What a great trip. We had a lot of good things going for us. Amsterdam is such a cool and clean city. It’s easy to get around. The weather was incredible. Lastly, we had the pleasure of staying with family friends who live in a great part of the city. My mom had Jessica in school and she now lives in Amsterdam with her husband, Wouter, and two children, Max and Sophie. It was so nice being able to come back to a nice bed, great food, and such a nice family every single night.
The main highlights in terms of sightseeing had to have been the Van Gogh Museum and Vondel Park. We were very lucky with the Van Gogh Museum because Wouter was kind enough to invite us to a private work function at the museum the second night we were there. Not only did we get to mingle with some of the Amsterdam locals, but we had Van Gogh’s sunflower collection to ourselves which was incredible. We went back a couple of days later with the normal crowds and it made us appreciate the private access we had so much more (you usually don’t get to take these types of pictures you see below). Vondel Park is a massive park in the middle of Amsterdam (think Central Park) and we enjoyed a few sunny afternoons just walking around and taking it all in. We were also lucky enough to stumble into a concert series happening in the park on Sunday.
Other things we did included the FOAM museum which I wanted to attend because it’s a photography museum. However, I don’t know if it was the specific exhibits they had, but it was not as much photography as it was “modern art.” We checked out a movie (all movies are in their native language). Aside from that, we just did a lot of walking around this gorgeous city. I came here 10 years ago and it was amazing how much I had forgotten or had changed. For example, the infamous Red Light District from what I remembered was a lot “seedier” with signs everywhere prohibiting photography. Now there are tourists everywhere taking photos and a lot of people just out on the street drinking at nice bars. Another big change was the Anne Frank house. When I last came you were able to just walk up and buy tickets. Not anymore. You have to book weeks or even months out or else you won’t get in like us.
Amsterdam is probably near the top of Caitlin’s favorite cities thus far and I can’t argue. We had the advantage of some amazing local hospitality but even without, this city needs to be on your shortlist of places to go.