Ever since the my 5th grade country report on The Netherlands I’ve dreamed of visiting this amazing country…and last weekend I finally DID! While I absolutely LOVED Amsterdam this trip was a little different than the usual adventures Caleb and I share. When planning a trip we’re constantly torn between one that’s culturally enriching or a relaxing getaway. This was the first time we opted for the latter. Instead of filling the days touring EVERY museum and seeing EVERY sight Amsterdam had to offer, we enjoyed a leisurely getaway wandering the city. So while I can’t give you a detailed guide to everything Amsterdam I can take you on my Amsterdam Photo Safari – full of the beauty & charm this city has to offer!

– My Amsterdam Photo Safari –

Holland Amsterdam Photo Safari

Our trip started off with a blip – in true Meghan fashion. There was one cultural sight I NEEDED to see – the Anne Frank House…I had literally been talking about it for months (even something I mentioned on my first date with Caleb). BUT this is the one thing we were unable to do – of course. Amsterdam was PACKED with tourists because of King’s Day so online tickets were sold out and the line (for tickets on site) was 3 hours long. We only had one full day in Amsterdam and didn’t want to waste it in a line. Since the journey to Amsterdam is only 2 hours I decided to come back another time! My advice – if you are planning a trip I highly recommend pre-ordering tickets online to avoid this situation.

With that out of the picture we decided to enjoy the Waterlooplein Flea Market! And it was AMAZING – especially if you love thrift shopping for clothing. Digging through these mounds + shopping other “vintage” stores tucked away through the city took all morning. If you LOVE 90s vintage – SHOP in Amsterdam. Every vintage store is full of items reminiscent of this era and in great condition. The prices are higher than a thrift store but lower than most vintage shops.

Feeling bad for spending basically half a day shopping we decided to take a canal tour–the best way to see the sights in Amsterdam. BUT before this we walked back to our hotel to drop our stuff and caught some AWESOME glimpses of the city!

city sight Amsterdam photo safari

I am obsessed with the biking culture and would love to be able to always ride a bike everywhere (if I could stably ride a bike anywhere). What especially impressed me were the ways children were loaded on the bikes! The baby seats on the back reminded me of childhood bike rides with my mom, where I would become her personal radio singing along the way.

city view Amsterdam photo safari

bicycle ride Amsterdam photo safari

The canal tour was FUN, and I recommend it to anyone. It’s an awesome way to see a lot of the sights in Amsterdam and learn a little about the history of the city.  BUT it’s not the greatest view for taking pictures. You also want to get in line early to be able to get a forward facing seat next to the window! Luckily Caleb is tall and was able to stand to get some great shots for our Amsterdam Photo Safari.

After the tour the whole night was ahead; so we enjoyed another stroll through the city stopping to get drinks along the way. The most beautiful and interesting part of Amsterdam (for me) is the canal system. This functional system shows such ingenuity for back when it was created, and now it continues to provide such an interesting landscape and views within the city. The canal system is what initially attracted me to this country in the 5th grade (for my report).

canal View 2 Amsterdam photo safari

Pretty Canal Amsterdam Photo Safari

Amsterdam (The Netherlands) is also known for legalization of Marijuana; so along our strolls Caleb and I enjoyed some smoking. Something we never partake in; so it created great memories from our vacation! In fact, one of my favorite parts was the afternoon we found an empty canal street, sat down (feet dangling into the canal), and just smoked.

After wandering around drinking and smoking, at nightfall we headed to the red light district. No photos here but quite an interesting part of the city. And a great place to study human interactions if that interests you. We’re total people watchers and had trouble with staring at (studying) men interested/involved in this attraction. Caleb was excited for the first time (out of many trips to Amsterdam) to see someone actually head into the brothel!

For our second day (before our train) we decided to head back to the main square to catch views of (and around) the Palace as well as visit the floating flower market. The palace is pretty cool, and we even enjoyed a fun street performer while there.

Palace Amsterdam Photo Safari

After watching the juggling act and taking in all the sights around the Palace (main plaza), we headed on to the Floating Flower Market. While it was nice to explore and I was able to purchase some yellow tulips, I should warn you that this market is mostly selling tulip bulbs and not live flowers! Which was much to my disappointment. I was dreaming of being swept into a city flower field and was met with an interesting alternative. They also have various “exotic” flowers for sale,  but I was only interested in the classic!

 In this one weekend I had a life long dream fulfilled, and the city completely exceeded my expectations! And while it wasn’t done in my usual way, it was SO MUCH FUN! I like to think we enjoyed Amsterdam the way I would have as a college student (high and wandering around), which made the trip that much greater.

More…

 We stayed at Minties (a house boat and it was so cool). While it was a little out of the way, the atmosphere was so amazing and the service impeccable! I recommend trying to get canal lodging to have the full Amsterdam experience.

We also took a train from The Hague (where we celebrated King’s Day) to Amsterdam. On this ride we saw some of the most AMAZING Tulip Fields/Farms. For those only visiting Amsterdam, a short distance (45 min) outside the city is the Keukenhof Gardens. A great way to see fields of tulips and other colorful flowers!

The End

I hope you enjoyed my Amsterdam Photo Safari! Where’s someplace you dream of traveling? Let me know in the comments.

Check Out More of my Travels: Norway Diary | Brussels Diary | Istanbul Guide