Last week for four days, Vinn, Copley and I traveled to Amsterdam. It was an amazing trip, although one that had it’s ups and downs.
We stayed at the Element Amsterdam that was a little far from downtown, but it was a super quick tram ride. We did enjoy the fact that the hotel was in a quieter area with lots of grass, which was great for Copley Bean. It was also in a mall, so added bonus! The one downfall of the hotel (that we did not know ahead of time) was that the pet policy states that you can’t leave your pet in the room unattended. What? I’ve never heard of a pet friendly hotel that wouldn’t allow you to leave the pet in the room. We contemplated just leaving the dog in the room anyway, but being the rule follwers we are, we just couldn’t do that. All turned out fine in the end, but I wish we had known about it ahead of time. I did email the hotel about the pet fee and there was no mention of this policy. So, note to self, ask specific questions!
We arrived in Amsterdam on Friday night and went straight to the hotel for check-in. A lot of the city was decorated for Christmas and so lovely. Copley was great on the plane, especially since the flight was only an hour and a half. She barked a little bit right before we landed and I think it was because the guy next to me was shaking his legs a lot and she doesn’t love that. Traveler tip for the Amsterdam airport: when you leave to go to the taxis, there are men everywhere screaming and asking you if you need a cab! It was actually unnerving and we followed the arrows on the ground to make sure we got into an “official” taxi. Our cab ride cost just under 40€ and were told at the hotel that if you get in an unofficial cab, the same ride could cost up to 100€! Luckily we picked the right cab line!!
After learning about the pet policy, we decided to get food to go and to eat it in our room. The nice thing about the Element is that is it sort of like a studio apartment with a little kitchenette. The man at the front desk recommended a Chinese infusion restaurant that was right next door, so that’s what we did. It was actually really good because it was tapas style, so we got three smaller entrees with a side of rice and some wine and beer. All turned out well because Copley could relax in the room and we could enjoy a nice meal.
Saturday started with breakfast from the hotel, oh my were the pancakes delicious, and then with a ride downtown to visit the Anne Frank Museum. It was our only real plan for the weekend. I purchased tickets to the Anne Frank House two months before online, but thanks to the pet policy, I was the only one would go to visit the house. It has been on my bucket list forever and Vinn had visited before, so he and the puppers enjoyed some beer for the two hours I was in the museum. I am going to do an entire post on the visit because it was actually a life changing experience. If you are ever in Amsterdam, I highly recommend visiting.
After my almost two hour visit, we all met up to have lunch and then walk around exploring the sites. The canals are so incredibly beautiful and I was surprised by how much I loved it. It did remind me of Venice because of all the bridges and the water everywhere. The one difference is all the bikes. The quote of the trip, “There are so many bikes.”
Of course no trip to Holland would be complete without some Gouda! On our honeymoon, we had some gouda cheese and crackers waiting for us in our room because Aruba is a Dutch colony. Ever since then, we’ve been obsessed with Gouda cheese. We stopped in the Amsterdam Cheese Company store that had free samples everywhere. Their truffle Gouda was to die. We went home with some and a package of regular Gouda.
We walked around more and we were all tired, especially Copley. One nice thing about traveling with a dog is that you get to experience the parks the cities have to offer. The Vondelpark quickly became a daily stop for us. She started barking at all the bikes and the cars and we agreed that it was time to go back to the hotel. Copley passed out once we got to our room and we ended up ordering Domino’s to eat in the room. Not exactly fine dining, but it was nice and relaxing, which is the point of vacation, right?
We woke up on Sunday ready to tackle the day and approach it with calmness. We walked around, visited the I Amsterdam sign, which was packed with people, the flower market, and stopped at a bar for some Heineken. But first, coffee.
Copley even got in the action! D for Dog.
We also went to a windmill/brewery. It’s one of the few windmills in the city of Amsterdam and has a brewery next store. We ordered two beers, but I did not like either one, so Vinn got to enjoy them both! The weather was nice enough to sit outside for a little bit and then it was time to hit the road for dinner.
For dinner on Sunday, we actually went out to eat and had a great time. The menu was a three course meal where you could pick an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Copley was not on her best behavior at the beginning and I had to get up a few times because she was jumping on me and whining. We basically ignored her bad behavior, which is not easy for me because I get embarrassed that she’s misbehaving, and by the time of our entree, she was laying down on the floor like an angel. I guess ignoring works! What a great human mother I’ll be someday. It was so nice to enjoy an actual meal, with a sleeping pooch and several glasses of wine. The perfect final Amsterdam dinner.
Our flight didn’t leave until 7 PM on Monday, so we left our bags at the hotel and got on a canal boat tour. Copley’s first time on a boat! She whined when we weren’t moving, but once we got going, she laid on Vinn’s lap. It was very interesting to hear all about Amsterdam’s history and how the houses were built so narrowly in the front, but got wider in the back. There are also these hooks at the top of most buildings that are used to hoist furniture to the top apartments since the doors and staircases are too small! Isn’t that interesting? And, like Venice, there are a lot of bridges, about 200 in fact, which is about half the number of bridges of Venice. I loved the cruise, especially since it’s one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.
This is the Mergere Brug bridge AKA the Skinny Bridge and is the most iconic of all the bridges in Amsterdam. It has been featured in many films, too. The drawbridge is made of wood and used to not be wide enough for two pedestrians, so a wider bridge was built in the early 1870’s.
These five houses are quite famous because the foundations of the houses have shifted so much that from far away, you can tell the houses are slanted. Isn’t that incredible?
Is there anything more Dutch than a clog boat? Don’t think so!
We wrapped up our trip with lunch and then headed to the airport to fly back home. Our trip to Amsterdam was a different kind of trip, but it was amazing to see a beautiful city and a great final trip of 2016!
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