I have just returned from a cheeky 3 night trip to Amsterdam with husband Pete, it was my first time in this beautiful city and it more than lived up to my expectations. We stayed at Citizen M a very modern hotel to the south of the city - the rooms are small but ridiculously well thought out and the hotel has lots of quirky design touches that make you feel you are staying somewhere unique. You do need to be on quite intimate terms with your room partner though as the loo & shower are basically part of the bedroom. The only other drawback for a Brit is no tea-making facilitites in the room....WHAT???? I know! I did manage to get over it though & last until we got downstairs to the cafe for my morning cuppa.
We didn't really have much of an agenda for our trip - walking, eating & standing & staring was the basic routine. We really enjoyed the Van Gogh Museum though it got busy so best to go early. It was really well structured and gave you a really thorough understanding of his short life & work. It's also not so big that you have to spend your whole day there - some of us had waffles to go find & eat!
We also did a canal boat trip (along with every other tourist) and really enjoyed it - partly because my feet had started to hurt - but also because it's such a beautiful city to gently drift through and see from the water.
Window shopping was our other main activity. Amsterdam seems to be fortunate to be able to support lots of independent businesses which makes for a far more interesting experience. Highlights were Weldaad which is a very well curated mix of vintage and new pieces.
Stumbling across the Hay store was also very fortuitous...though maybe not if you asked my husband!
Pete did however very much enjoy Mendo a bookstore selling the type of books that only ever grace coffee tables, and would be wholly unsuitable to take to read on the train - large, glossy & very beautiful!
Plants and greenery are very plentiful in the streets and outside houses, the florists were also on a different level too.
The whole feel of the place is very relaxed and good for the senses - alot of that is down to the reduced amount of traffic, due to the small canal streets and preference for cycling as the way to get around. But also due to being so close to water all the time I think, & the fact that the city obviously works extraordinarily hard to preserve it's heritage & beautiful buildings.
The final highlight of our stay was the discovery of Tony's Chocolonely a bar we fell for because of the packaging (suckers!), but tasted pretty fine & has a very good story. The business was started with the intention of aiming to end the use of child slaves in the cocoa farms in West Africa, by creating transparent sustainable supply chains - a very good excuse to eat their chocolate in my book!
I hope you have enjoyed this little snapshot & if you haven't been to this lovely city - put it on the list!