Friday, July 5, 2013

Amsterdam - interesting and beautiful in so many ways


Although our final destination was Barcelona, our stopover was actually in Amsterdam because we flew with KLM. Since neither of us ever been there, I decided to purchase tickets with a long layover (ours was about 6 hours).

KLM is also known as Royal Dutch Airline with their headquarter based in Amsterdam. The aircraft which we were on had standard seat and a remote control entertainment system. Overall service was pretty good, I didn't have any major issues.
The food was actually decent, although some lacked flavor like the pasta above. The chicken curry R had was delicious for airline food.
Amsterdam city center was only a 20min train ride away from Schipol airport. The train station was also directly attached to the airport, so getting to the city was a breeze. If you have 4 or more hours, definitely check out the city. This is what Amsterdam is famous for: their grand canals. It's so beautiful with rolls of blooming trees along the sides and tons of bikes lining the sides.
The canals are so clean as well, just look at the pretty swans swimming inside.
The Dam Square is the center of the city surrounded by old buildings. This square is hugely popular with tourist and pigeons. :P

Although the city is famous for canals, there is just one thing that really stands out about this city, and that is their legalization of marijuana. There are tons of  'coffee shops' lining the sides of the canals, where they serve  different varieties of marijuana. Despite being legal here, more than 70% of it is exported out of the country. Take a guess where it's going to. According to a tour guide, it's all going to Italy, I guess that's why Italians are always smiling and so friendly. :D 
Of course, the 2nd famous thing about Amsterdam must be their red light district. Since prostitution is legal there, this sector of the city is entirely dedicated just for that purpose. There were all sorts of girls dressed in lingerie standing or sitting inside glass doors or windows. Since no photography is allowed, you will just have to use your imagination here base on above picture or actually visit the city yourself. ;)
Febo is a mostly self served fast food chain found in Amsterdam. With only a few hours in the city, we decided touring was more important, thus opt to try this place. They are pretty popular, as we saw quite a few branches.
Most of their food items are kept in these self serve warmers. Each item's name and description is listed on top in both Dutch and English. The prices are displayed above on a digital screen, which range from  €1-3
Because the machines only take coins, they had install change machine as well. As you can see they do sell stuff over the counter, it was mostly drinks, fries and fried chicken.
The above is called Bami, which is a deep fried roll with noodle and vegetables. The flavor profile is similar to Asian stir fry. We also tried several other items, which all are just average in taste, but very interesting concept. 90% of their food are deep fried. 
Europeans are really keen on drinking fresh juices, as we saw it almost in every city. They are mostly  €1-2/cup. The juices are either made with one or two fruits, and they taste quite fresh (not necessarily goods, because some combinations just don't work.)
R was really interested to try the herring after watching The Amazing Race. During the show they ate raw pickle herring, but he wasn't that adventurous, so he opt for a raw herring sandwich with pickles. He said it was actually pretty good, it's similar to sashimi, except instead of rice you have bread, and instead of wasabi, you have pickle and onions. :P
After trying a few things at Febo, I wasn't very full, so I just had to try this delicious strawberry custard croissant. The cream was rich and flavorful and the strawberries were a prefect balance of tartness and sweetness. The croissant was flaky and buttery.
European people are so environmentally friendly and care about your health, because you got to work for your charge (LOL). You literally have to pedal when charging any electronic devices at Schipol Airport.

Amsterdam was certain a city worth visiting, I just wish we had more time. The beautiful canals are more than enough reason for R and I to come back someday. So if you are looking for a travel destination, definitely keep this place in mind. 


Anonymous September 1, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Am really really enjoying your blog! Fantastic photos &
engaging snappy writing. Thank you very much!

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