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Stylish Blogger Award: 7 things about Amsterdam

Amsterdam glasses museum

I was tagged with the Sylish Blogger award by the wonderful Laura of For Those About to Shop. You’re meant to share 7 things about yourself, but I did that recently, so instead I’m going to give you 7 things about Amsterdam, illustrated with some detail shots of the city! Enjoy!

Dave and penguin

1. I could see myself living in Amsterdam. I was a bit apprehensive before we went about it being quite sleazy, what with the red light district and it being such a popular stag do destination, but it wasn’t at all. We had to walk through the two red light district streets ever night to get to our flat, and I found it less full on than the equivalent in other cities. The whole city was really chilled out and pretty. It seemed less of a fast moving cultural and artistic, so the fantasy life I was leading in Amsterdam was more like the life we have in Edinburgh, and less the parade of gigs and exhibition openings I imagine I would have in Berlin or Paris.

Amsterdam bike decoration

2. It turns out I love Ethiopian food. It’s strange, but that was seriously the best thing on the whole trip (I told you I was a foodie!). I wasn’t hugely keen when Dave first suggested the restaurant because I was prejudiced against African food on the basis of my knowledge of Malawian food, i.e. mainly maize based stodge with virtually no veg and meat as the thing to provide flavour, and of course I don’t eat meat. But of course it is extremely silly to write off an entire continent based on one country, so off we went and let me tell you it was AMAZING. Huge trays with little bits of mainly lentil based spicy curry type things, lost of choice for veggies cottage cheese, yummy pickles, fresh salads, all eaten without cutlery with the help of sour dough pancakes. YUM! I am completely converted to Ethiopian food now and when we go to London in June, I’ll be making a point of seeking out Ethiopian restaurants. (recommendations, Londoners?) Sadly, the only African restaurants in Edinburgh are North African, and one South African deli.

knitted bike seat

3. The cyclists are mental! Amsterdam is basically a car free city because the roads are so narrow, though I did see a massive old Jaguar making an ill advised turn into a street that can only be called a lane. But cyclists are everywhere, though it’s certainly no Copenhagen style two wheeled utopia. The cyclists go really fast everywhere, including on pavements and ignore everyone else. The guide book actually advises anyone hiring bikes never to stop at red lights because other cyclists will get so annoyed.


4. We failed to procure drugs. For us, drink is the drug of choice, but given that we were in Amsterdam, we thought it would be weird not to visit one of the hundreds of coffeeshops. So one night, we left the pub early to visit one but we weren’t served. For once it wasn’t because I look young, but because there is a law that ID must be asked of everyone without exception. And of course I didn’t have any, since I don’t like carrying my passport around with me. So we went back to the apartment and had tea and chocolate instead. We did mean to go out again but inertia prevailed even without any hash related products.

dog pee advisory

5. Everyone speaks English really well. Being a multilinguist, I usually feel really bad for not speaking the local language and assuming everyone will understand English (this was a major thing in Barcelona), but in Amsterdam everyone’s English is to such a high standard that I didn’t mind. I mean, in Berlin everyone speaks English too, but they don’t sound like they grew up speaking it, which they do in Amsterdam.

crowned streetlight

6. This history of handbags is fascinating. We went to the handbag museum, which I thought would be a bit of an excuse to look at lovely 50s bags n(and there were lots of those, including some s, but it was actually a proper museum and I learn a lot about what things were like in the 16th century! Pretty cool!

la Chouffe

7. We drank A LOT of beer. Dutch brewed, and a lot of Belgian. Almost all the pubs had the Belgian blond beer La Chouffe on tap, and la Chouff coasters. Through wich we discovered that there is a brown version of it called Mc Chouffe. On which the little gnome that is the La Chouffe mascot (see photo) is wearing a wee kilt. This amuses me greatly!


The rules of the award are as follows:

1) Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2) Share 7 things about yourself.
3) Award 10 recently discovered bloggers.
4) Contact those bloggers and let them know they’ve won.

So here are my newest discoveries:

Happy award and meme time! Obviously feel free to ignore if memes aren’t your thing.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Milly 6 April 2011, 10:29 am

    What with it being just down the road, it is a wonder that I still haven't been to Amsterdam. It is on our short break list of 'must visit' for 2011 so still plenty of time. Thank you also Franca for the tag 🙂 I have just finally written up the one I received from V but there were more bloggers I wanted to pass it on to so I might follow your example and do a post in a different vein.

    Mulika x

  • SACRAMENTO 6 April 2011, 10:52 am

    Thank you for all these interesting info on Amsterdam through you eyes.
    very nice, Framca

  • two birds 6 April 2011, 1:34 pm

    i loved reading these facts! it makes me want to go back and spend a little more time there!

  • Alli 6 April 2011, 2:50 pm

    Franka, thanks so much for sharing about Amsterdam! I'd love to make it there someday, but since I live in the US, plane tickets to Europe are prohibitively expensive, for now. Still, you've put the travel bug in me! I'm glad you had a good time!

  • RK 6 April 2011, 4:41 pm

    I loved all your photos and your stories about Amsterdam! I visited the city briefly with my parents in 2006. All I really remember from the trip is that I had rented a bike that was way too big for me (but didn't change because my adult pride told me I needed that adult-sized bike, darn it!) and THEN proceeded to lose my dad because I was biking too slowly. I seriously cycled around the city for 2+ hours feeling panicked, since a) I didn't remember the name of our hotel and b) I gave my map of Amsterdam to my dad because I had no pockets. But thanks to the fluent English language skills of the Dutch people (and their kindness) I found my way back, and had a great time at the Van Gogh museum and the Rembrandt museum (it was his 400th birthday when I went). Amsterdam's such a neat little place – I'd love to go back someday!

  • La Historiadora de Moda 6 April 2011, 7:34 pm

    I loved Amsterdam when I went there in 2006. I stayed with a good friend of mine (who is Dutch) and rode everywhere on the back of her bike.

  • Laura Connell 6 April 2011, 8:26 pm

    Thank you for this post on Amsterdam! You are very lucky to live in the UK so you can hope over to mainland Europe so easily! I am thrilled to hear they speak English because being uni-lingual makes me a bit fearful of travelling to foreign non-English speaking countries. I will definitely go now!

  • oranges_and_apples 6 April 2011, 8:37 pm

    I feel the same way about C

  • oranges_and_apples 6 April 2011, 8:40 pm

    On the back of her bike? Eek! I'd be scared the way the Amsterdam cyclists race around! But I'm sure your friend was sensible!

  • Casee Marie 6 April 2011, 9:31 pm

    Thank you so much for the award, Franca! I absolutely loved this post. As someone who's never left the States (mostly due to a fear of flying) it always intrigues me to see snapshots of moments from other peoples' adventures abroad. Amsterdam sounds fascinating! I'm so glad you shared about your experiences.

  • Penny Dreadful 6 April 2011, 9:36 pm

    Hi Franca, Amsterdam is lovely isn't it. I went to one of the cafes the time I went and it WASN'T a pleasant experience, so you weren't missing out on anything. Thanks for the award, I have to warn you that I am totally rubbish at remembering to do these things but really appreciate the award 🙂 xx

    (ps posted your dress today, I hope you love it but if there are any issues let me know)

  • Emma Clark 6 April 2011, 10:40 pm

    Cool answers. I loved Amsterdam when I was there. It truly is an amazing city, the people are wonderful, the history is fascinating and the whole attitude is so relaxed.

  • Mrs. J 7 April 2011, 8:20 pm

    Thank you, I'm going to try and get it done this weekend or next week. I'll probably do something different like you since I've already completed the 7 things about me tag.

    Amsterdam looks like fun, beautiful pictures! 🙂

  • Cloud of Secrets 7 April 2011, 9:38 pm

    Thank you for the tag, Franca! I'm already working on answers in my head, and hope to write up a full seven disclosures within the next week.

    I've enjoyed the peeks into your Amsterdam visit. You make me miss it very much. I was there for several days in 2002. My favorite parts were the colorful Rijksmuseum, windowshopping the antique shops along the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat, a huge apple and cheese pancake from a cafe, and my very own Indonesian rijstafel — a couple dozen little hot and cold dishes served with a big bowl of rice and some jasmine tea.

    You make me crave Ethiopian food, though! I've never tried it before. Wonder where I can find some near northern Wisconsin…

    I hadn't known there was a handbag museum! (If there was one in 2002). It's at the top of my list if I ever return!

  • Vanessa 9 April 2011, 8:48 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out! I learned a lot about Amsterdam! The handbag museum sounds so fun and all of the photos make the city appear so lively, vibrant, colorful and historic. Must visit someday!

  • Stef 16 April 2011, 8:49 pm

    Such a fun city 🙂
    I first went when I was 18 and met up with a friend who'd just moved there from the Dutch Antilles so I got to hear a lot of Papiamentu as well as lots of English and a bit of Dutch. Totally agree the level of English speakers (and German too!) is amazing in the Netherlands. I wonder whether all those subtitles have to do with it – no dubbing and all.

  • Bettina 23 October 2011, 7:06 pm

    I know I'm waaaay late to the party, but I only just discovered your blog and have been browsing a little. So the thing is my boyfriend gave me a trip to Amsterdam for my birthday and we need to start getting organised for it. I was wondering where you stayed and for how long (we're going just for a weekend, so if it's one of those apartments you can only rent for a week plus, that's not really an option). Would you recommend the place? And also, do you remember the name of the Ethiopian restaurant? Sorry for totally scooping out your travels, but I'd be grateful for any recommendations! Thanks a lot! 🙂 

  • oranges_and_apples 24 October 2011, 6:33 am

    Hi, no probs! I'm not sure I can remember the apartment company, but Dave might and I can definitely find the name of the restaurant from the guide book! Can you email me please, and I'll have a look tonight