Today was also a sleep in day.

Kathleen and I met her friend Klaudjo at Dam Square for coffee today. We rented a bike from Rent a Bike Amsterdam which is near Dam Square then walked to Cafe ‘t Molentje. I had decided that going to the Anne Frank house today would probably not be valuable to me, so instead we planned to just bike around Amsterdam and see what was around. After coffee at Cafe ‘t Molentje, we picked up our bikes from Dam Square and biked to the I Amsterdam sign near Vondelpark. Unfortunately, there were a ton of people around, so we decided to bike to Vondelpark first and then bike back to the sign to take a picture.

too many people

Vondelpark was very close by to the park with the I Amsterdam sign. The sign is in what is known as the Museum Quarter which has a ton of museums in the area. Vondelpark itself is very nice and peaceful. It’s a great place to just have a picnic on a nice day like today. There are a lot of little ponds to sit around as well as gardens. It’s also fairly big so it’s nice to bike around.

We finally went back to the I Amsterdam after hanging around Vondelpark, but there was a school fieldtrip or something today so there were a bunch of kids the next time we went. Still, we decided to go ahead and take pictures. Getting on top of the letter d was the hardest thing I’ve done this week I think.

me on the d

After pictures, we went to Bakers and Roasters which was nearby. It was really good! They served brunch even though it was 3PM. I had the Navajo eggs which had avocado, pulled pork, poached eggs, and mango salsa. I really liked it, especially since I didn’t have breakfast that morning. They also have a nice selection of cakes and I was really tempted to take one to go.

navajo eggs

The tulip market, or Bloemenmarkt, was our next stop. It was really interesting to see because they not only had tulips, but also calla lillies and amaryllis bulbs. We also saw a venus flytrap. I was tempted to buy some bulbs since they were so cheap but 1) I didn’t know where I’d plant them in Oxford and 2) the rules for flying or crossing borders with plant bulbs are so strict that I didn’t know if it would be okay. There was also a cheese museum nearby so we walked inside but the museum was basically just plastic cheese on shelves with a video playing that explained the process of making cheese. When we walked down to the cheese store part of the museum, they tried to get us to try cheese. The regular one was okay, but then I tried goat cheese with lavender (which was a really disgusting gray-blue), and it was like I was eating a cleaning product. It smelled like lavender soap and tasted kinda chemical-y. Definitely would not recommend. Also would not recommend the coconut one since cheese should not taste like coconut.

tulip market

There was also another shop nearby that had pottery and ceramics from Delft which is another city in the Netherlands. There’s a specific style to it, like this blue and white patterns with lots of flowers. It was all nice to look at but also very expensive. There were also these weird things that looked a bit like flower vases or maybe a pot or something, but neither me nor Kathleen could figure it out.

We started to bike back to the city center after that. We were trying to see if we could bike over the bridge to the northern part of Amsterdam, but ended up just wandering to this science museum called NEMO which looks like a sinking ship. The museum is actually part of the bridge to the other side, so we messed up in actually getting to the other side but that’s okay. The roof area of the NEMO museum was really cool because they had a “energy exhibit” on display. Unfortunately most of it wasn’t working, but the view was really nice from the top and there’s even a cafe.

view from the top

Next stop after the NEMO museum was the Amsterdam Library which is apparently the biggest library in Europe. It’s 6 stories tall (7 if you count the restaurant at the top as part of it) which is pretty big. There are a ton of books and lots of study spaces. We actually were there are the same time as the opening of some fashion exhibit and managed to sneak ourselves in. There was free alcohol and really cool fashion pieces on display. This display is apparently up until July I believe, so definitely recommend seeing it if you’re nearby. The library itself is also super impressive.

the exhibition

We stopped by the Basilica of St. Nicholas on the way home by chance. There was actually a service so no pictures, but it was a really beautiful basilica. We only stayed for a bit before all the people in the audience suddenly moved to kneel. We didn’t really know what to do since it was all in Dutch, so we left soon after.

The last stop for today was the Pancake Bakery which apparently is one of the oldest pancake places in Amsterdam. I had the Winter special which was a pancake with apple strudel, cinnamon ice cream, vanilla sauce, chocolate flakes, and whipped cream. The ice cream sounds good on paper, but 0/10 would not recommend. The pancake overall was really good though. Just bear in mind that a Dutch pancake is way different from an American pancake. In fact, if I were to order again, I would probably get the poffertjes instead which are mini pancakes but are soooooooo good. I had some in Rotterdam which were awesome, so I’m sure these would be just as good.

pancakes yum

Tomorrow, I’ll be off to Brussels. Nearing the end of my trip, I’m starting to feel a bit tired out from everything so I can’t wait until I get to Oxford. All my accomodations are finally planned out up until I leave Paris, so I’m really excited to just chill for the next few days before I have to start school. That and actually finish reading my readings for my classes.