On this week’s episode of Tiffany Eats Tampa- we are taking a break from my beautiful (and delicious) city of Tampa and continuing on with our European Adventure! The second stop on our Eurotrip was Amsterdam- let the shenanigans begin! (Check out my post about Bruges, the first stop on our adventure here)
Tiff’s Amsterdam To-Do and Eat List
1. Check out the Flower Market
When we first arrived in Amsterdam, we checked into our AirBnB- which, unfortunately, was not a great start to our trip- the place was in a perfect location but the home itself was very dirty, let’s just say that- but I was determined not to let that get in the way of our 2 day stay in this beautiful city. Okay, let’s have some real talk- when I say “I was determined not to let that get in the way of our stay” – I mean after about an hour of semi-panicking and trying to decide whether or not we should try to find a new place to stay but realizing that was pointless and then me trying to hold back tears of disappointment and such and my lovechunk trying to cheer me up- that’s what I mean 🙂 #travelstruggles
I finally said “let’s go explore and have some fun!” So we decided to check out Bloemenmarkt which is the world’s only floating flower market. I mean, how can you be in a bad mood when looking at a bunch of flowers, right??
It is a fantastic place to go to check out stall after stall of flowers (mostly tulips) and souvenirs. I have never seen SO many tulips in my life- it was an oasis of color! We spent about an hour, or so, just perusing through the shops and taking in all the sights and smells- it was a perfect way to spend our first few hours in Amsterdam.
2. Take a Big Bus Tour
I LIKE BIG BUSES(and I cannot lie!)- okay, okay- but seriously- big bus tours are one of my favorite things to do when I go to a major city! It’s a great way to get a feel for where all of the big sights are located, you also get to listen with headphones to an audio recording telling you about the places you are passing, AND your feet get a break- what more can you ask for???
What we like to do it sit on the bus and relax while it goes to each stop on the tour- usually that takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Then we will decide where we want to get off and explore- but trust me, when you are traveling and walking around all day long- that time spent sitting on a bus is much needed for your precious feet! I don’t care if some people think it’s the “touristy” thing to do – it’s a really great way of scoping out the city and it’s also super convenient. 2 thumbs up from this girl!
3. Check out the “I Am Amsterdam” Sign
The “I Am Amsterdam” sign is iconic and is a perfect photo op! The sign is actually located behind the Rijksmuseum which is beautiful in itself. Walking to the get to the sign was simply stunning- you go through the museum entrance, and there are gardens surrounding you with fountains you can run in and out of- just a really cool place to sit and enjoy your surroundings.
Let me just say that taking a picture in front of, or even around, the “I Am Amsterdam” sign is no easy task, there are people EVERYWHERE! But it’s a fun place to be and you can climb in and out of the letters like a little kid(or traveling adult) 🙂
4. Eat a Stroopwafel
When we were done goofing around at the “I Am Amsterdam” sign- we decided we were starving (climbing in and out of signs makes you hungry- fun fact!) and to our luck there were several cafes and food trucks located right outside of the museum. Before coming to Amsterdam I did some research about Dutch cuisines and kept stumbling across something called a “Stroopwafel” so of course we had to try it!
A Stroopwafel is basically a waffle made from two thin layers of dough with a caramel-like syrup in the middle. This one was made fresh- which meant the syrup in the middle of it was still warm and gooey and OH MY AMSTERDAM it was heavenly! It was very hard to share just one so we had to go back and get a second. #worthit
5. WATCH OUT FOR BIKES
Before I came to Amsterdam, I spoke with my friend who has been there before and she gave me a great tip- WATCH OUT FOR BICYCLES! And i’m so glad she said that because there are LITERALLY (surprisingly, i’m not exaggerating) bicyclists EVERYWHERE! There are four times more bikes than cars in Amsterdam- it is basically how everyone gets around.
I nearly got ran over by bikes at least twice while we were there- I had to learn quickly to be very cautious for bicyclists when crossing any street or even walking on a sidewalk because they own the roads- not the cars. Just be careful and cautious while walking on the streets to see where the bikes have the right of way and whatever you do, do NOT stop in the middle of a street and take a picture because you might just get run over! #TiffsTips
6. Have a Hot Dog
Dodging bicyclists can also make a girl hungry- okay, i’ll be honest, everything makes me hungry– so we decided to stop for a snack before our next adventure. And I know what you’re thinking, “a hot dog? Really”? These aren’t your typical American hot dogs, these are some fancy pants hot dogs!
See?? I told you! They serve it on a nice kind of bread with some cheese melted on top- it was quite lovely, I must say. The perfect afternoon snack.
7. Eat some Dutch Cheese
Holland is the #1 cheese exporting nation in the world- so of course we needed to sample some of the countries best cheeses! We stopped at several different cheese stores- there are plenty to choose from. Every single one was fabulous in my professional eating opinion.
We bought 3 different kinds and nibbled on them while we explored the city. They were simply divine. Side note: I highly recommend carrying around mints or gum after nibbling on cheese all day long- you will thank me later 🙂
8. Take the Heineken Brewery Tour
This was such a cool experience and a MUST while in Amsterdam. As this was only my second brewery tour, I thought I knew what to expect- someone would walk us around and talk to us about the history of Heineken and about the beer making process- I was wrong- this was actually a self guided brewery tour- which was VERY unique and cool.
You walk through several different rooms and levels where you first learn the history of the company and then you walk into the room where they make the beer- it felt like we were in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”- they had stations set up where you can stir the barley around and actually help make the beer!
They even had the Heineken horses, an interactive ride, beer games, make your own bottle stations, and more! It was just a really cool experience that I would have never expected on a brewery tour. I rate this and the beer A +.
10. Eat a Dutch Pancake
When you’re in Amsterdam you HAVE to go to a place called “The Pancake Bakery” and try some Dutch pancakes- don’t ask any questions, just do it! Yes, I know i’m bossy but you will thank me afterwards.
You guys, these pancakes were insane- in a good way! First of all, they were as big as our plates and they were definitely not like any pancake I’ve ever had before. They were thin, light, and almost airy. Mine had bacon, apple, and cheese inside- YASSS!!! If you’ve been reading my blog then you should know by now that I love me some sweet and saltiness- and this was just that! Sweet and savory and simply delicious!
Chris got the lemon pancakes which was also delicious- they were so filling I don’t think we were able to finish them:( What I also loved about this place was they didn’t have your typical syrup like we’re used to in the states, they had a pot with a stick in it and what came out was this thick, molasses-like, syrupy amazingness! I took a video for your viewing pleasure- i’m always thinking about you guys!
11. Go to Zaanse Shans
Zaanse Schans is about a half hour outside of Amsterdam and it is SO worth the drive. I knew I wanted to go to this place before we even left for our trip because I read about it and saw pictures and it looked breathtaking. I was so worried that we weren’t going to be able to go because it was our second and last day there and it was raining and cloudy so I was starting to give up hope on checking this place out- but later in the afternoon the sun came out and shined it’s glorious head and so we took an Uber (our first ever Uber to be exact) to Zaanse Scans and i’m SO thrilled that we did!
This place is like something out of a dream- when you close your eyes and picture the countryside of Holland with windmills, green fields, and little baby goats and sheep frolicking around- THIS PLACE is what you are thinking of!
There are huge windmills that you can actually go inside of, a cheese shop, a clog shop, a museum, and so much more- we had the best time just walking around taking in all of the beauty!
The animals are also very good at posing for pictures as you can see by this smiley goat right here 🙂
The clog shop is also a great place to go to get some Holland souvenirs as well as your very own pair of clogs!
I truly can’t say enough good things about this adorable place, I’m so happy we got to go on our last day- it really made our trip so much more special and it also was nice to get out of the city and see some of the countryside and it’s beauty.
Bottom Line: Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see and do all of the things that I would have liked to being that we were only in Amsterdam for 2 days. I would have loved to see the Anne Frank House (I recommend booking in advance for that, which unfortunately we didn’t do) and taking a canal boat ride- but we still had a fantastic 2 days in Amsterdam and would definitely recommend adding it to your list of places to explore! 🙂
Have you been to Amsterdam? What was your favorite places to see? Did you eat a Dutch Pancake? I’d love to know!