Friday, May 9, 2014

ALOTT5MA TRAVEL DESK:  Birthday boy and ALOTT5MA regular Joseph J. Finn is headed to Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Any recommendations?


  1. Andrew11:25 AM

    From visiting Amsterdam in March, a few observations and suggestions:

    For Anne Frank House - book online as soon as you can. Instead of queueing up in a long line, you can just ring a bell and walk in the door at your entry time. (If you're going this month, it's all sold out, but if you can, it's very worthwhile.) Definitely one of the key things to see.

    I found the Portuguese Synagogue very interesting -- it's one of the oldest active synagogues in Europe and still lit only by candle and natural light.

    The Flower Market is worth going to, but if you want to being back tulips, do make sure that you get bulbs with the proper documentation to import, including the correct seals:

    The Duff Brewery Tour, er, Heinekin Experience, was goofy fun, but there is much better beer available. Brouwerij ‘t IJ has a nice brewpub next to a windmill. Bierproeflokaal In De Wildeman and Proeflokaal Arendsnest are the other two bars with serious beer geek cred that I enjoyed. We didn't drink much in the way of cocktails or wine.

    Of the things I was disappointed in not getting to, was the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art (to complete the Museumplein trifecta. The Reijksmuseum is definitely worth visiting.) I'd wanted to go to the North Sea Jazz Club, but never made it to there.

    It's hard to go to an Amsterdam coffeeshop without feeling like you're walking into a bad cliche, but De Dampkring was comfortable and mellow.

  2. My friend and I very much enjoyed the canal tour by boat. Pleasant and a great way to see the city.

    If you get a chance to take the half hour trip to Utrecht, I highly recommend the Museum Speelklok. It's fascinating:

    They also have the Domtoren, which is beautiful and impressive:

    Also in Utrecht, my friends' Alison and Giovanni's new wine bar: - if it's open by the time you're in the Netherlands, I'll let you know.

  3. We tried to get into The Reijksmuseum but the line was insane, as was the one for the Van Gogh museum. We only had the one day, so we ditched and went shopping instead.

  4. Joseph Finn1:13 PM

    A) Thanks Adam, for putting this up!

    B) You know, I totally forgot about the Anne Frank house. We're going to Amsterdam on May 20th, so I think we're hosed on that.

    C) The Portuguese Synagogue is totally up my alley!

  5. Joseph Finn1:37 PM

    Oh, and if any of your suggestions are close by our hotels, that's cool as well:

    In Amsterdam, we're staying at the Ambassade Hotel:,4.887122,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x6272c1c659de518b

    In Copenhagen, we'll be at the Admiral Hotel:,+Toldbodgade+24,+1253+Copenhagen,+Denmark&cid=14138157978268165411&ei=XRJtU4eELcWHyATE8ICICw&ved=0CNkBEPwSKAAwCg

  6. Adam C.2:12 PM

    No recommendations, but happy birthday, Finn, and have a great time!

  7. The Aalsmeer Flower Auction involves about a half day trip from Amsterdam, but it's so worth it. It's this massive facility with millions of flowers, and you get to see how the wholesale buyers and sellers operate:

    I second the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, and the Portuguese synagogue.

    For one of your dinners there, I highly recommend going out for Indonesian and getting rijsttafel:

  8. Sophietje3:42 PM

    Loved the boat tour, too!
    When asked, I always say that Amsterdam is my favorite city, but I can't remember what I did there to warrant that except drink beer and ride on boats. :)

  9. Andrew4:44 PM

    That's a good area for walking around, you're near a lot of shopping and just nice canal houses in the 9 Streets neighborhood.

    I think that if you get to the Anne Frank house early or late in the day, you may not have too long of a wait. It is a close walk from your hotel.

    Also, watch out for the cyclists.

  10. I second it that the area in Amsterdam where you are staying is great for just walking around. I stayed at the hotel that is marked on the north end of the canal, and I walked all over that area. I bought a ticket to the Van Gogh Museum at my hotel, so there is that option to avoid the lines. I had a timed ticket to the Anne Frank House for the early morning, and it wasn't really crowded. You should try it.

  11. -Definitely wander around the Red Light district.
    -If you have the time, I recommend a day (or part day) in Delft. Especially if you like Vermeer, but even if not. I love gothic churches, and the two main ones in Delft (the "Old Church" and the "New Church") are magnificent.
    -On the other hand, I think you can skip The Hague. Especially because I think the Mauritshuis is undergoing renovations, with the highlights of its collection in New York.