Monday, December 6, 2010


Two weeks ago, the USA celebrated Thanksgiving (I will save my thoughts on this holiday for a later post), and we thought we should really make the most of our long weekend here in Europe.  So, we packed up a small bag (because we flew easyjet!) and headed to Amsterdam for four days.

You may think that the only reason to visit Amsterdam is for coffee shops and red lights, but this is such a cool city with so much more to offer.  And with the the rumors that the Amsterdam government will soon stop selling "coffee" to tourists and that the Red Light District will continue to decrease in size, you may want to plan to see some other parts of the city while you are there.

We flew from London Stansted to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, a quick 45 minute flight. Upon arrival, we breezed through immigrations and customs and headed out to the bus stops where we caught the #197 bus to Leidseplein. The bus dropped us on the bridge just across from the Marriott, and all we had to do was turn around and there was the Marriott! Luckily our room was available at 9am so we checked in and napped for a few hours. We had been awake since 4am...

Let me tell you about the Marriott in Leidseplein - if you find yourself in Amsterdam, this may be one of the best places to stay.  The location was perfect, and everything we wanted to see/do was within walking distance.  The executive lounge is one of the best we have seen - great snacks throughout the day and cocktail hour in the evenings, also extremely spacious and well decorated.  The staff here are very helpful and the concierge was extremely informative.

Once you are all settled wherever you choose to stay in the area, it really is so easy to get out and explore the city.  After you have had enough of the "coffee" and red lights, here are some other places that you should not miss on a long weekend in Amsterdam:

  • Anne Frank House and the Jordaan Neighborhood
  • From there, walk behind the house to see the Homomonument and then onto Sara's Pancake House for a quick snack
  • Head to the Dam Square to take in all the sites, tour the Royal Palace and people watch.
  • From the Dam, its an easy walk to the Red Light District -  many smaller museums are location on this street like the Hash Museum and Erotic Museum.
  • By now, you will be tired...grab dinner and cocktails and enjoy the night!
  • Another day, head to Museumplein and check out Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum
  • From there its a beautiful walk to the Singel flower market and then on to Spui and Rokin for a Canal Boat Tour with Rondvaart tour company.
  • There's a GREAT sushi restaurant near the river here, I forget the name but it's easy to spot and GOOD!
  • Your last day, shop in the Leidseplein area and then visit the Amsterdam History Museum
  • Take a walk to the Begijnhof and then have rijstaffel (Indonesian rice table) at nearby Kantjil & de Tijger. 
  • Hangout in Rembrandtplein
  • Take in a an improv comedy show at Boom! Chicago in Leidseplein - its great and a taste of "home" with American comedians who live in Amsterdam
Up next...York!

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