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The Netherlands | AMSTERDAM

We were in Amsterdam a long time ago but it is always good to go back. It is an opportunity to see something that we had missed and discover the new areas that are developing rapidly in cosmopolitan cities like this.

Hotel Casa Amsterdam is the cheapest we could find even if it is a bit far from the centre, however, it is located only 10 minutes from the subway. It is very cute, colourful, and minimal, and has a library and a cafeteria. That’s everything we need!

Although it is the third time in the city, the enthusiasm is the same as the first. We immediately get lost in the narrow streets to visit the flower market. Boats cross the canals while we admire – inexplicably still amazed – the typical narrow, long and crooked houses that are bathed in water.

De Negen Straatjes are exactly as we remembered them, full of trendy shops and cafés, with bikes chained to iron bridges with flower pots. From the large glass windows, one can sneak a peek into the daily life of those who live with a view of the canals and one surely can fantasize about how a local lives. The summer sun illuminates the streets and shops windows with a warm light that gives the area a truly romantic atmosphere.

We enjoy everything: the sunset, the whizzing bicycles and the slow rippling of the water.

On the second day, we visit the open-air National Holocaust Names Memorial, an installation in glass and reddish bricks on which the names of dead Jews are written. White stones are placed at the foot of this evocative commemorative work, while the mirrors above it reflect the clear sky.

The sky turns grey and we take refuge in the colours of the Dos Hortus – the botanical garden – among flowers and plants from all over the world. A picture after another, we pretend to be explorers hunting for dinosaurs as if we were children. We observe the butterflies and get lost in the thick vegetation enclosed by the glass.

At lunch, we reach the Plantage district and sit at the Box Social table to enjoy delicious American reinterpretations in a true Hipster atmosphere. Not far from here is a square with a restaurant close to the Zoo. Families have lunch while the children play undisturbed in the fountain. We leave behind the noises of sceptical animals and enthusiastic children and skirt the former port, where there are old warehouses re-styled as brick apartments.

Back in the city centre, we reach the Museumkwartier, skip the Rijks Museum and enjoy the Stedelijk, the museum of contemporary art. After seeing Nijntje Miffy bunnies everywhere I decided that I had to buy one in corduroy, so I convince Gio that it would make the Manga corner of our studio cosier and, eventually I get Miffy as a gift.

After dinner and in the evening, we sit down at a table to casually enjoy some local entertainment with two light weed joints – since we are not used to it at all.

On Sunday morning we jump on the metro to enjoy the market and the relaxed atmosphere of De Pijp. A street musician plays soothing tunes on the piano, the market is buzzing and the sun is shining as bikes zip along the streets lined with delightful cafes, flowers and trendy shops. Before it gets too crowded we order toast with poached eggs for two at Dignità.

We enjoy a relaxing stroll in the huge green lung of the city, walking in the Vondelpark where the locals enjoy the summer day hanging with friends, having food and reading a good book.

We calmly reach the Zevenlandenhuizen, seven houses inspired by the design of seven countries, where we take some photos. Then we continue to the canals, we dedicate ourselves to the latest purchases and then we sip a fresh iced coffee in the late afternoon sun.

For dinner we order pasta and pizza at Eddy Spaghetti, an Italian bistro close to the hotel, it seemed to us the right Italian way to say goodbye to Amsterdam. Because while we’d love to stay longer, it’s time for us to pack up and go home.


GETTING AROUND: In the city, you can get around on foot, by bike or with the surface metro. The metro is punctual and allows you to reach all the main places. If you are travelling from Italy, Ryanair is always the cheapest option.

SLEEPING: We stayed at the Hotel Casa Amsterdam. Although it is not in a central area, it is trendy, comfortable and cheaper than other options. The hotel offers a very expensive buffet breakfast for around €20, but there is a cafeteria – on the ground floor – where you can have an Italian breakfast – coffee or cappuccino and a large selection of international pastries. The hotel is located 5/8 minutes walk away from the metro.

EATING: If you are not satisfied with a sandwich, lunch and dinner in the city are not cheap, especially if you choose trendy places. The budget per couple is around €35/50.

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