Drinking and Eating Through Amsterdam—With a Dash of Exploring, Too
Amsterdam is not the city I envisioned. Many people I know had been to Amsterdam before me, and by the way they described it I never really felt the need to make a special trip to this city. But my mind was changed once I got there.
I had been in Europe with my friends Lauren, Ashley, and Ana for World Travel Market in London so we decided to make a quick girls trip to Amsterdam. What the heck were we thinking? It happened to be the same weekend of the MTV European Music Awards; the city was buzzing with celebrities, hotels were filled to capacity, and we landed right smack dab in the middle of it all.
We all met up at the Pulitzer Hotel, which was where we were staying. It was a lovely old hotel right on the canal with a beautiful view out the window of trees losing their colorful leaves and the morning sun peeking through the clouds just enough to make it inviting to go outside.
We shared two adjoining rooms so we were sure not to miss a moment of fun together. Dinner on the first night was spectacular. We took ourselves down the way to the Sofitel Hotel, where our seasonally inspired seven-course dinner awaited. For a foodie such as myself, the meal was superb. Each dish was paired with a wine, from a crisp white to a full-bodied red that felt like butter on the tongue. The dishes were inclusive of seasonal favorites including truffles, mushrooms, and pumpkin.
It felt late, but who were we kidding we were off to have a nightcap at the Conservatorium Hotel where the Tunes Bar is known for the 30 different types of gin it serves. Not sure if it was planned that way or if luck was on my side, but a gin and tonic happens to be my favorite cocktail.
The next day was full of picture taking and walking around the city with our tour guide from Context Travel. I am every tour guide’s worst nightmare: I really don’t listen very well and wander off frequently when something I want to photograph catches my eye. But our guide was very patient and quite charming. He did manage to capture my attention long enough for me to learn some of the canals in the city were manmade and at one point Henry Ford tried to convince the city to fill and cover all the canals so it would be easier for more cars to drive around. Could you imagine this city with no canals?
The day was great with cool, crisp air and a bit of drizzle, and we definitely got our exercise walking all around the city. It was teatime and Ana had arranged for us to enjoy a unique experience called High Wine at the Dylan Hotel. This is a great twist on the traditional afternoon tea. Each one of us was treated to a four-course menu with wine to accompany each dish. It was such a fun alternative to the traditional finger sandwiches and black tea.
After teatime, the House of Bols was calling our name. It was a fun thing to do and didn’t take much time at all. It’s a tourist attraction all about cocktails, liqueurs, and bartending, but it is something worth seeing. It’s got a good story, and at the end you are rewarded with a cocktail you get to design and watch the bartenders make.
The next day was short but really great. Ana and Ashley had to head home and Lauren and I had one more night in Amsterdam. We were all picked up right outside our hotel by the captain of a private boat for a canal tour. The Private Boat Tour Amsterdam Company is a fleet of vintage boats that can be rented for a period of time for romantic dinners on the canal or a group event. We got very lucky since the sun came out to give us some stunning views of the city from the water.
After our boat tour, Ashley left for France and Lauren, Ana, and I headed to the Andaz for a lovely Sunday brunch before Ana had to leave for England.
It was a fantastic time full of laughter and good food and drink, but best of all it was full of friends who I will get to share these memories with for a very long time. Cheers to a fantastic girls getaway.