Orlando – Hot Air Balloon Mornings & A Beautiful Villa.

Orlando and Miami was a once in a lifetime holiday for me. I went with another two families and my own and we spent 10 days in Orlando at the parks and enjoying life and then a couple of days in Miami afterwards in absolute bliss. It was the best two weeks of my life in terms of travel, going to the disney parks, exploring Miami, what wasn’t to be loved.

This is that start of a very long Saga of blog posts, but only because there is so much I can write about, and I’m pretty sure those reading and those interested will enjoy it.

I’m going to go through Orlando, discuss the parks and what we did outside the parks too, then write about our road trip to Miami and how we stopped off at palm beach, and then from there Ill be writing about Miami and things like the everglades and star island etc, So theres a nice little summary of what is to come!

*****

The plane journey was your typical 8 hours, long haul, over night with no leg room. But I was with 4 of my favourite ladies for the duration of the flight and surrounded by families I also loved, so It was enjoyable. Not to mention the tears cried at the movies we watched on the plane #tragedies

Where we stayed was next level up the ranks I’ve never stayed in anything like it type of deal. It was phenomenal, very grateful to stay in such a place, waking up the following morning after going to bed and settling in with everyone the night before was really gorgeous as we stepped out onto the balcony of one of the bedrooms.

Usually an American flag flies too but this time it was also a hot air balloon! Lord knows why we were awake early enough to see the hot air balloon and gorgeous sunrise.

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We used rental cars from the airport so it was easier to drive to parks and to Miami together as a convoy. Lets just say the house was a pretty beautiful place, pool tables and ping pong tables to an actual pool. It was impressive, I never thought I’d be lucky enough to stay somewhere like it, especially with a cinema room too! I guess you get the picture, although just in case you didn’t, here are some.

Ive said it once and I’ll say it again, the house was beautiful and god was it a pleasure to stay in. I shared a bedroom with my friend GJ when we were in Orlando, we had our own en suite and wardrobe, and a bed that was beyond comfortable and huge, safe to say I slept like a baby when I did go to bed. I couldn’t even reach Georgia from across one side of the bed! Everyone had really gorgeous rooms and it was very cosy and homey. Its in a gated area, so its pretty pristine, everything house is slightly similar, all shapes and sizes too though, America is just so different to the UK its fascinating.

The villa was about 20 minutes away form the parks, not even that to be honest. It was also near a few restaurants that we visited like Red Lobster, we also went to an Italian nearby often too which was so lovely, We kept going back! If someone gave me the opportunity to stay in a place like this again I would 11110% say yes.

One day I’ll visit all 50 states #dreams.

Vienna – Sight-Seeing Galore!

There’s plenty of things to do and see when traveling about in Vienna! At least thats how I felt, we walked for ages some days but through the painful feet we always saw some beautiful things.

One of the most gorgeous places we went when we were in Vienna was the Schoenbrunn Castle, the gardens and the Gloriette.

The inside of the palace walls blew me away because the palace was so huge and impressive, it was a light beige colour and very authentic, it was like nothing Id ever seen before, purely for its size! If you head round the side of the castle you can walk through the rose cage and into the castle gardens which are just as impressive in size as the castle.

To walk up the to the Gloriette and to get an incredible view of Vienna you had to walk through their gardens directly behind the castle first. Theres a large fountain before the steep hill up towards the Gloriette, the architect didn’t hold back when building this place because everything about it is impressive in terms of size, the fountain is also, you guessed it, huge.

The gardens went on for miles, I believe somewhere within all the gardens theres a zoo?! There was also what appeared to be a botanical garden in a large greenhouse like building, it was really unique form the outside. I totally wish I’d gone inside when I had the chance, it was very photogenic, the whole of the gardens and palace are.

The trek up the hill to see the Gloriette was totally worth it. Not only was the Gloriette gorgeous but so was the view. I’d wanted to walk up the hill from the moment I saw it so I could see the view and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Gloriette is unbelievably impressive and towers over the hill, it also has a little cafe inside too! The sight of it and the attention to detail on the statues, the arches and the writing that is on the building, and the general structure of it would be any architects dream for sure. It’s been there since 1755 and also displays trophies and Roman Empire armour and many other Roman trinkets.

*****

The Danube is the river that runs through Vienna, we walked along it when we were shopping in town and when we got the tube one day. We got off at the stop where it’d on the bridge over the danube, it was lovely and was a gorgeous day which made the view a whole lot better.

We sat on the steps down to the water when we walked along side it, It was warm and I took my shoes off wandering up and down the steps, some of the graffiti on the walls was funky too, some of it was so well done!

*****

One of the first places that Julia took Jake and I was Karlzplatz, where I accidentally got a photo of the car park and put it on my insta saying how gorgeous it was there when really it was majority car park, so yeah, reaaaaally gorgeous haha!

But the Opera House in Karlzplatz is one that Tom Cruise jumped off in one of the Mission Impossible films (Mission Impossible 5)! I was I’d had the chance to see the Opera so I guess it gives me a very good excuse to visit again! They also held the premier for the Mission Impossible 5 film at the opera house!

*****

One morning we decided to not let our hangovers defeat us and we went on a road trip to a lake and man made beach! When we got there we paid about €5 to get in, then when inside they had changing areas and toilets, a huge balcony seating area on the water and multiple beanbags and sun-beds to chill out on. Theres a field of grass behind all this and then if you carry on walking theres a man made beach with sand and all! We set up on the sand with our towels and got tanning.

It was really cool to chill out and tan our hangovers away, we also went for a swim in the lake and it was so fretting. Theres a restaurant / cafe also there were we got lunch and could look over the lake. It was a really pretty place and a perfect day with friends.

*****

We spent a day shopping in Vienna, I’ll never forget storming to the till in Zara and Julia not really giving Jake any choice on the matter in buying a €50 cardigan. I’ve never asked Jake if he wears it so Jake if you’re reading this let me and Julia know!

We walked through the streets of Vienna looking at all the fancy shops and restaurants, we walked past places like Gucci, Chanel and Marc Jacobs and it all looked so flawless. Of course there was H&M, Forever 21, all the just as brilliant and cheaper shops for the broke students like me! The shops that got me the most was the #Respect Your Ass shop where you could make your won customised pair of jeans, It was cool inside and out, I wish I’d got some.

There were also plenty of statues dotted about which were made of gold! We had the nice Ice cream whilst walking back as it was getting a bit cold, and what better log then to have Ice cream when you’re cold. It was SO NICE. I rate Ice cream and that stuff was gorgeous.

Whilst out shopping we came across St, Stephens Cathedral, I never realised how cool the roof of the cathedral was until I saw it myself. It’s all patterned with zig zags in different colours. It was something different, especially for a cathedral!

More architectural beauty for sure in the heart of Vienna!

Vienna – Dancing till my feet could dance no more.

8When we got to Vienna of course we knew that there was going to be lots of clubbing involved and alcohol to be consumed within the next week. It was inevitable as raging student alcoholics.

On our first night when we arrived in the airport we were already late for our first party, Julia and her friend both showed up at the airport in Traditional Austrian clothing and they looked so incredible I wanted a dress myself!

Unfortunately we missed the Traditional Austrian Party but we ended up heading on out anywhere to a club that where we got in for free! The music was good and unfortunately I don’t remember what the places was called but for our first night it was definitely a good one. We landed in Vienna at 9pm and were out until the early AM! The perfect way to start a holiday, we also met some of Julia’s amazing friends, it was a lovely night! We ended up getting the night bus home and that was different, I’m pretty sure we were out until 5am getting the right buses home!

*****
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One night Julia was working so her friends took us to a bar in Vienna called Kaktus, It was a cool looking places with different coloured lights and high chairs and tables. We had a few cocktails and drinks but it was a relatively quiet night out and we were home by 12! Which felt so nice because I was excited for a full nights sleep!

*****

Julia and her friends took us out one night to a club called U4. It was somewhere in the depths of Vienna and was underground, It had two rooms, one being a cheesy hits floor and the other being a hip hop dance floor. It was a pretty cool place, the shape of the bars were so different and the drinks were fairly expensive! It was cool because again you could smoke in the clubs! I didn’t smoke at the time so I didn’t really appreciate it then but when I go back I know I will!

The funniest night was easily the night we only made it to pre drinks because jake was sick everywhere, I’ll never forget that, Shout out to you Jake, I hope you remember exactly what happened that night!

*****

We headed out another night into Vienna where we ended up at this really huge nightclub, I was never told the name but it was honestly massive and had a huge area outside with a money grab machine and photographs. The drinks were a relatively good price, it was picture perfect and so cool for a club, We danced the night away and had a real laugh. I got given a sticker on my purse, but Ill leave you to wonder what It means! This night I realised that I was short and that Julia’s friends are SO much fun! We didn’t stay out too late this evening but it was such a picture perfect place for a club!

*****

Our last night was probably the best night, we went to a few house parties whilst we were out in Vienna but the best one was the pre party before we went to the club called Passage, which again lead to being easily the best night out in Vienna. Downside was it was our last night, but at least it was an incredible one!

The pre party was all fun and games at one of Julia’s friends house, it was sad to have photos as we knew we weren’t all going to see each other for a really long time. But the session was great and drinks were flowing and it was such a nice time It made me realise Julia introduced me to easily the best people ever, everyone was so nice and welcoming, I hope to see them all again soon when I head back to Vienna soon.

95So we headed out to Passage and it really was the funkiest place, Passage is basically an underground walkway converted into a massive underground club with ceiling tiles that change colour, a huge DJ Booth the my friend ended up falling into after leaning on the door when it was slightly open, and a large bar and seating areas all around the edge of the club. It was a mint place, they also sold these huge drinks called Zombies, they had every alcohol under the sun in by the taste of them, they were very strong and although I never bought one for myself I somehow ended up being next level ruined.

114It was easily the best night out we had, the music and the atmosphere was great. When the night ended Julia nearly got into a taxi without Jake and I, could you imagine, us lost in Vienna!  Would be absolute carnage! We didn’t get home until early morning, early enough that we got to see the sunrise as we arrived back at Julia’s.

The next day was our flight, and I was written off. I couldn’t remove my head from a toilet bowl for a good 4 hours, let alone get on a flight. But alas I struggled through, I just needed a tea on the plane and I would be happy. Which was something I didn’t get, So I wasn’t happy.

Vienna – A new country & my first experience with trams (yes, really).

Jake and I had headed over to Vienna for one very special reason, to see our wonderful friend Julia who we had met when she had come to our college for 6 months to study. We became so close when Julia was in the UK studying, so when she went home we were so heartbroken and missed her so much, we paid for a flight to Vienna, Austria!! So, we hopped on a plane to Vienna  so we could spend an amazing time with Julia sight-seeing, meeting her friends and partying the Austrian way!

I was so excited to go to Austria as it’s a new place, a new country! New things to see and new foods to try, like schnitzel! Art galleries and restaurants to clubs and pubs, I was so excited to have a change of pace and especially temperature as it was a a lot warmer in Vienna compared to the UK! Another country to tick of my list, I’d go back there and explore so much more if I could, I’d especially like to go snowboarding in Austria, I’m sure its beautiful, one day!

23.jpgWe flew with Easy Jet so it all ran smoothly on the way there, unfortunately on the way back in my hungover state I was dying for a tea and they couldn’t serve any hot drinks due to not having any hot water! Jake and I were dead to the world. Prices weren’t crazy high but it was £120+ per person including one suitcase in the hold.

When Jake and I arrived at the airport we were greeted with big hugs before we were swept back to Julia’s with her and her friend as we had a Traditional Austrian Party to go too! We stayed at Julia’s in her basement, it was a huge space with only a sofa and a table in there, there were two mattresses to sleep on for Jake and I so we set up camp! We also had a bathroom and plenty of space for our things. Jake and I were so grateful she let us stay with her because it saved us so much in terms of money, time and it made the experience better as we got to spend more time with Julia.

*****

Julia lived fairly close to everywhere we wanted to go, we just had to hop on a tram and the metro! Well, for starters I’d been in Vienna an evening and had already nearly been ran over by a Tram. Admittedly at the time I was 18 years of age and I still hadn’t seen or ever been on a Tram, so this was a first, So I didn’t realise that once they left the station there wasn’t really much a chance of them stopping. Especially if you walk out in front of them before they pull away from a station, oops! No injury of course, make sure you keep your eyes open.

64But Trams are pretty cool, We used them quite a lot to get to where we needed to go, and they’re so funky and clean, they really give the place more identity as they look so savvy. But I’d never ridden on a Tram before so my fascination levels were pretty high, it was a lot of fun and something new!

We used the metro often as well, that was pretty handy, we bought a week pass for it and it was fairly cheap. It was pretty clean everywhere and it was pretty much like being on the underground in London except for Vienna is SO much nicer and your journey is much more pleasant.

Portugal – Staying in a Surf Lodge

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The Surf Lodge we stayed in was in Lagos, Jah Shaka Surf Lodge, and god it was Beautiful. It was about a half an hour – 45 Minute taxi ride from the airport, I’m not sure how much the taxi cost, It was a 9 seater that was full and it was a couple euros each! Their official website to book all things Jah Shaka is here; www.studentsurftrips.com! So check that out if you want too.

When we pulled up into the gates it was really gorgeous. All the trucks they use to get around were parked in the drive  with surf boards of the roofs of the car, and it just looked so cool. The lodge was pretty big, it had 10+ rooms and if the rooms were all full there were
Tipi’s! As cool as a Tipi sounds id rather have a room, so I got a 3 bed room with a double ben and en suite to share! It was so much more than what I’d hoped for.img_3266

The Lodge itself had a kitchen, a communal lounge, a large pool and garden area which was so good for chilling in, an eating area and a bar!!
The best part was that the bar was so cheap! Beer for €1 and Cider for €2! It also had a cool fire pit and seating area around it, some of the nights spent around that fire are now a lot of good memories.

The Lodge takes us to the beaches to learn how to surf at all these different beaches, they can teach different skill classes and the instructors are really nice and you get to chill with them at the lodge. They provide food for you on trips to the beach and in the mornings an evenings. They also plan nights out for you and take you for dinner. Its img_3182a pretty sound place, you get to choose what you do, and theres even for a little extra dosh go stand up paddle boarding at sunset/sunrise. I wish I’d done it!

I’d go back there to stay in a heartbeat. I shared a room with Abbie & Becca and it was so much fun. I’d never stayed in a surf lodge before so it was a really wonderful experience I would so do again. The staff were all lovely as they

*****

Getting around Lagos was pretty easy, nice and cheap! If we wanted to get into town we could get order taxi’s to the lodge for only a small price! it was under €10 at least and if there was 4+ of you in the taxi it never cost you more than €2-3 each! The taxi drivers are a little bit crazy and love to drive fast and unlike the drivers in the UK, they’re not very talkative or considerate either.

There was once instance where we got in a blazing argument with a taxi driver, but that wasn’t quite our fault. I look back on it now and I can’t help but laugh, we are some hormonal girls in a different country, it was hilariously brilliant. We ended up complaining to the surf lodge in the end!

img_3344I personally loved the way the instructors got us to the beaches, we got to fit 6-8 people in these awesome trucks and we all headed to the beach in convoy in these awesome looking trucks with surfboards on the roof. It was really sweet, I felt like I was on a proper surf holiday (even though I was it felt a little more real when I sat inside one of the trucks for the first time).

It was a really enjoyable time and although the journey in the back of the trucks didn’t always leave my stomach feeling wonderful, it was definitely a different way to travel to and from the beaches and it was a fun experience.

Dublin – Dirty Pints & Half priced rides home at 4am

When we first got to Dublin we headed to our hostel, then straight out, Only to find

49ourselves in the same pub the entire afternoon. It was called Murphy’s Pub and we sat in there for hours upon hours just relaxing with each other, we got there at about 11am and stayed until around 3pm. It was a long time but we were all to busy falling asleep as our flight was at 4am the same day, listening to men chanting at football and ripping each other to bits like we usually do.

It was a nice place, we sat outside on the balcony, drinks of course were not cheap because its Dublin. We had a whale of a time even though we were all beyond tired. Josh ended up sticking rizla’s to his eyebrows and Cam drank my stale pint of guinness i’d left on the table for a good 2 hours which also had someones chewing gum in it, and the man still drank it. I love my friends.

*****

Our first big night out was in Xico. Its an over 21’s nightclub in Dublin where you have to pay €20 just to get in. But because my wonderful irish friend Craig has some very very popular friends (Jay Duffy, Keith Duffy from boy zone’s son), We all managed to get in for free and under the age limit, I’m not even 21 till next year either! All about who you know aye! It was a huge nightclub with a smoking area upstairs, huge long bar (with attractive barmaids) and a mixture of cheesy but also good music to dance too!

79It was an amazing night, the drinks were flowing and like I said before were not cheap! At about 2am there were only me, Brad, Cam and Josh left in Xico, We partied the night away and danced to the cheesy music until 3am and the lights came up. It was a fun night and we were all hammered. The Downside to this is that we had gotten a taxi to Xico and had absolutely no idea where we were in relation to our hostel, and we were all absolutely mortal.

This resulted in the 4 of us attempting to walk through the streets of Dublin trying to get home, smashed. After having a 76number of photos in a door way that looked like No.10 Downing street, we headed further down a road where Josh decided to climb up onto the highest wall we could see whilst the rest of us looked at the city map, and we still had no idea where we were. And then to top it all off whilst I was trying to read the map Josh and Cam were walking circles around me and the map sign, this only resulted in Cam somehow managing to wallop himself in the face with the sign. This only progressed into Cam laying on the floor and also having a cone on his head at 77one point.

Even though it was brilliant, It was nearly 4am and I was tired and just wanted to go home. So the 4 of us managed to somehow climb into the back of a 3 seated rickshaw. God do I feel sorry for the bloke who had to bike us back to our hostel because the journey wasn’t short. We were cheering him on as we all sat in the back. We ended up paying him €13 euros and a tattoo voucher for somewhere back in the UK as that was all we had left, whereas it should’ve been at least €25!! it was a crazy night and I know I’ll never forget it.

*****

One evening Brad and I headed down to Temple Bar. If you ever get the chance to go there then do, when we went down there were pubs galore, live music and lots of pretty lights! 85Its a really lively place, and very expensive! My Malibu and coke and brads pint cost €16 in total, just for 2 drinks! Don’t go to temple bar with the hope of getting pissed for cheap because it just won’t happen, so be prepared to spend the dosh!

After Temple Bar we headed to meet everyone at a Shisha bar down the road from our hostel. It was really cool, it was down a set of stairs and through the corridor into these little rooms where you had to take your shoes off and chill out on the floor. Each ‘booth’ was separated with silk curtains and there were pillows and it was really cosy. It wasn’t too expensive and we got a shisha pipe and some jasmine green tea, it was so chilled out and a perfect way to wind down!

We spent our last evening in a pub in Temple Bar and all got monumentally ruined, we listened to live music and patted ben on the back as he chundered by a bin outside, the perfect way to end the holiday!

I adore my friends to say the least!

Dublin – The Generator Hostel & Rickshaw rides

When in Dublin we wanted a place that was pretty central, cheap but also nice, and that could house 9 of us. We Decided on the Generator hostel and we ended up with 2 rooms, 6 in one room and 3 in the other. It was perfect.

The rooms were perfect and came with 2 charger plugs and lights for each bed. There were 3 bunk beds and they had two draws underneath where you could keep all you belongings, there was also a sink and a mirror! It was perfect for the lot of us. The mens bathrooms were on the second floor and the women’s was on the first, and they were lovely and clean.

46Downstairs where the check in desk and seating area was huge and really cool. There were 3 stories, the bottom was seating areas, a pool table and lockers for people who got to the hostel before the check in time and could leave their bags till their rooms were ready, we had to do this and it was really helpful, saved us lugging ur bags around. The second floor was busier, with a bar, multiple pool areas, a stage for events in the evening and plenty of seating and even a small cafe off to the side for breakfast and snacks etc in the day! The top floor was just more seating, an ATM and the desk to check in! It was a huge place with about 5-6 floors and plenty of rooms for a relatively good price, and the lights in the main area were Jameson Whiskey bottles! (Bet they had fun making the bottles available for the light).

You aren’t allowed to bring alcohol into the hostel so if you’re thinking of pre drinking in your room, think again. Unless you’re stealthy and good at hiding things… But I’ll leave that down to you.

*****

When we were in Dublin, everything was pretty expensive. Getting a taxi would’ve been a waste of money. Especially as most places were within walking distance from our hostel. We could walk to the shopping area and to Temple bar, the main pub and club area, so overall it was pretty decent and easy to travel about. Admittedly we did get a taxi to the club, Xico, that we went too but it wasn’t far, still about €10 none the less for less than 5 minutes!

A pretty cool way we go around one night was a rickshaw! There was some guy who rode the bike at the front whilst you could fit 3 of you in the back! It was pretty fun! Especially when you’re absolutely trashed, its still expensive but so much more fun than your average taxi. Cold though! Best to make sure it isn’t raining! But you can read more about that here!

Amsterdam – Travel & Other things to help you get around.

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I didn’t realise how far out of the centre our flat was until we jumped on Bus 22 and sat for 9 stops/20 minutes with our suitcases trying to figure out where we were going, this was after getting from the airport to the centre, getting all the tickets we needed and more. 

*****

  • The Travel:

Getting the train from the airport is really simple, after getting through baggage, security and all that we headed to the help desk and they sent us to the very obvious desk that said Train Tickets. note to self, actually open your eyes and look around as you are capable as a human being to do things the first go without help. 

Single Train tickets to Amsterdam centre from Schipol are €4.20, so nothing to strenuous at all and it takes you, obviously, right to the centre stress free.

Getting to the centre we wanted to find somewhere where we could get a tram pass. After speaking to a helpful woman she sent us in the right direction towards a white GVB building to the left of the station (it might even be the GBV buildings, its easy to spot regardless of which way the letters are).

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In here we asked for a tram pass and another helpful lady gave us a 4 day tram and bus pass for only €22.00, Easily the cheapest deal we’d ever seen & not expected. It gave us access to any bus or tram in Amsterdam, all we had to do was scan the pass as we got on and off every time, no extra charge!!!

We saved so much money, if we’d have bought tickets for every journey we took we would not have been able to spend the money we did.  With a Tram and Bus stop right outside out flat and a train station down the road if we needed it, it was so convenient.

The trams, trains and buses are immaculate. They’re so clean and so brilliantly on time, the buses aren’t so accurate on time but none the less, it was better than any shitting english public transport services. The trams were the best, my personal fave cause there were always on time and they’re just brilliant things to have.

*****

  • The Other things:

My step-mum told me the wisest words I’d ever heard before we left for Amsterdam;

“Download Citymapper onto your iPhone”

citymapper

So the first thing I did before I left was exactly that. And we depended on that App to travel around Amsterdam like it was a travel bible (So shout out to my step-mum). You can use this App for most cities globally to help you get around, just type in which city you’re in and you’re away!

The pros of this app were that it was a massive help as we were in the city, the cons are that if you are not anywhere near the centre the app is deemed pretty much useless (I tried using it for London, and because I wasn’t in London at the time it didn’t work out).

We used this app from the moment we got to the centre & from then on we were dependant on it when it came to getting back to the flat and getting to restaurants that were outside of the really busy areas of amsterdam. It gave us the Tram and Bus services that we need to get on from where we were, and if we needed to walk to any of the tram or bus stops it gave us the directions to walk to the stop! It used the GPS on my phone to show it knew which direction we were stood in too, It was SUCH a handy app to have.

SO helpful, 10/10 would totally use it again and I highly recommend it too.

*****

Another method of transport which wasn’t used by us, and to be honest we didn’t even think to use it to get around because we had more chance of dying than getting to our final destination, was the BIKES. The people of Amsterdam do not mess around with their bikes. They have specific red bike lanes as there are so many people who find it easier to use bikes rather than drive, and with those windy small roads I don’t blame them.

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If you stepped out into a bike lane without looking you’d have a lot of angry people speaking dutch, as if the language does sound angry enough when they speak generally, shaking their fists and heads. Make sure you cross somewhere you won’t get mowed down.

I’d almost definitely crash my car if I drove there, I’ve already bumped it twice in England, maybe Im just shit at driving.

(I definitely am).

Amsterdam – Good Coffee & Better Food

I’ll Start off with where we ate, but if you’re more interested in the coffee shops, scroll down! 

*****

Out for food!;

16002825_10207785444305919_6777500625390467971_nWheres good for grub? Okay, Although we didn’t really go mad with where we went for food & we tried not to go with standard chain restaurants, that did fail a few times but the food was lovely none the less, as was the experience in the small restaurants to fit the small Amsterdam streets.

  • Vapianos – There was nothing small about this place, it was 3 floors. I’d been to a Vapianos two years before when I went to Vienna and I hadn’t been back since, And I love Italian food. I love it even more when its cooked and made in front of you and then handed to you to go chill and eat, they have a pasta section and a pizza section, its pretty awesome. Good prices and banging food. Its not far out of the centre either and there are two.
  • Amsterdam Steakhouse & Pizzeria – We didn’t know where to go for food and we didn’t know what we fancied either so this was perfect as it did everything, Good price but super small, luckily we managed to get a seat and some more good food.
  • Teddy’s Corner – I highly recommend this place for breakfast. I had an English15977704_10207785445105939_5005694226462020895_nBreakfast and Brad an American Breakfast and it was glorious! It located literally just of the centre so an easy walk and really good prices, plenty of food to choose from too!
  • The Pancake Bakery – We came here for lunch, I had a pancake with chocolate, whipped cream and banana’s and it was AMAZING. Brad on the other hand ordered a savoury pancake and he didn’t like it, but then savoury pancakes with cheese and meat on aren’t for everyone! He ended getting a sweet one, luckily they didn’t charge us for the other pancake! It was difficult to find this place and its also quite expensive but really pretty inside.
  • A Burger Place (unsure of the name unfortunately) – We came here on the first night and the burgers were so nice, something easy after our flight and checking in malarky. Good prices, and the burgers were lovely too, nothing incredibly special though.

*****

Coffee Houses!;

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So wheres good? Unfortunately I don’t have any photos due to the fact they’re not fan’s of people taking photographs in there, which is perfectly understandable. Coffee houses are great to just chill out after a busy day, whether its for a drink, some food or a smoke. Here are the places we visited:

  • The Bulldog Cafe & Energy Coffee Shop – This had been recommended by some of Brads friends so we had to check this place out, It’s also really popular in Amsterdam and one of the well known coffee shops. Its pretty small inside but its okay if you don’t get a seat, there are two more bulldog coffee shops literally 100 metres between each of them down the road!
  • Green House Cafe – This was near the Bulldog, just the other side of the river and a bit further down. I can now say I have chilled in the same cafe as Snoop Dog, Rihanna, Will Ferrell and a whole photograph wall full of other famous people that have been to this cafe. It’s a really funky place, a little more expensive, but thats understandable when you realise all the famous heads that have been there.
  • Original Dampkring – This one was my favourite because the cat they had in this coffee shop was 100% stoned. At one point she came and sat down on all of our things on the bar, she didn’t give a shit.
  • 1eHulp Cafe – You cant’t sit in here unless you’re over 21 so we couldn’t stick around, It was mad how busy it was because you can purchase the best weed in Amsterdam at the moment here, so it was a really busy place. Located kinda on the outskirts, but if you’re heading to the IAmsterdam sign its pretty close to that.15977215_10207785451826107_6170752421100053541_n
  • Abraxas – A good place to chill, A good atmosphere too, but SO hard to find with all the building work going on around it. Its down a small alleyway so ideally you’d need to have some sort of app to tell you where you’re going, or a map, Or just a really good sense of direction.
  • Smokey Coffee Shop – This was a great place, everyone’s friendly, it was busy an the music was really good, we came here after dinner at Vapianos and stayed here basically most of the night.
  • Red Light Coffee Shop – As you can tell, this one was in the red light district, Although it was very big it was a busy and easy to chill. We decided to have a break from the rain and accidentally walking down ‘Big Momma Alley’, I’ll leave that to you to think about.
  • Feel Good Coffee Shop – This was our last coffee shop of the holiday, we didn’t stay for long but it was big and had a nice atmosphere, and it wasn’t as busy as some so it was nice to get a seat!

The Coffee Shops are really great and you get talking to a lot of people, everyone is really nice and friendly there, just know your limits and be safe!

 

Amsterdam – Enough Sight-Seeing to drown a Fish

Obviously when in Amsterdam you must do the essentials, we did a fair few things but there was also a lot of things to go back and do as we ran out of time. For example we had no time to do any of the museums which was a shame. But either way, heres what we managed to get done over the course of 3 days!

*****

The streets of Amsterdam are really beautiful, I know its nothing special or anything specific, but its great because its free and everywhere is really different and nice. All the canals and little bridges, its a really photogenic place and the buildings are beautiful too, Just walking through the streets would have been enough to amuse me for a day. So if you do go to Amsterdam make sure you take in the scenery because its really unique and so pretty.

*****

The Anne Frank museum was a really moving experience. To be able to go around the house she and her family were basically trapped in for years and read extracts from her diary as you went, hearing about the journey and the story of it all. It was really eye opening. They had video’s of people who had helped the Frank family at that desperate time giving their account of the story. In the end its sad to think that Anne Frank and her sister died only 6 months before the concentration camps were liberated. Their father was the only one to survive, some of the video interviews of him talking about reading Anne’s diary are heartbreaking. It took us 45 minutes to get around and it was 45 minutes well spent. Its not too far away from the central station and it only €19.00 entry for two people, so €9.50 each, but its well worth the visit.

*****

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The Red Light District was really funky, something completely different to anything I’ve ever seen before. Men queuing up outside windows to go inside with a prostitute, and all the girls in the windows, the sex shows and plenty of flashing lights and snazzy neon signs. It was surreal, we wandered down both sides of the canal. There were multiple sex shops and shows like the Banana Bar, A peep show, strip clubs and Moulin Rouge, It was really fascinating and we had a good giggle at some of the the places along the strip because they were so different to what we were used too, its a completely different environment but really good fun. We also set up camp for an hour or so in the Red Light Coffee Shop along the canal in the district so if you wanna take a break from the lights and basically naked ladies you can.

*****

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We made the mistake of walking to the IAmsterdam, its a bloody long way from the central station so if you can get a tram to it, do. Although the walk is lovely it was long, and you can potentially go via the 1eHulp cafe on your way as well! Its located behind the Rijks Museum, a place I need to go back and visit as the museum building itself is beautiful. You walk under it too, through the arches in the middle to get to the road across the other side, Its really gorgeous so to go back and see the inside, the artwork and the famous “Night watch” portrait hung on the 18 foot wall on its own would be wonderful.

Anyway, Its your standard huge big I AM IN AMSTERDAM sign, its free of course as it sits outside and its pretty cool. Theres tourists everywhere and even an ice skating ring behind it. Im not sure if the ice skating ring is there all year round but it was early Jan so will probably stick around during the christmas and NY period if it isn’t there all the time. Its the perfect place to be your typical tourist and stand and pose in front of it, which was exactly what we did!

Overall the trip was wonderful, I can’t wait to go again and do everything I didn’t do and more!

For more on my trip to Amsterdam click this wonderful link HERE!