I’m going to be honest – I’ve never really thought Amsterdam as being my kind of place.
Although the architecture is beautiful and everyone knows that I’m a big fan of good food and good coffee – wandering around a very touristy city and expensive city isn’t my idea of a holiday.
However, and that’s a big however, I ended up absolutely loving it.
After the adventure that was Iceland – my expectations of Amsterdam weren’t particularly high. As the designated driver, I didn’t get to shoot in Iceland as much as I would have hoped. This meant I had a pretty serious photography itch that needed satisfying.
We rocked up at Amsterdam and my initial impression was that it was incredibly hot. Not just sunny beach holiday hot – it was that really sticky and dull heat that you only really get in cities. I left my camera bag in our Airbnb and just kept a Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujinon 23 1.4 in hand.
That’s the beauty of shooting with a small mirrorless system!
My head was still in the photography adventure mindset. I was constantly looking for angles and getting frustrated with people getting in my shot. Everything was so close together that it was difficult to show perspective and all of my lenses longer than 35mm were pretty much pointless.
However, it all started to make sense once I we grabbed a couple of iced coffees and just put our feet up outside of a cafe in north Amsterdam.
I genuinely forgot how to holiday.
It was at this moment when I relaxed my shutter finger and decided to relax and actually enjoy myself. I decided to stop, look around and actually appreciate what’s happening around me, instead of just scouting angles.
Sure, I was still taking photos – but you could think of them more as holiday photos on steroids. I was documenting. Reporting. Capturing all of the little moments for my personal memory book instead of the Instagram feed.
So – what is there to do in Amsterdam?
As a self-confessed ‘foodie’ and coffee aficionado – Han and I took it upon ourselves to experience as much of the Amsterdam and Brussels culinary scene as we could. None of this fine-dining fancy pants stuff.
We were looking for the best burgers, the best waffles and the best breakfasts – and we found them.
The Best Breakfast in Amsterdam
CT Coffee & Coconuts is, by quite a stretch, the nicest eatery I’ve ever visited. Nestled in a former 1920’s cinema in a very strange part of Amsterdam – it’s definitely not what I was expecting.
My girlfriend is all about the interior design, whereas I’m more of an architecture fan. It usually takes a lot for me to get excited about the interior of a building – but this one was really special. I just couldn’t put my camera away.
Oh yeah – the food was good too. Like, really good. My pancakes were so good that it made my pancakes from another well known Amsterdam pancake shop that I won’t name but it rhymes with ‘puke’ – seem like they were microwaved from frozen at a local budget supermarket.
The Best Burger in Amsterdam
We then have Lombardos.
What can I say about Lombardos? Recommended by my good friend Oli, who also happens to have built my website, Lombardos ended up being so good that we went twice in the space of four days. We had no idea what to expect other than burgers, but the queue out of the door was a dead giveaway that we were in the right place.
I’d recommend the lamb burger.
Time For Some Waffles
On the Saturday, we hopped on the train and spent the day in Brussels. What we didn’t realise was that Saturday happened to be the day where everything is closed. And I mean everything.
If we wanted to visit somewhere – chances are, it was closed.
We ended up just wandering around from café to café, photographing attractions from the outside because they were either closed or so busy that we couldn’t get near the door. Probably busy because it was the only place open.
Brussels really is a beautiful place – I just wish we went on a different day and maybe planned ahead a little more! Lesson learnt.
Would I go back to Amsterdam? Maybe. I won’t be rushing back like with Iceland but it was definitely the change of pace that I needed. I didn’t capture much content for my Instagram, but who cares? Han finally picking up some new Tens Sunglasses did mean that I could capture some lifestyle photography for them, and obviously what would a trip be without plenty of Langly Camera Bags photos in front of beautiful scenes.
I got some much needed rest, caught the sun and sampled enough great coffee to last me all year.
What more could you want from a holiday?