Netherlands Day 4 & 5: all the side stories

“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.” L. Frank Baum

As hard as it is to be writing about days 4 and 5, it was harder to realize my time in the Netherlands was coming to a close! It had been a relaxing trip and yet suddenly it was almost over!

What better way to spend the last full day in Amsterdam than to immerse myself in its history, which I did at Rijksmuseum.  These three-dimensional pieces were my faves from the morning (just a couple of close ups as they were tough to photograph) because they reminded me of a form of artwork my Grammer used to create.  She was really talented at creating this built-up style of art with layers of the same photo.  Does anyone know what I mean or what they’re called? Mainland Mom if you’re reading this: is there a way to post a picture in the comments? (My Mom has several of these gorgeous pieces that my Grammer made).

After a few glorious hours there, I took a break for a light lunch. I walked across the city to connect with a friend of a friend. So, quick side story: a dear friend from Canada grew up in the Netherlands.  A dear friend of HIS who he grew up with runs a business in Amsterdam, so he connected the two of us through social media and we arranged a meet up.  Side note to the side story: if you’re in Amsterdam and love purses, check out her stores, Étoile de Saint Honoré – Luxury Vintage.  She also has some really neat vintage pieces, so I enjoyed looking around her store as we prepared to head across the street to a lovely cafe where she so kindly treated me to a tea and a treat.  It was so neat to visit a country I’d never been to and have a friendly face to meet up with! 

After our visit, I went back to the museum and spent a few more hours wandering around.  I love the unique length, opulent red velvet and ornate detail in this 18th century daybed.  Some of the galleries are open and sparsely furnished so that each piece stands out, while others (below right) are packed showcases that overwhelm your senses.  You can definitely spend more than a day at this museum and be far from taking it all in!

After a bit of downtime at the hotel and a quick nap, I decided to make the most of my final evening.  After a bit of research on my travel-fave TripAdvisor, I found The Pantry, a restaurant known for serving traditional Dutch fare.

The Pantry offered a fantastic range of traditional dutch dishes, including three that stood out to me, each served with either a meatball or a smoked sausage:

Hutspot (mashed potatoes mixed with stewed beef, carrots and onions),
Boerenkoolstamppot ( mashed potatoes mixed with kale), and
Zuurkoolstamppot ( mashed potatoes mixed with sauerkraut)

I went with the Combination meal, which offered a sampling of hutspot, boerenkool- AND zuurkoolstamppot. Total tourist win when you’re travelling solo and still want to try all of the things!  I asked the server to surprise me with choice of side (the sausage or a meatball) and he brought sausage, explaining that two of the three dishes are most traditionally served that way, and only one usually comes with a meatball. Hutspot was definitely my fave!  And though I wasn’t in the mood for alcoholic beverages, I splurged on three non-alcoholic options, because why not!  And you guessed it- I was far too busy eating to take any pictures!

Well-hydrated and full to the brim, I walked back to the hotel via a new route to see as much as I could take in.  I found myself alone at the IAmsterdam sign (no small miracle) and snapped a few quick pictures before going to the hotel and packing my bags.

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One last evening walk through Amsterdam

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Just me and the sign!

Of course, moments after this selfie, people showed up- so this was the money shot!

Day 5.. well, it wasn’t really a day.  I woke up, had a quick early breakfast at the hotel and then gathered my luggage to head to the airport.  I should have known my klutziness would catch up with me… the elevator was down that morning and I had to walk down 4 flights of very steep Amsterdam stairs, carrying my luggage. I was doing great, right up until I fell down the last 3 stairs. Ugh. 

But let’s focus on the positives of hurting my knee as I left the city and had to hobble from end to end of the airport: they gave me a VIP ride to the gate once I was through security, and then a wheelchair on the London end which whizzed me to the front of the line at customs and right to the pick up spot where I’d ordered my Uber (no carrying my luggage up and down stairs of the London underground system for this lady!). I think a minor injury at the end of the trip isn’t so bad 😉

With that, my first ever solo trip was over, I was home lightly-bruised but happy.  I can’t wait to do it again!

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