Amsterdam Day 2
Our second day in Amsterdam was set to be a rainy one, so we’d planned for a museum day! With the iAmsterdam card we had figured out where which museums we’d be able to get free entry, most of these being some of the big/famous museums, so we attempted to visit most of them in one day!
After getting ready we got the number 1 tram to Kalvaaarstratt in the hope of getting some infamous Stroopwaffles from one of the best Stroopwaffle cafes in Amsterdam – Van Wonderen Stroopwaffles. Being on my tourist body clock I’d forgotten it was a Sunday and like the UK, the Dutch like their lie-ins on the weekend so Kalverstraat was basically empty and Van Wonderen was unfortunately closed. Eventually, we managed to find a little cafe that you could sit in and which also sold waffles so we ended up eating breakfast there.
We’d also planned to have a little look around some of the ‘high street’ shops before our Anne Frank Museum visit but they weren’t open either. So to use up our time we walked through the drizzle through parts of the red light district to Dam Square and Amsterdam Palace and then onwards to Westerkerk.
If anyone has recently been to the Anne Frank Museum then they’ll know it’s under renovations, therefore, they aren’t taking any walk-ins and you have to book your tickets two months in advance of your visit. Because visiting the place where the Frank family went into hiding during the war was something that has always been on my list of places to visit, I’d booked tickets way in advance because it was one of the reasons why I had wanted to visit Amsterdam in the first place.
I first read Anne Frank’s diary when I was 12 and ever since I’ve revisited it time and time again. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got there having read reviews from some people that it was to commercialised and a waste of money because you were pushed through the building in a crowd. I must admit it was very busy when we visited at 11am, but I instantly felt liket hese reviews had been wrong. Since you can’t take pictures inside the museum intself and because it’s such a historical and cultural place every visitor respected the building and also the other visitors who wanted to make the most of the experience. Even before we’d even entered the building it became a memorable trip, having witnessed a group turn up late, who then got rejected entry, and then had to buy new tickets because they hadn’t validated the ones they’d bought months before. After this drama, we entered the museum, picked up our audio tours and went through a few rooms that talk about the history of the Frank family. When you’ve finished listening to the background information you then get to go into the attic, which the Museum has kept in pretty much its original state albeit without furniture. All in all, we were inside for around an hour. It was definitely an experience I will remember and I would even visit again. I also recommend taking a walk around the area after visiting to reflect on your visit.
It started to brighten up in the afternoon but the weather still wasn’t great so we made our way to Stedelijk, the modern art museum. The building is a mix of modern and old architecture but they work together and compliment the work inside the building. The ground floor and top floor of the museum are saved for exhibitions from local modern artists and visiting artists to display their work and then the more famous pieces are downstairs on a sub-level called Stedelijk Base. Some of the pieces there include work by Mondrian, Cezanne and a few Van Gogh’s.
With time to spare between our visit to Stedelijk and our entry to the Van Gogh museum, we decided to walk over to the Rijksmuseum. We stopped at the iAmsterdam sign on our way past and found the selfie spot behind the iAmsterdam that lets you take a selfie with the sign the right way around in your front-facing camera on your phone.
We then had a whistle-stop tour around the Rijksmuseum seeing some of the famous works there before they closed for the day. The Rijksmuseum has many paintings from the Dutch Masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt so it wasn’t my cup of tea but still interesting to see and experience!
The Van Gogh Museum was next. Even though we had free entry with the iAmsterdam card we still had to book tickets for an entry time slot beforehand so it’s important to check before you just turn up. We’d booked tickets for a 5PM entry and it was definitely the right time to visit. It was quieter than it would have been during the daytime so I’m glad we managed to see everything there and also take advantage of the gift shop and cafe. At the time, the Museum was showing an exhibition about Van Gogh’s Japanese influences in his work, It was a surprise to see some of the prints which he’d taken inspiration from and interesting to find out that this was why some of his later works where much brighter and colourful.
After our busy day of ‘museuming’ we decided to visit a vegan restaurant down the road from our hotel called Vegan Junk Food Bar. I’d heard a lot about them on Instagram and the experience lived up to the hype! You should have a look at their menu and esecially their Instagram, they have burgers the size of people’s heads!
With the day coming to a close I wanted to see what the canals looked like at night so we took the tram to Prinsengracht where we wandered around and took some pictures of the area at night before heading back to our hotel for some drinks and well-earned sleep!
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