Last weekend Mr. PL and I went on a five-day cruise for my lovely Dad’s 50th birthday. One of the day stops was Amsterdam. I have visited once before but I was only 17 at the time and so I was only interested in sleeping in, staying up all night and laughing at the risque souvenirs. So this time I was so excited to return and see the real Amsterdam.
We got off in the cruise terminal and decided to wander through the streets toward the Bloemenmarkt. Narrow, tall houses with ornate gabled facades line each street, everywhere you look there is a beautiful building to gaze at. If architecture isn’t your cup of tea I assure you that you will still be fascinated. One reason – Each house seems like it was built in the middle of an earthquake. They lean in every possible direction, the windows look positively tipsy in their frames. It truly is the Dutch answer to The leaning tower of Pisa – The leaning houses of Amsterdam.
Bloemenmarkt is the worlds only floating flower market. Sounds like a dream and looks like a dream. Each market stall sits above the Singel canal, full to the brim with tulips of every colour you can imagine. I have a few pleasures in life, fresh flowers and cheese are two of them – Bloemenmarkt combines the both because directly opposite the flower market sit a plethora of cheese shops. As if I hadn’t already indulged enough.
We strolled along the canals all the way to the old Heineken Brewery which today houses the Heineken Experience and museum. One of the many beauties of Amsterdam is that you can walk around most of it as it isn’t a huge city like say Rome or London. You get to see so many more hidden gems wandering around.
We spent around 2.5 hours in the Heineken Experience, learning about the history of the brewery, the beer, and the brand. It really is such a fantastic and immersive set up that they have there. It’s well tailored to the Instagram crowd with numerous ‘selfie spots’ dotted around and my favourite – the karaoke bikes!
To finish the tour, we drank wayyyy too much beer in the Heineken bar. Perfectly poured pints in a low-lit underground bar, trays of bitterballen and a pour your own pint immersive bar. I blame the staff at that bar for how much cash I went on to spend in the brand shop.
After spending the afternoon learning about Heineken and drinking Heineken what did we decide to do? Go to Cafe de Pijp of course for a large Heineken. Retro-modern decor, large cold beers and more hot, crisp bitterballen. I really couldn’t have asked for more. With a slight beer haze and bellies full of deep fried Dutch delicacies, we spent the rest of our evening walking through the canal district and the old square. Amsterdam’s image can be sordid but it’s so much more – a beautiful, cosmopolitan city perfect for a city break.
Disclosure: Opinions expressed are purely my own and I accept no responsibility for your sudden urge to book a trip to Amsterdam