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Thread: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Default Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?

    We're thinking of staying in Amsterdam for a few days on our way back from London. I've never been there and my wife hasn't been there since she was a kid, so I was wondering if any of our resident Dutchies may have some advice or tips We like chill urban environments close to green areas and water, flavorful food and fun places to hang out. We generally dislike things that require a great deal of advance planning or queuing. Where do locals in Amsterdam like to spend a nice summer day on a weekend? What areas offer a large variety of good food and entertainment at reasonable value? Are there any good comedy clubs for non-Dutchies? What's overrated and what should be avoided outright? Any and all help v much appreciated.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    ======== Timbuk2's Avatar
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    Love Amsterdam. Last time we were there it did nothing but piss down with rain for the three days we were visiting, so I seem to remember spending much of the time in cafes and bars watching Dutchie life amble past us. I also seem to remember getting hideously drunk on Kwak.

    Also, bicycles.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    It's actually the original French billion, which is bi-million, which is a million to the power of 2. We adopted the word, and then they changed it, presumably as revenge for Crecy and Agincourt, and then the treasonous Americans adopted the new French usage and spread it all over the world. And now we have to use it.

    And that's Why I'm Voting Leave.

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    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Hookers & weed, of course!

    Will post more things to do there later
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    I'm told the red light district has some of the nicest, cosiest streets
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    The problem with those streets is that too many tourists go there, so it's basically wall to wall people wanting to sniff in some of the o-la-la atmosphere. Amongst other things; try to visit the Royal Palace (Or as I would say the Old City Hall). If you like to visit museums take one of those Amsterdam cards; it's worth it, but only then. If you're not too much into museums the multi-hour GVB card can be still very much worthwhile. Don't rent a bike, because then I'd have to hate you till the end of your days. Taste all the cheese you like at those silly touristic cheese places, but buy at regular supermarkets (Albert Heijn).
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    If one rented a bike, can you get it on the train to a ferry to one of those barrier islands? Or just get to the island by ferry and there's a place to get bikes there?

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    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    I'd think you can do both. Though you can't bring a bike on the train during rush hour unless it's a folding one.

    I second the recommendation of the royal palace. It's nice and the line was non existent when I visited. I should marry some princess so I can stay there when I visit Amsterdam
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Ended up postponing trip until this year, but we'll be in Amsterdam for a few days this August to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Mostly sauntering around, staring at people, eating and hanging out w/ some old forumites but probably going to visit the Van Gogh museum and perhaps also the national museum.

    If any of you have insider tips on underrated restaurants where one can find innovative and well-made contemporary or traditional Dutch food holla also if you have tips for restaurants w/ Indonesian food.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Very pleasant so far. Schiphol airport is not pretty but it is very convenient. People are generally friendly and helpful and it's nice to see immigrants everywhere even though there seems to be some segregation. Dutch food is interesting; there's some overlap with traditional Swedish ingredients and flavors, but completely different combinations, and none of the contrast flavors I expected. There are some architectural similarities with my favorite parts of sthlm, but the colours evoke London rather than Scandinavian capitals. The language is very difficult for me to parse, especially when spoken, even though we prepped by watching Dutch used car reviews on YouTube. Unexpectedly difficult tbh. Crossing the street is also surprisingly different, with traffic light timings that are different from other countries we've visited, and uncommonly audacious cyclists that refuse to stop when we feel they should.

    The hotel is quite lovely. It's a massive building that used to be an orphanage. I gambled a little and we were upgraded to a very nice suite and welcomed with delicious prosecco and rose petals strewn everywhere because it's our 5 year anniversary we finally got to open the last wedding present, and inside we found a by now eight year old wine, two beautiful hand blown wine glasses, a card that brought tears to my eyes and a book full of messages and predictions from the wedding guests.

    I've decided to surprise the ginger with a concert because she's wanted to see a symphony orchestra for a very long time and I keep getting in the way of her plans.

    We'll be in Leiden most of tomorrow meeting forumites, and try to squeeze in some last minute touristing on Sunday. Definitely fell like we should've planned for a longer stay but it's nice to have a short trip for a change.

    The weather, BTW, is fickle as fuck.
    Last edited by Aimless; 08-10-2018 at 11:18 PM.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    I can't believe you've been married five years, it feels like yesterday

  11. #11
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Same for me, and, at the same time, it feels like I've always been married

    We had a blast reading through the predictions and have had to add a ton of things to our to-do list. Many/most expected 2-5 kids by now, and a fully operational goat-farm, which was obviously unrealistic or beyond our control. But visiting old friends, traveling the world and sleeping beneath a starry sky are definitely things that we can accomplish. They were all right about one thing though: I'm more in love for each day that passes.

    With that mushy nonsense out of the way, final impressions: Leiden was small but very pleasant. It was nice hanging out with Dutchies and getting a better idea of ordinary everyday life in the Netherlands. I was a little surprised to learn about how things like parental leave and childcare work; it really opened my eyes to how unique the Scandinavian countries are even in western Europe. It was interesting to learn more about their healthcare system as well as about the quirks of the Dutch churches kept seeing signs with religious messages, which was weird. I had some opportunity to discuss the Dutch part time work phenomenon.

    Our last two days were very pleasant. The language suddenly started making sense, we reached a tentative truce with the trams, learned how to glare at cars in order to defend our right of way, and found nice places to just walk around. Finding good food was a pain in the ass at first; we were more reliant than usual on crowdsourced information–a blight on society–and they were unusually uninformative or just misleading. Saturday night was especially difficult without reservations (which we hadn't made because reviews were so useless). Nevertheless, we found a Moroccan restaurant with good starters and desserts, and a few cozy Dutch places that were decent value. Very difficult to find nonalcoholic cocktails, which was a little unexpected.

    The red light district was an extraordinary letdown b/c of how busy it was. The area around it was more pleasant. Back at the hotel we snuck in to a silent disco, which was a misnomer because everyone was shouting along with the lyrics with no coordination or melody.

    We slept in late today, did some touristy food-hunting, enjoyed coffee and cocktails in the sun and then took an uber to the airport, which really demonstrated how convenient schiphol is: €23, less than 20 mins. However, they have the handsiest mofos in Europe working the security checkpoint, and there is a dearth of power outlets. KLM was a disappointment on the return trip.

    I'm relieved to be almost home, but I must say I regretted making it such a short trip. Wouldn't mind returning sometime soon, for another short trip.

    PS. Ganja everywhere.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  12. #12
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Oh yes, if any of you do decide to go, you must--you simply must--visit the van Stapele koekmakerij: https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Attrac..._Province.html

    I don't say this lightly: they are some of the tastiest cookies I've ever had. Must be eaten as fresh as possible. I wish I'd bought dozens more.

    Another interesting thing: Dutch housing policy seems to try to mix people from different economic strata, at least when it comes to rentals. I'm not sure if it's a regional thing, but I did get the impression Dutch cities are somewhat less segregated wrt housing than eg. Scandinavian cities.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  13. #13
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    It looks like a cream filling? An egg reduction inside a cookie?

  14. #14
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Good quality molten white chocolate. I have so many ideas swirling around in my head because of these cookies
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    On the housing policy; yes.

    Never even heard of those cookies.

    Working part-time rocks; I kind of like to have a job, but don't need or want a full time one, so on average I've been working 20 hours a week the last 15 years. A wonderful work-life balance.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

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