In April, I took a short trip to Amsterdam during our Western Europe Tour. After watching the footage, I realize 70% of the video is about food LOL But I promise I did more than just eat. Amsterdam is a city with rich culture and great people! If you get a chance, check out A’dam for yourself! We had a short, but AWESOME, 3 days there.
Amsterdam. What can I say to sum up the 4 days we spent in this beautiful city? I guess if I had to choose a word, I would say my trip to A’dam was “surprising.” Honestly, it wasn’t until I got back to the States that I truly began to appreciate the rich culture that Amsterdam provided. As a background reference, I primarily associated Amsterdam with Anne Frank, marijuana, the red light district, and bicycles. That of course was BEFORE this trip. AFTER our spring visit, I realized that Amsterdam is actually in my top 3 cities of places to RE-VISIT. If you watched our travel vlog, you would probably think this post is weird, considering that:
- I didn’t participate in any of the activities that I previously mentioned (Anne Frank House, marijuana, etc.)
- At the end of the vlog, I actually stated that “Amsterdam was just okay.”
- We only spent 4 days in the city.
- Again, I didn’t get to visit the Anne Frank House 😦
But if you don’t know yet, I’ll let you in on a little secret… I’m a MAJOR foodie and I’m a SUCKER for a place with good vibes. Amsterdam has all of that, plus amazing culture and not to mention, most people are really friendly [But it goes without saying that there are jerks EVERYWHERE, no matter where you go]. Below, I’ve provided lists of the things we ate, saw, and did during our short trip that left a lasting impression on me.
- Vlammse Frites
- Dutch Apple Pie – This pie was literally life. If there’s one food you decide to try in Amsterdam, it has to be the Dutch apple pie from Cafe Winkel. I’m being sooooo honest when I tell you that I dream about this pie in my sleep and it very well may be a part of the reason why I love this city so much. The BEST PIE EVERRRRRRR. Seriously. And no, I’m not getting paid to say this. It really is just that amazing.
Things To Do
- Jewish Quarter
- Albert Cuyp Market
- Local Bar
- Corrie Ten Boom House – Okay, so I didn’t actually get the chance to visit. BUT, I’m making sure that this is the first place I visit the next time I’m in the Netherlands. We simply just ran out time and we couldn’t spare the 40 minute transit there. It’s not exactly in the city of Amsterdam. I believe it’s actually in the town Haarlem. Nonetheless, I read countless articles stating that this house was just as good as visiting the Anne Frank House, with the added perk of being less crowded [That’s a winner in my book. I despise crowds].
How We Got Around Town
- Our feet – 100% the best way to get around this city [for tourists] AND very doable. Yes, I understand that this is the city of bikes and canals but cycling in A’dam is on another level. I’ve been cycling since I was 7 years old and I was still intimidated. Bikers run the city. Just know that.
- The Metro (subway system)
Where We Stayed/Slept
- AirBnB – I’m clearly a huge fan of AirBnB [again, not being paid to say this]. This is the only way we traveled this past spring. It’s a lot more affordable than hotels (and even hostels since there were 3 of us) and you get the inside scoop on local things-to-do from locals. It’s a win-win.
And on that note, be sure to check out the video of our Amsterdam adventures and subscribe to the newsletter. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!
Here’s a continuation of my trip to London including an epic trip to the famous Borough Market, a visit to Buckingham Palace, and more!
We started off our Western European Adventure in London, England this past March/April. We had a BLAST and hope you enjoy watching Part I of our London Trip! Stay tuned for upcoming vlogs from our 2017 trip (London Part II, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, and more!)
London is where we started our 2017 Western Europe adventure. London is also where I first fell in love with traveling. No, London is not the first time I’ve ever been outside of the United States. But it is the first time that I considered my trips as “travel” rather than “vacation.” Before this life-changing trip, I thought these two words were interchangeable. Ha! Well, I was completely wrong. I soon found out that “traveling” requires a lot more patience, determination, and open-mindedness than “vacationing.”
Vacation (Bridgitte’s definition) = relaxation, “sleeping-in”, comfort, pool-side reading, bottomless mojitos
Travel (Bridgitte’s definition) = exploration, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, adventure, unexpected detours, occasional discomfort
Although our trip to London isn’t exactly what I would call a vacation, I had an amazing time and made connections that I wouldn’t dare trade for a relaxing day at the beach.
Even though we were in London for the shortest amount of time (2 days), I probably have the most to write about from this city. The food, people, parks, history, artwork!… I could have easily made this post longer than what anyone’s willing to read. But anywho, let’s get started.
Here’s my somewhat concise overview of our journey through London:
Food = Due to London having a diverse population with many ethnic influences, there are limitless options for great food in this city. During our limited time here, we were able to try a few Indian dishes (from the famous Brick Lane), Vietnamese food, and standard English cuisine. And let’s not forget about the food markets! AHHH-MAZING! I literally could’ve spent all day exploring Borough Market and Camden Market. For more in-depth reviews of each restaurant and market, read my Yelp reviews.
Art = First off, let me just say that I live for good street artwork! And London definitely didn’t let me down in this area. I never miss an opportunity for a photo shoot and in my opinion, street art is the PERFECT back drop to any and every pose. I feel like pictures speak more than words in this regard so I’m just going to share with you a few of my favorite pieces of street art that London has to offer.
History = Considering I’m American and the United States was colonized only a few hundred years ago, I was easily impressed with the extent of England’s history. Kings and Queens are such a foreign concept to me but to see firsthand the palaces, castles, currency, and reverence that the British have for the royal family was beyond impressive. Our visit to Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey were definitely more crowded with tourists. But if you’re even the least bit interested in history, I highly recommended braving the crowds and taking a tour inside.
Parks = Although it was mostly gray and chilly during the two days we visited London, we were still able to enjoy the gorgeous, lush parks of the city. I was surprised by how LARGE the parks actually are. I remember being outside of Buckingham Palace and seeing on Google Maps that we could actually walk through Hyde Park to get to Kensington Palace. I didn’t realize till that moment that the walk through the park was two miles. One of the best parts of London was being able to leisurely walk though the park and experience everyday life as other Londoners.
AirBnb = If you’re traveling to a new city, I feel like the only place you should ever choose for your accommodations is a hosted stay, whether that be in a local hostel, family/friend’s place, HomeAway, etc. I know for certain that I wouldn’t have had the same experience in London had I stayed in a hotel. Yes, you may have more opportunities to order late night room service, but honestly, it’s not worth the trade off of getting a home-cooked meal or recommendations by locals for the best cheap, late night eats. Our hostess was beyond hospitable and gave us numerous recommendations for places to visit, eat, and drink. One of the bars that Sarah, our hostess, recommended ended up having the best happy hour and ambiance! We never would have found it on our own. When we visit London again, it’s comforting to know that we have a local resource for all-things-London.