Monday, November 24, 2014

The Late Honeymoon/One Year Anniversary Recap Part 2: Amsterdam and Volendam

Today I'll be sharing some pictures and experiences from the second part of our late honeymoon/one year anniversary trip: the Netherlands.


Before getting to the good stuff, though, I just have to share a couple of pictures from our flight to Europe:

On the left you can see how obviously thrilled I am to get on a several hour long flight to Europe from the Newark airport.  (Okay, I won't pretend ... I was actually really excited, Eric just caught me at a weird moment.)  You can see just how excited we were during the flight in the picture on the right.

We spent the majority of our time in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, which was an incredibly beautiful city with a really laid-back, cool vibe.

We took a ton of pictures of the scenery in Amsterdam, but I obviously won't share all of them on this blog.  I mean, really ... You probably don't want or need to see 100 pictures of old buildings and canals (even if everything was gorgeous!).
The top right picture features some flamingos from the zoo (hopefully you can see them).  I took the bottom picture to remember just how confusing all of the signs were for us.

We took a canal cruise in a glass top boat, which was an awesome way to see a lot of the city.  I think I took at least 30-40 pictures during that cruise, but these are a few of my favorites:

My only regret is that we didn't go back to the I amsterdam sign to get a picture in front of it.

One of the things I really wanted to do while in Amsterdam was visit the Anne Frank House.  Thankfully, we had time to squeeze that in during our free time!  It was just as powerful as I imagined it would be ... I got really emotional while we were there.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but we snapped a couple as we waited in line to enter:

I tried to capture just how long the line was in the picture on the left.  We'd actually moved up a bit by that point, though, and I don't think my angle clearly shows just how far the line wound around.  Thankfully it moved pretty quickly ... We only waited about 45 minutes or so.

We also spent an afternoon in Volendam, first touring a cheese/clog making shop and then stopping for lunch.  We were able to sample a bunch of the cheeses at the shop, and Eric and I picked up a couple of our favorites to bring home (gouda with cumin and smoked gouda with black pepper).

This was taken on our drive into Volendam.  I don't think it's a good picture of us at all (especially me ... Hello, super unflattering angle and crazy windblown hair!), but the windmill is cool and I was hoping that with enough editing I could at least make it look kind of pretty.
We just thought this was kind of a cute little bridge, so we stopped for some touristy pictures.

Volendam was a really pretty, really quaint area.  The background in this picture is gorgeous (though I'll admit I'm not happy with the way I look in it).

As in New York, I took pictures of a couple of our more memorable meals.

This was our lunch in Volendam.  We both ordered 2 pieces of fried cod (or kibbeling), beer (Heineken, of course), and a large platter of paella to share.  We ate at a tiny little place overlooking the water, and it was delicious!
Our tour guide recommended we try some Indonesian food during our time in Amsterdam, so Eric and I made sure we had dinner in an Indonesian restaurant.  We went to a place called Kartika and ordered the Ramayana (which is essentially a huge array of small plates to try, as you can see from these pictures) and some Indonesian beer.  It was all very good and we felt incredibly lucky because we had no reservations and were able to snag the last available table (everything else had been reserved for the next 2 hours)!

In addition to pictures of our food, I also took some pictures of our hotel.  We stayed at the Park Plaza Vondelpark in Amsterdam, which was kind of small and cozy, but overall a nice place to stay.  We were in what the tour guide referred to as the "posh" part of the city, so it was a very quiet, safe neighborhood.  We even walked through the nearby park on our way back to the hotel one night after dark and it was completely fine ... There were actually a ton of people out bicycling and jogging through the park.

I wouldn't recommend this hotel if you're not comfortable with a pretty open bathroom situation (it's that glass enclosed thing in the bottom two square images), but it was otherwise a comfortable place to stay.
This is obviously the hotel's exterior.

Eric and I went to the Red Light District one night, but it was honestly a little underwhelming.  I think we just went too late because most of the shops were closed (which was crazy since it was only 9:30 p.m. when we got there), but we were at least still able to do a little window shopping.  We did grab some beer at a bar and enjoyed people watching, though.  We didn't take any pictures while we were there because we didn't want to be too obviously touristy (though I'm sure everyone could still tell we weren't locals) and because we knew that pictures are generally frowned upon in that area.

I will say, though, that I'm really glad we went, even if we didn't get to go in any of the sex shops.  (They had a condom shop that looked really awesome, and I was really bummed we couldn't get anything there.  Oh, and that link?  Not safe for work.)  We briefly considered going to a strip club, but decided against it because we weren't sure how much it would cost and didn't want to waste a bunch of our cash so early into our trip.  If our stop in Amsterdam had been at the end of our trip, we definitely would have gone!

I was really proud of us for figuring out the bus system as well.  We took the bus down to the Red Light District and then back to our hotel when we'd finished hanging out.  (We only spent about an hour and a half in the area.)  We both felt like Amsterdam had a pretty confusing layout, so it was actually just impressive that we found anything at all (whether on foot or via public transportation)!

They already had some Christmas decorations up, and I just thought this was really pretty.  I took this when we were walking back to our hotel from the bus stop.

And finally, I have to share a picture Eric and I took on our first night in Amsterdam.  We took this in our hotel room right before we went downstairs for a meet and greet dinner with our tour guide and the rest of our group because it was officially our one year wedding anniversary.

So here's what one year of marriage looks like:

We were so jetlagged and exhausted that evening.  We'd just woken up from a 2 hour nap and tried to quickly freshen up before heading down to meet everyone.  It's a miracle I don't have makeup smeared across my face!

We've already discussed going back to Amsterdam in the future.  Our tour gave us a taste of 3 areas in Europe (which was really nice!), but we could have easily spent at least a week in Amsterdam.  We were able to check off my top 3 things to do there, though (a canal cruise, the Anne Frank House, and the Red Light District), which was obviously awesome.  And hey, maybe next time we'll head to the Red Light District a little earlier in the day and go to a strip club.  Why not, right?


  1. Great post with interesting content!
    Can't wait for more!
    Best wishes, R

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. (Also, I'm sorry it took a while for your comment to be approved. Somehow it ended up in my spam queue.)

  3. […] blog and want to check out some pictures and information, posts about our trip can be found here, here, here, and […]