Hello, I am back! To catch you up, the last 10 days I was traveling through Europe. My dad’s side of the family had a big family reunion in the English countryside, where he grew up.
When planning this trip months ago, we quickly realized that flying from LA to Europe takes a long time, and there weren’t many direct flights that were budget-friendly. Many of the flights we looked at had layovers in Amsterdam, so we decided to make the most of a stop in a city neither of us had traveled to, by spending slightly less than a day there.
After at 10 hour flight to Amsterdam, we couldn’t wait to get to our room and clean up. All of the travel advice I read insisted not to take a nap for jet lag, so we listened, but man was it tough! We were EXHAUSTED, and the comfy hotel bed was calling to us. But we toughened up and set out for a day of sightseeing.
Our first stop was the I Amsterdam sign because it was just around the corner from our hotel. We arrived right when street performers were starting a dance routine, which was fun to watch.
I expected the sign to be crowded, but I had no idea it would be THIS crowded. We practically had to fight people just to get a photo with it.
Next, per the recommendation of many friends, we hopped on the river canal cruise that takes you all throughout the city and allows you to hop on and off as desired.
Everyone told us it was the best way to see Amsterdam and they were right! Plus, given how tired we were, we welcomed the opportunity to sit and enjoy the ride, rather than walk everywhere.
The architecture in Amsterdam is gorgeous. Some friends and travel sites recommended we rent an apartment or houseboat on the canal, and now I can see why! Since we were only in Amsterdam for one night we decided to just get a hotel that was convenient to the airport and the major spots we wanted to see.
On a side note, we stayed at Hotel JL no. 76 and it was perfect for our needs. It was a modern boutique hotel right in the heart of the Museum district. It was easy to get to from the airport and there was plenty to do within walking distance. The rooms are small, but comfortable, and the prices are very reasonable. I highly recommend it.
In the middle of the river cruise, we hopped off so we could wander through Vondel Park.
(Travis was very excited about the opportunity to use his GoPro throughout the city!)
It was a Thursday afternoon, but the park was packed.
We saw many groups of friends and families laying alongside the lake. If we had more time, I would have loved to grab a few snacks and a bottle of wine and picnic outside. The setting was gorgeous.
After our stroll through Vondel Park, both of us could barely keep our eyes open. 24+ hours without sleep is no joke people! We decided to head back to the hotel to take a quick nap before dinner. We only allowed ourselves about 40 minutes, but it was glorious.
We took the advice of our good friend Meredith and went to a rijsttafel (translation: rice table) for dinner. The concept sounded so intriguing to us: 20(ish) small plates of varying flavors, textures, and colors served with rice.
We couldn’t believe the amount of food that we were served for a very reasonable 18 euros per person.
Look at all this food! From chicken satays, to pickled vegetables and fried bananas, EVERY SINGLE DISH was amazing.
With every bite, we kept saying to each other, “Oh my gosh! Try this! This one is amazing!” Every plate was so delicious. If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam in the future, I highly recommend this experience. We loved our meal at Kartika.
Afterwards, we decided to walk off our incredible meal and stroll through the city some more. We both regret not having more time in Amsterdam because there was so much to do, see, eat, and experience. Even still, we were able to pack a lot into less than 24 hours.
We had an early flight to Leeds, England the next morning so we ended up calling it a night around 10PM. More about our time in England in my next post!