Amsterdam in a Nutshell

CONTRIBUTED BY CASEY COTE

"Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin."

 -John Green

 

I read this quote in a travel magazine this week and thought it quite appropriate. It seems to perfectly embody the concept of a city like Amsterdam to those who've never experienced it. Amsterdam has a notorious reputation, being well-known for its Red Light District and legalized marijuana, but as I mentioned in my previous post, there's another side to Amsterdam. One that's sophisticated and historic, with an extensive collection of fine art museums and picturesque canals. A side that celebrates Amsterdam's diversification and bicycle friendly streets. A side that evokes a romantic aura that doesn't necessarily have to be X-rated. While you may be curious about the clandestine attractions, don't forget to make time to explore Amsterdam's more refined sights. You'll fine they're a tourists delight.

Heineken collage

Our first stop of the day was at the Heineken Experience. Truth be told, not a single soul in our group cares for the taste of Heineken. If you've ever tasted a real German Hefeweizen, you'd understand why. No beer compares (in my book, at least). But we'd read some reviews that said this brewery tour should not be missed. Thankfully, I'd say they were right.  We spent over 2 hours exploring Heineken's first brewing facility and tasting their claim to fame made with their patented "A-yeast". Something about drinking the beer fresh from the brewery's tap made the formerly undesirable beer taste quite good. Excellent, in fact. And with having 3 glasses of it included in the price of the tour, you'd be a fool not to enjoy it.

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam; germanyja.com

After getting our fill of the famous Dutch beer, we began making our way through the canal-lined streets in search of the historic Anne Frank House. Ever since reading the memoirs recounting her family's time in hiding during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands in 1942, I've been fascinated with Anne Frank and her passion for words and her Jewish heritage. She was obviously wise beyond her years. Her story is so moving, so profound that it still gives me chills to this day. Seeing where she spent 2 years of her young life trapped in fear and torment, all in the name of anti-Semitism, was an absolute must during our tour of Amsterdam. Although we waited almost 2 hours to get inside (go early or buy advanced tickets from ), the wait was well worth it. What we saw in that house, the place they called "The Annex," completely humbled us all.

After our time spent with Anne, we continued our walk through the streets of Amsterdam. We had spent so much time standing in lines that most museums were starting to close for the day. So, we pulled out our map and attempted to make our way to a quiet square where we could enjoy a relaxing dinner. But somehow we ended up lost (for the 2nd time) and from the time we got lost to finally finding our destination we:

1) Almost got hit by a line of bicyclers who apparently always have the right of way.

2) Got to experience the Red Light District and all its X-rated glory (sorry, I've got no photos to prove it). And...

3) Found ourselves a Dutch cheese shop and sampled the most delicious Gouda I've ever tasted in my life. 

Moral of the story is, even the best laid travel plans can go awry, but often end up surprising you! Just go with the flow and enjoy!

Gouda, Amsterdam; germanyja.com

{I brought these bad boys back with me. In order of deliciousness: Manchego, Blueberry Stilton,  Goat's Milk Pesto Gouda, Baby Gouda, and Herbed Edam. You have my permission to drool.}

As our day in Amsterdam was coming to an end, we FINALLY found the square we were looking for and were rewarded with a dinner of epic proportions. All-you-can-eat SUSHI! I literally couldn't get in the door of that restaurant fast enough. We've yet to find a good sushi restaurant in Germany, so this place was a godsend! And we gorged ourselves silly. If you ever get a hankering for sushi while visiting Amsterdam, Sumo Sushi Grill & Restaurant is the place to go.

So, there you have it. One whirlwind day in eclectic Amsterdam. Will we ever go back? Eh...there are still so many places on our Euro bucket list we've yet to see, so we're leaning towards no. But one can never say never, so we will see!

Amsterdam collage; germanyja.com

Information:

Heineken

Admission:

Adults: €18
ticket: €16 (Can be used at any time and are transferable to another person.)
Children (8-15): €14
(16 in the legal drinking age in the Netherlands)

What to expect:

A 1.5 hour self guided “experience” in the former brewery.

Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 1100-1930 (last entry at 1730)
Friday – Sundays: 1100 – 2030 (last entry at 1830)

Address:

Stadhouderskade 78
1072 in Amsterdam

Detailed directions for coming by tram, car or boat can be found here.

Website.

 

Anne Frank House:

Admission:

In person:
Adult: €9.00
Youth (10-17): €4.50
Children (up to 10): Free

Online:
Adult: €9.50
Youth (10-17): €5.00
Children (up to 10): €0.50
Online tickets can save you hours of time waiting to get into the museum. Purchase them at . When you purchase you will need to choose your date and time of entrance (20 minute increments). Tickets cannot be transferred or exchanged for a later date or time. When you buy online you will need to print your ticket with a barcode.

Hours:

September 15 – March 14
Sunday-Friday: 0900 – 1900
Saturday: 0900-2100

March 15 – September 14
Sunday-Friday: 0900 – 2100
Saturday: 0900-2200

Last admittance 30 minutes prior to closing


Address:

Prinsengracht 263-267
Amsterdam

Detailed directions here.
 

What to expect:
A self guided tour that lasts around an hour.
There is a café on site serving snacks and drinks.
No photography is allowed.
Her original diary is on display.

The Anne Frank website is fascinating and has a wonderful virtual tour of the hiding place.
 

Sumo Sushi Restaurant

Hours/prices for all you can eat:

Lunch
Monday till Sunday € 18,50

1200 -1700

Diner
Monday till Wednesday € 26,00

1700 - 2230
Thursday till Friday € 27,50
1700 - 2230
Saturday / Sunday € 27,50

1700 - 2200

Childern from 4 till 11 years can eat for € 12,50

Address:

Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 51
Amsterdam
Noord Holland
1017 PW
The Netherlands

Phone:

31204235131

Website

Note: Casey originally posted this article on her site, but has graciously shared it with us here as well.

Sumo Sushi Amsterdam; germanyja.com



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