Encircled by canals and bursting with color, Amsterdam is a city of bike trails, tulip beds and 800 years of history. Start pedaling...
Leidseplein after sunset
DAY THREE Hankering for something a little more quaint, you’ve switched your headquarters to the Seven Bridges Hotel (1), a bed and breakfast that overlooks seven arched canal bridges. After feasting on a breakfast platter delivered to your antique-crammed room, you set out with a stomach full of coffee and a bag full of fruit left over from the generous spread.
Your destination is Muiden, a waterfront hamlet 10 miles southeast of Amsterdam, home to Muiderslot (2), the most popular and well-preserved castle in the Netherlands. Built by Count Floris V in 1280, Muiderslot has been torn down and rebuilt several times, growing from a relatively modest single-story redoubt into the faded crimson behemoth it is today. As you stare across the slate gray Ijmeer Lake from a tiny top-floor window, you wonder what it would have been like to live in this glorious structure. Not half bad, you decide.
Back on Muiden’s quiet main strip, you pass by enormous chestnut yachts docked in the harbor (and enormous strollers bumping down the sidewalk) on your way to Graaf Floris V Café (3), one of a handful of eateries in this tiny town. Order a broodje, or sandwich, layered with thinly sliced ham and several pieces of local gouda cheese, and enjoy an espresso so black it stains your glass.
After hopping a train back to Amsterdam’s Central Station, you grab a taxi to Bloemenmarkt (4), the floating flower market on the southern edge of the Singel Canal.
Technicolor tulips are the main attraction here, but if you look hard enough you can find anything with petals.
Dinner tonight is at Purimas (5), one the city’s best purveyors of rijsttafel, the Dutch version of a traditional Indonesian feast that pairs dozens of side dishes with bottomless bowls of rice. Your spread arrives, featuring chicken satay, spicy beef and curry pork, and you pack it away until you reach your bursting point, eventually opting to wave the white napkin of surrender. In that, it’s a little like Amsterdam itself—you can’t possibly take it all in at once.
Senior editor ADAM K. RAYMOND is still eating pancakes for lunch, along with breakfast and dinner.