That’s what I basically did. For three days straight. I always longed to go to Amsterdam only to stroll around town and see the canals and beautiful houses and the reality did live up to the part. And oh my, did Jordaan was a sight for sore eyes, I fell in love, completely, it’s those kind of places that feel out of time, otherworldly, and completely enchanting.
I went alone this time around because I thought; I’m already living by myself in a foreign country, why would it be any different going to yet another country alone ? So I booked a ticket from Porto to Amsterdaaam and woke up at dawn to go catch my flight. What I loved most about traveling from Porto was that I was living right next to a metro station that had a direct line to the airport, so whenever I wanted to hop on a plane (and I hopped on LOTS of planes), it was an exact thirty minutes ride from my place to Francisco Sa Carneiro, which was a pretty airport that wasn’t always crowded (especially on weekdays), so I could go there an hour and a half before my flight and have all the time in the world to check in and even have a breakfast. It was a sweet life over there not gonna lie.
I also decided that I wanted to rent a place on Airbnb, I heard so much about Jordaan and I wanted to stay at one of those pretty little houses there, immerse myself in the neighborhood and get the full experience, instead of staying at a regular looking hotel. And that’s how I booked a room in a pretty house right on Lindengracht, a beautiful avenue in Jordaan. It was honestly, not gonna lie, one of the most beautiful stays in my life. I’m all about architecture and pretty houses, and Jordan is full of those. It was at first a neighborhood created in the 17th century for the less fortunate and immigrants (some from france, spain, portugal & england) who escaped their respective countries and found solace in this little neighborhood. Subsequently, the rent was cheap and the rooms extra small; knowing they were supposed to fit large families.
During the renovation of the neighborhood in the same century, city planners planned to demolish the houses and build block buildings instead, a project that was met by a vehement refusal from the inhabitants, who protested against it and won the case. They renovated the houses who kept the original character and Jordaan even became the neighborhood for artists and students who came for the cheap rent and the newfound charm of the area. Now it’s filled with little artisan shops, cute boutiques, coffee shops and brown pubs, a trademark of the 18th century. I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was when I was staying there, and I felt so very lucky and grateful to be able to see places like this in my little life. I feel like everything is fleeting, and as soon as we finish visiting some place, we’re right back on planning our next trip. And it’s good, to have motivation to see the world, but I just feel like sometimes we forget to soak everything in, and just be thankful to be able to travel at all.
Anyway back to Jordaan, thanks to my companion in travel Foursquare, I checked every place I wanted to visit beforehands, so I knew what I had to tick off my list. And I found out after checking their locations that each one of them was right around the corner, or just totally in front of my place. The perks of being in the happeniest place in Amsterdam.
I’m super fond of street markets, and I felt so happy to wake up saturday morning and find one right in front of my face when I went outside the house. So. Much. Cheese. I just did my shopping a few days before in Porto, so my suitcase was already full, but unless I decided to throw away my clothes, I had no other choice than to buy just a couple of artisanal cheeses, instead of buying the whole cheese market. That was a very sad and emotional moment for me to be completely honest.
A couple of streets away, there was another flea market, where I found bread I wish I could bake, and nice posters I’m sad I didn’t get. But Noordermarkt’s on my bucket list along with Brick lane, of markets to come back to because I need to raid them.
Another place outside my house, that did kickass berry juices and had this amazing live band playing on week ends. I loved sitting outside on the terrace and just chill, enjoy afternoon snacks and watch people go by. I once asked a guy to keep an eye on my mac while I went to the bathroom, and I peeped him outside the window standing in front of my stuff like it was a really serious job. He warned me after about thieves and Amsterdam being « really » dangerous sometimes, I said thanks and figured he clearly didn’t know where I came from.
A tiny coffeeshop where people like to hang outside and sit absolutely wherever, even on the floor. That’s a common trait in Amsterdam; of people sitting on the floor and on window nooks and looking so casual and liberated and stuff. Amsterdam is basically the capital for hipsters (I have yet to go to Portland to do the comparison). I had an amazing whipped cream, with a side of apple pie, because that’s apparently how they do around there.
Croissanterie de Oude Brug
Tiny place I stumbled upon in Amsterdam Centrum, if I ever make a waffle as good as this one, my life would be fulfilled.
The most famous place to eat the most famous dutch apple pie. According to both the internet and people on the street I chatted with. Well it depends on the taste, some prefer the one at Papeneiland, others swear by Winkel. Well I went there and didn’t have some. I like how I’m rebellious sometimes and make stupid life decisions.
I also went again on a rainy afternoon to watch the Mindy project and sip a cup of english breakfast. The little joys in life.
Pancakes ! Amsterdam
I had a magnificent breakfast at Pancakes ! (I love the exclamation point in their name). My body needed something salty so I went with the vegetarian pancake – that’s what I would personally call a crepe but to each their own I guess – but my heart longed for the gorgeous sweet ones I saw being served around. Another reason to come back to Amsterdam. At this point anything can be a reason to come back to Amsterdam.
The mainstream consumer in me could not not go to Urban Outfitters (I sometimes fall prey to capitalism like that) but that’s where I copped my beloved Tommy Hilfigher tees. I feel so cool whenever I have one of them on, the 90’s kid I am rests happy.
I could go on and on about the places I went to but this article would be never ending and I’ll bore myself to death, I’ll just finish up by saying that it’s a very romantic city, so you could take yourself out there or someone you love, and I promise you won’t regret it.