Amsterdam: Days of Culture and Food

I had the opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Amsterdam this month. First meeting up with my brother and his partner who live in the States but came in by way of Paris to join me. Amsterdam is one of my absolute favorite cities, next to Paris. So I was excited at not only getting to hang out with my family in the country I now live in but just getting to experience the electric energy of this fabulous city.

We took part in a lot of the touristy attractions like taking a canal boat tour, which was fabulous by the way. And, going to the Anne Frank house—something I’ve been wanting to do forever. After waiting in a line that snaked around the block, we finally got to enter the house. Not one for tours (or lines) I will say that if you come to AMS, this is one thing you much do. Visiting the actual house that Anne and her family hid out in seriously puts your own life into perspective. Here I was bitching about the line and this magical girl had to spend 2 years indoors, hiding out, fearing for her life. And still, she managed to write everyday! If that isn’t inspiration for a writer! You also get to see the actual diary with her girlish scrawl.

The Diary of Anne Frank.

The Diary of Anne Frank.

 

The other thing that I found so charming was a copy of a “dinner menu” I’m not actually sure if this is what they ate at times, but it was truly touching to see this. The whole experience was seriously inspiring. I left filled with gratitude that I live the life I lead, in the time that I am living it. It also made me realize I need to stop my bellyaching and get to work!

Dinner menu at the Anne Frank House.

Dinner menu at the Anne Frank House.

After my family left, I spent 10 days house and kitty sitting with my new cat friend Francoise. I was staying in De Pijp area near the Museum district and the Heineken Brewery. I had actually never explored this part of town before. This lively neighborhood is home to a ton of restaurants, quaint cafes and chic boutiques.

It’s also home to the famed Albert Cuypstraat street market. This blocks-long outdoor market features everything from fabric and tchotchkes to bread, fruit and vegetable stands to food trucks.

Lastly I stumbled upon a true gem. A whole shop dedicated to cookbooks that’s been open since 1977. Did you know that Sophia Loren put out a cookbook? I had no idea. But if you find yourself in Amsterdam and fancy cookbooks, De Kookboekhandel (translates to the Cookbook Store) at Haarlemmerdijk 133 is absolutely worth a stop.

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I dream of living in Amsterdam some day. Ah, for now, I’m lucky that it’s just a train ride away.