And Rain Will Make the Tulips Grow...October 6, 2017 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C
Well maybe. But seems a fitting title for day one in Amsterdam. The weather today can only be described as odd... one moment it could be sunny and the next completely raining. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.
Tyler and I wanted to get up early today as we know that just two days in Amsterdam is going to feel incredibly short. We planned to be up and ready for nearly when hotel breakfast would begin at seven. But we just really can't keep up this fast level of tourism much longer.... we ended up setting a slightly later alarm. The breakfast here is again delightful. Plenty of food in the buffet, but also a chef cooking made to order eggs and pancakes. The fruit here is also excellent. There was even chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce for dessert (yep a clear dessert served with breakfast).
We got packed up and ready for the day and were nearly out the door when we realized it was pouring rain. The forecast looked to show the rain stopping soon and so we decided to wait it out for about 20 minutes and 15 seconds. Tyler played Zelda and I almost stayed awake. When we looked out the window, the rain did seem to have stopped. We still took an umbrella though (thank god).
Our morning plan was to take a long meandering way to the Anne Frank House for our pre-booked tour. We did that over about two hours which gave plenty of time to see the city along the way. We walked to one of the main streets which was quite busy. Started to observe the interplay of bikes, pedestrians, motorcycles, cars, trams and sometimes large trucks on the narrow canal littered streets. We have been extra careful crossing streets. There are bikes parked literally everywhere. It's quite a sight.
We stopped at a Delft shop. All very beautiful and quite expensive. We walked through a tulip market which was pretty cool to see. Tyler bought a large stroop waffle in one of the bakeries along the way.
We found Pannenkoek Upstairs - a Dutch pancake house that Tyler had read about before the trip. We took note of the opening hours as the plan was to be back after our museum visit for late lunch. We kept walking with occasional stops in souvenir or book shops to warm up when needed.
Suddenly it was quite sunny outside and we were feeling quite smart for having waited out the rain at the hotel this morning. We put our sunglasses on for a selfie in front of a canal. A couple drops of rain started during the photo and within about fifteen seconds the sun was gone and it was raining consistently. It got to a true pour and we were under our single umbrella on a street where none of the buildings had overhangs/awnings.
We eventually came to the main Dam square. It was too busy and we did not like it. We walked over to the Anne Frank House a bit early and sorted out where to be later. By this point, we needed a small break. We took a short stop in a cafe for a latte and a bathroom break.
Back at the Anne Frank House, we got in the short queue for our time slot. The process was quite efficient. We picked up our audio guides which automatically connected with the info in each room to guide through the tour. No pictures allowed again. It was an excellent tour - definitely learned a lot more about the story behind a book that I feel like I've known about forever but can't say for sure if I've read it. Now I definitely want to read the actual diary. The space where they lived was tiny and modest and you can somewhat try to imagine how terrifying that would be for a teenage girl. The most interesting but also sad part was Anne's bedroom where there were magazine and newspaper clippings still on the walls. Hard to believe that eight people lived in that tiny space for two years, and awful that they got found and seven of them were killed in the end. The end of the museum had more information about Anne's dad publishing the book and a short video with quotes of museum visitors and celebrities explaining what Anne Frank's story has meant in their lives.
Next order of business was lunch. At the Pannenkoek Upstairs of course. To get there we had to pass back through Dam square. Still not our favorite thing. There was a lady letting pigeons jump onto her arms and even her head. Gross.
We arrived at the pancake house and trekked up one of the steepest staircases yet. The restaurant is tiny... it has only four tables and is essentially a single tiny room. Understandably we couldn't sit down then but the gentleman working there booked us in for 3 pm (one hour wait). This gave us a few minutes to walk into nearby shops to kill time. He also informed us that they'll only hold your reservation for five minutes at the allotted time but then would give it away if you don't show up. We used this time to walk through an area called Begijnhof. This area has been a residence for pious Catholic women who are not nuns for hundreds of years through lots of history. It was a pretty walk. After that, I happened upon a nice Dutch dress shop and tried some stuff on but didn't buy anything.
By then, it was time to head back to Pannenkoek Upstairs. We sat down at one of the quaint tables. Part of the experience is totally the atmosphere of the super tiny restaurant. Tyler had the bacon. cheese and ginger and I had bacon, cheese and apple. Both really awesome although I think Tyler would have been happier with a bit less ginger. We even cracked down and ordered a bottle of water ... trying to get better at staying hydrated. We then decided to share one sweet pancake after our individual savory ones. We landed on a pancake with Dutch strawberries and fresh cream. They even flambeed it with grand mariner. Delicious and a great finish to an amazing meal! After late lunch, we walked a different canal ... eventually we realized it was the red light district. Didn't look to be much going on there in the day light.
We walked through a few main busy streets (we stopped at a toy store... they had Lego but no Lego keychains even though it was a huge store) and squares to get to the Jordaan district. This area is overall extra beautiful and we enjoyed a bit of time just looking around. All of this walking has taken us pretty far away from our hotel and it was a long walk back. It was raining again on our way back. Next it was high time for a brief rest at the hotel. Not really what I would call a rest though because I was working on the blog and Tyler was doing research on where to have dinner and what we should do tomorrow.
We landed on a highly rated Thai place for supper. It was called Rakang and quite highly rated by locals and tourists alike. The restaurant was quite a walk from our hotel and of course we didn't have a reservation and were just hoping to squeeze in. Also it was still raining along the way. Luckily they were able to get us in although the restaurant looked so full! It was superb and I'm really happy Tyler found it.
We started with veggie tempura and then had pad Thai chicken and a roasted duck with coconut sweet and spicy curry sauce. All of it was fabulous but a bit more food than we really needed. We had to leave a tiny bit because we were just too full.
After dinner we did walk through the Red Light district at nighttime. It was incredibly busy on the streets with some red lights (although perhaps less lights than I would have guessed). And of course, girls in windows. Quite a sight to see to be sure. I think I may have been gripping Tyler's hand a bit tighter than usual during this part of the walk. We exited that part of the city and stopped at a pub closer to our hotel before calling it a night.
The consensus so far is that two days really won't be enough to see this city properly ... and maybe we should come back during a less rainy season to enjoy the canal atmosphere more.
One more day of exploring tomorrow and then it's home time!
Brooke & TylerRead more