I just got back from the Netherlands after a 10 day journey and I miss it every second that I am gone. Places tend to grow on me rather quickly: the food, the culture, the laid-back attitude of the people and the architecture of places. As mentioned in my previous post, I was headed to the Netherlands for the wedding of my Ma to her future husband, Twan (known lovely as Twanie). I, alongside my brother and sister, my uncles and my boyfriend had the privilege and the honor of seeing my mother married to a great man.
Here are the top places I suggest visiting:
- Anne Franks House This was such an experience. I felt such sadness for the loss of a young girl, but also for the loss of so many lives. The house is one of the main known tourists destinations as it is internationally known and a must see. Walking through the house — you can visualize yourself in their position. Eight people survived in that home for two years but only one made it out alive. It was not possible for me to make it through the house without getting emotional – it’s an experience that hits most to the core.
- The Dom Tower in Utrecht The largest church tower in the Netherlands coming in at 368 feet high and containing 365 steps is the pride and joy of Utrecht. You get to go up the tower and overlook the beauty that is Utrecht. At each level, you stop to learn a little more about the tower — when it was built, how it was built, how it was maintained after the 1674 tornado. Just be careful not to sit on any bird poop! For anyone who enjoys architecture (like me), this French Gothic style church is a must see!
- Rijksmuseum This museum, filled with dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to the present day is a must see as well. There are so many beautiful paintings and art that you can spend anywhere up to half a day here. Get lost in the color, the oil paintings, the shininess and the quietness of this magnificent museum. Van Gogh Museum can be missed — definitely not this one!
- Canal Cruises Tour the canal in one of the cities. Each city has a different vibe to it but you can get to see so much more on the water. I suggest avoiding a canal cruise in Amsterdam as we were given headphones for our tour guides, there wasn’t much excitement and it was very commercialized, which meant that Eddie and I almost fell asleep. My family had a good experience in Leiden with canal cruises– they got to enjoy a boat to themselves, it was heated and they ate tea and cookies.
- Red Light District You can’t go to the Netherlands without hitting up this spot in Amsterdam. This is the place you go to for live shows and places to buy goodies to take back to your house. Unfortunately, I was very put off by this place as it wasn’t my typical spot but I am glad I got to experience this side of Amsterdam.
- Markets Make sure to check out the markets. Try the delicacies that this amazing country has to offer. Everything in the Netherlands smells clean, looks clean and the best part — no one wears gloves to handle food, but you still trust the people handling your food.
Vietnamese Street Food in Amsterdam I hit up this place on the side street from where the museums were. It was affordable and delicious — I went back twice after that. Try ginger tea and drop in your ginger cookie in your tea for an even better taste. The authenticity of the food, the price, the cleanliness of the place, along with the customer service, R&B feel good songs and the location of this place made it worth going back for some more.
- Gia Restaurant in Amersfoort This Asian fusion restaurant is located in the backside of Amesfoort train and bus station but as it was so delicious and affordable, we had to hit up twice. Eddie and I went there for date night and we had 10 sushi for about 3 euros. This is a chill place that’s in a nice part of town but still isolated enough that only the locals would really know about it.
The Netherlands has it all — good food, relatively reliable transportation and beautiful sites. It’s a go to destination, but one I would suggest going in the spring or fall when it’s a little warmer out. I’m not a fan of the cold but I am a fan of this place. Luckily, my mom and her new husband will be there for a few years, so I may have another chance to visit this amazing country and hopefully, its’ surrounding countries as well.