After our very full and delightful day in Brussels, our late train, and perhaps even the jet lag finally hitting us, we slept-in quite soundly on the morning of our last day.
Surprised and blessed with another day of good weather (cool, but less rainy than forecasted), we wanted to enjoy being out in the city as much as possible- soaking in the beautiful buildings, toying with the idea of renting bikes, catching a few of the sights we had left on our list… and eating.
Our first stop for the day was the Van Gogh museum. Having purchased our tickets in advance (I would definitely recommend doing this! We saved a tremendous amount of time, and it made our visit much more enjoyable!), we were able to arrive at the museum during our designated timeframe, and essentially walk right in. As Rabbit stood in line to check our coats, I was able to quickly obtain our audio tour devices. The audio tour was a definite highlight of the museum. The paintings were beautiful and at times very moving, but the ability to hear the story of both Van Gogh, and his artwork while moving through the open, chronologically arranged galleries was really wonderful and enriching. The opportunity to watch his style evolve and take in the beautiful details of his works- from The Potato Eaters to Almond Blossoms to Sunflowers to Roots, and everything in between.. was truly remarkable. The audioguides also allowed you to dial in to specific exhibits to learn more- meaning that when we were not particularly interested in a particular room, or wished to avoid a crowd, we skipped over those exhibit numbers, and took the tour at our own pace. The morning at the museum was one of my highlights of the trip- enabling me to get my fix of local history, and enjoy some beautiful art. (Pssst… friendly spoiler alert: A bit to Rabbit’s disappointment, Starry Night is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC – though that just means we have more to enjoy closer to home!)
After our museum stroll, we had surprisingly worked up an appetite. During our previous sightseeing day, we had noticed that Amsterdammers seem to have a love of burgers… as fate would have it, so do we. So, we set out to find the best burger in the city… after a bit of a struggle with Google maps, and some on-the-fly research through google, trip advisor, and some other random travel blogs… we set our course for “Burger Bar”. The location we found looked very intriguing… and smelled delicious. A glass storefront opened to a simple space filled with a large natural wood community table, flanked by interesting side high-top seating, all leading up to an immense billboard-like menu at the back, with an open kitchen/grill as the focal point. The possibilities were seemingly endless- able to choose your bun style, protein type (varieties of premium beef, wagyu, Angus, vegetarian, or chicken), cheese, and mouthwatering toppings… I knew that we were in the right place.
This burger (above, right) was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Delicious. I’d go back in a heartbeat, just for the architecture, and this burger. It. was. that. good.
Next, we strolled the city a bit more… deciding that although we were unable to secure tickets for a tour, we wanted to visit the Anne Frank House museum. Even if it was only for the opportunity to get a glimpse of the exterior, soak in the feeling of her neighborhood and the incredible history of the area and it’s people, the trip to the area around her home and the Prinsengracht was something I am so glad that we did. For me, the experience of being at her former home, and acknowledging the weight and importance of the history of the neighborhood was very sobering. The neighborhood felt unlike the other parts of the city that we had explored, and had many new beautiful buildings and row homes to enjoy.
Our final stop for the day was to Pancakes Amsterdam, located just near the Anne Frank museum. We had learned about the small chain during a travel video we watched at home during planning, and I had been very anxious to taste what made their pancakes special. Pancakes being a go-to favorite weekend breakfast at home, I wanted to see how these differed from what I am accustomed to mixing up. They certainly did not disappoint! The menu offered 30 different pancakes- from poffertjes (I had the raspberry!), American pancakes (we skipped these), and crepe-like Dutch pancakes (Rabbit had the apple and cheese). Yum!! It was the perfect light-dinner that we had been hoping for, comforting, familiar, and new at the same time- it was a great way to end our day out, and send us back to the hotel to pack.
Amsterdam was a beautiful, tasty, and remarkable city! Though considered a major metropolis, the pace was slower than what we are accustomed to at home, and we were able to relax and enjoy the sights, sounds, and experiences that the city had to offer. Extensive, yet easy to utilize mass transportation throughout the city made it easy for us to navigate the area, and the friendly locals made us feel right at home. I can definitely see why so many people love coming to the “Venice of the North” – and I would be very open to coming back… and maybe even braving the bike lane!