3 days in Amsterdam

3 days in Amsterdam

 

Before I embarked on my trip to Amsterdam, there were three things I knew of the city. The Red light district, Weed and the colour Orange. All three things mentioned are closely associated with Amsterdam however it has far more things going for it.  It’s slowly becoming one of my favourite european cities. I love the architecture, open skyline, rich history, the picturesque canals and relaxed laid back attitude towards life.

Amsterdam is a city with choices there’s so much to do, so to try and do them in 3 days was a little challenging nevertheless I wanted to at least give it a try. Now the advantage or disadvantage to this trip was I was on my own so it was just a matter of deciding where to go. Here is an overview of my 3 days in Amsterdam.

 

Day 1

 

Free Walking Tour

A great way of getting yourself familiar with the city is by a walking tour. You’ll learn about the history, find out where the major sites are and explore the canals. There are free walking tours across the city however I would recommend the the New Europe walking tour. It covers a lot of the areas and gives you an overview of the city and landmarks. The tour meets in the main square and lasts about 3 hours. (Its always nice to tip your guide)

 

Canal Tour

You cannot come to Amsterdam and not do a canal tour, the city is tied to the water. I lost count how many canals there I saw. The canals of Amsterdam are extremely beautiful, and there’s nothing like seeing the city from a boat. Skip the big canal boat tours you see around the city – they can be overpriced. Opt for a private boat tour for about 20 Euros an hour or the open-air Canal Hopper Small Boat. The boats are smaller and the tours are more intimate, making it a good personalised tour. The tour usually lasts about 1 hour.

Day 2

 

Van Gogh Museum

This is probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, however don’t let the crowds put you off.  To avoid  the crowds its always a good idea to book online. The museum features many of Van Gogh’s best works of art alongside an excellent biography of his life and laid out in chronological order, starting with his earliest works. Though not a huge museum, I can spend hours just staring at the paintings as Van Gogh is one of my favourite painters. The museums also has paintings by other famous artists of the period, like Monet, Manet, and Matisse. Try to come late in the late afternoon when there are less of the crowds.

 

Anne Frank

The Anne Frank House was smaller than I imagined, It was over before I knew it. I found It a little  disappointing as I had wanted to go according to my own pace but because of the crowd it felt like we were being shuffled along to make way for the next group of tourists. However the house is amazing with furniture, newspaper clippings frozen in time. It’s important you book online at least 1 month before the trip or else theres no guarantee there would be tickets.

 

The Tulip Museum

This Museum is located in a room inside a tulip shop. A little basement museum that tells the story of the history of tulips in Holland. I really enjoyed this, I have never seen so many variations of tulips before. You’ll never find a crowd, and it’s only 5 euros.

Day 3

Bike Tour

There are bikes everywhere in Amsterdam, so its essential you do a bike tour. Amsterdam loves bikes and apparently there are more bikes than there are people. I find that very hard to believe as there are a lot of people in Amsterdam. In fact forget about keeping an eye out for cars, its the bikes that you should look out for. I lost count how many times I almost got ran over. Sightseeing on a bike in Amsterdam is something I would definitely recommend. The company to use would be Mike’s Bike Tours, wether to rent or for a tour.

Oosterpark

I was heading towards Vondelpark to relax and people watch and I was redirected to go to Oosterpark instead. I was told ‘Everyone goes to Vondelpark to sit around and get high, its over crowded.’ ‘Go to Oosterpark instead. This is how I discovered Oosterpark, it’s about 30 minutes away from the city centre. The walk takes you through residential areas of the city not often seen by tourists nevertheless it was far quieter and peaceful than Vonderpark.

 

Here it is, my adventures in 3 days I definitely could’ve explored more. Here are some of the places I didn’t get to see. I’m hoping to come back again soon.

 

 

Amsterdam History Museum

The Jordaan Area

Rijksmuseum

FOAM

Jewish Historical Museum

Museum Amstelkring

The Rembrandt House Museum

Museum Van Loon

Vondelpark

Waterlooplein Flea Market

 

Have you been to Amsterdam? How long were you there? What did you think of the city? Thank you for stopping by.  Always good to hear from you let me know your thoughts.

Rx

My Balkan Adventure – Bosnia & Herzegovina

My Balkan Adventure – Bosnia & Herzegovina (Day 2)

 Day 1: Dubrovnik, Croatia

 Day 3: Montenegro

You can never be too organised on a short break the key is to maximise the time, so it’s always best to book activities before getting on the plane to your destination. On this trip, we booked with Viator back in London so on the day of our tour of Bosnia & Herzegovina, all we had to do was to be ready at 7:00 am and wait for the tour bus to pick us from the hotel. The guide that Viator provided was very knowledgeable in the history of Croatia and Bosnia. The tour took us through the countryside and the beautiful coast line of Croatia and then onto Bosnia & Herzegovina. Our first stop was Mostar

 

 

Mostar

I’m not sure if it was the cobbled streets with little alley ways and tiny houses or peharps the mini Mostar bridge, and pines trees in the distance which created a lovely backdrop to the vendors lining the streets, but I felt like I was on the set of ‘Lord of the Rings’ or a ‘Hobbit’ movie. It was soO pretty and I could’ve stood around longer staring into a distance, imagining little fairies and hobbits if it wasn’t so hot. Mostar can get as hot as 50 degrees and it was 42 that day!! The sun felt like it was biting my skin.

 

 

Naturally, we stopped at Mostar bridge, the iconic arch bridge which has been standing strong since it was built in 1556. (447 years) It was unfortunately destroyed in 1993 during the war.  Even though this bridge is a reconstruction of the original, UNESCO explains well: “The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar are symbols of reconciliation, international cooperation and the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities”

Nowadays the Mostar bridge is known for the famous diving competition the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series and if you hang around long enough you can watch the locals dive into the Neretva river below. It is common for the young men in the town to gather It is common for the young men in the town to gather donations from the tourists crowding around to watch, and then will jump once they feel they have raised enough money.  Since the water below is so cold, they will come down to the shore first to take a dip in the water and get their body used to it before jumping. Those who jump are skilled in diving (the water is only 3 meters deep and it is certainly not a feat for anyone to attempt!

 

Eat

Europa –

When it comes to food in Mostar, most of the restaurants have the same or similar traditional food since the locals cook and eat at home and not in restaurants. We chose a place that had a huge tree growing inside the restaurant. Let me rephrase that, the restaurant was built around a massive tree. Lol. We ordered a classic local dish called Ćevapčići recommended by the tour guide. It was minced meat made into small sausages with sa kajmakom (with cheese) I was very tasty however I couldn’t finish it as the portions could feed 3 people, it was huge!!

 

Kravice Waterfalls

After leaving Mostar which felt like an oven we headed towards the Kravica Waterfalls to cool off. We had seen pictures of the waterfall on the Viator website, but, nothing prepared us for the beauty of this place. When we arrived the first thing we did was get our phones and cameras out to film, take pictures of what we were seeing. After a couple of tries, we agreed that there were some things you cannot capture but rather you just had to experience it. This is no exaggeration it was that amazing!! I expect to see this kind of tropical beauty in an Amazon rainforest somewhere not Europe, truly stunning!! Kravica looks like a mini Niagara falls surrounded by a large lake. The waterfalls through a series of about 20 falls and 25m and it’s shallow enough to swim in. The water is a little cold at first but once you dive in it is sweet and refreshing.  Lol..

 

 

Thank you for stopping by, don’t leave without saying hello…. look out for my final post on Montenegro.

 

Rx

P.S – Day 1 – Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

 

Roma ti amo

Roma ti amo

 

Hello! Buongiorno! I’m back from from my 3 nights 4 days trip to Rome and it’s all I talk about. I enjoyed it so much that at times having to stop to capture the moment got in the way. I can’t believe it’s just 2 hours away from London. Being in Rome gave me the chance to reflect on how I use my time. I thought of countless times I had wasted 2 whole hours, lazing about, on the phone, trying new hairstyles just doing mindless things. All that time i could’ve been on my way to Rome. Lol.

Sounds like a bit of an exaggeration but I thought about taking the steps towards making the right choices in my life so I can use my time well. (will be doing a post on that) Nonetheless you would be right in saying I’ve become a little obsessed with Rome. Everything from the cobbled narrow streets, the people, the weather, and yes, the food. The food was so good that each time I planned on taking photographs of it I would remember when my plate was finished. I looked through all my photos and to my amazement I did not have any photo evidence of the food. I always thought Paris was my favourite city in Europe, but Rome, Roma has opened up a whole new world a new fantastic point of view, no one to tell us no…errm oops yes I can’t wait to go back to Italy to explore some more. Please find my recommendations below on where to stay, eat and shop.

 

Eat

Tiberino (neo – traditional Roman food),

Ginger (vegetarian), Pinsere,

Ciao Checca (slow fast food)

Ai Tre Scalini (tapas/wine bar)

La Quercia (neo – traditional Roman food)

Bir N Fud – (Bar/ restaurant) (the name of this place had me in stitches)

These are the few places we ate at; my best advice is to ask locals and avoid the tourist areas with deals.

 

Drink (Coffee)

I’m not a coffee drinker however I have now developed a habit..oops

La Cassa Del Tazza,

Antico Caffe Greco,

San ‘Eustachio

It’s hard to get a bad coffee in Rome, I recommend the iced espresso, hmmmm delicious.

 

Do

Rome is full of incredible historical monuments (several of which are included in this post ) but beyond those, wandering was my favourite thing to do; the Jewish quarter is was very pretty.

 

Stay

Airbnb – Giulia’s Nest situated in the heart of Rome (Trastevere) walking distance to most of the historical monuments. A cute 2 bed flat, the perfect little flat for a long weekend.

 

Thanks for stopping by, as always please leave a comment and subscribe

Rx