Chocolate sprinkles for breakfast.
Let me introduce you to our new favorite foreign specialty: Hagelslag.
You get a piece of bread, spread butter on it, and top with the most delicious Dutch chocolate sprinkles. REAL chocolate—none of that imposter brown “chocolate-like” substance we eat in America.
Truly a breakfast for champions.
We loved it so much, we bought a big box and took it with us to Switzerland so we could add it to our yogurt every morning. Not exactly the healthiest choice, but worth it!
Plus it’s so cheap and every grocery store in Amsterdam stocks a huge wall of it, so it’s easy to find!
Another one of our favorite Dutch treats: Stroopwafels.
Just imagine eating a thin, gooey caramel cookie. Our Airbnb host left us a pack, and we fell in love!
Basically what I’m saying is we were hopped up on sugar the entire time we were in Amsterdam.
You can also buy Stroopwafels in the US, but the ones abroad are better!
Along with our constant sugar coma, we loved getting to explore the beautiful canals around the city!
It was so fun picking which houseboat I wanted to live in—they’re EVERYWHERE and so cute!
We took a free walking tour with Sandemans, and our guide had plenty of entertaining stories to tell us about Amsterdam.
Our favorite was that if you don’t lock your bike at night, people will go around the city and throw it into the canals.
So the bottom of the canals is covered in old bikes!
Above is a picture of Amsterdam’s coat of arms.
Many people falsely think that the three x’s represent the famous red light district, but they’re three vertical crosses and have no relation to the red light district.
Along with the coat of arms, you can find the stone plaques in the picture below all over the city. Back when most of the citizens were illiterate, they put up these graphic signs so that people would know what buildings were and where different things were located.
We couldn’t help but laugh at all of the clever names people have come up with using the word “dam” (like in the picture below).
Sadly we didn’t try their coffee, so I can’t attest to how good it is, but still thought it was a cute name!
One of my favorite stops on our walking tour was the most narrow house in Amsterdam!
Can you imagine trying to fit your furniture in that place?
To combat moving challenges, most of the houses there have hooks at the top of the roof. Since many of the homes are very narrow and don’t offer much in the line of an elevator or large stairwell, people have to pull their furniture up using those hooks and move it through the windows.
Scroll down to the next picture, and you’ll see a ladder perched up to the second floor of a building and people moving things through the window.
As much as Amsterdam offers delicious sugary snacks—it also has some not-so-great specialties.
Like raw herring.
I’m picky about fish, and anything too fishy is immediately off the list of foods I’ll eat.
When we happened upon the herring stand in the picture above, Cardin decided he had to try it.
I, of course, declined his generous offer to share his sandwich. (He kept trying to convince me that it tasted just like sushi—blah yeah right!)
I’d also like to point out that this is probably the only meal while traveling I’ve ever seen Cardin not finish.
He claims it was good and that he “just wasn’t hungry enough,” but I think he was still hoping to convince me to try it.
Along with the plethora of houseboats, one of the canals has a floating flower market!
I was excited to check it out since we were a couple of weeks too late to see the tulip fields, but it ended up being touristy.
This particular one was cute though, and it was fun checking out all of the tulip-themed merchandise.
Our next stop that day was to check out the famous “I amsterdam” sign!
It’s near all of the major museums in the city.
If you’ve been keeping up with my travel posts, then you know we’re not big museum fans, so we ended up skipping those and heading to the Heineken Brewery instead.
I know how could we possibly pass up endless rows of paintings for beer, right? 😉
My husband (being the major theme park fanatic that he is) was SO excited that the Heineken Experience has a “ride” in it.
Sadly he was a bit disappointed since it’s more of a walk through attraction than a ride, but it’s still a fun way of demonstrating how beer is brewed and bottled!
Most breweries include a free pint, and this one was no exception, but instead of serving it in a low key pub-like atmosphere, they offer it in a “bar” that was more of a club.
Complete with blaring music and green lights!
For anyone with hearing loss, loud music is frustrating since it makes it even more challenging to hear. Plus if you read “My Hearing Bucket List” post, (which you can read here), then you know that bass noises bother my ears.
So, overall, we had a lot of fun at the Heineken Experience, but wish the music at the end wasn’t quite so loud. Otherwise, it was great though, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area!
Alright, I’m not proud of the next two pictures, but I have to admit that we ate at the “Chipsy King” for dinner that night.
We filled up so much on beer and raw herring earlier that we didn’t have much of an appetite for dinner, so this is what we ended up eating!
Cardin and I are big mayo and french fries eaters, so we ordered the special, and it came topped with curry ketchup, mayo, and onions and was surprisingly good!
The next morning Cardin woke me up bright and early to take a train and a bus to one of the greatest theme parks we’ve EVER been to: Efteling.
Disney will still always be our favorite, but gosh this park was hard to beat!
They say its a park for all ages because it truly has something for everyone!
Apparently, it’s also a popular field trip spot because we were surrounded by elementary school kids. Thankfully the park is huge, so once we made it through the entrance, they were pretty well dispersed throughout the park.
The picture below is the group entrance—aka the field trip entrance full of screaming children.
The rides are so much fun, and the entire place feels like a beautiful garden, so you can relax and take a 20-minute boat ride when you get tired of walking.
They also have the sweetest storybook alley where they have different scenes from all of your favorite childhood bedtimes stories.
In 2017, the ride in the picture above was rated as the best new attraction in the world!
And it happens to be conveniently located next to a restaurant dedicated to yet another delicious local specialty: Dutch pancakes.
The restaurant even holds the Guinness world record for the tallest stack of pancakes!
Dutch pancakes are a lot like crepes, and you can order them with a variety of fillings.
Cardin ordered a bacon cheese one, and his had long strips of bacon in it rather than chopped up bacon as you’d expect.
I ordered Nutella banana—you can even see the full pieces of banana in it in the picture above.
Another entertaining (and slightly annoying) thing they have located throughout the park, is talking garbage cans.
The picture above shows one and you just throw the garbage in its mouth as it says funny phrases in Dutch. The problem is it talks even when waste isn’t going into its mouth, so it gets a bit old after a while.
One of the downsides to traveling so much at once is we end up booking things very last minute.
If you want to visit the Anne Frank House, you have to buy tickets online months in advance otherwise they will be completely sold out.
So, unfortunately, the only part of the house we got to see was the outside. It was still very surreal to be there though and think about what Anne Frank and her family went through.
These are some of the cutest houseboats we saw on our entire trip, and they’re located right outside of the Anne Frank House museum!
That afternoon we met up with one of our very sweet friends from Orlando who was working in the Netherlands for a few weeks.
We met her shortly after moving to Florida while seeing a musical. We were still figuring out how to navigate my hearing loss with things like plays and found out that they offer free hearing assistance devices. Christine was working the desk that night, and it turns out she is also deaf in her left ear, just like me! We instantly bonded and have kept up with her ever since.
We took a canal tour with her and had a delicious dinner together! She also introduced us to a couple of sugar-free Dutch dishes (although I still needed up eating a pancake).
After walking around the city with Christine, she introduced us to vending machine meals—like real meals that come from a vending machine. Not just your typical chips and candy offerings!
Quite a few people were ordering from them, so I’m assuming they must not be that bad!
Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities we’ve visited and easily one of our new favorite spots! We’d love to make it back there again one day even if it’s to re-stock our chocolate sprinkles supply. 😉
Click here to watch our Netherlands video along with our other vlogs!
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