cheesemuseumIf you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, and you should, here is the perfect packing guide:
Tennis shoes
Toothbrush
Empty suitcase

Dubai has its shopping festival, NewYork City has Madison and Fifth Avenues but Amsterdam was the first city I have ever visited that made me want to go shopping. The narrow cobblestone streets filled with rows of unique shops, restaurants and town homes seemed more like a village than a large city. Street after street, shop after shop, there were exciting new discoveries around every corner.

bikesStaying at the Hotel Pulitzer was a real treat. It is one of those quaint yet elegant hotels right on one of the many canals that line the city. My host for the stay suggested I visit the Anne Frank house located on the same street just two blocks away. Depending on the time of year and time of day there can be long lines to get into the Frank House and so she suggested I check it out early, possibly buy a ticket for a convenient time so that I wouldn’t have to stand in line as much. When I got to the site there were only a few people in line so I jumped in and went through the tour first thing.

I had read the book as a young girl and highly recommend reading it, or re-reading it before your visit. Stepping behind the bookcase that swiveled open to reveal the doorway and narrow stairway to Anne’s hiding place was chilling. From that point in tour there is a palpable sorrow that is still felt in the house even today.

After the tour I met up with my group and we had our series of meetings at the Hotel Pulitzer. The next day I joined one of the locals from the meeting and walked down the street to wonderful little restaurant for a glass of fresh mint tea and some pumpkin soup. From there we walked past one cute little shop after another. Each little shop and little restaurant had their own unique reason to stop by and visit for awhile.

Amsterdam claims approximately 6 million bikes in the town. I watched grandmothers, parents with children in bike seats, and girls riding side saddle on the bikerack on the back of their friends bikes talking as though there was no peril in this proposition. All of them without a single bike helmet, even on the kids.

soupWith a few more days in Amsterdam I would have loved to visit the Rikjmuseum where they display paintings from the Dutch Masters. Amsterdam is a city that you want to savor like that pumpkin soup; in a relaxed pace with a friend.

Suggested reading:

Before your trip to Amsterdam be sure to read:
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Fault in our Stars
The Girl with the Pearl Earing

And be sure to read every article written by Abroad Travelingmom about Amsterdam

* This trip to Amsterdam was sponsored by SpilGames