Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Travel: Amsterdam


I recently went to Amsterdam for a long weekend with my fiancé, Liam. It was just before Christmas so it was quite cold (hence my hat, gloves and scarf on all the photos!) but it was a really nice break and a really interesting city. When people talk of Amsterdam, it's often referring to a crazy stag/hen weekend, drugs and sex. This was NOT the kind of break I was looking for, and I'd like to show you that, actually, Amsterdam is a beautiful place, full of culture, history, stunning architecture and canals, as well as being great for food and shopping. There were loads of things to do, so much so that I really want to go back and do more!


Where we stayed in Amsterdam...
We stayed at the Golden Tulip Hotel, which is in west Amsterdam. It is one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in, and if I do go back, I will definitely be staying here again. It seemed like 5* star luxury but at a 3* price! The rooms were beautiful, with a heated floor and huge walk in shower in the bathroom, a Nespresso machine and even a British plug socket in case you'd forgotten your adapter. The breakfasts in the morning were also a dream- I had freshly cooked omelette each morning. The only downside to this amazing hotel is that it is a 15 minute tram ride into the city centre. However, the tram stop is right outside the hotel (literally you just cross the road) so that was no trouble at all.

Where we ate in Amsterdam...
We had some great meals while we were there, and looked for places off the beaten track in order to try and find some nice, independent restaurants.

The first night we ate at Stoop and Stoop, which was a cool looking restaurant down a side street and full of Dutch people (always a great sign!). It was packed at 5.30pm on a Friday so we had a drink at the bar while we waited for a table- the Cabernet Sauvignon was lovely! Overall, it had a great atmosphere and nice food to match. I had a yummy Dutch Steak with pepper sauce and salad, which was only €15, and Liam had half a rack of ribs.

On the second night we went to a Thai restaurant, again off the beaten track. The place itself wasn't anything special, and I was a little dubious at the start, but the food was lovely so it proved to be another good choice! We had the Chicken Penang Curry and the Chicken Yellow Curry. The Penang curry was particularly gorgeous, and something that I'd never had before. It was actually Liam who ordered it and I liked it so much that we just shared both dishes haha!

The last night was my favourite food experience of the trip. We ate at a traditional Dutch restaurant called Haesje Claes, which is down a side street just off Spui Square. I ordered the traditional Beef Stew, which was absolutely delicious. The beef was so tender, it fell apart as soon as I touched it! It came with mash and red cabbage and was obviously all homemade- I will definitely eat there again if I go back! Liam ordered the meat Hotchpotch, which consisted of sausage, a big meatball and sweet potato mash. He also really enjoyed it- clean plates all around!

*As a side note, I'm actually gluten intolerant so all these restaurants are great if you're looking for gluten free food in Amsterdam!

What Did In Amsterdam...
The Rijksmuseum
We visited the famous, and recently refurbished, Rijksmuseum. It is an art gallery, and a stunning building in itself. We spent most of the day there on the Sunday and really enjoyed it. It's set out really well, organised into centuries, so if you're particularly interested in one part of history you can spend more time in that part. It also meant that there was a real mix of art, from the 17th century to the 20th century. It's definitely worth paying the €5 and getting the audio guide as it really explained every painting.

We saw Rembrandt's Night Watch, which is a huge painting and very impressive to look at. I'm a huge fan of late 19th and 20th century art, and my favourite pieces were Van Gogh's Self Portrait (the explanation of this on the guide really gave an insight into his character), 'Made in America' which was a big sculpture of a gun on legs- it looked like something out of Star Wars!- done by a Japanese artist protesting against America's wars (see the photo above).

There was also a jacket from a Concentration Camp, donated to the museum by a woman who's mother survived four concentration camps during the war. It was quite emotional listening to her story, and very powerful to actually see the jacket.

There was also, and you can see it above in the photos, a huge sculpture of a furry fanny, called Wombtomb! Suffice to say it was by an extreme feminist artist, who actually lay in it when it was originally exhibited. It was pretty hilarious watching people's reactions when they realised what it was!

Anne Frank's House
I feel like I'm cheating a little including this as we didn't actually go in Anne Frank's house as the queue was absolutely massive- all the way down the street and round the corner! However, we did see outside it and her statue. The statue of her is quite powerful as it's so small and understated, it really emphasises that she was just an ordinary, innocent child. I'd love to look around the house properly as I've heard it's really well done, so hopefully next time the queue won't be as crazy! 

The Central Library and the city itself
We went to the Central Library, which had really nice views of the city. There's not much else there to be honest, except a nice cafe if you fancy a cuppa or lunch, but it's worth popping over for a nice photo of the view, and it's very close to the train station, which in itself is a beautiful building.

We also spent a lot of time just walking around the city. The canals make it so pretty, and the buildings are all really unique and full of character. You really have to watch where you're going though as there's so many cyclists, trams, scooters and pedestrians all on the same patch!

Where we Shopped in Amsterdam...
Amsterdam has 'Nine Streets', all running parallel to each other, full of shops. Some had cute, little independent shops on them, and then other streets were full of the big brands and the main ones you'd expect. I never knew how good Amsterdam was for shopping, there were so many shops, I need to go back to see more!

There's also lots of bigger shops on Leidersplein, which is probably the centre. Here it's more the chain, bigger stores, but with different stock to England so I enjoyed shopping there too!


Has anyone else been to Amsterdam? What did you see/ like? 
Where should I travel to next? I'd love you to recommend new places for me to see! 

Rosy x


26 comments:

  1. beautiful pictures! I really want to visit Amsterdam one day :) Thanks for sharing <3

    Ana Céline Labod

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    1. Aw glad that you liked them! I hope you get there soon :) xxx

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  2. Amsterdam looks beautiful, it looks like you had a lovely time. I hope to visit one day, seems like such a vibrant city with so much to do and see.

    thechroniclesofwastedtime.blogspot.co.uk
    Sammi

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    1. Thanks hun! I really did, it was such a nice break! It's a really interesting place, and yes, so much to do that I want to go back and explore more! I hope you get there soon! :) xxxx

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  3. So may people seem to have been to Amsterdam this year! It's not somewhere I've ever really had on my radar but everyone's photos look so gorge, I think I might have to put it on my Bucket List :) xx

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

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  4. Great pics, Amsterdam is on my travel list for this year so will be definitely checking out Golden Tulip Hotel x
    www,cchearts.co.uk

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  5. Looks like you had a great time.I have never been to Amsterdam, but hopefully will go some day.

    LindaLibraLoca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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  6. what a fabulous place to visit looks so enticing and busy, always wanted to go to the bridge with the locks with my husband such a lovely thing to do

    http://beautyandtheprince.weebly.com/makeup.html

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  7. Ive been to Amsterdam a couple of times, its such a pretty little city for wandering around and relaxing. But I am satisfied that I don't think I will be going back again anytime soon as there are so many places in the World left to visit! I never went to any of the art galleries as they really arent my thing and I didnt think I could be convinced, but the building looks beautiful x

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  8. Amsterdam is so beautiful and it looks like you had a really good time! I real want to travel more but since I am a student on a budget that's not really an option for me right now

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  9. Lovely photographs. Looks great, I definitely need to go back to Amsterdam soon x

    pintsizedbeauty.blogspot.co.uk

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  10. i really want to go here! i've sadly only ever been through the airport on a connecting flight

    from helen at thelovecatsinc.com

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  11. WOW absolutely fabulous photos and sounds like an amazing time. I won't lie I am slightly jealous but really grateful of the hotel recommendation as it's somewhere on my wishlist to go as I start saving, always handy to see other peoples positive experiences xxx


    Blonde Of Carbs

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  12. You even manage to look stylish in the freezing cold! I must go and see that new museum and gallery it sounds amazing x

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  13. looks and sounds like you had an amazing time :) I do want to visit Amsterdam sometime! xx

    Ioanna | Hearting.co.uk | Check out my 100 follower GIVEAWAY

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  14. Gorgeous pictures, Amsterdam looks beautiful! Sounds like you had a wonderful time...definitely on my list of places I want to visit x

    Lizzie // xBeautyMagic

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  15. What a beautiful place, you captured it so well!!
    I'd love to travel to Amsterdam one time :)

    Alice x
    alzgalz.blogspot.co.uk

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  16. It looks and sounds like you had an amazing time, I love all the buildings! It's so interesting to read about all the things you don't usually hear about - like you say, most people associate Amsterdam with sex and drugs xx

    Toasty

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  17. I love Amsterdam! There was loads to do and I went in the Summer so we did lots of relaxing in the parks and visited lots of lovely restaurants. Anne Frank's house is fascinating and if you book online you skip the queue! x

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  18. I loved Amsterdam when I visited! I really want to go back this year but in the Summer - I think it would be beautiful (I visited in October last time). I have the same coat you have :)
    Love your blog by the way! x

    Frankie / fashiondough.com

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  19. This looks like such an amazing trip! I would love to go to Amsterdam, also more for culture and art lol. Thanks for leaving me your link on Twitter. I've just followed you on Bloglovin :-)
    Blog: http://www.tamlovestea.com Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11917695

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  20. These pictures are wonderful- so interesting to look through. I love the sound of the nine streets. Amsterdam is such a popular destination right now. I visited a few years ago with my school though I don't remember a whole lot. The shape of some of the buildings struck me as cool but also odd- the ones like triangles. We went on a boat trip which I enjoyed and Anne Frank's house too but a lot of it you could only look at from a distance/ it was shut off.
    Julz Obsessions xx

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  21. These pictures are stunning! I would love to visit Europe one day, and Amsterdam's definitely on my list :)

    Emily // ahemitsemme.blogspot.com

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  22. I love Amsterdam! I recently written a post about how beautiful it is as a city and shouldn't just be considered for hen/stag nights and drugs etc. I queued an hour and a half for the Anne Frank Huis but it was so worth it (but it was in summer! Don't think I could have stayed out in the cold that long).

    :)

    http://jadey21-reviewcentral.blogspot.co.uk/

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  23. You've done great review! Thank's for sharing, it's really amazing! I lovee this city, with beautiful places, unique atmosphere!
    Wish you lot's inspiration!
    http://toamsterdam.net

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