Amsterdam, you darling city! Even in the freezing, gloomy cold weather, I genuinely enjoyed myself. I spent 4 nights in Amsterdam and it was the perfect beginning for my Spring Holiday! As expected, I was exhausted from a long flight, with a 5 hour layover in Sweden. I learned my lesson from my last trip to Europe and did not want to arrive in a fast-paced city for my first destination. For me personally, I need to be eased into a cool, laid back city to nurse my jet lag before heading off to a hectic, busy city. Amsterdam is the definition of laid back plus dreamy. Let me break the days down for ya!
Arrival night: King’s Day Craziness
I arrived in Amsterdam on the night of King’s Day celebration. From what I was told, King’s Day is one of the biggest holidays of the year in the Netherlands. They take the King’s birthday party seriously out there. I got to the Amsterdam Centraal Station around 9pm and it was a sight. So many intoxicated people dressed in the color orange with their face painted, walking in every direction.
I was having a hard time trying to get to my hostel in the Museumplein area. I was spending the night at the Van Gogh Hostel because I really liked it the last time I stayed there. It was safe, clean, and the room was of a decent size. Like a fool, I wasn’t expecting for normal tram service to be closed due to road closures for King’s Day. I kept on asking random people on the street on how to get to my hostel and everyone pointed me in a different direction.
After wandering around the streets with my suitcase for over an hour, I decided to tap on the window of a taxi cab and hopped in. So many detours were taken before the taxi driver finally got me to my hostel. I thanked the friendly man and checked in at the hostel. My first night in Amsterdam came to an end with me crawling into bed after not sleeping for almost 24 hours. Being able to stretch out on a bed to go to sleep felt amazing after sitting on a plane for over 14 hours.
Adventure Day 1, Part 1: Coffee, Pancakes, and Hostels.
If you were to ask me what I did for my holiday, my answer is “Not much, really.” My reason for going back to Amsterdam was to enjoy myself without feeling the pressure of visiting all the touristy attractions. I wanted to wander around the cobblestone streets, enjoy coffee at independent coffee shops, eat lots delicious of food, and visit the small boutiques I followed on Instagram. For my first full day in the city, I planned for doing just that.
Before I had to check into my second hostel for my stay in Amsterdam, I woke up around 7am to go get myself breakfast. I was starving that morning since I didn’t eat much on the airplane. I wanted my breakfast to be worth the wait. My goal was to eat pancakes for my first meal in the city that’s known for its Dutch pancakes! I took the tram to Coffee and Coconut, a cafe with a really cool interior.
When I got there around just shy of 8am, the doors were locked and I could see a couple of employees setting up to open. I asked one of the guys setting up when they would be open and he told me “In about… 5 minutes.” I told him I’ll be back when they’re ready to start serving but he told me that I was welcome to come on in and sit down. I was relieved since I was very cold standing outside in the wind. Plus, the guy was really cute so watching him set up was a bit of a treat, hee hee.
I got settled in on the second floor of the place but also got to explore the third floor. Yes, they have three stories!
I settled down comfortably here for my morning breakfast of healthy pancakes.
Breakfast pancakes made out of Almond and Buckwheat flours, topped with roasted coconut, with red fruit compote.
They didn’t serve almond milk here but I ended up getting a flat white with soy milk and it was SO delicious! I was a happy little wanderer with a full belly.
The coolest floor of Coffee and Coconut has got to be the third floor! Instead of sitting on chairs, you get to sit on bean bags and sip your coffee here. Plus, the space itself is so dreamy and decorated with gorgeous hanging plants.
After breakfast here, I made my way back to the the tram to go back to my hostel. I remembered that just a few blocks away from the hostel was a coffee shop I never got to visit. I was on holiday so what’s a second cup of coffee in the span of an hour? I walked over to Coffee Concept, a coffee shop that is inside a PR agency and concept store.
I spotted this tricycle on my walk to Coffee Concept. It still amazes me how EVERYONE in Amsterdam commute by biking, rain or shine!
One of the many juice shops I’ve spotted on my walks.
What I’ve realized quickly about Amsterdam was that having a slice of cake for a snack is not even just acceptable but highly encouraged!
The interior of Coffee Concept was cozy and welcoming. The PR office is located downstairs, the sitting area on the 2nd floor, and then actual coffee shop on the third floor. Another coffee shop with three stories!
Almond Milk Flat White with two teaspoons of brown sugar.
Caffeinated and awake, I walked back to the Van Gogh Hostel to check out. Unfortunately, the hostel had been fully booked for the next 3 nights so I had to move to another hostel in the Jordaan District. The only hostel available at a decent price in a convenient area for public transportation was a sober Christian hostel. I wasn’t thrilled about moving to the new hostel but I had to make the most of it since I procrastinated when it came to booking my hostels for this trip.
A photo of the bible study room that I never got to enjoy.
FINALLY! I got bottom bunk!
Out of all the hostels I had been to, this hostel felt the most off. The staff tried really hard to have everyone socialize but I felt like the travelers there were very guarded. No one even said hi or smiled! It was also the strictest hostel when it came to locking up your belongings and following the cleaning schedule of when we could use the wash room.
The hostel hosted a “Happy Hour” event with a nice spread of food but minus the booze.
The nicest part of the hostel was the kitchen / communal room. You could order food, watch a movie, participate in discussions about the faith, or just hang out and do your own thing. I sat in the cafe most of the time when I wanted to charge my phone or get things figured out by using the free wifi.
That was just a recap of my first morning in Amsterdam! Next post will be about exploring the popular Nine Streets and my visit to the Carnival at Dam Square! Stay tuned!