Monday, February 23, 2009

Amsterdam



I returned yesterday from a four day trip to Amsterdam. As I met my Cat there we tend to go every February and celebrate our anniversary.

The last years we stayed at the Winston Hostel in the red light district, but last years experience was so bad that we looked for something new this time.

We found the Sunhead 1617, which is a nice small B&B in the centre of town. I tried to book the red room, which has views of the canal, but because of some confusion we ended up in the yellow room. I suggest you book early and get the red room, because our room contained some kind of boiler which was extremely annoying. And bring backpacks instead of a suitcase, because the stairs really are steep. Otherwise the B&B was perfect, the rooms was nicely decorated, the bed comfy, the breakfast was very good with home made jams and fruit yogurt. Our host Carlos was also very nice, even though we annoyed him on the first day by getting up at eleven for a very late breakfast.

Amsterdam tends to be a bit wet and cold at this time of the year and this was no exception. But it gave me a good excuse to spend most of the time shopping, in coffees and restaurants. The shops seemed even better than the last time, but maybe that was because of the area around the Sunhead. Here are some of the restaurants we checked out:

wagamama: I can't keep Cat away from wagamama and the chicken chilli ramen were perfect as usual. But the raw juice seemed a bit on the orange juice side and the raw salad was a disappointment. I really have to learn how to make the salad from their cookbook and maybe they should have to look into that one too. The service wasn't very good either, but it was very crowded.

Top Thai: This one was recommended by Carlos and it excellent. The food was near perfect and the restaurant is also pretty small and cosy. There are obviously a lot of asian restaurants in Amsterdam, but I think this one belongs to the top.

Some pancake restaurant in the center: I can't remember the name now, but it wasn't any good anyway, neither the service or the food. If you like pancakes I would recommend the Pancake Bakery, which is much nicer.

De Struisvogel: A tiny romantic restaurant which serves a three course set dinner which includes a very good ostrich steak. I had a homemade poultry pate with bruchetta and then a flemish stew, both very tasty. The stew was a bit on the salty side, but maybe that is just me.

None of the restaurants allowed smoking, which was a nice change from Barcelona, where the smoking ban is not enforced enough. I personally can't understand why anyone would allow smokers in their restaurants and just hope this will be sorted out in Barcelona soon too.

I think next time we should go in the summer, so we can see a bit more of the city and the parks. And I also want to check out some of the museums if they every finish the renovation of the main ones.

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