After a few weeks of hustling, I caught the travel bug again and decided to surprise the boyfriend with a birthday weekend trip to Amsterdam. With so many expectations, I decided to delve into the Dam experience with an open mind and was so excited to travel to somewhere unexpectedly.
Where we stayed:
We stayed in an AirBnb with a lovely couple close to Vondelpark. The quiet neighbourhood encouraged us to take a moment on the balcony, the morning after we arrived, whilst sipping coffee and reflecting on the weekend. Close to tram and metro links, we also felt very close to the lure of the city centre. We’re thankful for the comfy and welcoming stay with Mariska and Arthur – be sure to check out their place here.
How we moved around:
We took the Euroline overnight to and from Amsterdam. This was an experience in itself! Euro-tunnels… Ferries… 10 hours later… A tip from me to you – be prepared to be a trendsetter and start lining up by the coach entrance half an hour before departure; this way, you get to be one of the first people to store your luggage and to bagsy a window seat away from the loos on board. 😉 Overall, the coach was a way for us to travel on a budget! It also became an excuse for me to snuggle up to my travel buddy – for a whole 10 hours! Haha!
As always, we find that the most engaging way to explore a new place is to explore its nooks and crannies via foot. The fresh air and meandering paths add a sense of adventure and unexpectedness – who knows what discovery could be around the corner?
When making our way towards the city centre, we explored the lush green space of Oosterpark. This park typically has fewer people around, and is away from the urban bustle that is guaranteed in Vondelpark. It was fun to get lost in the city’s inviting open space, until we heard: ‘Dat iss de bike path you are stending on!’ Aha… Just so you’re aware, Amsterdam has over 800,000 bicycles. That’s more bikes than people!
Mornings are always our time to connect with our intentions for the day – to push past yesterday’s limitations by choosing to do things that move us toward the people we want to be. According to the boyfriend, all this thinking must first be fuelled by a cup of coffee!
To kick start your morning, there are many coffeeshops and cafes dotted around Amsterdam; we found ‘Bagel & Beans’ to fill our tummies and enjoyed walking through streets lined with brick buildings.
If we had more time, we would have liked to have soaked in some of the rich cultural places in Dam – like the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank’s House. However, we didn’t want to spend most of our day queuing…
Instead, we found a gem of a food hall located in Amsterdam West – Foodhallen. This edgy indoor food market was filled with quirky food vendors all offering delicious food influenced from around the world… Think food trucks under one roof. The foodie in me slurped on a waffle and chocolate ice cream concoction from ‘I Scream Waffle’. No trip is complete without a chocolate treat!
We also found a beach-inspired eatery housed in a former 1920s cinema building. Located in the vibrant, up and coming area of De Pijp, ‘Coffee and Coconuts’ is a multi-level hangout ideal for a long lazy afternoon snoozing, munching and connecting on beanbags.
To end your evening, finish your stroll amidst the seductive streets of the Red Light District and the barely lit coffeeshop ‘Jolly Jokers’. Once your senses are heightened, lose yourself in a hazy wander around a canal maze. A city that is laced with water infuses such a calming effect that your evening promises to be full of reflection and lights.
I'm so grateful for the unconditional love, support and space my friends and family show me. It's empowering to know and feel their encouragement can still any storm, and that their patience can fuel any passion. Because of this, I am ready and focused on our mid-2017 mark. Let's keep running our own race – with love. 💕🌸
We are soon approaching the mid-2017 mark… For us, Amsterdam became a trip to take a moment to celebrate our successes so far and to intentionally rest, in order to come back more ignited to actively create lives that we can be proud of. Let’s keep daring to dream aloud – one purposeful choice at a time.