As I was enjoying the warm and sunny Spring weather outside of a cafe, holding a book in hand and sipping on my latte, I can’t help thinking about having to leave this beautiful city of Amsterdam soon. I hope I have explored enough in this city, but new things appear under my radar whenever I search for things to do and eat. Thanks to the recommendations of friends, I’ve tried new places that I have never heard of, and I revisit these places ever so often, to indulge in them before my imminent departure.
I’ve visited many cafes and there are still many waiting to be explored. Here, I will recommend 4 places to go for food, and 1 specialty coffee cafe that you must try. These food places are a bit further off Amsterdam centre, but definitely still worth the visit if you are staying here for long, like a student doing his/her university exchange here 🙂
As poor college students, we have to think of ways to scrimp on our daily meals so that we have that extra cash to spend on things that really matter – travels, really good food, and souvenirs for our friends and families. It took me some trials and errors before I found this perfect combination of groceries you can buy from Albert Heijn, under €20, that could last for 5-days’ worth of breakfasts and (if you budget carefully) lunch!
The common Dutch lunch consists of a sandwich – bread, cheese, salads, nuts, etc. It is not uncommon to see students bringing out a whole loaf of bread on the lunch table in our cafeteria, along with some spread and cheese, and they would be (happily, i guess) munching away. This way of eating really saves money because food here is not expensive if you were to prepare your own food. The school’s cafeteria also has microwaves for us to heat up our food, so that’s a great encouragement for us to pack our own food!
Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood of Zaandam, in the north of Amsterdam. It has a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses; the whole village is a like a museum! My friends and I took a cycling trip from Amsterdam Central to Zaanse Schans, which took us a bit more than an hour by bike to reach there, including a short ferry trip.
Do you ever have a craving for burgers? Where can you find good (or avoid bad) burgers here in Amsterdam? I promised myself I would not eat Macdonald’s here in Amsterdam, but sometime in my 2nd month here I broke that promise.
The Angus burger tasted good, I must say. And the choice of a thick-cut fries rather than the normal, thin, Macdonald’s fries… this is very different from what we have in Singapore.
The above is just a teaser; I’ve 3 places to recommend for good burgers, and 1 place to avoid. It’s up to you to try them all and judge the tastes for yourselves!
Keukenhof! The world’s most beautiful spring gardens! Yes, this was the day I had been looking forward to, as a person who loves flowers and nature. The closest I got to seeing a tulip flowerbed was in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay when they have their annual “Tulipmania” special. Imported tulips are planted in the Flower Dome, one of the two air-conditioned conservatory, where flowers and plants from around the world are artificially planted, for the viewing pleasures of locals and tourists alike.
As a college student who wishes to travel the world on the least possible budget, finding a cheap and comfortable accommodation proved to be the most difficult thing to do. I usually like to stay in hostels, as they are easy to find, and it is a pure economic transactional kind of relationship. Airbnb provides a more homely feel, but is difficult to find as you would have to face with many rejections before finally finding one where the host accepts you. Airbnb is less an economic transaction, and more a social exchange, because the hosts’ friendliness and ‘services’ (recommendations for places to visit, providing breakfasts, etc.) are important factors that make your stay a pleasant one.
When it comes to Couchsurfing, it is purely a social exchange. You don’t pay the hosts for the accommodation, yet you (kind of) expect the host to provide you with information about the local environment, things to do, and so on. So how do you exactly return the offer by the hosts? Perhaps prepare a small gift or something?
It didn’t take me much consideration to list myself up on Couchsurf and check out the community. I was surprised that the website looked clean and user-friendly. I thought it would be a messy community, since people just offer places to sleep around… After creating an account and exploring the website, it feels very much like an Airbnb, without the price element. I started to look for potential couchsurfers who can host me in my upcoming trip, and posted a public trip myself.
This is part 4 out of a 5-part series of my travel experiences in Belgium. Here I share what I did in Brussels and Bruges, two of my favourite cities in Belgium. You may have heard from friends or other recommendations that there isn’t anything to do in Brussels, and that Bruges is a lovely city to visit – here I shall tell you more about these impressions that people have, and then it is up to you to think if there is anything to do in these cities!
This is part 3 out of a 5-part series of my travel experiences in Belgium. Here I share what I did in Antwerp and Ghent, where I spent just less than 12 hours in these cities, and had to make the most out of my time. Food recommendations are more detailed in my previous posts, so do check them out too! 🙂
This is part 2 out of a 5-part series of my travel experiences in Belgium. I visited a total of 5 cities: Antwerp, Geel, Ghent, Brussels, and Bruges. In each city, I made a point to eat their fries and waffles, and to figure out what’s so good about their Belgian waffles and fries.
In this post, I will share where I have been for the best icecream, waffle, and coffee experiences in Belgium! You are in for a treat! You have to check out these places when you are in Belgium! 🙂