While planning our trip to Amsterdam and France in January our first thought was – should we even go to Amsterdam in the winter? Everyone knows that Amsterdam is wonderful in the summer. Beer by the canal, beautiful weather, picnics in the park.. it all sounds incredible. But we ended up going there in the throes of winter, Jan of 2018, and cannot recommend it enough! Here’s a quick glimpse into our three day sojourn in Amsterdam and what we loved the most about our trip.
Firstly, crowd or no crowd, Amsterdam is gorgeous ! But while planning our trip we had heard horror stories of never ending queues to enter the various museums or The Anne Frank House, but going in the off season really worked for us since we were greeted with surprisingly short wait times and a rather intimate experience in all of these places. Apart from the more prominent attractions, even just walking through the city streets, which is our favourite thing to do wherever we go, was just so much more enjoyable without large crowds to navigate through.
Tip : Even if you do go in the winter, wait times are a little more over the weekend while almost negligible on weekdays. Also, The Anne Frank House has recently mandated that you book a slot online before visiting. It’s a simple click away and makes the whole experience seamless!
Since we aren’t used to such cold weather in India, we were really wondering how we were going to survive this holiday, much less fully enjoy this city, with these incredibly low temperatures. ( The average temperatures were between 0 and 4 degrees celsius in the day) But since we were going ahead to do a ski trip in the French Alps next (more on that in our next blog post) we were ridiculously over-prepared and we have come to realise that the right pair of thermals, water proof winter boots and a good down jacket can pretty much keep you going all day. We managed to walk around all day (despite landing into Amsterdam in the middle of a winter storm!) something we thought we just wouldn’t be able to do, and were able to really enjoy the city without completely freezing over ! Also there was something so fun about wearing these long coats and caps and scarves, something we never get to do back home. 🙂
Ok so food is a huge part of our travels. Huge. Pavan is the one who researches all the food we absolutely cannot leave any place without trying. And for Amsterdam, he had two weeks worth of meals listed out for our three day trip. We literally ate our way through Amsterdam ! And there is something about eating hot food on a cold day. More on that coming up in a separate post. Our favourites ? The Ibericus Sandwich for Pavan and Poffertjes for me. Divine !
Tip : Do not miss going to the Food Hallen. It’s a beautifully curated food space with this great vibe and even better food and drinks.
Yes. Chocomel is chocolate milk. And no we did not take Kabir with us. Chocomel is probably the best version of chocolate milk we have had. Ever. Pavan loved it cold, while I loved mine hot. With Rum. There is no better feeling than stepping out of the cold into a toasty, cozy little pub and ordering a hot chocomel and rum. It’s as if you’ve entered a grown up Enid Blyton world. Or Harry Potter.
So we were lucky to be there for the last few days of the Amsterdam Light Festival. It’s a month long exhibit showcasing several artists and one of the ways to see it is via boat. So of course we bundled ourselves into various layers of clothing and set off on a 7 pm cruise. One word. Brrrrrr. We came back human popsicles. But was a beautiful and calming boat ride despite the crazy weather.
And now our favourite part of the trip. We absolutely love exploring any new city on foot. We also love taking all kinds of local transport to really feel the vibe of the place. Amsterdam is so pedestrian friendly it’s amazing. Except for the cyclists. Beware. They have no mercy. It took Pavan almost 3 missed accidents to realise he cannot walk around like he does back home ! But walking through the narrow lanes, through various neighbourhoods like The Jordaan (where incidentally we discovered chocomel with Rum in this cozy little pub), taking the tram through the city or just sitting in Vondel Park (despite the temperatures) was surreal.
Going to Amsterdam in winter turned out to be a wonderful experience. We honestly went there not knowing what to expect but cold or no cold we sure did leave with some warm memories.