It’s all ‘Dam good!
|6€ per pint of Guinness
*5€ per pint of local beer (Heineken)
MAY 2017 | Hello new contender for favourite destination around the world! Amsterdam really has it all in both sights to see and food/drink to consume. As we only had two full days to make the most of it, we thus suffered full-blown FOMO (fear of missing out) at every turn. For every great restaurant/bar/bakery we went into we’d then pass another five and bemoan not having time to stop there as well. Sights-wise there’s architecture, history, art for days and shopping/open-air markets many of which are open everyday not to mention of course the city’s more infamous attractions such as the coffee shops and Red Light District.
Amsterdam is one of the world’s more unique cities.
With only two days to get acquainted with this vibrant city we tried to talk to as many locals as possible to get all the best tips. The only difficulty was finding a true local sometimes, Amsterdam is very multicultural. As to the “locals” whether they were born there or settled there from all around the world, it seemed that all the ones we spoke to agreed that part of the city’s charm is to be surrounded by every possible accent and language.
Amsterdam is jam packed full of tourists no matter what the season
We happened to catch a rare gem of a warm and sunny day: 27C! Such days are known here (according to a Dutch friend) as “terrace days”: people typically take the day off from work and park up at a terrace to while the day away sunning themselves and imbibing. Obviously we had to do as the Amsterdammers do so we pulled up some canal-side terrace seats and set to work imbibing with great reverence for this excellent cultural tradition. Amsterdam is of course famed for big brand beers Amstel and Heineken, they’ve made their way all over the world. Whilst we had our fair share of Heinekens we had to also sample some new up and comers.
The quaint buildings of Amsterdam provide no end of awesome picture opportunities
Jupiler is one such up and comer that seems to be taking the ‘Dam by force. Reminiscent of a Heineken in flavour with perhaps a bit more street cred it matches up well with a young Jenever. With the company of some young person from Geneva I hear you ask? Err, no. It’s a drink of course! Jenever is a much older cultural drinking tradition than “terrace day”. Jenever is a Dutch gin, although rather than the usual juniper botanical flavour you might associate with gin this seemed to have a slightly bready note! These shots (usually served chilled) are for sipping alternately with your beer and not for shooting, as they will do enough damage even just sipped. As a charming waitress told us, when her grandpa used to drink these shots he’d lose track of how many he’d had. It got to the point that her grandmother decided to mark a stripe on his arm every time he had a Jenever during a drinking session, so at least she could keep track for him.
Jupiler and an ice-cold Jenever – drinking like the locals?
Another Dutch friend fortunately had some good advice for food flavours to help line our stomachs before the assault of the Jenevers… Stroopwafels are thin, crispy waffles filled with a cinnamon tasting syrup very popular as a snack at any time of the day. We tried ours dipped in chocolate as an extra treat. On the advice of a vegetarian we met on “terrace day” we just had to try the meatballs (bitterballen)… We were very glad we did, these are often served in bars as a great compliment to numerous beers and are a gooey concoction of meat in gooey cheesy/gravy in a fried croquette shell. We quickly saw why even vegetarians clearly couldn’t resist them…
A stroopwafel from the market is a nice, cheap treat!
In such a multicultural city with a big focus on drinking (in the city’s medieval era beer was drunk instead of water which was generally unsafe/contaminated) it was easy to find a proper on-tap cold Guinness. We found an Irish pub with not just Guinness but several other notable and far more obscure Irish beers on tap.
Wandering the streets of Amsterdam will sure leave you thirsty – these Guinnesses didn’t last long!
With only two days we walked everywhere as much as possible, as the city centre is of course incredibly picturesque. If we had had longer we probably would’ve joined Amsterdam’s largest biker gang: cyclists… Bikes seem to have right of way on the roads here, king above all, including pedestrians. Our advice is never walk out onto a zebra crossing if you can see a bike coming towards you, they probably aren’t stopping. (And neither are the scooters or SMART cars that also use the bike paths…) But if you end up with jangled nerves a beer will never be far from hand to settle them and reinvigorate your love for so beautiful and varied a city. We’ve compiled our list of top picks for the few sights we managed to see in just two days but we’d love to hear your tips as well in our comments section below.
Until next time, proost! (Cheers) Erin and Ryan
Our top picks for Amsterdam
Have you been to Amsterdam, or want to go? What face of the city do you prefer? The seedy underbelly of the Red Light District, or the art lover’s paradise? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to know specifics?If you’d like to read more about any of the places we have stayed, ate, drank or partied, check out the Reviews link in the main menu at the top of the screen.
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