— Feathers and Wax

Bicycles and bitterballen: Day one in Amsterdam

I’ve been back from Amsterdam for a week now. Editing the photos for this post brought it all back to me: the gently shimmering canal waters, the dozens of bikes riding down every cobblestone street, the proud houseboats in shades of navy blue and cream.

The architecture and the feel of this city is certainly what impressed itself upon me the most during this trip.

We arrived in the late afternoon and checked into our Airbnb in the Jordaan neighborhood (more on that later). Then we immediately got out in the city to walk around and see what we could see. We stopped into a pub for a couple pints and then ate at Cafe George, an adorable French brasserie. Despite its French cuisine focus, the cafe serves the Dutch traditional dish of bitterballen, so we all got our first taste of Dutch food.

After that we were all too exhausted from traveling to stay out much later, so it was back to the Airbnb for some wine and a chat before bed.

The next morning the weather was gorgeous. We woke up eager to spend a full day in the city. Our plans ended up changing quite a bit that day because of shifting schedules and meeting up with the rest of our group, but I didn’t mind. It was a beautiful day and I couldn’t get enough of the flowers and cute storefronts everywhere.

Our first stop was G’s Jordaan, a brunch restaurant that turned out to be American gangsta rap themed…of course? The food was delicious and we all died laughing over the details, like how the menus came on vinyl records with illustrations of Biggie and Drake on them. They certainly complemented the Dutch delftware plates, don’t you think?

This area, along a street called Brouwersgracht in the northern part of the city center, turned out to be my favorite. So picturesque! This is where all the beer breweries were originally established in Amsterdam.

From there we decided to take a boat ride tour, which takes you all through the canals in the older part of the city and tells you its history, as well as pointing out fun things like the “Dancing Houses” — the name of the extremely crooked canal houses in the photo above.

We stopped into a pub afterward to kill some time until another friend could join the group. As it turned out, it was the In’t Aepjen bar, one of the oldest bars in Amsterdam. I had bookmarked it but we had no clue what it was when we decided to walk in — this turned out to be a recurring theme of our trip, where we’d stumble into some seemingly random place and I’d say “hey, wait a minute…” Amsterdam really has such a small town feel to it.

From there we ate some incredible Indonesian food at Warung Spang Makandra and then hit the town. We were really in search of karaoke but settled for a fun piano bar and a few pubs instead.

But let’s be honest, what really got me excited was the giant wheels of cheese and cute cats I kept seeing in the windows of closed shops.

Stay tuned for more Amsterdam!

More about my trip to Amsterdam:

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Thanks for reading Feathers and Wax! x

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