5:45am and my alarm goes off. Wake up, brush teeth, pack wash bag … I’m off to Amsterdam! I had been before for 24 hours on a work trip but I had never spent three days there so I was very excited. My boyfriend has been a few times so I was very much looking forward to his guided tour. Last time when I went I thought Amsterdam was grey and not very pretty. Well was I wrong! It is beautiful.
Pretty nice shirts – My boyfriend and I were strolling around one of the little ally ways in the scorching sunshine, when we stumbled across a basement shop tucked away. It had a clothes rail outside filled with white printed t-shirts. On the side of the shop there was a hand written message about how the shop was filled with imperfections THEIR KEY MESSAGE BEING (and that is what they focus on,and) it is ok not to be perfect. I fell in love with the shop instantly. The young man inside who actually lived in the shop went on to explain that they collect simple but effective art from all over the world that they see imperfections in, and then they sell it on and they also print t-shirts. They use ripped up parts of cereal boxes for the tags, and put their stamp on the other side to make it an acceptable shop tag. When they get orders online they use small cereal boxes to send the t-shirts across seaS. I love the idea of the cereal boxes to pack everything up and make tags! How genius and unique. http://www.prettyniceshirts.com – Shop online here for Pretty nice shirts. They’re so cute and different, no one else will have one. Overall what I love about these t-shirts is that art and fashion are about imperfections and this young man has created a business around the fact that it is ok and acceptable not to be ‘perfect’ which I think this is an important message nowadays, plus the t-shirts are super cool!
To do – Museums are popular in the city of Amsterdam (Anne Franks house and the Van Gough Museum etc). I recommend you take a trip to these for some culture. Bikes! Rent a bike! It’s not like London with all the vehicle traffic we have, because everyone is getting around on bikes and swerving in and out of each other. Renting a bike is a wonderful thing to do on a sunny day because its fun and healthy, but keep your eyes peeled for city bike riders in a rush to get to work and keep an eye out for the trams that fly around! Other than that, you’ll be alright! Take a trip to the beautiful Vondelpark. It is 10 minutes by tram outside the city, it is bit like Hyde Park in London. It is a beautiful gated park, with lovely grounds, ponds and bridges. People are running and cycling around the park all day. When you walk into the park you are infused with the energy of everyone doing exercise, expressing themselves with singing, beat boxing etc. It is a beautiful place to visit, and you will find some lovely quaint cafe’s to have a bite to eat and a coffee or a gin and tonic. Or pop to the local supermarket near by and have a picnic in the park! Make sure to pack your running stuff as you will be inspired by the amount of people running and living a healthy lifestyle.
Places to eat – There are so many fab restaurants in Amsterdam. I had breakfast at two great places. One called ‘The Breakfast Club’ which is near Vondelpark. I had the most amazing Latte and stacked american pancakes drizzled in maple syrup and berries. They were so buttery and melted in your mouth! It is not cheap but defiantly worth it. http://thebreakfastclub.nl Another place I visited was ‘Vlaamsch Broodhuys’ and this was also near Vondelpark. The croissants, coffee’s, fresh bread and home-made sausage rolls were mouth-watering and reasonable priced. They had lovely fresh juices and smoothies available too, to kick-start your day. http://www.vlaamschbroodhuys.nl For dinner one night we went to ‘Cannible Royale’ in the centre of the city. They’re burgers are well known in Amsterdam and I must say there are delicious. You will certainly be returning. Also if you like chicken wings and ribs, this is the place to go! Very reasonably priced and a fun experience. http://www.cannibaleroyale.nl
Where to stay – My boyfriend found a lovely little hotel called ‘Park View Hotel’ just on Vondelpark. It was perfect with big spacious bedrooms and a large bed and bathroom. It was also a 10 minute tram into the centre of Amsterdam which was great so we could go in everyday, then come home at around 3ish and spend the afternoon in the park with a picnic people watching, snoozing and relaxing. http://www.parkviewhotel.nl – Take a look here!
If I haven’t made it clear already, I completely fell in love with the city. It took me four hours door to door to get there, so it is super close. I just jumped on a plane from London and landed within 50 minutes and then got on a 20 minute train from Schipol Airport into the centre of Amsterdam. Easy peasy!
I seriously recommend it for a fascinating and romantic long weekend away! I loved Amsterdam and I cannot wait to go back!