Last year, we had a long layover in Amsterdam. It was not enough. I fell in love with the canals, cobbled streets, and culture. I knew I needed to go back, so when we stumbled on a cheap, direct flight that got us there during tulip season, we were sold.
Since it was my spring break and I needed a less complicated trip, we decided to make Amsterdam our base and explore from there for six whole days. Here is the break down of our time in Amsterdam — an amazing and very gluten-free friendly city!
9:20 — We arrived! Alfred, our Airbnb host, met us at the airport after his own flight landed. He patiently waited for us when our airplane taxied for the LONGEST time, then translated signs when the credit card readers weren’t working for train tickets. I’ve rarely felt the need for translation in the Netherlands, but on this day his expertise was appreciated. Of course, Alfred did all of this while casually pulling a bright pink rolling luggage with a broken handle and telling us countless facts about the city.
**Note: I love Airbnb and the locals it puts you in contact with.**
1:30 — Alfred had an extensive knowledge of the city as well as our canal house which was built in 1580. Perhaps if I had slept in 36 hours, I would remember some of the things he told us but regretfully I missed most of his lesson while in my fog.
Alfred prepared extensive recommendation so we looked in his book for the closest food. We hopped across the canal to grab a quick bite at Louie’s. It had to be a bunless burger for me and Helen (my gluten-free travel buddy) but I was too hungry to care. And in the end the burger was so well flavored and delicious that it really didn’t matter. The rest of our group was really impressed by their sandwiches and perfect G&Ts (just the right balance of cucumber and pepper). Perfect start.
6:00 — After a nap, showers, and some relaxation, we headed out to dinner at Stout. It was a restaurant we knew from our first visit, so it was an easy choice when we had just landed. The meal was delicious. We didn’t do the tasting menu this time around but the individual dishes were impressive. Many gluten-free options with staff that were very gluten aware and knowledgeable.
After dinner we grabbed groceries at Marqt, a great organic food chain with multiple locations. It is full of gluten-free options!
Our walk back through our quiet neighborhood at sunset was a perfect welcome to the city.
Day One — City Day
We woke up and it was over 60 degrees, blue skies, and perfection outside. We scratched our original plans for the day and focused on activities that would keep us outside.
11:48 — We finally set out for breakfast at Vennington, a recommendation from our hosts. This would be a common theme for getting out in the morning. Always book two showers when you have six people in a house! Vennington had eggs and bacon which always work for me. Their smoothies were amazing!
While at breakfast, we decided to head out to seek a boat tour. The last time we visited, we took a tour with Those Dam Boat Guys. I read Nomadic Matt for recommendations and learned that near the Red Light district it’s often easy to find boats for hire by the hour. We didn’t want to get stuck on the large tour boats full to the brim of people listening to head sets, so we set out to search for the alternative.
12:52 — Found our boat tour! It was a canal cruise in an open air, medium-sized boat for 15 euro an hour with unlimited drinks and a toilet. While on the boat, we quickly made friends with people around us from Brazil and England. The unlimited drinks were not an exaggeration. They had two wines, beer, and soda. We picked our boat up directly across from the Brouwerij de Prael Store at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 30. It came by about twice an hour. The times are listed on a sign by the pick-up location. They accept cash and credit. Blog post to come comparing our two very different canal experiences.
2:43 — After the boat, we tried beer at The Brouwerij de Prael Tasting Room. It’s hidden in an alley but worth seeking out. It was a great tasting room that offers wine (no gluten-free beer) as well. An added bonus was the live music that plays Sunday afternoons!
4:12 — Made it to Vondelpark. It is not a short walk, but we came prepared with lots of snacks and wine. I found a lot of great products that were gluten-free at the Marks and Spencer’s grocery store. All their gluten-free products were made by their M & S brand and very delicious.
8:20 — We found on this trip that time flew and we didn’t know where it went. We couldn’t believe it when we looked at our phones and it was suddenly after 8:00. This resulted in a later dinner farther from home than expected but with excellent results. We walked to Cafe Piazza, a bit east of the Red Light District. They had a complete gluten free menu including three types of gluten free pasta and Estrella Daura Damm beer. Recommended for Italian for sure. Everyone seemed to like their meal a lot.
Part 2: Our trip to the Zoo and Windmill Brewery!
Disclaimer: Not all these lovely pictures were taken by me!