Amsterdam: A few pointers
So I had 2.5 days to spend in Amsterdam and that was plenty to gain an extra kilo in fries and walk an average of 20km/day. I'll keep it short and simple, here are a few things I learned and saw...
Breakfast - One thing I noticed was that Amsterdam does not wake up until 10am and therefore brunch rules. So if you like your breakfast nice and early you're going to have to do your research on places that open before 10am. It's also a good opportunity to get photos and explore the city without people running around without having to wake up at the crack of dawn.
Bicycles - Get one. It's true what they say, bicycles rule this city. The streets are basically bicycle highways.. A lot of hotels will have them for hire which is quite convenient. We walked the entire city by foot and next time I would definitely opt for two wheels.
Hortus Botanicus (the botanical garden) - this botanical garden was tucked away you could almost miss it! It's well worth the visit after walking through city streets all day. (Open 10am-5pm)
CT Coffee & Coconuts - Amsterdam is filled with cute little coffee spots but this one had a whole tropical vibe to it with high walls, wood benches and palm trees and the food was delishhhhhh. If you do run across it have a little breather here.
Foodhallen - If you're a foodie or just eat, do yourself a favor and go here. An old tram depot was renovated to make space for 20+ food stalls and it is the cutest thing ever (I will neither confirm nor deny visiting a coffee shop but this is probably where you want to go after a visit..). The food is delicious, the vibe is groovy and the prices are fair.
A'dam Lookout - The view from the observation deck was pretty cool but what was even cooler was swinging over the edge of the top of the roof (yep, that happened). Apparently it's Europe's biggest swing and you can sit in it along with your friend and swing over a few times. I'm an adrenaline junkie and this even gave me a little kick.
Fries - Eat them. At every possible opportunity. Because you're going to miss them when you're gone. Get the classic ones with the Vlaamse sauce. Make sure to hit the gym when you get home to work off the guilt.
Red Light District - I'm not sure what I was expecting but it was a bit smaller and more run down than I thought it would be. This was more of a 'been there, done that, got the shirt' kind of spot for me. But do go see it to ease the suspense if you've never been.
Canal Cruise - If you're thinking about taking one of those little canal boat tours make sure not to go in the middle of the day with the sun beating down like I did. I fell asleep a few times from the heat that came through from the sun into the glass covered boat. Definitely suggest a sunset one if you can make it.