On the Monday after Easter, I took the train to Amsterdam. (Two trains: three hours total ride.) All of my train rides in western Europe have been on-time, give or take a minute or two, and this ride proved no exception.
Amsterdam is heralded as “the Venice of the north” for good reason: there are canals everywhere. Fortunately, this poses no problem for walking or public transportation. While there is a subway, most folks seems to take the trams, which is what I did. I bought a two-day pass and found that I could get to most tourist sites in the city within 15-20 minutes from my hotel. Note: travel guides as well as the locals warn against taking taxis.
I stayed at citizenM hotel, an ultra-mod, ultra-compact, minimalist hotel for 100€/night–not cheap, but far more reasonable than most of my other choices, and located only one block from a tram stop. (The hotel is also only three blocks from the train and a six-minute ride to the airport!)
Again the weather was unwelcoming–even colder and wetter–which made indoor/covered events like museums and boat tours the logical choices. I spent a couple hours in the Van Gogh Museum and can recommend it highly; the Ryksmuseum, however, is open only in one wing due to renovation. Note: for any touristy event such as museums, buy and print your tickets online and you can save yourself considerable time. At both museums, I walked right in with my e-tickets.
I also took an hour-long boat tour and thought it worth the price. The glass covering provided welcome shelter but also hampered my photo taking. (For better and worse, I’ve become quite a photo junkie.)
The best way to experience Amsterdam is on foot: get a good map (and umbrella) and explore.