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- Posted:Friday, July 16, 2010
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Friday morning started with the hunt to find a good restaurant off the tourist trail for breakfast. Just a short stroll off of Dam Square by the Royal Palace will lead you to a collection of small restaurants where many of the Dutch frequent and you will find a great selection of food and drinks on offer. My favourite is a small place called De Drie Graffjes who do some great food at reasonable prices. I also have to mention the Cote Ouest Cafe and Restaurant which also offers some great Dutch specialities as well as one of the best cappuccinos I’ve had in a while!
Another tip when looking for somewhere to eat in Amsterdam – if you are asking for advice on where to go make sure you say ‘restaurant’ as cafes and coffee-shops are terms related to places where you buy and smoke hash/ weed and many other variations of it! This is all legal in Amsterdam and it is also sometimes ok to smoke these substances in normal bars and restaurants, so don’t be surprised if you get a whiff of it while sitting out having your beer! Amsterdam has also embraced the smoking ban, but during the summer most people tend to sit outside so this is not a big issue in these months.
After a great breakfast I made my way towards one of many outdoor markets in Amsterdam. The Albert Cuyp can be found surprisingly enough on Albert Cuypstraat! You can take a tram here from the city centre in a couple of minutes. This is a popular market with locals and tourists, and it also makes for a great way to see another part of the city. This street is lined with stalls selling everything from clothes and shoes, to food and household goods. It has a great atmosphere and well worth a stroll through some morning.
The afternoon was nice and bright and made for the perfect weather to properly sample all of the city’s canals – on a canal cruise! There are many different operators offering these tours through the canals at both day and night. A normal day time tour which lasts about an hour costs around €8.50. There are also night time cruises and dinner cruises on offer, as well as the chance to rent your own boat or even a pedal boat! I said I would save my legs and opted for the regular day time canal cruise along with all the other tourists! The tour brings you through the city along many streets and under many bridges, pointing out important architecture as you go along. It is a great way to see the city on a nice day and is a popular and fun choice for all ages.
After seeing all the sights I made my way back to Museumplein to take advantage of the late opening hours of The Van Gogh Museum (open until 10pm on a Friday, admission €14 for adult). This museum is home to the largest collection of paintings from the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, and it gives a background and insight into the painters short lived life and career.
I finished off my day in Amsterdam with dinner and drinks in another of Amsterdam’s popular squares, Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square). This is again full of pubs and restaurants, and is also home to a popular club called Escape. There is also seating around the square and the statue of Rembrandt so it can be the perfect place to sit out in after dinner also.
So that brought my few days in Amsterdam to a close! It really is a great city for all ages and tastes, and there is so much to see all over the city. The cobbled streets, narrow lanes and so many bridges and canals make the city a really picturesque place. The lifestyle there is also so relaxed, particularly during the summer months as both the locals and tourists sit out on the many terraces on the banks of the canals to watch the evenings go by.