We originally hadn’t planned on doing a canal tour in Amsterdam because it felt so touristy, but we met a gal on our food tour who shared that she had the BEST experience on a sunrise canal tour the previous day. She gave us the contact for Captain Dave’s Canal Tours and we booked it right away for our last full day in Amsterdam.
I’ll be honest. It was HARD to wake up at the crack of dawn in such bone chilling temperatures, and when my alarm sounded that morning, I considered for one tiny second to cancel the tour. But, in a strive to not leave Amsterdam with any regrets, we pushed ourselves to get up and to brave the cold as we made our way to the dock where Captain Dave’s boat was waiting for us.
Captain Dave’s tours are known to be small and intimate, unlike many of the canal tours that take dozens of people at a time. Our group had about 10 people altogether, which felt like a perfect size. Captain Dave made sure we were comfortable at every point of the way. We had heated chair pads (!!), blankets, and an assortment of fresh pastries, tea and coffee that greeted us once we boarded the boat.
We loved Captain Dave. He managed to steer the boat safely while talking to us the entire time, and he had a great sense of humor. What we enjoyed learning most from him was the social system in Amsterdam. It was fascinating to hear why there are no homeless issues at all, why marijuana is “kind of” legal, why the city may go completely car-less in 10 years’ time, and so much more. The systems in place appear to work incredibly well in Amsterdam, making us reflect upon the many broken systems in the U.S. that frustrates us.
If you’re going to do a canal tour in Amsterdam, Captain Dave is your guy. We were so glad we pushed ourselves to wake up that morning to make it to the tour! It was a cozy and intimate experience with extraordinary views and an abundance of knowledge to be learned.
After the tour, Bridgette led the way towards the day trip that she had planned for us, to the quaint town of Delft. It was just a one hour train ride from Amsterdam, so we arrived right around lunch time. We stumbled upon an outdoor market at the main town square, so we walked around a bit and ordered ourselves some freshly fried fish, and freshly baked mini pot pies.
Delft is like a miniature Amsterdam, with smaller canals but the same charm and picturesque streets. We didn’t have an agenda, so we just explored freely through the beautiful streets, often stopping in small shops to peruse around. We Because of the cold temperatures, it’s hard to remain outside for a long period of time, so we found ourselves a cute cafe to warm up with some mint tea and apple pie!
One of our favorite part of Delft was the New Church (which has a deceiving name because it is like 600 years old). It is the second highest tower in all of Netherlands so the view above is nothing short of spectacular, especially on a clear day.
The bird’s eye view of the city does not come without some effort to get there. You’d have to pay a small entrance fee, and then climb up 376 steps of a very narrow and somewhat claustrophobic winding staircase before you arrive at the rooftop to this panoramic view that will make you feel like it was all worth it:
The viewing area is small and narrow, but luckily we happened to be only 2 of 4 people while we were up there, making it possible to take a zillion pictures. 🙂
We left Delft in the late afternoon so that we’d have our last dinner in Amsterdam. We didn’t really have anything planned, so we randomly chose a restaurant by our Airbnb that looked good and it turned out to be a wonderful evening to end our time in the Netherlands!