Midway through our trip, Justin and I planned a two-day visit to Amsterdam. Along with Justin’s dad, Chris, we took the train from Den Haag and once we arrived, it didn’t take long to feel like we could have stayed for two weeks!
Our first stop was at the Maritime Museum or Het Scheepvaartmuseum , which was a delight of wonder. First we stepped onto an exact replica of the Dutch East India Company ship the Amsterdam. It seemed to me such a great adventure to brave a cross-Atlantic flight and come to Holland; I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like to sail for days and days on a ship like this, perhaps to parts unknown. What an enormous amount of courage and fortitude! Perhaps that’s another reason that I found these ship decorations hauntingly beautiful.
The museum has a gorgeous exhibit of nautical instruments. I found the display spell-binding. The walls sparkled with constellations and accompanied by great explanations of how sailors used the stars to navigate. The beautiful presentation evoked a sense of mystery and wonder.
The museum also housed an impressive collection of marine paintings and again, you could feel how deeply Holland’s history and culture is tied to ships and the sea. It was fascinating that alongside this work, there was an interactive exhibit of the port as it is today, including information about actual ships and the jobs they currently do
After the Maritime Museum, Chris left us to our own devices and we spent some time simply walking , taking in Amsterdam.
We stopped for pannenkoeken and some coffee and started to think about what we might want to do during our stay.
Time to get settled and drop our stuff off in our hotel. What a delight! We booked just a few days before and risked a no-cancellation reservation to get a good price for our stay. It was our one night in the city and we wanted to pick somewhere that felt special and Sebastian’s certainly did.
Confident Traveller Hotel Recommendation: Hotel Sebastian’s in Amsterdam. We were absolutely delighted by every aspect of our experience at Sebastian’s. It’s on a lovely tree-lined canal street a bit away from the city crowds. From the moment we arrived, the staff was friendly, helpful and had great recommendations. The room was exactly as pictured on their website. It was beautiful, clean, comfortable and quiet with a great view.
One of the things Justin and I truly delight in when travelling is simply walking. We love walking through a city and getting a feel for it, looking at the buildings, the businesses, taking in the people, the fashions, the pace. Walking is a great way to get a sense of what a city is all about.
And besides, it’s the best way to find cats!
We walked down to the Amsterdam flower market and I wanted to bring everything home! Maybe that was my inspiration for planting tulip bulbs as soon as I got home!
After a full afternoon of walking in the city, it was just perfect to sit in our hotel room, open the big, beautiful windows and pour ourselves some chilled champagne. Thank you, Sebastian’s, for making our special time in Amsterdam even more magical!
The hotel also gave us a list of recommendations of nearby restaurants, ones that are off the tourist path. We chose De Belhamel and the concierge made us a reservation. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Belhamel managed to be both lively and intimate, cozy and romantic and the food was very, very good! Midway through the evening it struck me that this was exactly the evening I had dreamed of having in Paris but here it was in Amsterdam. My heart was full of gratitude and love.