On a Thursday evening after work, I left my office for Boston Logan Airport to catch my IcelandAir flight to Amsterdam. Rolling into the International Departures Terminal made this girl (or “meisje” in Dutch) very happy! Although it was not ideal to stopover on a flight to Europe, IcelandAir airfare happened to be significantly cheaper than nonstop flights. I survived the interrupted overnight flight to Amsterdam and landed in Amsterdam around noontime. I walked through the terminal to grab the train to Amsterdam’s City Centre. Due to a “chip and pin” credit card issue (ahhhh! I don’t know my pin), a nice young Dutch man offered to buy my train ticket. The kiosk was misbehaving and I think the guy behind me wanted to move me along so he bought my ticket. He was a true gentleman! Ticket in hand, I found the train platform and without delay boarded my quick 20 minute train ride to the city centre. Speaking of true gentlemen, my sweet Ari, awaited my arrival with big open arms and more importantly–a delicious cup of Dutch coffee. Boy, did that coffee taste amazing. Coffee in the Netherlands is quite impressive and I drank A TON of it. Europe is simply the best when it comes to food and drink.
First stop, the Amrath Hotel to freshen up and settle in. We stayed at the Amrath for 2 nights and the Radisson Blu for 2 nights. I highly recommend both properties. Amrath has an “Old World” European feel and the Radisson Blu is a modern-chic hotel centrally located in the city. Amrath is super close to Amsterdam’s central train station. The service and rooms at both properties were on point.
After taking a hot shower, we decided to head out to the Van Gogh Museum because it is open late on Friday. Perfection! We popped into the hotel concierge office to buy our museum passes in advance in order to skip the line. The Van Gogh Museum gives you a time frame on your ticket so visitors don’t have to wait in line and can plan their visit. Walking through the beautiful streets of Amsterdam, I took in the architecture, the cobblestone streets, the bicycles, the people, the smells, and hello sugary pastries everywhere. With a little time to kill before the museum, true to form, I needed a local beer. We ordered beers at the Cobra Cafe behind the Rijksmuseum. It was a beautiful day so patrons enjoyed beers and snacks on the outside patio.
The Van Gogh Museum turned out to be one of my favorite places in Amsterdam. The building and museum ambiance was very cool. The museum played music and had a full service bar in the lobby. Per usual, I brought out Mister Rick to come play and we went through the whole museum narrated by Rick Steves’ guidebook. The Van Gogh Museum was rather busy, but not unbearable.
As we finished our self guided tour of the permanent collection, we took advantage of the museum bar. To our delight, the museum announced a guided tour of their new exhibition. Ari immediately suggested we sign up for the guided tour and it was fabulous.
The “Easy Virtue” exhibition was fascinating and relevant to Amsterdam considering most people think of legal prostitution in the Red Light District when they think of Amsterdam. “Easy Virtue” showcased art depicting prostitution in 19th century.The exhibition will run until June 19th. Artists included Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso and many other well known 19th century artists.
After about 2.5 hours at the museum, our tummies were hungry for dinner. I looked up some places in preparation for the trip. I picked The Pantry for our first dinner. Unsurprisingly, The Pantry was a popular place and could not accommodate seating indoors so we sat outside on the patio. We had a delicious meal and a bottle of wine. After dinner, we walked some more and decided to check out a local Coffeeshop. Considering it was way past my bedtime and cold outside, we ordered an Uber back to the hotel! Uber is absolutely brilliant.