A bicycle, tulips and a canal: How more quintessential Amsterdam can you get?! Continue reading after the jump to see more pictures of this beautiful city.
Amsterdam is sometimes called "The Venice of the North" because of the canals lacing the city. During our initial walk around the city, I snapped a few photos of the beautiful buildings and waterways we passed:
My little brother had done some research on Amsterdam before we arrived, so we decided to buy an "I amsterdam" city card at the airport. The pass was about 50 euros, but we definitely got our use out of it! It included a 48-hour metro pass (though we still walked almost everywhere; it wasn't until the end of the trip that we decided to take the train when our feet were killing us haha) and free or discounted admission to various attractions in the city. One of the free attractions was a tour on the canal. It was neat getting to see the city from the water, though the narrators of the tour were a married couple who made several cheesy jokes. This joviality was probably good, however, as Jonathan and I were fading fast from our overnight flight. We had landed in Amsterdam around 9 a.m., gone straight to the hostel to store our bags and began exploring the city right away. Abby took these photos from the tour:
We also made a stop by the totally cliche "I amsterdam" sign, which my siblings and I loved because we were able to represent our names at the most important part of the sign ("a" = Abby, "m" = Megan & Michael):
Right behind the I amsterdam sign is the famous Rijksmuseum, which was my favorite museum in the city, partially due to the gorgeous library housed inside (first photo below). Our city card gave us discounted admission to this huge history museum, as well as free admission to several others we visited, including the Stedelijk Museum (see second photo — I really don't "get" modern art), the Amsterdam Tulip Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. The city card also gave us a discount at select restaurants, including Blue, where we got a table with beautiful views of the city (see third photo).
Also thanks to my brother's research, we got out of the city for an afternoon to visit Zaanse Schans, a little village famous for its numerous windmills. Most of the windmills are a few euro each to go inside, but it was all free with our city card. We learned how to make our own chocolate by grinding cocoa beans, and I learned I would never want to work in a windmill. Those things are loud, and the banging of the wood was quite frightening to me.
Finally, I snapped this random photograph outside a cafe on our last day in the Netherlands. I thought all the shoes hanging from the line were pretty neat:
We also visited the Anne Frank House, but there aren't really any appropriate pictures you can take there (we did take a few outside the house with the plaque identifying the building, but even there we felt weird smiling), and the Red Light District, but obviously photos are strictly forbidden there and I wasn't going to risk having my phone taken away if someone caught me snapping a photo.
Another thing I wish I had photographed was a pancake. Amsterdam has these amazing pancakes with any type of ingredients you can think of: chicken and mushrooms, feta cheese and olives, cherries and whipped cream, sausage and spicy chiles ... the list goes on. (This was another restaurant that had an I amsterdam city card discount.) The pancakes were really more like crepes, and I ate them for almost every meal.
So that's Amsterdam! Remember, even though this Travel Tuesday doesn't have a specific prompt, you are more than welcome to link up below with any travel-related posts you've written in the past week. And come back next Tuesday for photos of our time in Prague! :)