Amsterdam, Day 3

On my third day in Amsterdam, Joseph was working so I was left to my own devices during the day. Despite this, he still managed to put on a great breakfast spread before work. Once in central Amsterdam, he pointed me in the direction of a secret church and I went on my way. Begijnhof is hidden behind a door that looks like it shouldn’t be opened, but sure enough it yielded and I entered the courtyard where only beguines (women similar to nuns but who do not take vows) live in a beautiful sanctuary, just metres from the busy street. It reminded me of Chénxiānggé Nunnery in Shanghai, near the incredibly touristy Yuyuan Gardens, which was somehow quiet and peaceful despite its location. Amsterdam is, of course, a much more relaxed city than Shanghai, but it was still amazing to find such a peaceful place in the centre.

In the same area, I also explored the book market (and managed to resist buying anything due to luggage restrictions). Then I went to the brilliant named Kattenkabinet – a museum dedicated to cats. There was a super friendly cat there, and loads of awesome cat-inspired art. I then headed to the amazing Rijksmuseum, which is massive – I could definitely spend a lot more time there, but I managed to see quite a big range of art. I loved the dolls’ house (unsurprisingly, given my love of miniature things) and since returning to the UK I’ve discovered that The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton was inspired by the very same dolls’ house.

I went to Vondelpark to eat my sandwiches (which Joseph had made for me that morning because he’s such a good mum). While there I witnessed a heron hanging out with some men, looking very casual about it all. It’s a beautiful park, I’d like to go back and explore it more thoroughly one day. I then had a wander round the area, which was very nice. It was a beautiful day and I was glad the sun had finally come out.

I walked around a lot, possibly the most I had done since before having surgery on both feet in February. I went to a flea market and wandered down lots of streets simply because the buildings caught my eye. Eventually my feet were just too tired and swollen so I sat down to read for a while. I found a good spot on a bench on Kerkstraat, which was near where I was meeting my friend later.

At six o’clock I met Beulah at Los Pilones, a Mexican restaurant she recommended. Beulah also writes for For Books’ Sake and we had met last year at a staff meet-up. Her boyfriend and friend came along, then Joseph joined us when he finished work. We drank delicious lemon margaritas and the food was great. Everyone was really nice and it was good to talk to expats living in Amsterdam and hear about their different experiences. I have itchy feet (now that I can walk again!) and am planning to move abroad after summer so I always like to hear about these things. I haven’t looked into living in Amsterdam but may do so at some point in the future as I loved it so much.

After the restaurant we said our goodbyes and Joseph and I had the obligatory walk through the red light district. When he first moved to Amsterdam eight years ago he gave tours of the red light district, mainly to fairly wholesome tourists who were curious about the history. We also walked through Chinatown then went for drinks at The Queen’s Head and Kaptein Zeppos. We went to bed a little too late considering we both had to get up early the following day (Joseph for work and me to fit in some more stuff before my flight).

Final Amsterdam post coming soon!

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