After London, I had to make a quick trip to Amsterdam for work and decided to stay the weekend to explore a new city. Amsterdam is stunning! I loved every second of it and cannot believe my good luck at the perfect weather. Since the sun was out, I tried to spend as much time outside as possible. My first stop was Amstelpark which was across the street from my office - it had playgrounds, animals (mini horse!!), cafes and sculptures. Next up was wandering around Vondelpark before heading to see the famous canals - the historic area of town is gorgeous! I spent quite a bit of time at the Rijksmuseum (so many amazing pieces but also so many weird portraits) as well as the gardens right outside.
One of the most memorable and meaningful stops on my trip was the Anne Frank Museum. It was a long time to wait for tickets (over two hours) but so worth it. The museum is incredibly well done and does an amazing job of telling the heartbreaking story. It is unbelievable that eight people had to live in those dark and cramped conditions in constant fear for their lives for so long - a very sobering experience. I needed some time to think after leaving the museum so I headed to Begijnhof to sit in the garden awhile before wandering through the Bloemenmarkt (not really tulip season but there were still a few).
For work I stayed at the Novotel which was close to the office (in the CBD) rather than in the historic area of town. It was a great hotel however when I was on my own I stayed at The Hoxton which was gorgeous! The rooms are beautifully designed and there's a large cafe, restaurant, bar on the lower level where I ate a ton of meals because the food was so good (and they had Frose! #blessed #basic). Besides The Hoxton restaurant, I ate at the Cannibale Royal bar and restaurant one night (delicious!) and made sure to walk through the Albert Cuyp Market for a Stroopwafel (a bit too sweet for me - couldn't finish it all). On my last night I decided that there was no better way to end my trip to Amsterdam than to eat dinner under the De Gooyer windmill. Amsterdam was one of my top 3 favorite trips of the year - cannot wait to go back at some point.