Thursday, October 02, 2014

Where we Stayed, What we Ate: Amsterdam

Our room in Amsterdam, at Maison Rika

Go to the shop on the corner.  Walk to the back of the tiny shop floor, and climb the very steep and narrow stairs...
REALLY steep and narrow stairs...
When you get to the top, you find a delightful little slice of Amsterdam paradise - this was our room at Maison Rika.

Rika is a designer, and she has two shops on the same street in Amsterdam.  Upstairs from one of the shops, she has two guests rooms.  Just two.  This is not the place to get room service at 2 a.m.  This is much, MUCH nicer.

When you check in, they give you keys to the store on the ground floor.  You can come and go as you please, and you immediately feel like a member of the Rika family.  If you can navigate these stairs, I can warmly recommend that you join the family and stay here the next time you're in Amsterdam.

One of the benefits of staying at Maison Rika is their recommendations for things to do and places to dine. My favorite was Bistrot Neuf - excellent pate, which got me over a really bad recent pate experience!  Service was stellar, which I've heard isn't common in Amsterdam restaurants...

note the characteristic architecture of Amsterdam reflected in the window
And we very accidentally stumbled on what is considered to be the best Dutch apple pie in the city, at Winkel 43:
I must learn to make this...
It's a tiny little place, but worth a walk to get a slice of this stuff.  Oh heavens...

Coffee must come from the delightfully obsessed people at Screaming Beans on Hartenstraat 12.  There's a Le Pain Quotidien on Spuistraat, which is supremely reliable for breakfast and snacks, and any number of other little cafes all around the Nine Streets neighborhood.  Shops of all sorts, too...

Amsterdam also has a few nice museums, if you like that whole Rembrandt/Van Gogh kind of thing!


  1. Oooo, thank you for these recommendations! Will be traveling to Amsterdam next summer with four grandkids, their parents and in-laws. Don't know how much shopping I'll do but will definitely hunt down that apple pie :-)

    1. Amsterdam, I loved living there. And you happened to reside in one of the most vibrant and interesting parts of the city. If you visit this great city, I highly recommend you have a look at the Haarlemmerdijk. It is a shopping street slightly outside the centre towards main station. Full of vintage stores, new designers and lovely little coffee places like "2 for joy". That coffee place is tiny, but they have a very cute garden in the back. If you want to give burgers a try (yes, burgers), go to the "Burgermeester" in the Jordaan. It is in the same area as the Anne Frank house, so perfect for a meal before or after visiting. And that apple pie is a Dutch staple. You can find it in almost every cafe, but Janice managed to try it at the best spot.

    2. Thank you Sabrina! My daughter loves coffee and I love burgers so we will definitely look for those. We plan to visit the Anne Frank house as well so Burgermeester will be easy to find. Thanks for your suggestions.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your vacation! The room is glorious and I love hearing about all the little shops and eateries.

  3. That looks like a really lovely room. I have never visited Amsterdam. Would it be a comfortable spot for a solo woman traveller? Stair climbing is a good way to work off the apple pie which looks delicious.

    1. I would have been very comfortable alone in all of the areas we visited. Since we didn't go to the red-light district, nor did we visit any cafes for consumption of controlled substances, I don't know how those would be, but the rest of the city felt very safe, friendly, and welcoming.

  4. Well that are normal stairs for the centre of Amsterdam! The place where Janice found her apple pie has a large organic farmers market on saturday and a vintage market on monday morning. And don't forget to visit the Lovely Museum of Bags and Purses. Fodor calls it on of the top 10 fashion museums of the world

  5. I love little out-of-the-way places to stay in Europe; however, how much luggage did you have to "lug" up those circular stairs??? Le Pain Quotidien is our go-to breakfast and lunch place in Manhattan (right near Carnegie Hall). Everything is fresh, organic and delicious, and, of course, the bread is wonderful!

    Wonderful photos, Janice. You are clearly having a terrific trip!

    xoxo, M-T

  6. I've watched, I've considered, I've "put in a bag to sort out later", I've been inspired and I've resisted - but now I've finally started on the great wardrobe de-clutter. And just in time for a trip in November to Amsterdam. I thank you and those who have commented for suggestions about Amsterdam - the Apple Pie will be a definite! On that note, would you ever suggest proportions for particular body shapes (yes I'm a UK size 14 5ft 2in apple shape)! I find that some clothes cut me in two (or even three!) when I'd like to have a more streamlined look. Is "top to toe black" the answer?

  7. The blog that keeps on giving; just booked 2 nights in the loft in December. I'm so excited, thanks for the recommendation!