Last night and at breakfast I spent time with the other two young women staying in my hostel room. We’ve had interesting conversations! I got breakfast with them this morning and then split off to buy a ticket for a canal tour. I decided to go with one that lasts for 24 hours and allows you to “hop on/hop off,” which is convenient. I took that through the Jordaan, past the Anne Frank House, and to the city center, which I hadn’t seen before. I saw Centraal Station and the harbor, which are amazing.
I got off at the center and started wandering the tiny streets (smaller and more windy than the streets around Vondelpark). Although I had already had breakfast, I stopped into an adorable French-style café call Omelegg, which specializes in all things egg. The decorations were chicken and farm themed and it was very cute. The pictures hardly capture it. I had a mango tea!
Next, I kept walking down small streets until I found myself in the red light district. Luckily it was 11 o’clock in the morning, so there was hardly anyone there, except for groups of teenage boys giggling at the signs. Typical, I’m sure.
Then I walked through Dam square and saw the royal palace and the museums, and headed south into the more commercial section of the center. This was really the only part of Amsterdam that I didn’t like at all. It basically felt like I was in a slightly medieval-themed version of New York because all the stores were exactly the same ones that you can find in NYC. It had none of the charm of other parts of the city.
This part of the city does have one redeeming factor, though. The Befijnof courtyard can be found hidden behind private homes and two churches.
I wandered out of the courtyard toward a hole-in-the-wall shop that sells frites. No one who knows me will be surprised that I got them with mustard. 🙂
I ate them as I walked back to the harbor and caught the canal tour again, this time headed back to Vondelpark and the Rijksmuseum, where I had gotten on in the morning.
In the evening I ventured out with one of the women from my room to a Moroccan restaurant called Paloma Blanca. I got a vegetarian tagine, which as you can probably tell from the photo, was delicious.