We got a nice little surprise once we were on our way. Our tour director told us our first stop would be at an authentic cheese and clog making farm! It was SO neat! I highly recommend getting out of the city if you’re ever in Amsterdam and checking out one of these farms.
We got a little tour of the farm. First we had a small cheese making demonstration and mini-tasting. Then we were taken into another room for a clog making demonstration. The cheese was DE-LICIOUS and the man who gave us the clog making demonstration was completely personable and so funny.
I ended up buying my parents some of the cheese and my best friend Monica’s little girl Charley her very own pair of clogs. Monica’s husband’s family is from Holland and so I knew they would make the perfect gift for my first niece! 🙂
See for yourself how adorable this little farm is:
We then had another guided bus tour of the rest of the city. I could not get over how clean and neat everything was inside the city. I also learned that the Netherlands (aka Holland) has a royal family! I had no clue this was the case. We passed by all of the major sites and were given a very nice little lesson on the history of the city itself, as well as the country.
After the tour ended we were dropped off at our hotel, which was in the Rembrandt Square area of the city. This turned out to be a perfect location because it was within walking distance of a ton of the places we wanted to visit and had plenty of places to eat and explore around it. And that is exactly what we set out to do once we were all settled into our hotel, the Eden Hotel Amsterdam, we set off to eat dinner first and then do a little exploring!
Heads up: This was NOT a “coffeeshop”. If you want coffee in Amsterdam you go to a koffee shop, not a “coffeeshop”. If you want a little canibus, weed, marijuana, or however you choose to call it, you go to a “coffeeshop.” It can be very misleading until you’re standing right outside and you breath in nice and deep. That’s when you KNOW you will not be serve coffee if you go in there. And there were at least 2 or 3 on more major streets! So weird.
Alrighty so the next morning we got up bright and early and set off for our one and only completely free day on the tour. We did not have anything scheduled or planned with the group this day so we were free to explore the city at our leisure. And boy did we!!
The first thing we did was rent ourselves some bicycles for getting around the city. This made traveling around so much easier. TRAVEL TIP: Whenever it is you’re in Amsterdam, do yourself a favor and rent yourself a bike! It will literally cut your travel time in half and give you so much more time to explore the city than walking would. There are a ton of bicycle renting places around (some will even give you a guided tour of the city, a few of the people in our group did this). And we were lucky enough to have a rental place right next door to our hotel.
We had to put down a 50 Euro deposit and then we ended up paying 13.50 Euro for the whole day. We has the bikes from about 9am until 5:45pm. Jenny led the way because her phone had the GPS and because she’s the more experienced rider. It had literally been like 15 years since I had been on a bike. I had a few rough moments throughout the day but I’m pleased to report I did not fall once! 🙂
Our first stop of the day was going to be the Van Gogh Muesum and to get there we had to ride through the Rijksmuseum, and the I AMSTERDAM sign. So obviously we had to stop for a photo op. Since we were out there so early we didn’t have as many people to deal with as we would have later in the day, which was nice.
TRAVEL TIP: Get up early and start exploring. Things are way less crowded and it’s easier to get your bearings and the hang of things if there are less people to worry about.
When we got to the Van Gogh Museum we waited in line for about 15 minutes (the perk of getting there just after it opened) to buy our tickets. You can buy your tickets in advance if you want too but we did not on this one because we had already bought tickets to the Anne Frank Hues in advance. We wandered around the museum for about and hour and half and by the time we left the line was wrapped around another building. See another perk of getting there early.
Following that we rode back over toward our hotel to explore the flower market. It was probably one of my favorite things in the city and that is why I am dedicating a whole post to it. I got some amazing picture of the flowers and they deserve their own post! 🙂 I did give you a little taste below though.
We had about an hour or so before our “fast pass” time to the Anne Frank house so we just wandered the area and took in all the gorgeous sights the city had to offer. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.