Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Smallest House in Amsterdam
We arrived in Amsterdam late in the evening last Wednesday. We don’t typically like to blog about our hotels, but this one was so freaking cool! It was definitely the most high-tech hotel we’ve ever stayed in, and we would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam. It’s called CitizenM, and everything in the room was controlled by a remote and completely customizable – down to the color of the lighting. Our room was purple for most of the week!
Thursday was a very busy day spent exploring the city. We went on another walking tour and saw most of the major tourist highlights, including the eye-opening (or more like eye-closing) Red Light District. We also visited the Anne Frank House, definitely the most memorable museum we’ve been to thus far. Both of us read “Anne Frank” in middle school, but forgot some of the specifics over the years. We were able to walk through the actual house her family hid in, including Anne’s room with her magazine cut-outs still hanging on the walls. It was a really moving experience. Her diary is second only to the Bible in copies sold world-wide. Below is a picture of us in front of the museum and house. The house is on the left (just behind the tree) and the museum is the glass building to the right.
Friday we explored some different parts of the city, including a visit to a brewery housed in a windmill – Brouwerij ‘t IJ (see picture below). We’ve both been on quite a few brewery tours, but this was one of the coolest.
After sampling a number of very strong beers, we decided to head over to another cool bar we found called Café Gollem. It was a tiny pub, but served hundreds of different beers. We finished off the evening with some savory pancakes that are a must on any visit to The Netherlands!
On Saturday we took a day trip to Delft, a small city famous for the white and blue hand-painted Royal Delft porcelain. There was a huge antique and food market going on during our visit, which was a lot of fun to explore. We bought some local produce and cheese, and had a picnic near the city hall. The town was absolutely charming, and we definitely recommend it for a short excursion from Amsterdam. Below is a picture of us in front of their beautiful city hall.
After arriving back in Amsterdam, we spent the rest of our evening listening to jazz music at a really cool place Jonathan found called the Cotton Club. The bar was packed with locals, and we had a great time!
There must have been some sort of trash man revolt because by Sunday there was garbage everywhere - attracting even more pigeons for Heather to fight off. We spent part of our last afternoon in Amsterdam on a canal boat tour of the city, taking in a relaxing view of the major sites. We also stopped by the smallest house in Amsterdam (see picture at the top of Jonathan). The house is less than two meters wide (about the same as Jonathan’s arm span). When it was built, taxation was based on house width, so to save money the owners built a really narrow home. We were told that the man that lives there is actually quite tall, and ironically, it’s located right next to the widest bridge in the city!
Our only regret leaving Amsterdam is that we were not able to visit a museum that we are sure Heather would have loved (see below)!
Yesterday we arrived in Brussels where we celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary! Jonathan had reservations at a really popular Moroccan restaurant, Kasbah, followed by listening to jazz at one of Brussels’s most famous jazz clubs – L’Archiduc. Below is a picture of us at the restaurant.
We loved our visit to Amsterdam, and are very excited to explore Brussels over the next week – which means, of course, sampling lots of beer and chocolate!
• Brouwerij ‘t IJ Columbus (described as a “special” amber ale)
• Brouwerij ‘t IJ Struis (a strong, dark beer)
• Brouwerij ‘t IJ IJwit (a white beer)
• Brouwerij ‘t IJ Zatte (a golden yellow tripel)
• Pauwel Kwak (a Belgian strong pale ale)
• Blanche de Namur (a Belgian white beer)
• Wieckse White (a Netherlands white beer)
• Westmalle Tripel (a Belgian tripel)
• La Chouffe (another Belgian strong pale ale)