Amsterdam Journals

Amster-DAM That Was Fun!

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An April 2009 trip to Amsterdam by Carmen

Keukenhof Gardens Photo, Lisse, Netherlands More Photos
Quote: We ventured to Amsterdam to experience spring in all its glory, and we weren't disappointed.

Tulips, Tulips and More Tulips

Keukenhof Gardens

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Attraction | "Tiptoe Through the Holland Tulips"

Keukenhof Gardens Photo, Lisse, Netherlands
Quote:
If you can plan your visit during the late-March through end-of-May timeframe (exact dates change each year), you’ll want to make a springtime visit to the Keukenhof gardens. The Keukenhof is the largest bulb-garden in the world, with over 7 million (yes, million) bulbs each year. The most famous of those bulbs are the tulips.Seeing the tulips is like timing a trip to DC for the cherry blossoms. There’s no way to do it in advance. You’ve got to pick a date and go with it - your chances get better as mid-April rolls around, and May is prime tulip time. We visited on April 15, and we were told it was the first day of peak bloom, so we were pretty lucky.You can smell the blooms (a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Keukenhof Gardens
Stationsweg 166-A
Lisse, Netherlands
31 (0) 252 465 555

If You Have Time for Only One Thing

Canal Hopper

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Attraction | "The Best Way to See Amsterdam"

Canal Hopper Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
If you have a short layover in Amsterdam, or even if you’re visiting for a week, the best overview of the city that you could give yourself is a canal tour. These canals are the veins which Amsterdam’s life’s blood runs - the water from the Amstel River. More than 400 bridges span these canals, giving Amsterdam a charm and feel that few European cities have.Thus, a canal tour becomes the perfect way to sit back and take it all in, letting the city come to you. There are plenty of options, and you can chose which suits you best. However, I highly recommend the Canal Hopper, 22 Euros per person, kids under 4 free, under 12 11 Euro, and a 4 Euro discount if you book late in the af...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Canal Hopper

Amsterdam
+31 20 - 623 98 86

If You Have Time for Only Two Things

Mike's Bike Tours

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Attraction | "We're No Lance Armstrong, but We Held Our Own"

Mike's Bike Tours Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Bikes are a part of the daily Amsterdam life, and there are probably more bikes in the city than people! If you have grown used to the "ring ring" of the bike bells telling you to get the heck out of their way; if you think you can understand which roads are bike paths (all of them) and can understand the traffic lights just for the two wheelers, then head on over to Mike’s Bikes and immerse yourself in the local transport!There are several options at Mike’s Bikes. You can just rent a bike for a day (be sure to lock both the wheels and the body) or you can join a bike tour. New for 2009 is a city tour of Amsterdam, or there is the countryside tour. We chose to venture a bit outside the cit...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Mike's Bike Tours
Meeting Place: 134 Kerkstraat
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1017GP
31-20-622-7970

Amsterdam's, Um, Underbelly? (PG-13 Rating)

Randy Roy's Redlight Tours

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Attraction | "Randy Roy's Tour Turned Us On - To Amsterdam!"

Randy Roy's Redlight Tours Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Warning. Journal may be offensive. Rated PG-13. There’s something in the Red Light District to offend everyone. I’m just taking one for the team to report back to you. ;)Randy Roy is not a Roy at all, he is a she - an American expat named Kimberly. The name of her company is derived in part, from Randy Savage, the wrestler - so she tells us - and part, I think, from her slightly warped (in a good way) sense of humor.The tour is a great way to explore the infamous Red Light District of Amsterdam. Especially if you are like me, and a little nervous to be wandering the area on your own. During the day it wouldn’t be so bad (but the things that make it "red light" are there ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Randy Roy's Redlight Tours
Damrak 1 5
Amsterdam
+31 (6) 41853288

Sex Museum Amsterdam

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Attraction | "Cover Your Eyes (PG-13 Journal)"

Sex Museum Amsterdam Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Disclaimer again. This is the museum of sex journal. If you’re expecting fluffy bunnies, and church facades, you may want to reconsider reading it. I’m trying to keep it PG-13, but honestly, it may be hard. No pun intended.The Sex Museum is hard to miss if you walk on the main drag from Central Station to Dam Square. Situated smack dab in the middle of the Damrak and sandwiched between souvenir shops and restaurants, it only costs 3 Euro per person to enter. If you go in with the right attitude, it’s a fun little jaunt through history’s soft-core porn. And some of it not so soft core. Their are trash cans adorned with the male member, a giant penis chair to sit in and ev...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Sex Museum Amsterdam
Damrak 18
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Museum Madness

The Anne Frank House and Museum

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Attraction | "It's a Must-Do in Amsterdam"

The Anne Frank House and Museum Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
This is just one of those activities that you should really do while in Amsterdam, yet you just know it’s probably going to bum you out. But inspire you at the same time. An emotional roller coaster made possible by the Nazi invasion of World War II.Are there any American school children who made it past 10th grade without reading Anne Frank’s diary? I was then, and still am today, amazed at how a little girl facing such scary times managed to live in a cramped space and yet still be a "normal" little girl. You’ll be even more amazed once you step into the cramped quarters of the few rooms atop her father’s store when you realize how many people lived in nothing but this small space for tw...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

The Anne Frank House and Museum
Prinsengracht 267
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1016 GV
+31 20 556 71 00

Van Gogh Museum

Attraction | "AKA the The Van Gagcht Museum"

Van Gogh Museum Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
I think I’m learning something about myself, as I traipse around Europe’s museums - I am not a museum person. That’s an important tidbit of information to keep in mind as I write about the Van Gogh Museum. If you ask someone where the "Van Go" museum is, they won’t know what the heck you’re talking about. In Dutch, Gogh is pronounced, with full on throat throttle and spit, as "Gagcht." Their pronounciation will kind of make you want to say "bless you."The entrance is a short walk from the also-famous Rijksmuseum, past the tourist photo op at the big IAMSTERDAM sign and several food and souvenir stands on the Paulus Potterstraat. The lines seemed to move quickly to pay the stee...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Van Gogh Museum
Paulus Potterstraat 7
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1071 CX
+31 (20) 570 52 00

The Way Through a Tourists' Heart Is Through the Stomach

Ava Cyril

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Restaurant | "Warm Meal, Warm People"

Ava Cyril  Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
On any major tourist street in Amsterdam, your likely to find a smorgasbord of food choices, from bars to sit-down restaurants (which are now non-smoking) to eat-at-the-bar joints to your standard American McDonalds, Subway, KFC and Burger King. Basically, each night, we just strolled through our neighborhood and looked at cafe menus to decide where we would eat dinner.On our first evening, we happened past an Italian restaurant called just that, Italiaans restuarnt. The aroma wafting out the door made us stop and look, and the menu hearkened to our hungry tummies. The owner even poked his head out of the door as we browsed to tell us about the specials for the evening. Okay, twist our arm...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Ava Cyril
Niewendijk 46
Amsterdam
+61 20-620-70-14

O'Reilly's Pub

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Restaurant | "Food & Footie"

O'Reilly's Pub Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
On our last night in Amsterdam, we were extremely tired, cranky that we had to get on another long flight the next day and super hungry. We walked (and walked and walked) trying to become inspired by one of the string of cafes we passed nearby our hotel. After what seemed like forever, we stumbled (almost literally, as our feet were killing us) upon O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, just past Magna Plaza off Dam Square. Amsterdam is a food culture melting pot, so we weren’t surprised at the Irish pub, but we were pleasantly surprised that we liked it.The interior was quite spacious, with lots of tables outside (though it was chilly and no one was sitting outside), tables near the windows, tables near ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

O'Reilly's Pub
Paleisstraat 103-105
Amsterdam
+31 20 6249498

Lounge Cafe Saint Paul

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Restaurant | "Do Fondue!"

Lounge Cafe Saint Paul Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Yet another one of our evening strolls in search for a new cafe to try for dinner, we came upon Lounge Cafe Saint Paul. The menu posted outside spoke of lots of choice inside, so we decided to give it a try.The inside doesn’t look like much - it’s a bar. But the staff was exceptionally friendly, and we decided to stretch our "normal" food choices with their guidance (we were on vacation, after all).The bar is next door to a fondue restaurant, and I think they may be owned by the same people, because fondue is on the menu at Saint Paul’s as well. And that’s what we chose. We split a cheese fondue, a Swiss cheese called Fribourg, and a meat fondue with olive oil (two meat choices...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Lounge Cafe Saint Paul
Gravenstraat 24-b
Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20-6277044

Hard Rock Cafe

Restaurant | "Solid American Food"

Hard Rock Cafe Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Ah yes. The typical American cop-out - eat at a Hard Rock Cafe. But at least you know the food will be the same most everywhere, the bathrooms are clean and free, and there was outdoor seating on a sunny day. Sold.Funny enough, we sat outdoors at a table right next to some Hard Rock Cafe big wigs. They were there to check up on the restaurant, the wait staff, and the chefs. They ordered sample items off the menu and were "grading" them on presentation, quality, taste, etc. We eavesdropped a bit, so I think we had a good idea of what not to order. Turns out, it was a rough day for the chef trainees. The big wigs rode them pretty hard. However, I ordered the Tupelo chicken tender...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Hard Rock Cafe
Max Euweplein 57-61
Amsterdam, Netherlands
31-20-523-7625

Dam Plaza International Diner

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Restaurant | "The Old College Try"

Quote:
We tried Dam Plaza for breakfast one morning, since it was right next door to our hotel, and their breakfast options were a lot cheaper than our hotel restaurant. We were seated in the window, and I ordered one of the Dutch traditional items - a pancake. Now what I didn’t realize is that the Dutch don’t necessarily have pancakes for breakfast - they eat them for dinner, and not with syrup. They eat them with eggs and bacon, Mexican toppings, Italian sauce, etc. I learned later that pancakes are one of the lowest forms of Dutch foods - a workman’s diet. It’s also not a nice silver dollar pancake size, either. It’s one big dough patty that fills a large plate. I ordered mine with syrup, and ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Dam Plaza International Diner
Damrak 98
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Hotel Amsterdam de Roode Leeuw

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Hotel | "If You Can't Say Nothin' Nice, You Stayed Here"

Hotel Amsterdam de Roode Leeuw Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
We did our research online about the Hotel Amsterdam, and we saw that there were more good reviews than bad ones. We were also impressed that the hotel management responded to each review on TripAdvisor. Plus, the price was right in the package we booked, so we took the faith leap and booked our 5 night stay here. Staying at Hotel Amsterdam was like the movie, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.The Good: If location is what swings you on a hotel room, you really can’t beat the Hotel Amsterdam. It’s a 5-7 minute walk down Damrak to Central Station, and you can practically spit on Dam Square, with the Royal Palace. For those Americans that just can’t stay away, there is a McDo...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 27, 2009

Hotel Amsterdam de Roode Leeuw
DAMRAK 93 94
Amsterdam, Netherlands
31-20-5550666