Let It Snow, Lockdown Edition

With Lockdown being in full swing here in the UK there really isn’t too much to do outside of the house other than to walk and exercise! So when we were forecast snow I was so excited as I am very furloughed and very bored! Usually wherever I am, it doesn’t snow. So when it started snowing here in Cambridgeshire I was so, so excited.

I Love the snow. Its so exciting! So when it started snowing BIG flakes and SETTING on the ground as well I was straight out for a walk looking at the park and the river, it looked absolutely beautiful! Although I love a warm trip away I also love the cold, so I had my coat on, my timberlands, my white fluffy ear warmer, fully kitted out! Especially because I had really lost all my mojo being in the house alone whilst Brad was at work, so when it started snowing I was so pleased. Such a nice break in the monotonous weeks I had been having.

It had stopped snowing after the first day of it pouring down and the next day Brad had a day off work. So we went to the park where all the snow had set and there was also some ice puddles and like the big kids at 23 we are, we of course were crushing the ice, throwing snowballs, seeing how deep the puddles were and Brad was trying to piggy back me across the deep puddles in his boots.

It was a great laugh and I just feel where there is snow there is positivity.

On the third day of having the snow around I met up for a socially distanced walk with one of my friends at a beautiful nature reserve in walking distance of home for us both! The snow across the fields looked stunning and we even saw a baby deer! Although the walk we usually took had been closed off, so with no idea where to go next we walked an extra 3 miles on accident! But that meant we got to spend some time in some proper crunchy snow and enjoy the nature reserve in all its snowy glory!

With there being snow over a majority of the UK, and also worldwide as well! I reached out to my Twitter followers to send me their snowy shots! And they absolutely did not disappoint, here are some of the shots I received from my lovely followers!

This stunning photograph was taken by Nat at NatPackerTravel! You can find more from Nat at these links below!

Instagram.com/Natpackertravel

Twitter.com/Natpackertravel

NatPackerTravel Blog!


This snowy Shot was taken by Miamii Mansour, you can see more from Miamii on her twitter link below!

Twitter.com/Explorewithmii


The photos above are from ‘Make Them All Trips of a Lifetime’ and you can see more at the links below!

Twitter.com/ThemTrips

http://instagram.com/makethemalltripsofalifetime


These beautiful and playful shots above are from Kazans Derbyshire! So Much colour and fun, so much happiness and positivity in these shots!

You can find more from Kaz here: The3amDiary.com & instagram.com/snowkazadventures

twitter.com/snowkaz84


These stunning shots below were taken by Jupiter Hadley! My favourite is definitely the horse in the snow! You can find more from Jupiter at her blog here Jupiterhadley.com and her twitter here, twitter.com/Jupiter_Hadley


A beautiful snowy car shot from Anisa & Russell at twitter.com/norfolklocal and norfolklocalguide.co.uk

Amsterdam – New experiences, 'Over the Edge'.

I am choosing to write about some of my Amsterdam trip but not all of it as we have visited Amsterdam, Netherlands, before!

Mainly the bits which I haven’t covered before I want to cover this time! So the ‘Over the Edge‘ experience, Hippie Fish, Loetje steak restaurant, Amsterdam River boat cruises and getting the ferry to A-dam Nord all to come in future blog posts! All new things experienced on my second trip to Amsterdam with Brad, but this time with Mel, Stan and Kaat as well! My best friends and university housemates.

We had the absolute pleasure of staying in Stan’s families flat in the centre of Amsterdam. Stan himself is Dutch and from Haarlem! Perks of having friends in other countries hey?!

Big up Stanimal.

I’ll be honest, the Over the Edge experience was not something I had ever heard of before until Mel mentioned it, then we just had to go! So we headed on the tube to the main Amsterdam station and got on the ferry to cross over to Amsterdam Nord! You can see the building, the A’DAM Lookout, from the ferry area, and even further as it is so very tall!

We jumped off the ferry once we had crossed the water and we also found the iAmsterdam sign! I thought this was something they had gotten rid of! So it was a nice treat and lovely photo opportunity, especially as Brad and I had the same photo on our first trip to Amsterdam about 4 years prior but in a different spot.

We headed into the A’DAM lookout and as we were queuing saw the Gibson Throne made out of Guitars! Would have been rude not to take a seat (Its funny because I didn’t). We then all had pictures in front of a green screen of us sat high up over a city on a metal building structure and a picture of us falling backwards. All part of the fun!

Then it was into the totally psychedelic lift which had a light show the entire way up the lift shaft as you reached the top! It was beautiful to watch and definitely unexpected, I didn’t realise until Mel told me to look up as we started our climb up!

We came out on the floor below the terrace. This consisted of a bar, restaurant and floor to ceiling windows, also an entire aerial view map of Amsterdam Centre. The view was absolutely beautiful, overlooking the water and the Amsterdam station and centre. Plus it was also a beautiful day and the skies were blue, we couldn’t have picked a better one if we tried.

After doing a lap of the inside viewpoint we headed upstairs to the terrace where the wind was blowing and the sky was beautiful and blue and we could see all across Amsterdam! We walked around to the ‘Over the Edge‘ Swings excited for our turn!

They’re huge red swings that as they are swinging backwards and forwards it takes you over the edge of the building! You are of course firmly strapped in with a metal harness across the belt and it really is an exciting feeling. They take photos of you both on the swings (but I definitely let Mel take some of our pictures because she’s the real pro) You definitely have the urge to swing your legs as you would on a normal swing and it is very hard not too!

I found that my heart was in my throat and I loved every second of it. Mel and Stan also did it and once we had all had our turn we headed to the outdoor bar they had for beer and tea, enjoy the pictures below of our experience!

Highly recommended and for only 5 Euros per person for the swing, but for the 360 degrees look out also it is around 10-13.50 Euros! Well and truly worth the pricing.

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!

Dublin – GUINNESS DOES TASTE NICER IN IRELAND

Dublin was great fun, It was a last minute holiday between me and 8 of my university friends to up and just go away together for a long weekend and I don’t even know where to start on how much fun I had with everyone. We did a bit of sight seeing whilst we were in Dublin for 3 days, the influence to come here was one of our uni friends being from Ireland, it was a bloody good time!

*****

Being students on a mission to not spend too much but drink and do enough, I was so happy with the amount of things we had planned & what we did.

The Guinness factory was glorious and we all somehow managed to get royally pissed whilst being there, it was really fun and interesting to see how Guinness was made and we got plenty of tasters on the way around. The place is HUGE. There are student priced tickets but it still wasn’t cheap, coming to a price of €18.00 per person!

But it was worth the money, we got to pour our own guinness pints with a certificate to go with the pint and when you buy your ticket on the way in it gets you a free pint in their skyview bar which is really gorgeous cause you get a 360 view of Dublin. You learn about how they make and produce guinness and how it reaches our pubs, it was pretty cool for a bunch of booze loving students. We all somehow managed to get more than one free pint too, the result was not obsessive amounts money spent but somehow ending up a little tipsy/worse for wear. Well worth the trip, and yes, Guinness really DOES taste better in Ireland!

 *****

56In the middle of Dublin there appears to be a rather large metal pole, better known as The Spire of Dublin. We couldn’t not go and have a nose as you couldn’t really miss it. It is massive, reaching at about 120 metres (390 feet) its impressively huge.

Of course due to the location it didn’t cost a penny to see it. We got to wonder down and look at the shops and cafe’s, pubs and restaurants too whilst we were there so it was really in an ideal location to have a proper mooch around the centre.

*****

We Also headed a little more out of the centre of Dublin to have a look at Trinity College  and the Trinity Grounds. The grounds are beautiful and filled with artwork and the author of the novel Dracula, Bram Stoker, went to trinity college. It was really a nice walk and the architecture was wonderful.

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!