This is the first of many different kinds of posts about our honeymoon – I can’t wait to share them all with you! If you have any specific questions, just let me know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Nearly a year after getting married, Roswell and I finally packed our bags and embarked on our amazing trip. We knew that we wanted to go to Europe and actually had a honeymoon registry for our wedding in lieu of a traditional gift registry. Having an extra year to save also helped us truly make this an unforgettable trip.
We arrived in Amsterdam after our overnight transatlantic flight where neither of us slept a wink! I don’t know if it was the excitement or what, but we were just SO ready for this trip! We landed in the early afternoon and were greeted by our driver (thank you so much to our amazing AAA agent who arranged all of this for us! It was such a special treat!). As he drove us to the hotel (a good 45 minutes drive!), he asked us about our trip and shared his travel tips for Amsterdam and more of Europe for future trips that are our bucket list.
Our hotel, The Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam, was perfectly situated – right by the Amsterdam Centraal Station. It made it so easy to walk everywhere we wanted to and really experience Amsterdam.
The hotel was easily one of the nicest that I’ve stayed in – and definitely the nicest of the trip. It was nice to start out our vacation in a little luxury! Designed in In 1912 by architect Van der Mey as the head office of a number of shipping companies, the building draws inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement with a distinctly Dutch twist.
Since neither of us had slept on the plane, we didn’t plan anything for the first day and mostly did some exploring on foot to get our bearings. We stopped in Dam Square for a beer and to people watch. We ended our evening in Nieuwmarkt, ordering some small plates at a little sidewalk cafe. By 8pm, I was exhausted and ready for bed, falling asleep as soon as my head hit those wonderfully comfortable pillows! (Unfortunately, my body had other ideas and woke me at 2am, starving and refusing to go back to sleep!)
We started our second day on a hop on hop off canal bus tour that was part of our travel package from AAA. I don’t think that we really got anything out of the “tour” but it was nice to see the city from the water and to not have to walk all the way to the Rijksmuseum. (As an arts management major and former Smithsonian intern, you know that I had to go to at least one museum while in Europe!)
The Rijksmuseum “offers a representative overview of Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages onwards, and of major aspects of European and Asian art” as stated in their mission statement. While it was not the first museum on my list, I had included it in a list of places I would like to go if we had the time and we received a free ticket as part of our hop on hop off canal bus tour.
Also in the same area of the Rijksmuseum is the Van Gogh Museum which was very high on my list, if not number 1, but we unfortunately didn’t make it! Next time!
We walked around the area after we toured the museum, in search of a particular beer bar that Roswell had heard about. Unfortunately, it was closed when we found it! Instead, we sat and had lunch at another wonderful little sidewalk cafe De Duvel. While we wandered around after lunch, we happened upon a great beer shop, The Beer Tree, and met its amazing owner Fraser who had moved to Amsterdam from Australia and was in the process of opening his second beer shop. Roswell was in beer geek heaven while the two of them chatted all things beer. Fraser also made some awesome suggestions on where to find the best beer and what to do the rest of our time in Amsterdam.
On his suggestion, we made our way back up north via our canal bus and headed to Proeflokaal Arendsnest for some beers. The bar boasts over 100 Dutch beers and even had a cider for me! As we were walking back to the hotel, we found ourselves in Nieuwmarkt again and decided to try a restaurant we had seen our first night, Restaurant Café in de Waag. The building that houses the restaurant was originally built in 1488 as one of Amsterdam’s city gates, St Anthony’s Port.
On our last full day in Amsterdam, we visited the Anne Frank House. It was such an amazing experience to walk through the house where Anne lived and wrote her diary and read about the whole story while being there. It was definitely one of the highlights of Amsterdam. (Travel tip: Arrive EARLY or book your tickets in advance. Roswell and I arrived around 8:15 and the line was around curving around the corner and only got worse as we approached the 9:00am opening. From what I gathered, this is a regular occurrence.)
After the Anne Frank House, we popped into its neighbor, Westerkerk. I have this thing with churches, they are one of my favorite things to visit and photograph while on vacation. There is just something so beautiful especially about old European churches.
We spent the rest of the afternoon, just wandering down different streets in amsterdam, discovering an amazing cafe Winkel 43, Dutch Tulips and of course the Amsterdam Cheese Museum (which seemed to really just be a cheese shop – which I love cheese, so I was okay with this.)
We finished our Amsterdam portion of our honeymoon with a visit to a local brewery, Brouwerij ‘t IJ (a must for Roswell) and another sidewalk cafe, Langendijk (all I want in Austin are sidewalk cafes that I can walk to!).
Overall, I was really pleasantly surprised by Amsterdam. The funny thing about Amsterdam is that both Roswell and I expressed interest that we wanted to go, but we couldn’t say why. But after visiting, I can definitely say that we fell in love and could see us being comfortable there if we had only stayed longer. Roswell reflected many times during our time in Amsterdam that he would love to live there – the culture and feeling was just friendly and laidback.
Have you visited Amsterdam? I would love to know what you thought!
Is Amsterdam on your bucket list? If so, why?