Monday, October 27, 2014

A fun Saturday night

After enjoying our ice cream from Monte Pelmo, Angela and I walked from Jordaan back towards Dam Square, walking around the shopping area before stopping at a FEBO where we enjoyed croquettes. She tried the beef and I had the veal. It was actually surprisingly tasty. FEBO is a walk up fast food vending machine with hamburgers, fries and other foods. We stopped in a store and I purchased a Coke that I shared with 'Freerk.'

Above Angela getting Freerky.

We walked around Dam Square before we headed to the Red Light District to explore it more. We headed along the streets, popping in and out of shops exploring and having a laugh. I managed to find a cat perched on a small roof and struggled to pet it but succeeded in doing so. Was a very happy moment. When our hunger got the better of us, we tried hunting down food and found a delicious Indonesian restaurant. 

Angela and I headed back to the carnival area and we went of the big 'Around the World' ride in the photo above that took us high over Dam Square. I believe it cost €6 but it was well worth it for the views of the square below and the buildings around.

To end the night I got a giant cotton candy which promptly made everything sticky with the sugar. We caught the tram back to Leidsplein where we went our seperate ways. I had a great first day in Amsterdam and had a lot of fun with Angela.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Monte Pelmo Icecream

After the walking tour, a girl I met from the Phillipines named Angela joined me to go to Monte Pelmo icecream in the Jordaan. It was not very far from the spot where the walking tour ended so we were not going out of our way. I had read about how good this ice cream was during my research for the trip. It also happened to be recommended to me by my housemate Danny who is a chef so I knew I needed to go and see it. The shop is open daily from 1 to 10 pm though their hours might be changing for winter. I would double check their website to avoid being disappointed.

The shop is located on 2nd Anjeliersdwarsstraat 17 in a really nice area of the Jordaan. It is really close to Het Snoepwinkeltje candy shop so you can stock up on all your Dutch favourites.

I got lemon and white chocolate with hazelnut. It was so good and my only regret is I never went back everyday to get more ice cream there.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A very wet walking tour

After my stroll through the Noordmarkt and my delicious apple pie I had intended to walk through Haarlem before going to Dam Square to meet up with the walking tour I had booked. I was taking the Sandemans New Europe Walking Tour which is a free tour, so no need to pay before hand except if you secure your spot online which is €3. The tour operates on a tip basis that you give the tour guide after the tour has completed. If you are not satisfied or do not have much to tip, just give what you can or what you think the tour deserves. This is my forth tour with Sandeman's having taken the tours in London, Edinburgh, and Barcelona. There is a tour in Liverpool that I have been debating taking just to hear another side to the city I am now calling home.

The tour starts in Dam Square at the National Monument and you can go either at 11:15 or 2:15.  The tour is three hours so prepare yourself for the walking.  They try to cover a lot of sights but things can change along the way.

The walking tour took us to the Old Church, The Red Light District, The Jewish Quarter, the Royal Palace, The Jordaan District, The Anne Frank House, The Dutch East India Company, The Begijnhof Convent Gardens, The Civic Guards Gallery, the Widest Bridge and the Narrowest House.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The I amsterdam card

I had heard about the I amsterdam card through Nomandic Matt's blog. I had been hesitant to purchase a card like this as I was unsure if I would get the value of it back. I thought about it and did a bit of math on what museums I wanted to see and what it would cost me to pay for them all individually and decided that on the last two days of my Amsterdam trip I would use the I amsterdam card and museum hop until I grew tired of it. Now I made a pretty big list and I crossed off almost all the major museums and things offered by the card. I have no regrets on the time I spent in each museum and exhibit. 

This museum pass worked well for me and I think it would work well for anyone if they just hit up the top museums and the zoo. The Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House are not included in the card and I enjoyed both of them and highly recommend seeing them.

The 24 hour pass is €47 and includes a long list of museums and other free things you can get. The pass also includes public transit on buses and trams on the GVB as well as a free canal cruise which is worth €15.00. The 48 hour pass is €57 and the 72 hour is €67. So essentially just €10 more a day. I decided on the 48 hour pass dedicating Tuesday and Wednesday to the pass. I believe you can get longer passes but I would consult the Visitor Information Centre or their website.  I purchased my pass from the Centre at Central Station but it is available at Schiphol Airport and online.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A birthday list

25 things to do before my 25th Birthday

So I've been reading The Laughing Medusa and came across her post on Birthday Lists which is essentially creating a list of 25 things I want to accomplish before my 25th birthday which is March 13, 2015 if you want to mark your calendars. This list has been a bit of a struggle to write and may become 25 things I want to accomplish while I'm 25 if it doesn't get completed.

1. Get a new stamp in my passport.
2. Go to the Chester Zoo.
3. Visit Cambridge.
4. Watch a Liverpool game at Anfield.
5. Go to Skellig Michael.
6. Get a tattoo.
7. Go to Ireland. Either Republic or Northern.
8. Climb Mount Snowdon.
9. Ride a horse.
10. Go on the London Eye.
11. Bunjee Jump
12. Sky dive
13. Go to Harry Potter Studios.
14. Go to Almost Famous Burgers in Liverpool.
15. Go on the Sandeman's New Europe Liverpool walking tour.
16. Become more a wine connoisseur (aka drink more wine)
17. Make a big effort to befriend my new housemate.
18. Get fresh flowers often.
19. Write in my journal daily.
20. Read a book once a week, or once every two weeks.
21. Get a haircut.
22. Explore more cafes in Liverpool.
23. Take more photos and blog them.
24. Keep in touch with more people from back home.
25. Drive a car in the UK.

So though my birthday is only five months away meaning I haven't had a full year at these goals. Some of them are a bit easier to achieve than others. I'm going to try and complete as many of these as I can.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday in Jordaan

I woke early to fly to Amsterdam from Liverpool. My cab from Davy Liver was £11.32 and the nice man came and picked me up at 4:30 am. The airport is not very far from my house but unfortunately the 80A bus does not run that early. I got through security and enjoyed a bit of food. Soon it was time to board and we were up and away. The flight was very quick. A time change of an hour and we landed in Amsterdam at 9:10 local time. I got my passport stamped and was on my way out of the airport with lovely thoughts of just how pretty all the Dutch border security are. I caught the 197 bus from Schiphol to the Rijksmuseum and walked around the block to the Flying Pig Uptown where I was staying. I had booked into a four bedroom for one night as the three bed was not available for the entire duration of my stay. The room was right by reception so was very easy to access. After doing all the checking in business I had plans to head into the Jordaan and check out the Noordermarkt before eventually going to Dam Square for the Sandeman's New Amsterdam Free Walking Tour.

From the Flying Pig to the Noordermarkt was about half an hour. I managed to find the shop that I had wanted to stop in the last time I was in Amsterdam. De Kunstboer, is an accessory, bag and art shop. They sold some really cool bags that I wanted to buy but I held back and just got some really cool postcards.

I stopped at Citea for a delicious spicy chai before heading into the Noordmarkt which on Saturdays sells a lot of organic food. There were lots of bakery treats but I had my eye on Winkel for their apple pie.  There was only a small queue for the pie and it was very worth it. If you're in Amsterdam you have to try it.  It's not very expensive either, I think maybe ~€3.30 or something for a delicious slice of apple pie.