Well….I screwed up my New Year’s resolution. I told myself I’d write 2 new blog posts a month and I’ve failed. I’ve failed for a few months now. I could blame it on the pretty much constant jet lag, but I suppose I’m not just naturally inclined to write, so it takes a bit of effort to force myself to sit down and do it.
But, anyways. I’ve made this blog and damnit, I’m going to follow through with it.
For some reason this year so many of our travel plans fell back-to-back and despite my best efforts to get everything planned easily and early, somehow our planning for Amsterdam fell by the wayside. 10 days before the projected departure date I was scrambling to try to book a redemption flight (I fly almost exclusively using mileage…one of the reasons I get to travel so much) and a hotel.
….wait, why are the hotels so expensive in Amsterdam right now?! And why is occupancy so high?! Crap. Crap crap crap.
As I grumbled about trying to find a nice hotel that wouldn’t break the bank, my boyfriend piped in with “Well, why don’t we try AirBnB?”
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of private accommodations. I like the amenities that come with a hotel, the ability to call the front desk if something is needed, and the ability to work exclusively on your own schedule (not worrying about the Airbnb owner’s time).
So, hesitatingly, I began to search.
Ok…some interesting places…nice canal houses…wait, what? A houseboat! Whoa why didn’t that cross my mind?!
Yep. We’re staying on a boat. My excitement for this trip has suddenly shot up.
Our AirBnB houseboat was located in the center of Amsterdam, along one of the beautiful, picturesque canals. It was easy to find, as it was the only one in this area with a giant mast painted with the colors of the Dutch flag.
The owner, Elena, was very accommodating and worked with my schedule so I could check in right as I had to check out of the tiny hotel I stayed at the evening I arrived. Her friend Leon met up with me and showed me around the boat.
The main area of the boat was light, airy, and well designed. Elena’s husband had purchased the boat 25 years ago and did all the conversions himself. There was a definite “home-made” feel to everything. Small imperfections that gave everything character.
Living on a boat means ducking a lot. Space being limited, there’s definitely not always head room. If you’re vertically gifted person, you’ll more than likely bump your head a few times. I’m, luckily, of very average height and I still managed to ding myself a few times. My parents have always accused me of being strong-headed, and luckily that was true (still, ouch).
My goal on this trip was to just relax and “live” a bit. As I’d checked in on a Saturday, the nearby market (Noordmarkt) in the Jordaan was up and running. I headed over there, snagged some amazing Dutch cheese, bread, and wine and then relaxed back on the boat.
Being on one of the main canals, tour boats meander by and smaller party boats kept the atmosphere festive. At night, things quieted down completely, and even though it was just steps to restaurants and bars, it was completely silent.
I have to say, sitting on a boat deck and having a glass of wine for some reason just feels completely indulgent and luxurious. (Even if the really stoned tourists occasionally stumbling past slightly detract from the calm.)
I was Queen of the canal!
…at least for that week.
Looking for restaurants while in town?
Within walking distance of this particular houseboat I’d recommend:
Winkel 43 for apple pie and coffee
Restaurant Max for fusion Indonesian
Tasca Bellota for Spanish tapas
Foodhallen for all sorts of things