Day two started pretty early for us as it was time to say goodbye to our lovely Air Bnb hosts, and say hello to our hotel for the next two nights!
Going from the south of the city to the north via two trains and a ferry to check in our bags, and then back to the centre all had to be done before 10am. We made it 10 minutes late – not too bad considering!
This is as we were booked onto WeBike Amsterdam*’s hidden gems tour – a bike tour of the city discovering some of the not so famous spots, stories and insights with our fantastic guide.
As we were running slightly late, Thijs kindly cycled us over to the rest of the group, who were just starting their first stop at West India House. We were really regretting leaving the jackets in the bike shop when the heavens opened shortly after, but luckily it didn’t last long and by the time we left the Canal Warehouses, the worst was over. Thank goodness for that!
From there we saw former widow’s homes where we learnt a fascinating myth about why Amsterdam is called Amsterdam! On top of one of the houses is a painting of two men and a dog in a boat. The story goes that the men were caught up in a torrential storm and made a bet that if they ever make it back to land, they will call the place Amsterdam. The dog then swam to shore, and somehow communicated that there were people in trouble. The two men were saved, and there you have it, Amsterdam was born. True? Maybe not, but interesting nonetheless!
Before moving onto Vondelpark, we stopped at a cute corner cafe for a break and a drink. Cappucino and latte please! It was so good to be able to take this chance to talk to the other people on our tour, there was only about 8 of us all in all. From here it was to the more familiar spots around the Museum Quarter, and then back to where we started to leave our bikes and continue with our day.
It’s so amazing how a bike tour can let you experience more of a city in the relatively short time you have on tour. This one was 3 hours long, and we covered a lot of different points in the city, a lot of so scenic and to our surprise, pretty relaxing. It’s definitely a lot harder being a pedestrian as bikes constantly come flying out of nowhere in this city! If you haven’t been, you’ll have to visit to know what we mean!
Of course, if there was any place to tour on bike it’s Amsterdam, but it certainly helps if you have an amazing tour guide like we did today. There was not a gap in knowledge anywhere, all questions answered straight away and the chatting didn’t stop at only about Amsterdam. We’d fully recommend WeBike Amsterdam to anyone looking to experience this great feature of Dutch culture. It is only a small company, so please do get out and support them. They really do deserve it!
After a quick bite to eat we were straight onto our next location. Again it was booked for a certain time so as you can imagine, we had the whole day pretty much planned out. We do this quite a lot when we’re away, but today we had no choice because we were now going to the Anne Frank House. Tickets for this are booked month in advance, or non ticket holders can queue for a typical length of 4 hours to get in on the day. We went for the first option!
The whole place was gripping and inspiring, and the amazing story was made into the attraction it is today perfectly well. The house still has so many original features that it does make it feel so much more real, and make you almost able to envisage what life may have been like. The guided tapes throughout described everything superbly well, and we both left with complete knowledge of Anne Frank and her family’s life during the war. We are often suspect to not reading and finding out everything on offer to us at historical sites or museums, but today had us engrossed from start to finish.
We can easily see why it’s so popular and if you are visiting Amsterdam, plan ahead and get this on your agenda. It’s simply a great experience.
Next up was the Botanical Gardens. Now you may know by now that for some reason, we are fans of a good garden! As it was free to us due to having the IAmsterdam City Card, there was no reason not to go and have a look. With the Sunday Jazz players overheard from the restaurant within the grounds, it was so good to have a relaxing walk around, far removed the bustling city centre. A large part of it was actually indoors, as there were three different tropical climates for the various plants.
Trams have been a saving grace for us whilst here in Amsterdam. They seem to be able to take us to everywhere we’ve wanted to go within a short walking distance. The routes and maps are so easy to understand, and now, armed with our city card to get on, we made our way back to the hotel to check in.
Look at this view we’ll be waking up to for the next two days!
After a flying visit to catch the complimentary ferry which takes us from Centraal Station to the hotel, it was back into the centre for dinner and another stroll around the Red Light District and city centre. We accidentally came across Dam Square which has such beautiful buildings like this!
With only one day in Amsterdam tomorrow, we feel like we have covered most of what we’d like to see now. However we are up early again for a food tour, and I’m sure we’ll never be short of something to do following that! Check back tomorrow to see how exactly we conclude our time here.
Disclaimer: we were given complimentary ride/entries to the asterisks (*) in exchange for a mention in this blog post and coverage on social media. However as always, all pictures and views are our own.
**Please note: we are posting everyday over a period of 5 weeks on both blogs, please do be offended if we do not reply to your comments. We appreciate every comment and the love you are showing, it honestly means the world to us. If you have any questions, please send us a tweet!**