

So we decided to have some desserts inside.

Quirky looking place, and quirky looking desserts. I see that Europeans love to put cream on their desserts. Not fattening meh?

Ferdinand Bolstraat 10, 1072 LJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: Approx EUR 5 per pax

We also walked to a nearby supermarket Dirk van den Broek, or Dirk for short, to buy many packets of stroopwafels home. I would never ever miss visiting supermarkets when in another country, cos there's where you can find the most authentic snacks/fruits/vegetables that the locals eat.

Dirk van den Broek
Marie Heinekenplein 25, 1072 MH Amsterdam, Netherlands

At dinnertime, we walked again to a famous restaurant/cafe Loetje.

The steak here was da bomb.

And seriously, if you compare the price to Singapore, the steak is definitely value-for-money over there in Amsterdam.

Loetje (Steak house)
Ruyschstraat 15, 1091 BS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: Approx EUR 24 per pax

Did I say I was super full? And we only spent less than EUR 25 per pax here oh gosh.

Summary of Day 9:
Breakfast at Carousel Pancake House

It's our last day in Europe, so I specifically looked for this place that my friend recommended - Carousel Pancake House. It was also a less than 10min walk from our Airbnb so we were glad to exercise a bit in the cold weather, one last time.

The GPS apparently didn't work correctly for this place, as we were pointed to another building beside it. But for you guys out there, just look out for a rounded tent-looking place in the middle of the field (that looks like a carousel, duh) and it would be the restaurant.

And I have to say, the pancakes were SOOOO GOOOOD!

Feel free to ask the servers for recommendation. She told me to get the Traditional Dutch pancakes as seen here. I've never seen these before in my life though but I loved it.

And as you can see, there is cream on top of the sweet pancakes, yet again.

H.M. van Randwijkplantsoen 1, 1017 ZW Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: Approx EUR 11 per pax

After the good meal, we headed off to the airport.

Coincidentally, today was the opening day of the Keukenhof - Holland's annual tulip festival.

Since Kenkenhof is nearer to the airport than to the central area, we decided to store our luggages in the airport lockers before setting off for the Keukenhof through a direct bus situated at the airport too.

I knew that the flowers wouldn't bloom until mid April or so. But heck it.

Absolutely #nofilter, and taken from my Canon G16.
I took mostly close-up shots of the flowers cos there were only small portions of tulips in the garden.

There were surprisingly many other tourists too, even when the flowers are not in full bloom. So you can kind of imagine how many people there will be in April.

It was a really rushed trip so we didn't manage to explore the whole place and had to rush back to the airport for our flight back.

And that concludes our Europe trip!

I'd advise you guys to do online check-in 2 days before the flight back as we were too happily enjoying ourselves that we forgot to do so until the day itself. Me and my parents were almost separated for the long flight back, except that the person didn't turn up for his flight and thus we could sit together ahahah.

Looking at these pictures, I kind of miss Finnair's plane food.

And 12h on air doesn't seem that difficult now!

So here's the end of the 5 part post. Looking forward to explore the other parts of Europe in time to come!

Click below for

Day 1 and 2
Day 3 and 4
Day 5 and 6
Day 7

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Western Europe - Day 7: Amsterdam

Summary of Day 7:
Breakfast at Bakers & Roasters
Zaanse Schans
Albert Cuypmarkt
Dinner at Hap-Hmm

Day 7 was one of my favourite days of the trip

We had a good breakfast at a famous cafe Bakers & Roasters.

Generous portion of ingredients, and tasted good.

Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54, 1072 BH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: Approx EUR 13.50 per pax

Then we took Uber to the Windmill village - Zaanse Schans.

We got a pretty awesome car with an open top, and I was just looking at the clear blue sky throughout the half hour ride.

What's more, the driver actually stays near Zaanse Schans so we had a good chat on the attractions.

All my Uber drivers were quite awesome though. They are nice to chat with, and the cars were either Mercedes, BMW, or some other luxury cars that we would rarely get in Singapore. Anyway, Uber was so convenient in Amsterdam and Brussels that I only had to wait 2-5min for a car every time! Compare this to SG where I can't even get one during peak hours! Only thing is that there is no Uber in Germany.

Zaanse Schans entrance.

And no wonder this place is a windmill village. THE WIND WAS FREAKING STRONG, consistently strong!

Get ready for the truckload of photos.

Cheese farm.

De Kat Mill. EUR 4 per pax to go up.

Wrapped up like a Christmas tree/dumpling cos, toooo cold.

Clog workshop

Diamond clog:

Clog making demo:

Zaanse Schans museum.

Nothing much here, just needed to use off our entrance tickets obtained from the Hollandpass.

Just showing you how windmills in the past were used for many things, including biscuit-making.

After a day at Zaanse Schans, we took Uber to Albert Cuypmarkt.

It is a street market selling all kinds of things, from food, vegetables, to clothes, bags, and shoes.

I was there specifically for the fresh Stroopwafels.

We also brought back many packets of Stroopwafels from the supermarket as souvenirs and also as snacks for ourselves since me and my mum loves waffles.

Walking through the street market, we also bought some nuts and Turkish food:

At night, we went to a Dutch restaurant recommend by my host and also on several online sites - Hap-Hmm.

My Airbnb host mentioned that there are not really a lot of traditional Dutch restaurants in Amsterdam, and mostly are fusion or western cafes. This restaurant is as close as it gets.

They do not take reservations though, so go early to queue up!
It was a very small restaurant with a home-style type of dishes. We also saw some other Singaporeans at this place!

The food was good, and servers quite warm and friendly.

Eerste Helmersstraat 33, 1054 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: Approx EUR 14.50 per pax