Last month, I took a trip to Amsterdam. This was my second visit to the city which is hailed by many as one of the most cultural places in the world. My first visit was in October 2017. Its Kelle’s Space was launched two months after the trip hence why there aren’t any Travel Tales posts for Amsterdam on the blog…until now:
Amsterdam is a very small city and in reality, you can see it all within two days but I really needed some me-time so I decided to stay for four. On arrival, I bought a travel pass straight away (travelling in other countries in Europe is quite cheap, London take notes please!) When travelling, I always recommend buying train/bus or boat tickets straight away, because you’ll have a better idea of what you’re working with budget wise. I stayed at the Ramada Amsterdam Airport Schipol which is about 15 minutes away from the airport. (Most of the hotels have a free shuttle service so don’t feel obliged to stay in the city centre).
In this post, I am going to share some highlights of my trip with you (and I’ll also throw in a restaurant review or two):
Now, those of you who follow me on social media know that when I travel, I love to do these three things: see beautiful places, take lots of pictures and eat delicious food. Amsterdam was no exception.
On Day 3 of my visit, I went to the Van Gogh Museum. Although skeptical at first (as I was told the museum is incredibly busy all year round), I was able to buy tickets the night before. The museum is in an area called Museumplein, which is home to the well-known Museum Square. It’s about 15 minutes away from Amsterdam Centraal on the tram. You don’t need to worry about getting lost because like the transport system in London, every stop is called out. As I approached the building, I was fascinated by its simplistic yet modern design. As you take the escalator down a floor, there is a screen on the right hand side which pays homage to some of Van Gogh’s most legendary work.
If art is your thing, I would definitely recommend going to the Van Gogh Museum. In secondary school, I did an Art GCSE, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Van Gogh’s effortless ability to blend colours together was something I had always admired, even though I leaned more towards Pop Art in terms of artistic interest. What I really enjoyed on my visit was the vast offering of art on display. The museum is home to over 200 pieces of artwork. You need a minimum of two hours in order to see it all. If comfort is your thing, you may want to utilize the free cloakroom service for a stress free experience. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a lot I can say because the art speaks for itself. Every single piece was absolutely divine. Vincent Van Gogh was an artistic genius. As a creator of some of the most expensive art in the world, it’s hard to believe that he discovered art was his calling at the age of 27!
There’s nothing I can say that would give you a glimpse into what the museum is like, so here are some pictures of some of my favourite pieces that were on display.
The Diamant Museum is a boujee girl’s best friend (Yes, boujee!). So I couldn’t not pay it a little visit. Situated in the same area as the Van Gogh Museum (Museumplein), the museum explores the history of diamonds: from their creation under the crust of the earth to becoming sparkling showcases that some of the wealthiest people in the world can not live without! It’s truly amazing how something so simple can play a significant part in some of the most mesmerizing stories behind them. As far as diamond museums go, there are two that you must visit if you are a gemstone enthusiast: the Diamant Museum and The Antwerp Diamond Museum.
The museum is made up of two floors. On arrival, you walk through the museum shop in order to gain entry. As I walked up the stairs, I couldn’t help but notice the most beautiful chandelier I have ever seen (Definitely lighting goals for sure). Every single diamond was exquisite and what I loved in particular about this museum was the variety of learning opportunities available: On the first floor, there was a cinema-style room where you could watch a 8-9 minute film about the history of diamonds and there were a few collections where you were able to watch videos about diamond making processes, industry pioneers and so on.
The most memorable part of my visit was the section where visitors could get a glimpse into the role the production of diamonds has played in several countries all over the world. It was a very interactive experience as well as an opportunity to learn some fun facts. Did you know that the largest diamond mine in the world is in South Africa? A bonus experience offered by the museum was the opportunity to go to Coster Diamonds to get a glimpse of how diamonds are made. I was given a tour by a lovely member of staff and I got to see and touch some of the most expensive diamonds in Europe!
Would I recommend the Diamant Museum? Absolutely! If you are a fan of jewellery, you will definitely find it fascinating. There’s so much to see and do and tickets cost just €10.
I love to eat great food when I travel. My personal highlights are always the experience, the atmosphere and of course, the food. The last time I went to Amsterdam (in 2017), I went to Dragon City with my friend and we had a great experience. This time around, I had sweet and sour chicken with rice and prawn toast. It was absolutely delicious. The chicken wasn’t overly sweet but well cooked and aromatic. Once I’d finished the rice and chicken, I had no room for the toast and I was wondering how I was going to finish it but I reminded myself that I hadn’t eaten in hours and just powered through😂! If you are looking for a nice restaurant with a calm atmosphere, then Dragon City is the place to go. In terms of location, it is also ideal because it’s a few minutes away from tourist attractions such as Dam Square and the Red Light District.
Before my visit to Siga La Vaca, I had never been to an Argentinian restaurant before. On reflection, Siga La Vaca has got to be the coziest restaurant I have ever been too. The decor is beautiful! From the elegant embroidery on the chairs to the candle and rose perfectly placed on each table, it’s the perfect destination for a Friday night meal. For my starter, I had chicken wings. They were yummy (I can’t stress enough how much I love chicken wings) but I do think that they could have been dipped in some sort of sauce, especially when you consider the fact that they were adorned with herbs.
For my mains, I opted for the salmon, fries and salad. The presentation was faultless and I wasn’t waiting too long, a testament to the good customer service I received. Unfortunately, I felt that the salmon was slightly overcooked. Salmon is one of those fishes that doesn’t require a whole lot of effort in order to be well cooked. On a positive note, the herb and butter sauce complimented the food nicely. The glass of wine I had was perfect for my dish too. It was refreshing and sweet. What I liked about Siga La Vaca was that everything was reasonably priced, their customer service is fantastic and the location is perfect for people watching and just enjoying the moment.
The manager was so friendly. When he heard me telling the waitress that I was a blogger, he gave me a free shot of Limonchello, which was really nice. People who know me know that I’m not a ‘shot’ person but Limonchello shots are the only ones I can tolerate, due to my trip to Venice.
On my final day in Amsterdam, I was looking for something light but filling to eat. As I walked through Schipol Airport, I noticed Dutch and Delicious and decided to give it a try. I opted for a delicious smoked salmon salad and a mango smoothie. The smoked salmon tasted absolutely amazing and the salad was accompanied by a sweet but tangy dressing and two slices of brown bread. My only critique would be that there was a bit too much sauce on the salad (I felt my inner summer body cry a little) but other than that, the meal was perfection! My flight back to London was delayed so I didn’t get home until around 6:30pm, and when I did food was actually the last thing on my mind (yes, the salad was that filling!).
Overall, I really enjoyed the trip. I always have a lovely time in Amsterdam. The city is vibrant, the people are so friendly and there’s so much to see and do. Weather-wise, it was similar to the UK but there were more outbreaks of sun. Cost wise, it isn’t the most expensive city in Europe but if you’re all about experiences and living your best life while on holiday, it would be perfect for a quick city break.
Thank you for staying with me for the duration of this post. I know it’s been a long one. Every post in the Travel Tales series usually is because there’s just so much I want to share with you all.
Have you been to Amsterdam? If you have, what was your favourite tourist attraction? If you are planning to go to ‘Dam for the first time, is there anything you’d like to know?