Monday, November 9, 2015

Around (Another) Town: Amsterdam

One of the initial reasons I started this blog was to chronicle my family's simple living journey. Simple living can encompass many things, but for me it's largely about minimizing expenses and consumption, in order to provide more time and resources for the things that matter most. About a year ago we hit a major milestone in our journey and paid off all our debts (except our mortgage). It took years of saving, working multiple jobs, eating out less, and saying no to many purchases, but we did it! Goodbye to student loans, credit card debt, and car payments FOREVER. To celebrate we treated ourselves to our first full fledged family vacation, a trip to Amsterdam.

We all had a great time as Amsterdam is an absolutely wonderful city with much to see. There's beautiful architecture.

Along with breathtaking canals that run throughout the city.

If you decide to visit make sure to take at least one BOAT RIDE, as they provide the best view of the city and a closeup of all the lovely houseboats.

Another feature that makes Amsterdam distinctive are all of the bicycles. The Dutch ride everywhere. I have never seen so many bikes in all my life. There are 1.5 times more bikes than people in the city. It was cool to see entire families, babies and all, riding together.

While visiting we learned that Amsterdam is a city of immigrants. Half of the population is not native born. It's multiculturalism makes for some delicious food options. You can get Belgian chocolate at CANDELA.

Or phenomenal (seriously.....phenomenal!!!) Turkish food at SHOARMA MESUT.

By the way, they have the best fries and Turkish coffee in town.

For those of you who are into fashion history, I'd highly recommend visiting the MUSEUM OF BAGS AND PURSES. It's the largest purse museum in the world and housing some truly amazing bags.

The museum also has a fabulous gift shop and tea room worth taking a look at

My absolute favorite thing about our trip was a visit to the countryside. It was so magical. I've seen impressive pictures of it in the past, but to see it in person was truly a blessing. Unfortunately, when we went it was very foggy so my pictures are not the greatest :-(

I'm sure it's even more beautiful in the spring, when the flowers are in bloom.

A part of our countryside tour included stopping by a cheese factory and clog workshop. It was very interesting to see the local craftsmen at work.

Well, that's all for Amsterdam, a lovely city indeed.

If  you are planning a visit I highly recommend staying at HOTEL DE HOLLEN. The accommodations are wonderful and the staff if very friendly. Plus as an added bonus they have the most amazing French toast during breakfast.