Wednesday 7 December 2016

How I Would Spend 24 Hours In Amsterdam

Today as I am writing this post, I am not really sitting in my kitchen looking out across the street lights down the road, I am instead embarking upon a fantasy trip to a European city I have heard friends talk about time and time again and a place I seen thousands of photos of, but as of yet have not visited. I’m talking about Amsterdam. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love to travel and you’ll have seen my post about my super-mini-city-break to London this summer. It does not matter what time of year it is, Amsterdam seems to be one of those places that always has things to do and see, and people flock there in a constant stream. So, without further ado, here is my super packed yet in-a-nutshell itinerary of what I would do if I had 24 hours to spend in Amsterdam.

9:00am - Breakfast
I would start the day with breakfast in a local cafe – ‘Two For Joy’ is heralded as a fantastic breakfast stop as they blend their own coffee mixes to really wake you up for the day and I would want to be fully alert because I’ll be hopping on a bike at some point in the morning, trying out the locals’ preferred transportation method! After some coffee, fresh orange juice and sourdough toast with wild strawberry jam (yes, I’ve planned my menu choices #SoOrganised!) it’d be straight out and onto the first stop of the day...
10:00am – Walk to the Canal and a River Cruise
To get some bearings and see the city from a different vantage point, a canal cruise would be my first activity. I love to take photographs and Amsterdam is famous for the totally picturesque houses which look like they’re actually coming out of the river itself, so I’d use the cruise as a photographic opportunity to snap some photos of these buildings and the bridges too.
11:00am – Exploring Vondelpark
1 cruise and 50 photos later, I would take a walk to Amsterdam’s most famous park, ‘Vondelpark’ and hire a bike to cycle around it to take in all of the wildlife and sculptures which have been commissioned. Everyone knows that Amsterdam is one of the most cyclist-friendly cities in the world and this is affirmed by the fact over half of the Amsterdam locals choose to cycle instead of use other modes of public transport! I’d get a coffee at one of the cafes nearby midway through my park-cycling adventure and sit back and watch the world go by and take in the ambiance of the city.
1:15pm – Lunch at ‘Scandinavian Embassy’
Because I love cinnamon buns and another coffee is only a good thing – I’m on the go for 24 hours here! This cafe / restaurant does light sandwiches and salads with a Scandinavian twist which sounds good to me.
Location: Scandinavian Embassy, Sarphatipark 34, 1072 PB AMSTERDAM
2:30pm – Time To Get Cultured
This is the tricky bit because like so many cities, Amsterdam has SO much to choose from in the way of culture, but since this is my first time going, I’d want to do the classics, so definitely a trip to the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum where art from Van Gogh, Rembrant, Ver Meer and other masters of the art world are housed.  The buildings themselves are considered national treasures too because of the exquisite architecture, so for me they’d be must sees. If there’s time, I’d also want to see the Anne Frank House museum.
5:00pm – Free Exploring
Because sometimes you just need a bit of time to walk around the streets, explore hidden gems and discover what’s around the corner. I’d cycle up to Jordaan as this neighbourhood is praised for being otherworldly, by that I mean quintessentially olde-worlde and quaint. I’d park up the bike and ditch the map and get lost in the maze of streets which this district has. I’d stop for a drink at an atmospheric independent cafe when I find one and watch the day fade into night and the city slowly begin to light up. Definitely a good opportunity for more photographs!
7:00pm – Cocktail-o-Clock!
Amsterdam is often thought of as a party city and this is something I think I need to find out! I’d hit up a rooftop bar to enjoy a birds’ eye view of the city to begin with, before finding a themed bar as they are always fun. Apparently the ‘Vesper Bar’ in the Jordaan district which is Bond themed!
8:30pm – River Side Walk / Skate
To take in just how romantically idyllic the city looks as the lights from the nearby restaurants and cafes reflect on the water’s surface, I would want to go on a canal side stroll. It’s something that you only really ever see in the movies, so I want to give it a whirl in real life! If I was visiting in winter, I would brave the canal ice rink! (Note: would have to be travelling with a competent ice-skating friend who can hold onto me!)
9:00pm – Street Food in the Oud West Neighbourhood
Like Covent Garden in London, but the Dutch equivalent, the Oud West district serves street food galore! I’d get something like stir fry, cashews and noodles and maybe some churros and Nutella for dessert, before hitting the town!
10:30pm – Party Party!!
Because you can’t go to Amsterdam without trying out the nightlife. ‘Sugarfactory’ is a famous club in the city with a funky name, so maybe I’d give that one a whirl! After dancing until about 2:30am, I’d head to my hotel and be up and ready to return home at 9:00am – whoa, that really would be a jam packed 24 hours and one that would certainly be Instagram-worthy! Have you ever been to Amsterdam before? If so, any hot-spots you’d recommend for an Amsterdam newbie? Looking forward to reading your suggestions! Bilgi x

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