Lucky for us, Chris and I did quite a lot of pre-trip planning before our wintry weekend in Amsterdam. Last year, I learned my lesson when my dreamy Prague trip turned into more of a frustrating nightmare (for lack of planning on my part).
Feel free to read about that lesson learned, but now, onto our successful Amsterdam trip.
After an easy drive from Belgium, we parked our car at the Sloterdijk Park and Ride, and took a five minute train ride into Amsterdam Central Station. Just a little trip-planning note: it is super expensive to park your car in Amsterdam (our hosts said you could expect to pay around 100 Euros a day), so the most economical option is to find one of the several Park and Ride locations on the perimeter of the city. We parked our car for a day and a half and received free train transfer into the city center all for a whopping 10 Euros!
Five minutes from Amsterdam Central Station, we rang the doorbell for Barangay Bed and Breakfast, and knew that we had discovered a hidden piece of paradise! The owner, Wimmo, warmly greeted us and invited us into his private living room. The entire B&B has a southeast Asian vibe, and Wimmo is equally as laid back and charming. He offered us coffee and then spent half an hour raving about the city. He orientated us and then pointed out his favorite spots for lunch, coffee and drinks. I don't know that we've ever received such personal attention at a B&B, and Chris and I decided that we would only return to Amsterdam when a room was available at Barangay Bed and Breakfast.
The biting wind kept running us off of the streets and into cozy cafes and restaurants, but we still managed to see a lot of the city. We had lunch at Wimmo's favorite local place, Brasserie Baton, played around with our new GoPro camera, ducked into Cafe 't Smalle for a drink with the locals, window shopped in the Jordan District, toured the Anne Frank Museum, watched locals snatch up as many tulip bulbs as possible in Dam Square, and had one of the best meals at a restaurant without a menu called Van Kerkwijk.
It was a quick trip, but it was enough time to fall in LOVE with Amsterdam! I am sure that the enthusiasm of Wimmo rubbed off on us and somehow helped us ignore the freezing temperatures! Even in a layer of ice and snow, the city's charm showed through. I cannot wait to feel this city in all the splendor of Spring! I still have to see those tulip fields and rent a bike . . . and . . . . there is still so much to see and do here! We cannot wait to return.
Pics 1-3 - Barangay B&B // pics 4-6 - sightseeing and trying out the GoPro // Pic 7 - Brassiere Baton // pic 8 - Cafe 't Smallie // pic 9 - lovely canals everywhere you turn // pic 10 - craziness for the tulips in Dam Square // pic 11 - the canal outside of our B&B at night // pic 12 - the restaurant Van Kerkwijk