Today was our first whole day in Amsterdam. We both made our way down to the hotel’s reception and rented out our bikes for the day. We each had our own cool, sleek, black bike with the words ‘The Student Hotel’ printed on them in yellow bold letters.
After re-familiarising ourself with how to ride the bike, we made our way to Vondelpark which is a very popular destination for locals for jogging, dog-walking, or just for the view. I must admit, riding through Amsterdam’s streets was daunting but we did just fine.
We rode briefly through Vondelpark before stopping at a café for coffee. From here, David really wanted to check out Chanel’s glass-fronted flagship on a shopping street PC Hooftstraat. It wasn’t that far from the park.
As we got there, I was completely blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the storefront. I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life. It was incredible and beautiful. Nestled in between the centuries-old (I’m assuming) Dutch houses, it was just truly a one-of-a-kind. So, a bit of history about this – it was created by a Dutch firm, MVRDV, who rebuilt the entire façade of the pre-existing townhouse in solid glass bricks. At the top, the glass façade is merged with the original terracotta brick to create the illusion of a dissolving wall which I found really cool! Apparently, to bring these bricks to life, the architectural firm had to create entirely new tools from scratch, such as a transparent adhesive bonded with UV rays. Even more bizarre construction techniques had to be employed to create the invisible aesthetic, including the use of full-fat milk to layer the bricks.
Once David had finished taking photos, we made our way to the Van Gogh’s Museum which is home to a fabulous collection of famous paintings by none other than Vincent Van Gogh – one of the most important artists of the 19th century. This museum is an incredible way to experience Van Gogh’s oeuvre. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos here. We followed the chronological presentation of the work through several rooms and floors. I loved how the progression was then divided into different themes or periods of exploration. What moved me deeply was experiencing Van Gogh as an artist through his work. One of the main reasons why I wanted to visit this museum was to see The Starry Night and Sunflower. Unfortunately, I only got to see Sunflower. We found out that The Starry Night is in a museum in New York! If only we knew that, we would have gone to see it when we were in New York last year.
After having some lunch, our next destination was the Rijksmuseum which is home to a collection of paintings and objects of material culture, prints and classic photography but we didn’t go through the museum as we mainly wanted to see the building. Somehow, David and myself lost each other on the way to the museum but luckily enough, we found ourselves together a couple minutes later.
From here, I wanted to take a stroll down Amsterdam’s long floating flower market, which is officially called by its Dutch name of Bloemenmarkt. Amsterdam is really famous for its flowers and here, there are 15 stalls containing a good selection of live flowers, along with bulbs, seeds, accessories, souvenirs, and everything else related to the flower trade as well as traditional dutch shoes! And the occasionally cannabis starter kits which I assume contains a few cannabis seeds. I know my father would love to take a stroll through this place.
Soon, it was almost time for our Heineken Experience! And spoiler, it’s was awesome.
The Heineken Experience is a tourist spot that’s in the an original old Heineken brewery. They don’t actually brew Heineken there anymore but it now serves as an ‘experience’ to show visitors exactly how it is made. First up, we learnt about the history of Heineken and how it is made. And a girl gave an explanation to everyone on the ingredients that go into the beer, after this, we could walk around these big brass vats that showed a step by step to creating the Heineken beer that we know it today. The next part of the tour involved a simulator where you get to experience the journey beer takes through the brewery. We did have to queue for this part but not for long. In this, you stand up and the platform moves as the film shows the route the beer takes, complete with water and bubbles! It was really cool. In another room, we learnt how to say to say cheers in Dutch, proost, which sounded a bit like “roast”.
Continuing on, we entered a section that had various games available. We rode weird faux bikes in front of a green screen, that had random Dutch song on it. And you could play football games and rugby games, aligning with Heineken’s sponsorships. I liked this part a lot, it felt like going to a science museum when you’re a kid.
At the end of the experience, you reach the bar and you have two free beer tokens on your wristband!
By the end of this experience, we headed back to our hotel, returned the bikes and headed back to our room to relax and order some food.