Travelling to Amsterdam was spontaneous. I mean spontaneous in the most spontaneous way possible. My good friend had recently quit her job she felt displeased in, with an position in a company she desired (kudos to her)! As a treat to herself, she booked a week in Amsterdam, staying at the Banks Mansion Hotel. As we were chatting a few days before she flew out, she asked if I wanted to come for a few days. Naturally I laughed it off. 72 hours later, I found myself at City Airport, waiting for my flight to Amsterdam. I booked a flight for one night, staying in Amsterdam for less than 24 hours. I figured, hey why not – you only live once *trying to justify my actions*.
Before I met my friend, I visited the Aya Sofya mosque in Amsterdam to freshen up and also to check it out as photos online showed it to be incredible beautiful, located on the bank of the river Schinkel. It really was a gorgeous mosque, designed by French architects with Turkish structural embellishments. It was extremely empty and quiet, and was a wonderful place to pray and get ready for the crazy 24 hours ahead of me.
Once I met my friend, the first thing we did was to hire some bicycles for 24 hours from Mike’s Bike Rentals. Amsterdam is known to be the capital for cyclists, with everyone owning a bike and cycling being a main source of transport in the city – 60% of all trips in the city are made by bike! It’s really safe, bike-friendly and most convenient , so I’d highly recommend hiring a bike for a short stay in Amsterdam.
I’d highly recommend Mike’s Bike Rentals as a place to go for a bike in Amsterdam. The bikes were very well maintained, we were provided with a chain to lock our bikes (highly recommended). We were also given night lights for safety in the dark.
Once we had collected our bikes, we were ready to rumble! We visited the Tropen Museum, one of the largest museums in Amsterdam. The museum showcases the vibrant and multifaceted history of Africa, Asia and the rest of the world. At the time I visited, there was an exhibition about the face of fashion in Africa, and we thought this would be really interesting to see, as well as to view the permanent collections. The Tropen Museum really was a delight and I’d highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn a bit about the history of the world, and the culture of many societies in this current day.
For dinner, we visited a Surinamese restaurant called Warung Sranang Makmur. I didn’t know much about Suriname before my friend introduced me to the cuisine and told me a bit about the people. Suriname is a small country on the northeastern coast of South America, neighbouring Guyana. It’s defined by vast swaths of tropical rainforest, Dutch colonial architecture and a melting-pot culture. There is quite a large Suriname community in Amsterdam due to the previous colonisation. The food here was delicious, and the price was low. The food was made with love, and the food was halal – big thumbs up from me! Halal food in Amsterdam, who would have known 🙂
After dinner we went for a bit of a cycle towards a local park in the area, then returned to the hotel. It was heavily raining, surprise surprise Amsterdam, so we called it a night pretty early on.
The next morning, we headed towards the Waterlooplein Market, one of the oldest markets in Amsterdam, dating from the 19th century. It features over 300 stalls and is open 6 days a week. The cycle to the market was smooth, as the cycle lanes are wide and clearly differentiated from the roads full of cars. I bought some stroopwafel, a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. It is popular in the Netherlands, where they were first made in the city of Gouda. I also tasted some home-made brownies. I believe I chose the praline containing brownie, and it was honestly heaven in my mouth <3 I would definitely recommend a visit to this market. Unfortunately, it was raining the WHOLE morning, spoiling the experience a little bit. Never-the-less it was still worth the drenching.
After that, we cycled to Mike’s Bikes to return the bikes and off I went to the airport. On my way, we walked through (what looked like) China Town and I really wish we weren’t running to catch the train. 24 hours in Amsterdam was nowhere near enough time to enjoy the city, and I definitely wish to return there soon. There are quite a few neighbouring cities that I would love to visit also such as The Hague, Haarlem and Leiden.
Let me know what other things are cool to do in Amsterdam!
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