I have really struggled to write this post. I mean, really, I’m weeks behind. I felt so much pressure to do this city justice, that I talked myself out of writing it for so long.
But how long can I possibly avoid this? Especially knowing I have so many other cities to share with you!
So finally, the time has come for my favorite city on this whole trip. Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
What can I say about this amazing city that could accurately portray what a wonderful time I had here?
After days of struggling with food, getting used to traveling so much, exploring places I’ve never been, I was starting to feel tired and burned out. I had pretty high hopes about Amsterdam going in, but I limited them to avoid disappointment.
But disappointed I was not! (there there were some MAJOR downsides for me here. But we’ll get to that).
With everything that Amsterdam has to offer and how incredibly vegan friendly it is, I had a pretty packed schedule.
Let’s get issue #1 out of the way. The hotel.
What a total and complete disaster. If the city itsself hadn’t been so incredible, the room alone would have caused me to pack up my things and return home the second I set foot inside.
I have debated back and forth as to whether or not I should share the name of the hotel, but I want to prepare anyone else that may be going to Amsterdam and hope you to make a more educated decision on where you should stay.
I booked a single room at K29 hotel, and I have to be honest and say I do not recommend this hotel. Not one bit.
I can say that the room was clean, the location was excellent, and the staff was very kind, but the room was a nightmare. It was a cement room with no windows. None. Not a single window.
As someone that struggles with enclosed spaces and someone that truly relies on the sun and the sky to feel good and to feel like a whole person, I truly felt like I was in hell. Like I was in an actual jail cell.
After dropping my bag, I had to run out rather quickly to make it to my dinner reservations, and on the way out I heard another guest asking the front desk to change rooms to one with a window. They were told there weren’t any available, so I was stuck.
Please, I cannot stress this enough, if you struggle with closed in spaces or claustorphobia on any level, do not stay at K29 hotel. If you don’t care about sunshine or natural light or living in a cement box, it’s a fine place to rest your head at night.
After the worlds saddest (but pretty) vegan dinner in Brussels and a breakfast of dried fruit and nuts, I could not wait to enjoy the vegan food that Amsterdam has to offer.
I spent ages scouring the internet for the best places to eat, made my selections, and went with an appetite.
I started with their seasonal cocktail. A warm, hard apple cider of sorts. With the cold winter air and being so near to Christmas, it was heaven. Strong, but still sweet, and wonderfully warm. I also enjoyed a single apple slice as an appetizer (???). To be honest, I nearly cried when that’s all the food that was put down in front of me, but the rest of the meal did not disappoint.
Of course I didn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy a mix of fries, which were exceptional. But the main focus was the cashew fondue. It was a generous portion size, complete in a heated bowl with it’s own mini candle to keep everything warm.
While the dip was incredibly filling and delicious, I didn’t have nearly enough food to dip into it. A few small slices of bread, and a very small handful of veggies left me wanting more, but overall it was quite delicious.
To finish, I enjoyed a raspberry lemon mousse. This was the perfect way to end the meal.
Overall the price was quite high, but for the ambiance of the restaurant and the quality of the food, I would highly recommend Mr. & Mrs. Watson. (Consider a reservation if you’re dining at peak hours.
I started with the Dirty Chai, then inhaled the Sourdough Sandwich Fritata and took a croissant to go. I really can’t say enough about how good the food was here. It is absolutely worth a stop (or 10).
While at Vegabond, I enjoyed a delicious pumpkin latte and a lovely acai bowl, served adorably in a coconut shell. This location doubled as a mini vegan grocery store and I made sure to stock up on some white chocolate and stroop waffles while there.
Last, but certainly not least, I filled myself up on TerraZen Centre. I took the food to go, and the service wasn’t the best I’ve experienced, but the food was incredible. I got myself a massive dragon roll and some fried rice and I could not have been happier. If you’re near the center of Amsterdam, this is an excellent place to stop.
Things to do
Amsterdam has so much to offer in terms of things to do. I tried to pack in as many things during my stay in Amsterdam, but you can fill a whole week or more with everything it has to offer.
Explore the Canals
I started my trip with a canal tour, which I highly recommend. I was there in early December, so things were decorated with lights, which was particularly beautiful, but it was cold, so if you’re going in the winter months, dress much warmer than you think you need to.
I explored just 3 museums (let’s use the word “museums” lightly) but loved them both. I started with the Van Gogh Museum, which was exceptional.
From there, of course I went to Kattenkabinet, a very small museum dedicated to cat art. If you care about cats at all, it is absolutely worth every cent to walk through.
My last museum stop was Red Light Secrets, the museum of prostitution in Amsterdam. This was a bit more racy, of course, but I found it to be very interesting and highly recommend it.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is another must-see in Amsterdam. This is the secret annex where Anne, her family, and a few others took hiding during WWII.
It is quite an emotional walk through, but incredible to see.
**Please note** this is NOT an accessible space. There are many very steep stairs and very tight passage ways. If you are claustrophobic or have mobility limitations, I do NOT recommend this stop.
Of course marijuana is legal and widely available in Amsterdam. If you’d like to partake, find a coffeeshop to stop into. Or, quite frankly, follow your nose. The odor is quite strong all throughout Amsterdam.
Personally, I found only one shop with vegan edibles if smoking isn’t your preferred way to consume. For some vegan space cakes, head to Popeye Coffeeshop. The people working there are very kind and very knowledgeable with the vegan selection.
Zaanse Schans Windmills
This is a bit outside of Amsterdam, but if you love cute things as much as I do, this is an absolute must. The Zaanse Schan Windmills are a collection of historic Dutch windmills, and the easy walk through them is probably the coolest, cutest places I have ever been. The perfect rainbow after a small rain sure didn’t hurt.
Of course you can’t forget about the tulip fields. I didn’t visit these myself, as it was winter and they weren’t in bloom, but what post about Amsterdam would be complete without giving them a mention?
Overall, Amsterdam was my favorite stop on this trip. It has so much to offer, it is very vegan friendly, full of history, very English language friendly, and overall an exceptional place to visit. I cannot recommend it enough.