Zandaam & Amsterdam

I finally managed to make it through my Europe pictures this past week! I even happened to start on our Wyoming pictures! Just in time for our Tahoe pictures!

Jon and I went to The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Austria for a total of 17 days in May-June. We booked our trip using SkyMiles for just over $500 total (we had to pay taxes and we also had to buy a few thousand miles). Our tickets were only 60,000 points a piece, which you can find occasionally on Delta to different locations. Iceland had been running at 60,000 points for awhile, so you just have to keep your eye out for those locations! We rented a car for our travel and stayed almost entirely in Airbnb rentals.

So, for the first trip recap, I picked Amsterdam! Honestly, Amsterdam has been the only city outside the US that I have ever felt like I could live in. I absolutely loved Amsterdam!

We got into Amsterdam in the late morning and had to work on our car rental, which took a little time. Jon was doing all of the driving since manuals are way cheaper to rent in Europe and I don’t drive manuals hardly ever (as in, I can barely even drive them).

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Once we finally managed to make it into Amsterdam, driving around all the many bikers (which was super stressful), we found a place to park and started walking! It was way colder than we had planned for in Amsterdam! I had thrown my tennis shoes in for any hiking and that hat was only there with us as a camera “case” in my carry-on! I was super thankful for that, cause I ended up wearing pretty much every layer I could throw on, plus those shoes for the entire trip too.

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I absolutely loved all the boats along the canal! People apparently live in them and we even saw one that was full of cats! What a life!

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If you notice at the tops of the buildings, there are hooks for pulleys on them. Since the buildings are so tall and narrow, the furniture can’t fit up the stairwells. We saw a few of the pulleys actually being used to pull furniture up into the houses.

That afternoon was spent walking around, having a beer (Jon), and then heading back to the car for an hour long drive to our hostel. From there, we did a big loop and ended up back in Amsterdam at the end of the trip!

Once we made made it back into Amsterdam at the end of the trip, we decided to stay in a little town north of there, Zandaam. Hotels and Airbnb in Amsterdam were expensive and we didn’t really want to spend $100 a night! But we ended up loving Zandaam too, so it was totally worth it! And it was an easy train ride out to Amsterdam.

The next few pictures are out exploring Zandaam on our first evening there! Zandaam was super small, quiet, and quaint. Apparently most of the people there have had their houses passed down to them. It was also really awesome to see what the inside of the traditional houses there look like, since they’re so narrow and tall. The staircases were no joke with our luggage.

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Below is a picture of one of the hotels there. It looked awesome and was right on par with the rest of the architecture right in that area (near the train station).
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After a little bit of exploring, we headed into Amsterdam. Jon and I were both interested in going to the Red Light District at night. I didn’t actually get any photos there at night since it’s kind of awkward taking photos of naked women in windows. But you basically just walk around and there are naked girls up for grabs in the windows. They apparently all just sit in their on their iPhones texting, but I guess some men are into distracted women. That night, Jon and I also went to watch a live sex show. I felt like it was just something we kind of had to do since where else are we ever going to see something like that?! It was actually kind of interesting and not sexy at all. And the same exact show repeats every hour, so I’m sure those people get bored with it. It was super staged. Not quite what I was expecting, but I was still glad we went! Since it was late when that ended, we headed back to Zandaam.

The next morning, we ended up going to Zaanse Schans, which is a little tourist area outside of Zandaam! I loved this place, aside from the crowds! The windmills were so awesome and they had cheese shops, wooden shoe shops, and all the traditional Holland type stuff!

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After our little excursion out to Zaanse Scans, we headed back into Amsterdam for the rest of the day. Again, we enjoyed just viewing the canals in the afternoon. We had planned on going to the Anne Frank museum, but tickets weren’t easy to buy online, so we waited till we got there. The line was insanely long, but below is a picture of where the museum is (it’s the more modern looking one by the church- but it’s hard to see on here). We decided we didn’t want to waste the day in line so we moved on! Also, you can see how close the cars park to the canals. There would literally be about 5 inches on the side of cars between the water, with no guardrails of any sort. It was crazy! I would never want to park there!

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What other place has condoms just hanging all over the place? Definitely a different vibe in Amsterdam with all the reefer shops and sex shops, but it’s just so widely accepted there that it seems so normal.

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And above is a smoke shop. They were really interesting to go in. They had a menu of different types of weed, with the price for a joint or for however much to take with you. It told what the weed was for (some were calming, some were happy, etc.) and you just pay them and can smoke in there or take it to go!

And that was pretty much it… We had to head back in the late afternoon to get our car to the airport in time, and then we spent the night at the airport for a super early flight back to the US!

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6 thoughts on “Zandaam & Amsterdam

  1. Everything looks so cute there! So colorful and pretty! I think I would be afraid of seeing a sex show haha, sounds interesting though! The dispenseries in CO are like that, they have blunts with prices on them or you could buy it by the ounces. Only thing is that you can’t smoke it in there and they are controlled environments. I have a few skymiles but none to get me anywhere. The points are based by prices so the higher the ticket fare is the more points you need. My job needs to keep me traveling so I can accumulate more haha.

    • We have an American Express SkyMiles card, so we spend ALL of our money on there! You can also get 50,000 points (a US flight is usually 40,000 max) just for opening it. And between Jon’s business expenses and our everyday spending, we rack up the miles! It’s the way to go for sure! The dispensaries are so weird! I forgot that it’s legal in CO!

  2. Amsterdam is probably the place I want to visit the most since I’m Dutch! Or at least I think I am, haha. I love all of those buildings! I definitely think it would be weird to go to the Red Light District at night though, especially since it’s so much more accepted there. Ahh, I love all of your pictures!

    • I actually never cared to go to Amsterdam and thought the big hubbub over it was just that you can smoke weed and go to the Red Light District, but I fell in love after seeing a lot of pictures of it. All of the Netherlands was AMAZING. I didn’t see any place in that country that I didn’t love. You definitely should go at some point! And Jon is Dutch too and they were all blonde haired, blue eyed people like him, haha.

  3. Gorgeous pics!! Amsterdam is beautiful and seedy all at the same time, haha! its been a long time since I visited (10years!!!!) I remember us taking a bike tour of the city which was fab but my legs hurt for the rest of the trip!!

    • It is kind of seedy, haha. But I think because it’s just the way of the country and it was just so beautiful that I absolutely loved it! I could have stayed there forever!

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