When In Dam.

So, I officially managed to squeeze in a trip to Amsterdam before the year ended. It has always been a fascinating place for me, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while, not for any particular reason and yes guys not to smoke or anything! I guess it’s a place where young people can just go out for a weekend away. I was there for a total of 4 days and I will be sharing what I got up to plus some useful tips for making your stay there pleasant and enjoyable!

Day 1:

We arrived the day prior in the evening, tired and drained from travelling from the airport to our Bnb we decided to start our ventures on the following day, we went to a lovely place called The Breakfast Club for our breakfast in Sloterdijk, I found out about this place via the gram, and surprisingly they have some branches in London which I did not know about. This location was perfect as it allowed us to go into central straight from there via train, where we walked around, saw various souvenir places and got to experience the Dam trams.

The tram services in Amsterdam are great, as it acts as a mini tour bus, so if you see something you are interested in you can simply get off and walk to it. It runs direct through the city, and majority of trams stop at Amsterdam Centraal station where everything is situated.

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In the evening we explored the nightlife of Amsterdam Centraal, going to a bar called the SkyLounge. This was located above the Hilton Hotel just outside of the station and had a spectacular view of the city of Amsterdam, it had a rooftop for you to take pictures on, however due to the cold winter night we decided to stay inside and order a few drinks. I would recommend exploring the nightlife, just like you would in any city, Amsterdam has plenty of bars and restaurants for you to try out, however I would advise you to book in advance as places can be pretty packed!

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Day 2:
We visited the infamous VenusTempel museum also known as the place full of statues of parts where the sun doesn’t shine!

This is located in Centraal once again and was surprisingly very cheap! This was the only museum we visited, the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum were all sold out, turns out you have to purchase tickets 2 months in advance!

We then went to the Hard Rock Café deeper into town, turns out they also have branches in the UK also! That’s the great thing about Dam, if you are not up to trying out new/foreign foods, there is always the safe option of sticking to what you know-majority of restaurants/cafes here in the UK are bound to be there also.

Near the Café was a souvenir shop where I could buy some keychains (I have a keychain collection for every country I go to). Although this shop was not expensive, I would recommend going to the market stalls for souvenirs as you can get some good deals there and buy souvenirs for a much cheaper price.unnamed-14

Day 3:

Day 3 consisted of activities galore! We first went to the Magna Plaza in centraal, I would say a slightly less fancy version of Harrods, but still decent. This place consisted of shops such as Mango and Coach, but we still tried to go to Dutch shops to gain a better experience of their style of clothing.

After bike riding around town, we went on the Amsterdam City Canal Cruise. This was a boat ride that took us around the many canals of Amsterdam, turns out there are many landmarks to see along the canal cruise such as the Crooked Houses, the Illuminated Laundry (AKA Neighbourhood) and the Mayor’s house! I would definitely recommend the boat cruise as it allows you to see the city of Amsterdam without going through the hassle of changing trains or trams.

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Useful Tips:

The Amsterdam City Card:

The Amsterdam City Card is a pass that allows you to get free transport on Metro,Tram, Bus and Train as well as access to museums such as the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum. This pass allows you to gain access to key tourist areas and allows you to go on the one hour canal cruise ride which was very worth it ! In all, you save loads of money and time from buying tickets and waiting in queues. If you are planning on going to Amsterdam very soon, then I highly recommend taking a look at purchasing the card if you are there for a long stay:

Wrap up warm:

Regardless of what time you go to Amsterdam, the city is full or large lakes and canals, emphasis on the canals- THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Where we stayed had a huge canal outside, the minute we came out of our door, and although they can be peaceful and they provide a serene atmosphere to walk along with, walking along them at night can be very difficult. The combination of winds with the cold waters can make your walk really annoying, therefore a good coat, scar and hat will do you just fine!

Rent a Bike:

One thing I noticed once arriving to our BnB is that there are well developed cycle lanes everywhere, and EVERYONE rides a bike. It’s almost like it’s the norm to ride a bike, from young kids to elderly women all on bikes. When my friend’s said that they wanted to rent a bike to ride I definitely strayed away from the idea. I have never and will probably never ride a bike on these London streets, I’ve heard of too many accidents happening to cyclists and I wasn’t going to end up being in one, especially not in a foreign country!

However, renting a bike and riding along the streets of Amsterdam Centraal was one of the highlights of the whole trip for me, I felt like I got to indulge in the true Dam experience of riding a bike and especially since there were plenty of bike lanes, I felt more safer than ever ! I would definitely recommend renting a bike, they are cheap ( 1 hour was 4-5 euros) and effective in getting you from A to B.

And that’s all folks !

Thank you for reading my Amsterdam travel blog and I hope to document more of my travels in this pleasant upcoming year of 2020!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Paris/Travel Blog

So initially I never had any plans to travel in 2019. I had spent a lot of time, effort and money last year in Toronto, that I said this year I’ll just kick back and enjoy the goodness of the UK. However, when my good friend Yelena invited me on a girl’s trip to Paris in January, I just couldn’t resist! I said yes and we instantly started planning. I was in Paris for a total of 5 days and 4 nights, and it was a packed, fun-filled trip. Here’s some of the activities that I got up to, it was really a lovely trip and I would recommend everyone to do!

Day 1: CHAMPS ELYSEES, EIFFEL TOWER, ARC DE TRIOMPHE

So, on day 1, we went straight into the city and tackled the biggest landmarks possible. Since we had a limited time in Paris, we thought it would be best to tackle the most important things first and then go for other activities later. The good thing about these places is that they are in close proximity to each other, either by walking or by metro, so it was fairly easy to do these landmarks in one day. I must say- the internet does not do these justice, its truly a sight to see by the naked eye, the amount of intricate detail that goes into each design makes each building spectacular in its own way. I never appreciated architecture that much until I saw these buildings, no shade but London’s skyscrapers can kind of be off putting in terms of design in comparison to France, it really makes you value the amount of time and detail that went into the creation of these buildings.
When you go to these places, they can be quite busy, especially during days of clear blue skies, so patience is needed when trying to get a good camera shot! However, it is so worth the time and energy of looking at these lovely landmarks- it truly is a sight to see.

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Day 2: DISNEY VILLAGE, VAL D’EUROPE.

Day 2 was spent releasing my inner kid at heart- at Disney village. I swear no matter how old you get, a part of you will always jump at excitement once seeing the castle or the numerous Mickey Mouse signs. That day was a bright and sunny day, causing us to take great photos around the garden areas and release our inner silly selves! The village consists of numerous amounts of shops to buy souvenirs; however, I would recommend buying it at stands at the Eiffel tower, due to a cheaper price and variety.

After this, we enjoyed some lovely Chinese at the Val D’Europe shopping centre near our apartment. To me, it was similar to Brent Cross or Wood Green- many shops and many places to eat for a cheap price, therefore saving us loads of money.

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Day 3. LOUVRE, PALAIS DE VERSAILLES, NOTRE DAME, FOIRE DU TRONE

This day was jumbo packed with activities to do – so by the end of it we were so knackered ! firstly we set off for the Louvre museum, this was the place I was most excited about as of course the Mona Lisa was going to be seen, however my friends and I were just excited that we got to breathe the same air as Beyoncé and Jay Z did. I must say the museum is so beautiful- I know I keep repeating this word but it’s honestly the only word I can use- I was just so in awe by its beauty.
So, my mission was accomplished, and I got to see the Mona Lisa. Guys, it’s tiny. Like tiny…
It has a whole room dedicated to her as she is protected by glass that is most likely bulletproof, two wooden blocks and not 1 but 4 security guards by her side. I took my picture and then I left lool, the crowds were ridiculous !

I would recommend going to see other artworks apart from her, the museum holds thousands of beautiful paintings full of loads of history to learn. You can ponder over statues such as Venus de Milo, St John the Baptist and the Sphinx. Those places are less crowded, and you can really see the beauty of each artwork that is present. Most importantly the museum is free! (gotta love a bargain)

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So, we did end up seeing the Notre Dame in all its goodness and glory. I wish I could go into what happened, but I wouldn’t want this post to be too long. First of all, it truly is a spectacular building. We didn’t get to go inside due to the long queue wait, but simply gazing into the exterior of the church was breath-taking. I thank God for two things- one for his protection as we didn’t go on the day of the fire and two because I got to set my eyes on this building beforehand, not many people got the chance to view the real thing- and although they are rebuilding it, it will never be the same as the original, therefore I remain grateful. However, once billions of dollars were raised within weeks of the fire, it leads you to question where the world’s morality really lies. After all, we know there are people dying and in poverty due to war and conflict, and to this day we choose a building over innocent lives… I guess I may go into this in another post, but it’s just food for thought.

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Lastly, we went to this amazing funfair called Foire Du Trone- and it really put the UK’s funfairs to shame. Forgot what you see at Winter Wonderland or Brent Cross, France has the best funfairs hands down! although it was freezing cold, we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying delicious churros and crepes, as well as all the amazing rides!

Day 4: VAN GOGH EXHIBITION, SACRE COEUR

On the last day we decided to indulge ourselves in our artistic splendour and spend the day at the Van Gogh exhibition, this was held at the Atelier des Lumieres and was honestly one of the best exhibitions I had been to. The exhibit consisted of a warehouse transformed into a digital viewing of all his works. No matter what position you were sitting in, his artworks were projected across all walls, making the atmosphere almost terrestrial. It was a great experience.

Lastly, we made the journey to the Sacre Coeur cathedral. It was so peaceful not only because you weren’t allowed to talk but because of the high ceilings, candles being lit and the stained-glass windows. My friend Yelena and I actually took a moment to pray, and it was so relaxing because everyone in the church was so peaceful and posed. Definitely added to the calm atmosphere. It makes you reflect on all the opportunities you get to travel and enjoy with your friends, so a few minutes to demonstrate some gratitude to God was the least we could do!

And that concludes the post, Paris was an awesome trip and will definitely be seeing me in the near future again! Watch out for my next post where I share tips on travel and travelling with friends. 

Stay blessed! x