The residential but historical neighbourhood of the Zeeheldenbuurt is one of my favorites in Amsterdam, and picturesque too. The canals are lined with houseboats, flowers pop up in the streets in the summertime. It’s explored best without a map. Get lost in the quiet streets, walk over century-old draw bridges, and stop by one of the local restaurants to soak it all in; while De Gouden Reael (Zandhoek 14) is a neighborhood favorite, Worst Wijncafé (Barentszstraat 171) boasts great wines, BAK restaurant (Van Diemerstraat 408) pulls out all the stops, and new-to-the-hood Meneer Nieges is the place to be (Westerdoksdijk 40).
It’s in the Zeeheldenbuurt that boutique hotel concept Yays Amsterdam converted a former 18th-century warehouse into numerous elegant, not-your-average apartments known as Yays Zoutkeetsgracht; the 'zout' or salt in the name refers to the warehouses' former function as a storage of salt back in the day. One of the apartments, to my great surprise, is a comfortable houseboat located just in front of the building. I was lucky to stay there for a night and try it out for myself, and it's something I've wanted to do for years!
Vacationing in your own city is a funny thing (we were only a few hundred meters from our own apartment) but staying on the boat made us feel far, far away from home. The boat is fit with everything you might need for a comfortable stay in Amsterdam. We parked our bikes out front, enjoyed an afternoon drink on the deck, and prepared our breakfast in the morning, the ducks swimming up in the hopes of scoring a few bread crumbs. While watching the boats pass by, we thought to ourselves, "Maybe houseboat living has something going for it after all..." Thanks to Yays Amsterdam for helping me check this one off my bucket list!