If you’re following me on Instagram, you likely will know that Kammy and I spent the last two weeks galavanting around Italia! But, what you may have missed is that we had a quick 12 hour layover…
* travel OOTD (excuse my dusty mirror and the terrible lighting, it was an EARLY flight!)
When booking this trip my travel agent (click here for contact info) gave us two options: a shorter travel day with a 3 hour layover in Rome or we could fly through the night and have a 12 hour stop in Amsterdam. Neither myself or my friend / travel buddy, Kammy, had been to the Dam before so we took this as an opportunity to check it off our bucket list. From what we knew, the bikes, canals, and the infamous/ controversial red light district had us intrigued.
Let me take you to the very beginning… TO, the 6ix. Since we couldn’t select our seats when checking in at the beginning of our trip, our first order of business (after our first glass of wine) was to find a kiosk and select our seats. Because the fight was much longer than we anticipated, and Kammy was stuck in a middle seat, we looked into upgrading. To our surprise, it only cost us $58 CAD… we looked at each other and grabbed our credit cards. Extra leg room, extra snacks, swipe (DOWN) lol.
I knew Kammy and I would get along great when she opted to sit behind me knowing that we both prefer the window seat. I was relieved that we shared the same mindset when it came to travelling. Ya’ll know EVERYONE wants the window seat. Especially when you’re looking at an eight hour flight… that’s a FULL work day. If you’re travelling with someone, make sure you choose a buddy that is comfortable enough to say “hey, we both want a window, let’s sit one behind the other.” In these circumstances, comfort and convenience trumps friendship politeness. I feel like this set the tone for the rest of the trip. Both of us felt comfortable being direct and that there is a time and place to be selfish.
*Stay tuned for a full blog post on how to choose the perfect travel buddy #comingsoon
Since I’ve been divulging all the details, I can’t leave out the part where as soon as the wheels went up, I ordered a glass of vino, pressed play on Big Little Lies, and next thing you know the credits are rolling on epi 7 and the Amsterdam skyline is in view. As for Kammy, a couple head nods and thumbs up and all was good in 36 and 37 A.
Upon early morning (think 6am) arrival, we hit the bathroom, freshened up and then set out to find the lockers my travel agent suggested. To your surprise, I don’t travel light LOL the lockers were clutch. We ended up finding them no problem, they were big enough for both of us to store our stuff in and were super cheap…I wanna say it came to like 8 Euro for 12 hours.
First things first, I must give a shoutout to the people of Amsterdam. They were hands down the most friendly people we have ever met when it comes to international travel. They were warm, welcoming, and would go out of their way to ensure we knew where we were going, what to do, and how to get there.
We took the train to downtown, total cost 4 Euro. From there, we hopped on a bus that would take us close to a pancake house that I googled. Fortunately, the bus stopped and we were immersed in Amsterdam rush hour. Men and women dressed in work attire, I’m talking skirts, sky high heels, and suits, on their bikes commuting to work. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. I can count on one hand how many vehicles I saw… awesome!
We made our way to Moak, a highly recommend breakfast spot. It was everything we wanted and more. We shared two stacks: a sweet and savoury and polished them both off. If you are ever in Amsterdam you MUST stop here. To my surprise, there was no line but inside we met many other international travellers who stopped in for a good stack.
After breakfast, we walked a couple blocks until we stumbled upon a bike rental place. We rented two bikes, 10 Euro each, and set out to explore the streets. Amsterdam is pretty small and very easy to navigate through. Bikes are by far the best way to get around and see the most of the city. We were told by our server to check out The Nine Streets where we would find lots of boutiques and antique shops. Kammy and I both bought a pair of shoes and did a bunch of window shopping. Of course, we couldn’t leave without checking out the infamous Red Light District. It was everything you would imagine, but also left us feeling weird… it’s hard to imagine something like this still exists.
The 12 hours encompassed everything we wanted: riding bikes over the canals, taking a million photos, shopping, red light district, and chatting with locals. We stopped early evening to grab a bite and may have fallen asleep at the table. Tired but happy, we made our way back to the airport to catch our connection.
Typically, you dread a layover. This was by far the BEST way to use it to your advantage. Don’t automatically associate a layover with trech. If planned correctly, they can allow you to see more of this beautiful world!
A special thanks to our travel agent, Heather, for the wonderful suggestion!
Stay tuned for our next stop… Florence!