After a 2 hour drive, we discovered our hotel was at the heart of a shopping center in Zaandam. The hotel itself is totally suitable for a weekend of leisure and shopping alone. But again, time was running out, we needed to explore instead of relaxing( which we had plenty of time to do in the evening)
We had lunch in a deli before getting to Amsterdam with the train. Once we did exit the main station, we headed towards the Dam square, surrounded by bikes and tourists. We didn’t pick the best day for city exploration, since it was the sales opening. We went further south and saw the typical houses facing the water. We continued to the flower market and the infamous red light district (with some of its windows already open). A food pit stop in a pizzeria later, we were already about to head back, in order to enjoy an evening of relaxation with champagne at the hotel wellness center. There was a sauna, a perfumed hammam and a little swimming pool.
The next morning, we had one of the best and definitely the most complete breakfast we had in years. The buffet had pretty much everything, from champagne to smoked salmon, with the full English breakfast and the freshly baked bread. Ready to attack shopping and then drive to Amsterdam to spend the rest of the day.
The weather was hopefully better than the day before. We explored more streets and local store that don’t exist in Belgium ( yes, those store that claim to sell coffee amongst other things ). We then went to meet my French pal Thibaud on the Dam Square and it was already time to head back, as we had a long way home. For the record, I got my first speeding ticket.
Amsterdam must be an awesome city to live in, it makes me think of Leuven in a way: really international, Dutch speaking, filled with history. For a weekend with your bae, it might not be the best option though. I hope I’ll go back there soon for some party business.