10.03.16 – 13.03.2016

We wanted to share our four big take aways from a recent trip to Amsterdam (which was awesome).

Jay-walking // Watch out for ALL THE bikes
Cycling is a primary mode of transportation throughout much of Northern Europe and Holland is no exception. We had been warned to watch out for bikes but seriously… you REALLY need to look out for bikes. They come from every direction all at once and the riders move quickly and aggressively. There are few street signs and even fewer designated crosswalks. Combined with narrow or non-existent sidewalks, it can be dangerous for the unsuspecting tourist.  Parker was nearly run over mby a motorcycle, multiple bikes, and nearly trampled by a horse (yeah, that happened). Our new Swiss life has programmed us to be strict rule followers and crossing streets according to proper protocol is highly valued in Swiss culture. One must set a good example for die Kinder (children) to only cross when it is safe. We laughed at ourselves for finding it difficult to adapt to the jay-walking required to get around in Amsterdam.

Tale of Two Cities
Amsterdam is famous for its red light district. While that is a depressing topic for another time… it was quite surprising to us how different the city center and nearby red light district were from the remainder of the city. All of the ubiquitous tacky tourist traps, cheesy souvenir shops, and food places were represented (okay, seriously, who travels to a new and exciting city to eat at McDonalds? Or to see Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum? It is completely lost on us). We spent only a short hour or two walking through this area. What a relief it was to leave this dense and somewhat depressing part of the city to return to the beautiful and interesting remainder of Amsterdam. We highly recommend staying near the De 9 Straatjes (9 Streets) area where every shop, home, and restaurant is unique. We enjoyed our time walking along the many canals, picnicking in parks, and getting a taste of life in Amsterdam.

Incredible Food
A major theme of our travels revolves around one of our favourite things: FOOD! Amsterdam did not disappoint in this area. We ate our fill of ethnic foods and Dutch specialties alike and drank delicious craft beers. Just check out the photos below… It was AWESOME.

So Rachel it hurts // A hipster-licious crisis
We stayed at a beautiful hotel and it could not have been more Rachel-y. The vintage lighting, mid-century modern Danish furniture, dark wood, subway tiles and so much more led to the conclusion… IT’S SO RACHEL IT HURTS! On our last evening we dined in the hotel restaurant. As we reflected the events of the day surrounded by chicly dressed young professionals and fuelled by a particularly delicious bottle of wine, an existential crisis emerged. Does my love of all of this make me a hipster? No, surely not. But as I looked up from our candlelit dinner of pâté, charcuterie, and various local cheeses that were placed upon a (beautiful) reclaimed barnwood table top, the question would not escape me. My husband laughed, “You didn’t know you were a hipster?” “NO, am I really?” “I’m afraid so.” sigh It may take some time for me to come to terms with this.

The Stats: 
46, 199 Steps
2 Taxis
2 Trams
2 Trains
2 Buses
2 Plane rides

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The only photo of our hipsterlicious hotel
Vietnamese fried spring roll from our food crawl through a weekend food market.
The variety of foods available at the food market were endless – mushrooms, cheese, dolmas, crepes, stroop waffelen, and on and on.
A danish specialty – a raw herrring sandwich
We washed it down with an exotic local brew, Heineken.
So… appetizing? I only got a few bites down but Parker diligently finished his entire sandwich.
De 9 Straatjes
Trying to be tourists but failing miserably
Foodhallen – an indoor food market and bar
Our kind of bar



We accidentally stumbled upon the Amsterdam Coffee Festival. We witnessed our first professional barista competition – yeah. we didn’t know that was a thing either – but it was all kind of amazing.
The place where Parker declared “We could live on this little corner of this little island of Amsterdam for the rest of forever.”
The best part of our trip

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