Exploring the Centrum and De Pijp districts
We were off to Amsterdam for a few days with the main focus of our visit being going to see one of our favourite bands Jaya the Cat who were playing a show in nearby Haarlem. That was on Saturday night though and as we arrived at Norwich Airport at 4am on Friday we knew we'd have plenty of time to explore Amsterdam too.
We hadn't expected Cafe Oasis inside Norwich Airport to be open so early and with two hours to kill we considered buying some breakfast here.
After eating a pretty poor breakfast here twice before (read the review here) I was surprised to find myself reading the menu again. Despite disappointment in the past we went to order some food as we knew it would give us something to do before boarding our flight. Within minutes of entering the cafe we were leaving it again though. The once friendly cafe staff now seemed the complete opposite and clearly couldn't cope with anyone asking if it was possible to swap an item on the breakfast. Actually it was probably a lucky escape for us as the hot held items on the counter were already looking dry and as unappealing as ever and the cafe had only just opened. We decided to save our money and spend it on a decent breakfast in Amsterdam instead. I must say though that all the other staff we encountered at Norwich Airport were really lovely and helpful.
With our breakfast fiasco behind us we boarded the 6am flight to Amsterdam and took off just as the sun was rising.
The flight took just 40 minutes during which time we were given a drink of water and chocolate cookie. With a one hour time difference we landed in Amsterdam at 7.40am.
From Schipol Airport we caught the train to Amsterdam Central. It takes about 20 minutes and costs €5.30.
After a quick visit to tourist info to pick up some maps we made our way through the Centrum district in search of Omelegg. On their website they claim to be very proud of being the first omelettery in the Netherlands.
I do love it when coffee comes with a biscuit, especially when it's a Lotus Biscoff.
This place was clearly very popular as it was packed when we arrived and the eggspert was very busy at work in the kitchen. It seemed worth waiting for though so we waited outside until a table was available.
Omelettes were their speciality and they offered over 21 different variations on their menu.
Something else had caught my eye though.
The Big Ben Breakfast cost €9.95.
I wasted no time in pouring the beans onto the plate.
Underneath the eggs was a thick slice of toast, the bread in Amsterdam is amazing!
It wasn't quite 9am so most places were closed still. This was the perfect time to admire the luxurious canal houses with charming gabled facades.
There are 165 canals in Amsterdam that combine for a length of about 60 miles. This one runs through the Red Light District where you can also find no end of coffee shops.
This bread pudding caught my eye, so beautiful! I later regretted not buying a piece but was determined to find the cafe again as I just had to try some.
Lots of places were selling brightly coloured macarons and chocolate coated waffles topped with strawberries and cream. I did consider buying a waffle but €9.50 seemed a bit excessive.
As lunchtime approached we stopped beside a canal in Centrum for a beer. This pint of Amstel cost €6 and it didn't taste great.
The Duvel was a much better choice and pretty strong too with an alcohol content of 8.5%. We had a couple of bottles of these each before further exploring Centrum.
Many people come to Amsterdam to enjoy a smoke in the many coffee shops. We did consider it but with so much left to explore we decided not to which was probably a wise decision as we'd been up since 3am and wanted to stay awake!
Shops serving fries and mayo can be found all over Amsterdam. The top shelf of potatoes are fried and left on the bottom shelf, later they're fried again before being served.
I ordered mine with a sausage and some mayo, the double fried potato is really crispy and the mayo is incredibly creamy. Definitely something I recommend you try if you visit Amsterdam. They were great after a few beers and I imagine they taste even better after a visit to a coffee shop.
The bread pudding I'd spotted earlier was calling me so we retraced our steps and found the cafe selling it, De Laatste Kruimel. At just €3.50 per slice it was a real bargain, definitely the best bread pudding I've ever eaten and so pleasing on the eye too. The fruit on top had seeped down into the bread pudding below making it really wet and fruity.
We ventured slightly South of Centrum in search of De Kitten Kabinet, an art museum devoted to works depicting cats.
It cost €8.50 to enter the museum which also has a cat themed garden, but the garden only opens on Saturday. The two main rooms upstairs on the first floor display a selection of cat related art and objects. Down on the ground floor there's a shop selling postcards and prints of some of the artwork on display at the museum.
The lucky Cat game was only there to be admired and some of the rooms were closed whilst we were there. It was well worth a visit though if you're a cat person.
You could write a message about your visit to the museum if you wanted too. Ally from Germany had clearly enjoyed her time here.
As 3pm approached we headed west on the tram to check into our hotel.
We would be spending tonight at Hotel Citiez which was 5km away from the centre of Amsterdam. A double room here cost €111 for one night, a nice enough hotel but a good 30 minutes tram ride away.
Now free of our luggage we hopped on another tram and got off at the Albert Cuypmarkt which was said to be excellent for street food. Unfortunately we'd arrived too late though and it had all been packed away over an hour ago.
All was not lost though as we were moments away from Geflipt, a burger restaurant that had been recommended to me.
We ordered some Heineken and checked out the menu.
I was torn between the Geflipt and Dubbelop burger, the fried egg swayed my decision in the end though.
The Geflipt burger looked excellent when it arrived. The Gasconne beef patty was cooked medium rare with a nice pink centre. It was topped with cheddar, crispy bacon and a fried egg. Down below was a layer of salad and a delicious red onion compote. Quite difficult to eat due to its size but every mouthful was an absolute pleasure, loved this burger.
My wife isn't a huge burger fan but she really enjoyed her Las Vega burger which featured a beetroot, cashew nut and black bean patty.
As the sun was setting we wandered back towards Centrum.
You'll be amazed at how many cheese shops there are in Amsterdam. All of them have samples you can try above each type of cheese, I tried so many different types.
Opposite our hotel was a supermarket, time for a late night snack. The Russian salad cost just 74 cents and the strawberry cream soda 49 cents, bargain!
Considering how cheap the Russian salad was it tasted pretty damn good!
If you come to Amsterdam you have to try Tony's Chocolonely, more about this on Day 3 though.
Click here for
Day 2 - NDSM Wharf and Haarlem