Anne and her brother, welcomed me into her home, and for my stay it felt like I lived in Amsterdam.
The apartment is neatly appointed and exactly as it looks in the photos and is described. It has all of the amenities you will want, including a dishwasher and washer/dryer - which were especially nice during my long stay. There is a cute balcony with a nice view of the courtyard.
Provided was a map of places of interests, coupon for bike rental, and several of Anne's own local recommendations.
I loved the location! It is 3.5km from the Dam Square. Three blocks away is a bustling street, Javastraat. Here you will find all sorts of retail - including a very conveniently located Albert Heijn grocery - cafes, restaurants, food carts, and each day from 9-6 the Aardappelkraam Dappermarkt. A large part of it's appeal is the cultural diversity.
I frequented Hartje Oost cafe each morning. I would spend the entire days walking around Amsterdam taking photos and the following mornings, walk to this cafe and process my photos. The staff were very friendly and inviting. You'll find great coffee and delicious, beautiful even, breakfast sandwiches. (URL HIDDEN)
Another nearby restaurant I recommend is Drover's Dog. I wasn't familiar with Australian food before, but that's what it specializes in. All I can say is the portions are generous, the food delicious, and the presentation is tops. (URL HIDDEN)
If Turkish food is more your style, there are many excellent shawarma restaurants very close nearby. Restaurant Mesken has a buffet, and the breakfast especially, makes it worth a visit. (URL HIDDEN)
From Anne's place I walked a lot. I did bike a couple times, but as a photographer, I preferred to walk and take (many) photos. If you prefer to go by bus or rail, there are stops conveniently located only a few blocks away.
I could write a novel about how breath-taking, magical, etc., Amsterdam is. I felt a strong connection to this wonderful city. If I return tomorrow, it's not soon enough. :)
No matter how many attractions I saw, places I visited, it was the experience of feeling like I lived in Amsterdam, that will always stay with me. Everyone I encountered made me feel at home. I had so many nice conversations with people I had only met minutes ago. I wasn't prepared for such a welcoming experience.
For a first-time visit to Amsterdam (Europe too), my too-brief experience and this stay, exceeded my expectations. It truly was a magical experience. It is not one thing, it's everything: the sights and sounds, flavors, cultures, and most of all the people that make Amsterdam, and this neighborhood the wonderful place it is.
Anyone who has the opportunity to stay at this location, will truly leave feeling like you 'lived' Amsterdam during your stay.
I can't wait to visit again!