Amsterdam, Europe, Eurotrip 2015, Netherlands, Travel 24 COMMENTS

Exploring: Amsterdam

Amsterdam Netherlands 2015It rained the entire time majority of the time in Amsterdam. A stark difference from the last time I was there. It made the ambience of the city a little more charming, but somewhat depressing too (the cold + wet weather tends to do that to you). We didn’t have a set itinerary for Amsterdam, our mood being in a very “come what may” manner.

And so, we spent three days walking around, getting wet in the rain, checking out flea markets and book stores, meeting up with an old friend and visiting the red light district every night. Unfortunately, I was not as adventurous as I would’ve wanted. Maybe the third time I end up in Amsterdam I’ll gather up more courage to try a brownie or something. :-P

Amsterdam 2015 (4 of 62)Amsterdam, the capital city of Holland or the Netherlands, is a city known for their canals, the charming house boats and their citizens biking everywhere more than walking or taking cars — In fact, Amsterdam has plans on becoming a car-free city! 

There are 165 canals in Amsterdam. And it’s easy to get lost in this city, because aside from impossible to pronounce street names, everywhere almost looks entirely the same. 

Amsterdam 2015 (6 of 62)The Dam Square is the site of the royal palace, and for several times a year it’s a site for funfairs like markets, concerts or carnivals, just like the time we were there.

Amsterdam 2015 (34 of 62)Amsterdam’s locals like to ride bikes on all occassions — going to work, meeting friends for dinner, moving houses, picking up their children from school, and even going to a wedding!

Where We Stayed: Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel

Amsterdam 2015 (14 of 62)Vondel Park is Amsterdam’s most famous park, seeing about 12 million visitors a year.

Amsterdam 2015 (62 of 62)Our hostel, Stayokay Vondelpark is located in this famous park. Perfectly situated at a stones throw away from shopping areas, museums, and the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Amsterdam 2015 (1 of 1)The colorful common area of the hostel where guests can lounge and meet other guests. 

Amsterdam 2015 (1 of 62)Our double private room, which was our favorite from all our hostel stays throughout the trip. 

Amsterdam 2015 (3 of 62)The bed where we spent our lazy mornings and staying in to pig out because the rain was dampening our mood.

Amsterdam 2015 (2 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (10 of 62)A wonderful travel quote found outside our room.

Amsterdam 2015 (42 of 62)Daily offers at the hostel bar if you choose to hangout at the hostel instead of go out.

Stayokay Breakfast Buffet

My favorite at any hotel/hostel is the breakfast buffet. Stayokay’s selection is the typical cold cuts, some vegetables and cheese, different grains, butter & jams, and cereals — a good variety of choices for a hearty breakfast before touring the city.

Amsterdam 2015 (47 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (48 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (49 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (46 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (51 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (52 of 62)Mine & Gab’s typical breakfast at hostels. 

Our stay at Stayokay Vondelpark was quite satisfactory, the rooms were comfortable, the radiator worked like a charm for cold nights, and although our room was situated right beside the park, the noise from daily commuters weren’t too bad and in fact I quite liked hearing the city come alive in the morning.

The only issue I had was with the cleaning crew knocking only once and then barging into your room without making sure if someone was in there or not. It somehow felt a little bit of an invasion of privacy, and they don’t even greet you — this is something I brought up in the suggestion forms before leaving the hotel. We also had one small mishap one night where a bunch of school girls would do the “doorbell ditch” prank, but instead of a doorbell they would knock on random people’s doors and then run down the halls laughing manically. It happened to our room twice around 1 in the morning and I even told Gab that if they do it one more time I’d open the door and hit whoever was out there. It wasn’t the hotels fault of course, but Stayokay is a hostel and hostels get school kids all the time. It’s a risk that you get rude and disrespectful children mucking about in the halls in the middle of the night.

Other than that, our stay was a good one and the hostel is a place I would recommend for accommodations that is walkable and near the city center. For more information on Stayokay Amsterdam, you can visit them here.

Exploring More of Amsterdam

Amsterdam 2015 (5 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (13 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (33 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (8 of 62)On the first night walking around the Red Light District I gathered enough courage to take a photo from the bridge, a place I considered a “safe zone” for photography, because your photos couldn’t possibly include images of the girls in the windows.

The Red Light District, also known as “De Wallen”, serves as a place for legal prostitution and it is quite heavily regulated. Gab and I spent a lot of time here, checking out the shops, looking at the sexy women in the windows, even watching men solicit women or be seduced by them (most often quite hilarious because young boys look insanely smitten sometimes). If you’re ever in Amsterdam, don’t be afraid or intimidated with this place. It’s interesting, intriguing, and actually quite amazing. Amsterdam is such a tolerant city, and at one point I had dreams of living here too.

Amsterdam 2015 (15 of 62)Remember when I said people in Amsterdam bike everywhere? Well, there are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people. There are 881,000 bikes and about 811,100 citizens in Amsterdam. And there are about 25,000 bikes that end up in Amsterdam’s canal each year. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. Just google something like “Amsterdam bikes in canal” and you’ll see what I mean.

Amsterdam 2015 (17 of 62)FEBO is a chain of Dutch fast food restaurants, most known for their automatic format (like a vending machine). Gab and I randomly saw a FEBO while walking our way to the city center and we were starving, and so we went to experience it ourselves.

Amsterdam 2015 (16 of 62)Kalfsvleeskroket is a dutch croquette containing a veal ragout. Try to pronounce it right the first time, it’s close to impossible. The verdict? It’s okay. Wait for the food to warm up a bit, they’re made fresh and get very hot.

Amsterdam 2015 (18 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (19 of 62)Amsterdam is primarily built on water and the entire city is built on poles to support it and keep it from sinking, which would explain why some houses are lopsided! An average house in Amsterdam is built on 5 to 10 poles. The entire city? About 11 million poles! Amsterdam 2015 (20 of 62)A freezing morning outside Bagels & Beans waiting for a warm seat inside the restaurant for our breakfast. Amsterdam 2015 (21 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (22 of 62)Bikes, bikes everywhere, I tell you!

Amsterdam 2015 (23 of 62)Charming little side streets we walked through while exploring. 

Amsterdam 2015 (24 of 62)Gab and I got on the ferriswheel to get a birds eye view of the city. It was quite steep, considering the entire ride was only two rounds and went by relatively fast, but it was still worth the cost.

Amsterdam 2015 (27 of 62)A chocolate covered banana with nuts at the fair.

Amsterdam 2015 (26 of 62)But if there’s chocolate covered strawberries, that’s always my first choice.

Amsterdam 2015 (30 of 62)Henk’s Haring by the Red Light District 

Amsterdam 2015 (28 of 62)In the Philippines we enjoy herring in its dried form (aka tuyo), but in Europe it’s commonly eaten in its raw form. I tastes great with onions, pickles I’ve never been a fan of.

Amsterdam 2015 (29 of 62)Herring is one of my favorite fishes to eat, and I clearly enjoyed eating raw herring. Gab, however, could do without the experience. Haha

Amsterdam 2015 (31 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (37 of 62)Usually when you see a year on buildings and monuments in Europe, it’s an indication of when it was built. According to Bureau Monuments & Archeology of Amsterdam, this back gate of De Brakke Grond doesn’t necessarily mean it was built in 1624, it could be even older, or younger. 

Amsterdam 2015 (36 of 62)
“Stop here, appreciate life for a minute, and smile.” So I did, after I took the photo of course.

Amsterdam 2015 (54 of 62)Amsterdam 2015 (55 of 62)Houses in this city are famously narrow because they used to be taxed based on their width. Can you guess the size of the narrowest house in Amsterdam? … It’s 3 feet and 3 inches. That’s crazy narrow. You can read more about the narrowest house in Amsterdam and how it came about here. It’s a nice short story.

Amsterdam 2015 (56 of 62)I found some free time to meet up with my friend Anita, whom I met in Amsterdam two years ago when I first visited. We met because she recognized me at a thrift store where her sister worked. She asked if I was a blogger, and it turned out she knew me because of my blog.

Anita introduced Gab and I to the best fries we’ve tried in Europe:

Amsterdam 2015 (57 of 62)My fries from Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx with “oorlog” sauce (meaning “war”), which is peanut sauce + mayo and onions. It’s incredibly good and I definitely recommend a stop to this stand when you’re in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam 2015 (58 of 62)Anita, Gab and I enjoying our fries while walking around the drizzly city, trying to make the most of our last day.

Amsterdam 2015 (39 of 62)Walking back to our hostel to rest before moving on to Ghent the next day, the drizzling was relentless but the rain mixed with the glow of the city lights at dusk was the perfect ending to our Amsterdam trip.

I have little regrets that I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to in Amsterdam. Admittedly, I did let the rain dampen the mood and gave in to the lazy vibes. So, for my next visit to Amsterdam I’ll make sure to try a brownie, visit the Van Gogh museum, get on an actual bike and cycle around the city with zero fears of biking the wrong way or getting hit by a tram, and heck maybe even stay at an Airbnb houseboat!

Our next stop: Ghent, Belgium!

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  • Reply ashleyclaisse 16 April 2016 at 10:25 am

    Been waiting for this post! Finally!! :) As expected your photos are always great Camie! Amsterdam is go wonderful. You’re photos really gave justice to it!

  • Reply Izzy Matias 16 April 2016 at 11:29 am

    I love this post! Your photos are lovely. Makes me miss Amsterdam a lot.

    Thank you for sharing about your trip! Next time I’m going to try out Stayokay. Would love to stay at Vondelpark and see an open air play there during the summer!

    Yeah you should visit the Van Gogh museum next time! Just a heads up: Starry Starry Night isn’t part of the collection. I was so disappointed when I asked one of the guys at the museum where it was only to be told it’s in New York! Hahaha!

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 April 2016 at 11:21 pm

      I saw some of Van Gogh’s work in Paris, though! One of his self portraits. It was so beautiful. Anyway, I’ll be heading to NYC soon… Maybe this year. Definitely will go check it out — finally. HAHA

      • Reply Izzy Matias 18 April 2016 at 11:44 pm

        I didn’t know his paintings are in Paris too! Which museums? I’d love to see them when I go back to Paris some day! Really? Me too! I’ll be going to NYC this year. Maybe we’ll see each other there? HAHA! :)

  • Reply Louise Ramos 16 April 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Stunning photos, as always! When I saw on twitter that you have a new Eurotrip post published, I wanted to go home right away so I could check it on my laptop for a bigger screen. Haha. I so love the buildings and architecture. It’s what you would see in books and postcards–maybe even better!
    Caffeine Rush

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 April 2016 at 11:17 pm

      Aww, sweet! I have sooo much more Eurotrip posts coming, unfortunately they aren’t coming fast enough but at least I know you have more to look forward to. HAHA

  • Reply Dems | Mariedaniella 18 April 2016 at 10:56 am

    Amsterdam looks so beautiful in your photos, Camie! The city has always fascinated me with their architecture and culture. And I’ve always been curious what Red Light District really is haha! Hopefully, someday, I can visit the city! <3

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 April 2016 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks Dems <3 I love the Dutch architecture in Amsterdam. I think it's quite unique as far as european architecture goes, the way Paris is with the Haussmann buildings! <3

  • Reply Coolen L. 18 April 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Amsterdam is so beautiful and your photos are great. I need to muster up some courage to learn how to ride a bike. So that I can roam around the city like a local. :-)

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 April 2016 at 11:12 pm

      I can ride a bike but I’m a wimp when it comes to riding it in cities. I always fear riding it in the wrong area or being run over by trams or even their own cycling citizens. I mean majority of Amsterdam locals bike and they mean business. I dont want to get in anyone’s way! Haha

  • Reply Lux G. 18 April 2016 at 3:45 pm

    What a dreamy place. It looks so surreal. My sister is there too and so far she’s having a blast.

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 April 2016 at 11:11 pm

      I’m sure! I don’t think anyone can visit and NOT have a blast! :D

  • Reply Becky 18 April 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Amsterdam is such an incredible place and you’ve captured it perfectly – your photos are amazing! And how awesome is FEBO?! Out of all the places I’ve been to so far, I think Amsterdam is one of the most amazing cities that I could easily imagine myself living in quite happily. Give me bicycles, flower markets and such friendly locals any day!

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 April 2016 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Becky! :) I think my top 3 European countries to live in would be Paris, Amsterdam then London. I love the way the cities can be so diverse!

  • Reply Ingrid 18 April 2016 at 7:02 pm

    These photos are amazing! Amsterdam has always been on my to do list, however you’re giving me many more reasons to hurry up and visit Europe/Amsterdam! When I go the Anne Frank house is definitely on my to do list. Didn’t know they do boat stays through Airbnb, something I’ve just learnt about Amsterdam. Thanks for sharing your experience :) . ..

    • Reply Camie Juan 18 April 2016 at 11:05 pm

      I did the Anne Frank House in 2013 and it was amazing. I couldn’t believe that one of my favorite books was written by a girl who lived in such a tiny home with her family for 2 years! Buy your tickets in advance though, because if you dont, you’ll end up waiting in line and the line goes all the way around the block sometimes!!

  • Reply Jae 19 April 2016 at 12:09 am

    My dad travels back and forth to The Netherlands on a yearly basis, and although he’s been doing it for years now, he still finds it difficult to explore around the city. According to him, English translations of a lot of things were rare. I assume it’s better in Amsterdam since people travel there more than other parts of the country. Just wondering, did you have trouble in that department, too?

    • Reply Camie Juan 29 April 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Hey jae! Yeah english translations can be rare outside the capital city, but it won’t hurt to learn very basic dutch words to get around (simple words like entrance/exit already helps a lot lol). You don’t need english naman to explore a city, honestly. Symbols in street signs or stores are basically same around the world, so it’s not hard to understand. I mean I’ve been to lesser known touristy areas in other countries but I explored fine. :) Maybe your dad isn’t the explorer type of traveler? Haha

      • Reply Jae 29 April 2016 at 10:18 pm

        That’s what Mom told him! Hahaha! He’s pretty much the explorer type, but we mostly traveled as a family, so perhaps he’s simply not comfortable being around places without English translations on his own. At one point (at a convenience store) he even had to explain through “hand gestures” what he wanted to say because the kid cashier didn’t speak English. Hehe.

  • Reply ELAINE 19 April 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Finally! Just wondering… can tourists use the bikes? For free or do you have to rent? Would love to ride one when I happen to travel there! :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 29 April 2016 at 2:30 pm

      No free bikes, I believe there are rental places. From the hostel and other businesses around the city :)

  • Reply deecelones 29 April 2016 at 2:01 pm

    “I’d open the door and hit whoever was out there.”
    The photographs are very lovely but I did find myself laughing at this statement! hahaha

  • Reply Len 28 May 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Amsterdam is so beautiful, even on rainy days. So jealous you’ve seen so many countries in Europe already. I’ve been here for more than a decade and haven’t even been to Amsterdam nor Germany! :(

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