I totally forgot to tell you guys that I was going to be in Amsterdam last week. I got a cold before leaving, so a lot of things fell through the cracks. Ummm, it was effing awesome. I instagramed the hizzle out of it, and that was pretty fun. I got great suggestions, and little hellos from around the world. Something funny always happens when I travel: I lose a lot of instagram followers. I asked on instagram why this is, but everyone who answered said that they loved travel photos. I am firmly in the camp that instagram is great for seeing how other people see their lives. I choose to follow nice people, but mostly makers and travelers so I want to see what interests them about new places. I kinda felt like I was offending some folks, but then I got over it.
|32 Singel. The apartment is on the top two floors, with the shutters.|
|Door to our place on the right. Left hand door is for an apartment on this floor, but its connected to the building next door! Bonkers!|
|Just loved the plaster with the modern lighting. Cute boy not included|
You may remember last year that we went to Brussels and Antwerp because O has a business trip to Germany every year, so I just jump in there at the last second and we meet up someplace in Europe for a nice little trip. His company pays for his ticket, so its a great way to sneak in a trip for less. Anyway, here is the breakdown, just in case you care.
|When we were riding around, if one of us wanted to stop we would yell ZEEP! That means soap, but its a fun word and it worked. I always wanted to stop for scenes like this.|
1. We rented this stunning apartment. I usually do all the research for our trips, then present O with three places, with pros and cons and then we come up with the final choice together. I really wanted him to go for this apartment, but I thought he would think it was too dark. Luckily he totally went for it. The owner was such a nice guy, so genuine and friendly too. This place was so unique, so beautiful and it felt very Dutch to me. I love experiencing different architecture, the energy of a space that is so different from what I am accustomed to.
|Charming, leaning building.|
|Full moon view from our window.|
|I drank a few beers, not my favorite, but it seemed so perfect there.|
|The view at breakfast one morning. Just after I took this photo some young man decided to open up is top floor windows and sit on the window ledge to have his coffee. His legs just dangling over the edge! I about crapped my pants.|
|Apartment kitchen. Isn't it lovely?|
|One morning I decided to do some pilates on the floor while O did his workout upstairs. It was hard to stay focused with this sunshine and air beckoning me outside.|
The view was amazing, right on the Singel Canal and across the street from a beautiful church thingy. I loved opening the huge windows and listening to the city go by, and feel the cool breeze. I love weather in the 50's, its invigorating and refreshing and just a bit chilly at night. Perfect.
The place was elegantly furnished, spacious and just a joy to hang out in. We would play some Django Rienheart and sip on some wine and watch the sky change color and chat about our day together in the evenings before hopping on our beloved bikes to dinner. (Below: things I wanted to buy at the various markets but didn't.)
2. Biking was my absolute favorite activity we did. It is so.much.fun. Amsterdam is the most bike friendly city in the world! Even for me, a total novice, it was easy and after a day or so I was like...I got this y'all. There are all kinds of really cool bike tours that you can take in the city, and I wanted to do a few of them, but before we left O was worried that his knees would hurt so much that we would end up stranded 30 miles outside of Amsterdam with wobbly knees. He realized that he would have been fine, so if I could do it again, I would have booked a tour in a snap!
3. Amsterdam is such a small city, compared to say, Atlanta, that it takes just a few minutes to bike to wherever you wanna go. We hit up the Rijksmuseum (omg, the home page has a photo of Obama's recent, like today's trip to the museum. EVERYONE was telling us he was coming! "Your president Obama will be coming to the museum next week." Like a million times a day.) and the Van Gogh Museum naturally. We also hopped on over to the Tulip Museum and the Cheese Museum. My favorite two stores, hands freaking down, were The Hotel Droog, and The Brilmuseum (I prefer Brillenwinkel)...oh wait, I also loved Hester Van Eeghen, and Eye Respect Amsterdam.
I guess coming from a branding/graphic design background I am always going to stores in other cities. Its so much fun for me to see inside of just about every store I can go to. Some might see it as just shopping in other cities, but I don't really just buy a bunch of things, but I look. I learned in school to study how displays are made, what colors are used, and trending, textures, materials, and how they relate to the culture of the city that they are in. Its hella fun, some day I bet you I will have a store. More than likely. Of course I did get a few things here and there. I love to buy jewelry and shoes when I travel to Europe. Shoes because, duh. And jewelry is something I buy everywhere I go, its my thing, I love putting on a bunch of necklaces and imaging the beautiful memories attached to them are closer to my heart that way.
|Art installation at the Droog.|
My favorite thing ever are my new glasses. I wear glasses every day, even when I have a sexy date night with O, so I figure I should have a lot of them to mix and match with my outfits. Right?
4. We ate so much amazing food, it was kind of ridiculous. My favorite was this amazing thing called a saucijzenbroodje or a sausage pastry. Ummm, yes please. Also broodje harring or a sandwich with raw haring, pickles and onions. And of course... stroopwafels. I surprised O with a dinner at Des Kas that I learned about through Joanna. Then we happened upon Van Speyk and De Belhamel. Both amazing, but Van Speyk was exceptional, like dumb good, get the traditional Dutch stew. De Belhamel had a stunning view, and great service, and it was so freaking tasty, but it was a bit loud, and tight quarters. If you go, ask for a table "upstairs" they have a cozier time of things.
|Beautiful dining room at De Kas.|
|When I met O, he used plastic crates for everything, so this little thing cracked me up/inspired me. Also at the Droog.|
5. Red Light District, and Smoking houses. Everyone asked me if the cookies, coffee, everything I posted were "special" and that cracked me up. We went into one smoke house and what I loved most was the art in there! Check that out below! You can smoke pot in a special room of a coffee house that sells it, or in your home. (The room was filled mostly with young men smoking and playing video games together, it was adorable.) You can't really walk around with a giant lit up joint pointing and laughing at everyone. Occasionally we would pass someone on the street and they would look soooo high, and that was hilarious. One night we took a long walk and we wanted to check out this famous red light district. One word: creepy. Ok, two words: creepy and depressing.
A little funny story: While I loved opening up the huge window it also felt very unsafe to me. There was a very long fall, certain death if you fell out, and basically nothing keeping you from going over. I am getting chills again just thinking of it. Sometimes for basically no reason I would get very, very anxious about the window being open, and if O walked even remotely near it I would be so physically shaken that he took to crawling on the floor to open and close the windows. I mean, one slip on the rug and you go right over that thing. I kept saying "the window is haunting me" and we would have to move further and further away from it. Well, even after we got home I was feeling haunted by it so O told me to imaging that there is a huge mattress at the bottom and that it would be really fun to jump out the window b/c a professional-grade jumpingoutthewindow pillow was down there. It totally worked, I don't freak out anymore, but if I were still there, of course that wouldn't work for me. If I lived in that apartment the first thing I would do its put some major bars over the bottom part of the window, like a 6ft person couldn't fall over it.
I will show you guys what I bought later. I need to do some research on it first.
PS. Oh quick note. The flight there was a breeze because of my new airplane pillow called Sky Siesta (eye roll). Try this out if you can't seem to get comfortable with those "C" shaped ones (they push my chin down and my head just rolls around.) At first I thought this pillow was uncomfortable, but then suddenly it was time to land, so I guess I got used to it and slept quite hard.