My Europe Trip! | Amsterdam

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Alright a little back story, so I graduated from university and decided to travel Europe for a month as a graduation present for myself before I start officially working.This trip was to be a month long and I would be visiting Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Barcelona, Nice, Paris, London and finally ending it off in Brussels. I had been anticipating this graduation trip the entire year (and also working hard and saving up) and when the day came for me to fly off, I can't believe it was time. And now, it is all over and part of me still can't believe it.

I want to share my experiences with you as well as to jot it down here on my blog as my memory is utter crap. I do not ever want to forget these wonderful travel experiences! Travelling really helps you to grow as a person and expand your mindset as you interact with different cultures and people. So here we go! First stop, Amsterdam!


DAY 1

Finally the day has arrived! Flew to Schipol Airport via Emirates and arrived in the morning. Took the train down to Amsterdam Centraal Station and then a tram to the hotel!

For tourists, there is this Amsterdam Travel Card which we decided to get (15 Euros for a day, 20 Euros for 2 days and 25 Euros for 3 days). This was great as one trip on public transport there will set you back 2.90 Euros and since our hotel was not close to the station, it was a good deal.



We stayed in Hotel Cornelisz which was super near the Rijksmusuem and museumplein. However, while we were looking for accomodation a few weeks back, we realised that accomodation in Amsterdam was not cheap at all.

After checking in, we headed to the shopping area along the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. First things first, I had to get me some of them Frites (or as most of us know em', fries). I stayed in Rotterdam for a period of 6 months and frites were literally in every meal I ate. The Dutch love their fries, and for good reason. They are thick and real crispy, and there is a large range of sauces to complement them. I usually go for the curry but most Dutch love to add mayo and ketchup to theirs.

Also on my absolute list to visit, I had to drop by my beloved Kruidvat. Kruidvat is a drugstore and their sales are really really good. I love to just browse through the aisles of shampoos, body soaps, makeup and basically all that good stuff.

Another shop I highly recommend you to check out is HEMA. HEMA is a departmental store which sells stationary, clothing, makeup and they even have a cafe at the top floor (food ain't bad too). However, I usually head here to get their eyebrow pencils. YES. I am head over heels over their eyebrow pencils and they only cost 2 Euros each. I got myself 5. This girl needs to stock up.

I know what you're thinking, is this really what you came to Amsterdam to do? And my answer is... yes. Now please do note that this is probably my fourth trip to Amsterdam, and I've already done the touristy things - Anne Frank's House, Rijksmusueum, Van Gogh Musuem etc. This time, mama came mostly to shop and to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

One more aspect of Amsterdam I love is their ribs. I always eat ribs whenever I'm in Netherlands. Some places have all-you-can-eat ribs, which I gotta say, is my version of heaven.

Look at this baby:


I got mine at All Stars Cafe (Which is along the street from Amsterdam Centraal at a price of 9.90 Euros)

With my belly filled up to the brim, we had to head back to the hotel and call it a day. However, being greedy like I always am, we passed by the Magnum Pleasure Store on our way back and I had to get my own make-your-own magnum (3.99 Euros). It is located at Leidsestraat 79, for those of you drooling right now.






































They make it right infront of you, and you get to choose your base, 3 toppings and a drizzle on the top. I chose a dark chocolate base, with crushed pistachios, rose petals and crushed rose pralines and a milk chocolate drizzle. YUM.

Then we officially headed back and died on the bed.

DAY 2

Woke up bright and early and headed to the I am Amsterdam sign (a 3 minute walk from our hotel) to grab a picture before the hoards of tourists came.


Managed to get a shot with the entire thing! 
There was also a whole row of decorated miffies! I do not know why and what for, but these were but they were pretty cool!

It was my favourite one out of them all!



Then we headed off to breakfast! Decided to take a leisurely stroll there and see the gorgeous scenery. Man, these canals, they take my breath away.

Unfiltered, unedited. Dayummmmm.
We visited The Pancake Bakery (along Prinsengracht) as it was claimed the best pancakes in town. Now, dutch pancakes aren't the thick and fluffy ones that we're used to. These are really thin and dough-y, like crepes! They aren't the most attractive looking, but they taste pretty good. 

Mine was with bacon and banana! This was 11.50 Euros
 After, we headed down to Singel where the Flower Market was. Every store was selling tulip bulbs and I was so tempted to get some! However, doubt they will grow and last in Singapore, so I self-controlled and moved along.




These are wooden tulips, guys!


Look at this floral filled "ceiling" on the top of the shop!


How gorgeous were the flowers! Sometimes I wished I bought more fresh flowers whilst staying there as flowers really add to the interior decor, in my opinion. Not to mention that they also just improve my mood by a billion times, anytime of the day!

Headed to Dam's Square to walk around for a bit before entering Albert Heijn and got some fruits and of course, chocomel (best chocolate milk ever!). We planned to go to Vongel Park after and have a lil picnic!





Vongel Park was really near our hotel. It was so peaceful! Tons of people were picnic-ing and enjoying the sun. We even witnessed a chess match!


Intense chess game

Vongel Park wasn't enough and we wanted to see Oosterpark as well. However, upon reaching there, we realised that it was under construction so we decided to walk around and explore that area. 






Got myself some churros! This was 3.50 Euros.
If you're a fan of beer or just curious, there is the Heineken Experience where you get to learn about its history and how its being made! I also heard that you get 2 free drinks with your ticket!



Wandered around and got some amazing ice cream as well. 2.90 Euros for 2 scoops! I got lemon cake and cookie. So good for the warm weather! 

Just one more picture of the stunning canals that were everywhere in Amsterdam! 



DAY 3

We decided to take a trip out of Amsterdam today and head to Zaanse Schans to see some windmills as well as to Zaandam for Primark! It was relatively easy to get to, just take a train from Amsterdam Centraal to Koog-Zaandijk and walk for about 10-15 minutes. The return train ticket cost only 7.20 Euros (including the drop to Zaandam as it was along the way). The view here was unreal. I highly recommend for you to drop by if you're planning a trip down to the Netherlands! Seriously.






Got a little hungry so I got myself a waffle! This was 2.50 Euros.


Look at these lil goats just chilling!







How amazing was this! I was so glad I finally got to see some windmills in Netherlands (even though I stayed here for 6 months, I know). Such an eye opening experience and the lovely weather just made the whole experience even more surreal! 

Then we went to Zaandam! The architecture was really unique, as you can see! This town had a really cheery and laid back atmosphere (could be the brightly coloured buildings)! PS. They also have a huge Primark outlet (which was the main reason we headed there, actually!). 






Had lunch at the HEMA Cafe! Cheap and affordable. 


Headed back to Amsterdam for our last night in this beautiful city! The sun set about 10pm every night, which was great as it gave us so much more time to explore! 

Was actually gonna skip dinner to save up some cash but as we were walking along, the smell of delicious burgers caught our attention and of course, I couldn't say no. Burgers and fries, yes please. The place was called Burger Zaken and it was a small corner cafe selling handmade burgers. I saw the chef weighing the meat for the patty right infront of me. I knew it was gonna be good. And it was. 




Fries were soooo good. The burger was really delicious too, just a little dry for my liking. We got a set each, with each set costing 9 Euros so it is really affordable!


Amsterdam was truly gorgeous - the food and beer was amazing, the scenery was top-notch and the people here are generally friendly and outgoing! Ending off with a picture of a canal - this was taken at 2140 but look at the blue sky!


Next country we headed to was Germany where we visited Berlin, which is probably my favourite stop of the entire month-long trip. Will share more soon! XO. 


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