My last day here was more focussed on spending a day in the city so I chose to head to the Anne Frank museum - a must see/must do in Amsterdam. Reading about her on the internet and in books does not compare to what you see and learn here. A quick stop at Pancakes Amsterdam for some refueling and I checked out the Houseboat museum as well as flower market before trying some frites - the famed eat as you walk packet of potato fries that you see most people in the Netherlands chomping on as they head form point A to point B. I liked my fries and wish I had known earlier to come try a few different types of sauces.
Majority of the day was spent at the zoo. Totally forgot but Sunday was really not very wise of me to choose for my 'how do you do' with the animals. Managed to finally make it out of there past afternoon for a visit to the Tropen museum, Jewish museum, Botanical garden and Rembrandthuis. The first two are well worth the money and time. If I had more time to spare I would have loved to spend more time at the Tropen museum and the Jewish museum. Lots to learn and many firsts involved. Rembrandt's house was more of a let me check that off the list. Much of the house is maintained and some artifacts are preserved but unless your are a die-hard fan much of it won't matter to ya. Walking along the canals and Dam Square though is something else if you do not live in a city as vibrant as Amsterdam.
A visit to Zaanse Schans was totally not on my radar but once in Amsterdam and aware of its existence, I felt I should not pass on this opportunity. It is a day trip but can be completed quicker if you are lacking time. I took a bus from Centraal that dropped me right off at the entrance of the museum. This is a working community dating back to the 18th and 19th century so you can expect to see a lot of green land, grazing animals, windmills, barns, clog shoe factories and cheese factories as well. Walk around the quaint village and check out some of their really cute cottage homes and boutiques. If you are looking for souvenirs then this place probably has the best selection as far as I could tell during my short stay. A leisurely stroll around the entire area can take a half day, longer if you decide to dine there. I walked around most of the gardens and boutiques, checked out the museum space as well as the cookie factory, and also the clog shoe factory and cheese factory. Cheese tasting is fantastic here as are the pickles and few other products. I was tempted to buy half of what was on display but unfortunately knew I did not have place in my bags for that much cheese. I took a bus back to the city when I was done. There are buses by the half hour I believe. Either ways, it wasn't a long wait before I could catch one back to the hotel I was staying at.
Today was a great day filled with sight-seeing. Stepped out soon as I could in the morning for a waterways tour of the city. Your city card should have a deal on the ticket purchase and you just have to show up at the dock on time. I had my Starbucks hot chocolate on hand for company. The tour is a narrated half day trip that takes you around the city highlighting its history and attractions. They return to where they began so you can head for a bus or train after this tour depending on your plans. Also the carrier is enclosed for the most part so you have nothing to worry about as far as weather is concerned. I chose to walk around after and caught a bus to do some more sight seeing before meeting the hubby that night. Some of the attractions I visited included museumplein and a few museums nearby such as the Amsterdam museum and Van Gogh museum as well as the Tulip museum and the House of Bols.
If you are a Van Gogh fan, or art aficionado in any way, then check out Artsy's Van Gogh page - the website helps to make all the world's art available to, well, all the world!
Our first evening in Amsterdam turned out to be quite the spaced out experience, if you know what I mean. Walked around the area for a quick tour of nearby destinations. Nothing is too far out from the DoubleTree, pretty central location. Apart from the train station adjacent, the water tours all leave from the embarkation area just minutes away in front of the hotel. Buses are also right in front of Centraal and the fact that everyone speaks English is a blessing. Dinner was at a cute Polish place on the square nearby and a little bit of frolicking had us meandering towards the cafes where space cakes are available. Perfectly legal in Amsterdam to have some on location or buy some to take away so space cakes to go it was. Lets just say a perfectly quiet night turned into some crazy drama in the morning, and it wasn't me! Said drama involved calling in the manager, somebody having to consume a lot of cookies and soda to spike up their sugar and even a call to a doctor for some assurance. And after all that, I stayed in the hotel all day worried I was going to be hit by a delayed sensation...but nothing! Thankfully so :) Made some major plans for the rest of our time here and hope to stick to those, minus any space cake fiascos!