Tuesday was our last full day in Amsterdam, and we left our footprints all over the city that day, zipping from one end of town to the other and back again, several times over, to eat/sight-see/eat/sight-see, etc.

We started the day at the Albert Cuyp market, after hearing from several people that this huge outdoor bazaar is a destination for tourists and locals alike. I expected to find stall after stall of fine, hand-made Dutch goods, and a good smattering of delicious food stands stocked with brightly colored produce, but was surprised to find that the market’s offerings were more of the discount-bin genre, with hot deals on everything from toothpaste to leather boots. Bright colors came in the form of wigs and leggings, rather than berries and squash. We didn’t stick around long, deciding we’d rather spend the morning checking out a few of the sights at the north end of town.

We took the tram north, just past the train station, and hopped out to check a few somewhat recent additions to Amsterdam’s contemporary architecture scene. Amsterdam really does feel like the best of both worlds, architecture-wise – perfectly preserved centuries-old buildings, and new, exciting projects that blaze new trails rather than trying to mimic the old. I didn’t love every modern building we saw, but I appreciated the willingness to innovate and make bold architecural statements. We could use a little more of that in Seattle…

Music Building on the IJ by 3XN:

Public Library by Jo Coenen:

NEMO Science Center by Renzo Piano:

And to walk just a couple of blocks from this crazy new modern stuff and still find this rich, charming, old stuff – that’s pretty cool.

Building-gazing had made us hungry, so we trammed over to the city center for lunch at Cafe de Jaren. Hot tomato soup and a toasted cheese sandwich (with chevre, honey, and thyme – mmm…) never tasted so good. We were re-fueled and ready for more. We headed south to what I assume is Amsterdam’s business district, filled with interesting new skyscrapers:

The Rock by Erick van Egaraat:

Tower with crazy outdoor staircase:

I loved these fun vertical fins on the back-side of an other-wise simple building. These pops of color are such a good surprise, especially in a climate as gray and rainy as Amsterdam’s (again, we could use more of this in Seattle):

Architecture appetite whetted, we headed back into town to do a little more canal-side strolling. Unfortunately, the high winds had given way to a steady rain, and we were starting to feel chilled. And damp. And possibly a bit cranky. The solution? Dutch apple pie topped with an insane mound of whipped cream, paired with a steaming cup of tea. One bite of this beauty from Cafe Papaneiland in the Jordaan neighborhood, and all was right with the world again.

We hung out in the cafe for over an hour, actually enjoying the rain (rather than cursing it) from our warm, cozy window-side table. As tempted as I was to stay there all day, we did want to do a bit more exploring, so we buttoned up our rain-jackets, grabbed our umbrella, and went back at it:

We ended our walk with dinner at Lion Noir, a French-inspired restaurant near Rembrandtplein that was only so-so, but followed that with one of the best desserts ever from Cafe Morlang (we had our first meal in the city at this place on Saturday and thought it would be a fitting way to end our trip). A hot waffle topped with honey, star anise ice cream, and fresh mangos; a head full of pleasant Dutch memories; and the certainty that someday, we will be back; and we said our bittersweet goodbye to charming Amsterdam.


  1. la v says:

    beautiful pics kelly!

  2. Michelle says:

    wow, what a cool mix of old and new! thanks for sharing!!