Not a destination I’m overly keen on, but I was happy to see this on my roster all the same. It was a layover in Amsterdam, but what made this different was that it was a two day layover in comparison to the normal twenty four hours we’re usually given. Even better was that this was across a weekend, so I asked my mum if she wanted to fly over and join me for my layover as she’d never been before and thought it was a great chance for us to catch up if she could get a decently priced flight, which she could with KLM!
We departed Dubai at 3:30am and it was seven hours over to Amsterdam Schipol airport in The Netherlands. Landing in the early morning, my mum wasn’t landing til lunchtime so I went to bed for a couple hours waiting for her arrival.
Feeling much more revitalised after the night flight across, my mum dropped her things in the room and we set off out into the city. Before I flew to Amsterdam, I put up an instagram story asking for suggestions and recommendations of things to do in the city and I must have received around thirty plus different responses from people suggesting things for me and my mum to do! The last time I was in Amsterdam, I wasn’t overly enthused and I wanted recommendations that were really going to change my mind. One place that popped up consistently was a cafe/restaurant called Mamma Kelly.
So we bundled up in our warm clothing and headed in the direction of the restaurant ready for something to eat! One thing to note, this place is quite the way out of the centre of Amsterdam, it is definitely not walking distance!
We walked into the warmth to escape the sudden downpour that had abruptly engulfed us as we exited the bus and ran over to the entrance trying to protect our hair and was greeted to such a beautiful place. The aesthetic of this restaurant is fantastic, a gorgeous combination of dusty pinks and brassy golds situated across three levels. You really didn’t expect a place like this the further we got out of the city and also located right by the Olympic Park.
We were given a table that actually looked out onto the Olympic Park track and we felt super cosy inside watching the rain trickle down the window panes. We were given menus and ordered some drinks whilst we looked through the menu, struggling to decide between the options.
I went for the chicken waffles which was homemade pumpkin waffles with crispy chicken thigh, little gem lettuce, roasted peanuts and honey and my mum the french kiss which was soft french cheese baked in filo dough, sweet sour red onion with a small salad.
Food was delicious albeit the portions on the small side and also priced at €15 apiece but enjoyable nonetheless and I understand why this place was recommended to me by three different people. This place is me down to a tee.
We paid the bill as the rain had finally stopped and we went back into the city for a wander round and so my Mum could see what Amsterdam is like before the sun started to set.
There’s always so many bicycles in Amsterdam, if you’re not careful you’ll have one cycle right into you as theres so many cycle lanes around the city! We couldn’t resist a browse through the shops either and we both got some bargain winter boots in the sale!
We strolled around in the cold nipping in and out of shops, admiring the view before we decided we had earned a well deserved drink before dinner that evening. We stopped somewhere just by the red light district for a gin and tonic, with it being Saturday night however it was getting pretty rowdy!
For dinner we went to a place called Pigs and Punch which specialised in pork and cocktails (if it wasn’t obvious enough by the name). I’d seen this recommended a couple times online on different blogs when I was researching into Amsterdam. We wandered through the streets of Amsterdam with the lights twinkling in the night, exiting the loud crowds of the red light district towards the restaurant.
We grabbed a table and ordered some drinks and looked through the menu, I went for the rack of ribs and my mum the bacon cheeseburger and we shared sides of potato waffles, coleslaw and some grilled garlic king prawns.
The food was heavenly, one of the best rack of ribs I’d ever eaten and the side of grilled prawns were cooked to perfection. After a long day and early starts for both me and my mum, we jumped in an Uber and headed back to the hotel ready for a good nights rest before another day of exploring.
The next day we woke early (ish) and made our way into the city on the train for a late breakfast early lunch at a place my friend Bronte had recommended to me called Coffee and Coconuts. We had actually stumbled past the place the day before and both said that looks a cute cafe before I realised someone had suggested it, so we made it in our plans to come back and I am SO glad we did.
The queue for this place was around thirty people long, and I can see why people wait for a table. We waited for around twenty minutes before getting a seat upstairs. What I loved about this cafe is that it had been converted from an old cinema into a cafe that had numerous different levels with an array of seating options. It had a bohemian chic vibe to it decorated with distressed woods and rope and plants, and a vast menu that had you struggling what to opt for.
We were both so ready for our morning coffee and I went for an XL cappucino with cocnut milk and my mum a flat white paired with a freshly squeezed orange juice with ginger and lemon. The orange juice was SO good, I honestly drank it in about three seconds.
We finally decided what we were going to eat and my mum went for the Full CT which was scrambled eggs, smashed avo, roast tomato, blueberry pancake, CT’s granola, yoghurt and fruit and I went for the chilaquiles which was a Mexican breakfast favourite ‘el jefe’ corn chips, spicy black beans, avocado, huevo frito, scallions, pickles and feta.
One of the most random breakfasts I’d ever had but very good nonetheless, I even ate half of my mums blueberry pancake and the yoghurt and granola as her breakfast was deceivingly big!
We paid the bill and continued on with our day. We decided to walk across to a place called de 9 straatjes (nine streets) which is a quaint, picturesque canal district area featuring vintage and designer boutiques, plus cosy cafes. Google Maps said it would take around thirty five minutes to walk there and with the sun shining, we decided to stroll on over and work off some of that breakfast whilst taking in the views of Amsterdam.
En route was bloemenmarkt which is the world’s only floating flower market. Founded in 1862, it is sited on the Singel River between Muntplein and Koningsplein in the city’s southern canal belt. I’m not going to lie here, but it’s really not worth venturing to. It’s not very obvious that its floating and you are expecting way more than a few stalls, all of which are selling the exact same thing. If you’re around the area then definitely head to see all the fresh tulips that Amsterdam is known for, but other than that nothing to write home about!
There’s something just so wonderful about bouquets of fresh flowers isn’t there? I don’t think I will ever not want flowers in my life! We continued on past the little detour to the slightly underwhelming bloemenmarkt and onto the nine streets.
The area itself is beautiful and probably what view most people resonate with Amsterdam. We mooched in and around the streets, dipping in and out of the different stores, eyeing up the cafes before we wanted another coffee stop and popped into a place called Pluk Amsterdam which is another cafe that had been recommended to me too.
What drew us in were the abundance of cakes and sweet treats on display alongside a whole range of cute and quirky home wares. We’re both mad for a home shop, and we thought we may as well sit down for some tea and cake too.
We shared a blondie with a pot of English Breakfast tea and a spicy homemade ginger shot and warmed up from the cold.
That afternoon we had booked onto going to the Anne Frank museum. I’d been told by many people that you need to book well in advance which we did, and we’d opted for the 4pm slot on the Sunday afternoon. We walked down in the cold yet crisp afternoon, but as we were slightly ahead of schedule we called into the museum of cheese and sampled an abundance of different cheeses! I really recommend calling in here if you’re in Amsterdam as the truffle infused edam was absolutely heavenly! I really regret not purchasing some now.
With the time for our booked slot approaching we finally went over to the Anne Frank museum.
The Anne Frank House is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex. She did not survive the war but her wartime diary was published in 1947. Ten years later the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block.
The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.
I highly recommend the museum if you’re in Amsterdam, it is so well put together and extremely informative all the while really giving you a first hand perspective of the life Anne Frank and her family had to live. To be inside the annex where they hid for those years sent chills down your spine at the horrific treatment the jews went through. The audio guide given connects to the room you’re in and tells you the about the information and room presented to you in further detail.
We left the museum both agreeing how well put together it was and such good value for money and understanding why everyone had told us it is a must do when in Amsterdam, which I cannot stress enough myself. Bookings can be made online and regularly sell out, so it is advised to book well in advance if possible.
The temperature had dropped excessively when we got out of the museum and it hadn’t helped that the sun had gone down either, I called to get a scarf (gorgeous little bargain for €5) and we then went into Tony’s Chocolonley which my friend Aidan had told me I must go to, and also get him some chocolate from there too. I understand why.
Behind me is a display of all the chocolate they sell laid out in rainbow order which I absolutely loved. The packaging is so bright and colourful and really stands out in the shop. What is even better, is there is two handles on each different chocolate. One gives you a tester of the chocolate, I mean who doesn’t love free samples?! The other then drops down a bar of the chocolate for you. I genuinely felt like I was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not only this, the chocolate is one of the best chocolates I have EVER tasted. The white chocolate raspberry with popping candy was HEAVENLY, there are no words to describe this chocolate. The amount of samples I ate was obscene and I walked out the store with numerous bars of chocolate to take back to Dubai with me.
Despite filling up on chocolate, we were ready for dinner and we walked towards the Red Light District as we had been wanting to try out this restaurant that always had the biggest queue outside and was recommend on numerous blogs and websites online called Little Saigon. If we couldn’t get into this one, there was one a couple doors down called The Thai Bird which also had rave reviews and queues too.
We had to wait a short while, but we got a table in the Vietnamese restaurant called Little Saigon and we looked through the menu. I went for the vegan pho with added shrimps and my mum went for the spicy prawns with rice.
The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside and is also very small, it’s noisy inside but intimate in a cute and cosy way with the packed out tables having around a couple inches in between you and your neighbours. But the food is fantastic and very well priced. There’s nothing fancy about this restaurant other than it being authentic and incredibly tasty Vietnamese food in the heart of the Red Light District. I completely get why this has a constant queue of people waiting for a table. I would love to try The Thai Bird just a few doors down next time I’m in Amsterdam.
We paid up and had a stroll around the city before we called it a night and went back to the hotel on the train to go to bed. We had had a long day with a crazy amount of walking and we were both flying home the next day too.
Even with all the suggestions given to me, I still am not a huge lover of Amsterdam. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that doesn’t hugely appeal to me, but my mum said the exact same. She’s glad she’s finally been and seen what it has to offer, but other than that neither of us would rush back to return here. If anyone has any other suggestions or recommendations of places to go in Amsterdam that you think would change my mind, then do let me know down below.
Apologies for the silence on the blog also, I have had a hectic few weeks and I have a long backlog of posts that I’m going to work on now. So stay posted for a month worth of updates!
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