Weekend in Amsterdam

Earlier this month I took a trip over to Amsterdam to visit my friend Lizzy. Lizzy and I go back to 2009 when we met in the Royal Australian Airforce Gap Year program, she’s from Melbourne and now we both live on the other side of the world!

Seeing how Lizzy lives in Amsterdam, that means free accommodation when I visit – and vice versa of course! And we’re both coeliac so we can share plates (I refuse to share my meals with people when I can’t eat theirs too!)

Anyway, I flew in to Schipol Friday night and after dumping my bag at Lizzy’s place we made our way to our reservation at Max Amsterdam, which is international cuisine with Indonesian specialties.

We had the 3 course Indonesian Rijsttafel menu which came with a starter each, a sharing platter and a dessert to share.

So, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what it all was, except that most of it was delicious! My favourite from the main was the prawns, followed by one of the salad dishes. The gluten free dessert was a mango sorbet with grapes, and it was really nice, however the ‘normal’ dessert looked amazing!  At least they had an offering though.

After dinner, and finishing our bottle of wine, we made our way to the Red Light District to find a family friend. Phil was over in Europe for his work’s “Olympic Games” and I made him come visit me in Amsterdam!

Saturday morning we headed to brunch at Dignita with some of Lizzy’s old work friends. We all got the Eggs Benedict and Liz and I added a side of truffled mushrooms each. The meal was naturally gluten free as instead of bread they place the eggs on top of hash browns! Bloody genius! Paired together with a glass of freshly squeezed OJ and my tummy was satisfied!

 

Like most places in Amsterdam, customer service ain’t really a thing, so we lingered before, during and after our meal. There was a pretty decent line when we left, so I would recommend going early – we went about 10/10.30 and were seated straight away.

The afternoon consisted of watching a few matches of Wheelchair Rugby at the Amsterdam Quad Rugby Tournament and then back home for a nap before meeting up with Phil again for dinner. We went to Spagheteria Olympiaplein, a local restaurant not far from Lizzy’s place.

I didn’t take any photos of the food, but Lizzy’s was definitely more tasty than mine. I added a ton of pepper and parmesan for some taste. Service was a lot better here than other places we had eaten so far though, and the wine was good.

My flight was booked for 7.30pm on the Sunday night, so Liz and I met up with Phil again for a day trip and took the bus to Zaanse Schans to see some Dutch cliches – clogs and windmills!

As soon as we got off the bus the smell of the dark chocolate factory overwhelms you! I’m not a fan of dark chocolate in it’s edible phase and I’m definitely not a fan of the factory smell either!

 

We started off with the clogs and watched one of the experts show us the modern way of creating the Dutch shoes. The inside of the building was a great break from the stinky air.

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A few of the windmills are open to the public for a fee but there is one that is donation based. Back in the day the windmills were used to crush spices, mill grains or pump water. After wandering around, we found a nice place on the water to have lunch before heading back to the city.

We took the free ferry over to Amsterdam Noord, which is known as the cultural hipster area of the city.

There was a huge flea market going on, but there was an entry fee so we bypassed it for a warehouse that has been converted into an art space.

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We didn’t spend much time there as there wasn’t too much to see, so we headed back over to the main area of Amsterdam. Lizzy went back home to meal prep for her work week and Phil and I hit up Primark as he forgot to pack a pair of shorts for his European Summer Trip!

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We also found a place that did the famous frites and mayo. And luckily they were gluten free! Such a great on-the-go snack.

 

 

It also turned out that one of my mates Cam from the Back Up Colorado ski course last February was in Amsterdam for the weekend with some of his uni mates. We met up with him in Dam Square – where it was International Yoga Day and packed! – and went and enjoyed a drink in the sun together.

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Phil had an early morning fight so he went back to his airbnb and I headed back to Lizzy’s to pack up my stuff. My trip in Amsterdam wasn’t complete until one last stop at Albert Heijn to stock up on stroopwaffels to enjoy back home. So glad that they offer gluten free options and I bought a few packs to fill up my bag. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.  t’s been two weeks and I still have 3 packs left – I would put it down to self control except I left them at home while I’m down at work!

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