A trip to Amsterdam

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I'm back after the long radio silence. I missed my blog and the whole blogosphere a lot! I have so much I want to share with you...

I had quite a busy month travelling, moving..., but you already know that. I do love travelling! Though travelling, moving and working do not work well together, which means I haven't done much in the previous month and have so much to catch up on!

Two weeks ago P. and I went for a short trip to Amsterdam. The original aim of the trip was to visit an art exhibition of glass of P.'s sister in Tubbergen and spend the rest of the weekend in Amsterdam with P.'s parents. As it was the first time for us in Amsterdam, we decided to stay for a couple more days and explore the city. I apologies for so many pictures but I fell in love with the city and I couldn't stop taking more a more pictures. Sorting the pictures was another story.

We were extremely lucky and despite the guide info which says this time of the year the weather in Amsterdam is mostly rainy, we enjoyed a couple of beautiful sunny days.

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Some unexpected changes in our accommodation resulted in spending the first night in Red Light District area. After an initial shock caused by the character of the area, lack of sleep (3 hours) and ubiquitous marijuana smoke, I started to appreciate the convenient location of the area which is within walking distance from most popular touristic attractions.

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First night in Amsterdam we discovered a really nice small pub called Café De Dokter. Old fashioned pub decor, dim ambient lighting, chandeliers covered in dust, jazz music and a very friendly bartender create a fantastic atmosphere of the bar where you can sit down with a beer to relax. Studying chapter "Drinks" from our new travel guide, P. ordered kopstoot ('knock on the head') which is a shot of gin (Dutch jevener) with a beer chaser.

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Taking a walk after dinner in a steakhouse we stumbled upon a great local student bar located on a narrow old alley called Gravenstraat. We originally stopped for one beer but then we started chatting with a few students and stayed until last call.

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If you want to enjoy a great vibe and buzz of Amsterdam have a lunch in one of many restaurants with a seating area outside alongside the canal in the Jordaan area. I had the best salad with grilled goat cheese and roasted nuts in a bar called 't Smalle.

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A Saturday trip in Tubbergen brought a new culinary experience. After a short chat with locals, following their recommendation, the whole family attacked a local fish street stall. To everybody's amusement we hesitantly ordered one raw herring served with raw onion enthusiastically followed by another 3 pieces. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the guy in the fish stall for his genuine customer-friendly attitude and his patience to answer all curious questions of crazy tourists, not to mention explaining us the Dutch way of eating raw herring. We left happily with another Dutch treat, a smoked eel.

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One thing though I didn't quite take a liking to is Kroketten - Dutch croquettes. It's a kind of deep fried meat ragout coated in breadcrumbs. It's a very popular snack in Holland, but I found the taste and consistency a bit off-putting.

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There's one thing I would recommend to everybody visiting Amsterdam. Taking a canal boat cruise is a fantastic relaxing experience and the best way to view the city.

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However if you suffer from sea sickness or just simply prefer solid ground under your feet, there is another way to explore the city. It's so much fun to join the locals and travel around the city the Dutch way. At least it looked like a much safer option to join the crowd as it seemed to me that cyclists have an absolute right of way on the road. Yeah, it's like when you arrive to the UK you need to get used the fact that you have to look right first when you cross the road.

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Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the world and offers all kind of flowers, seeds and bulbs. We couldn't leave without buying some bulbs of famous Dutch tulips.

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We also tasted and bought a lot of my favourite old Gouda cheese.

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And yeah, we ate chips "drowned in that shit...", eh mayonnaise! :)

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30 comments :

  1. beautiful beautiful photo essay!! :)) Ah! what a difference from when we went last December! during one of the coldest winters of the place! Nevertheless, we captured Holland in it's stunning, cold whiteness :)) while freezing our asses off..LOL! I want to visit again in Summer!

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  2. Welcome home. The photos are sensational. They definitely blow away any magazine I've looked at in the past 10 years. Glad you had a great time. Thanks for sharing these with us!

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  3. Hey, welcome back!! I love these pics :)
    Cheers!
    J.

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  4. Beautiful photos! Very good post, Sari!

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  5. Gorgeous photos. Absolutely great! I missed your posts lately, but this one made the waiting worth.
    Hugs-

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  6. One photo is funny - the blond woman sitting on the edge of the canal and her red boots! :) The shadow of the boots is marvelous! :)

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  7. Despite the horror stories of the Red light district (the reason why my mum forbid me to go and therefoer i had to let go of my amsterdam tickets!), it's such a vibrant city and i hear the food is amazing! Thank you Sarka for posting this up. At least it makes me feel like I was there with you. The food..and ahahhahaha. that picture of the hanging condoms. Hilarious. Looks like you had fun. U deserved this break! xx

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  8. I'm absolutely amazed by your travel photography. Sarka, the photographs are incredible! Looks like you had tons of fun!

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  9. What splendid pictures! Amsterdam is such a beautiful place.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  10. O I love your photos Sarka!! It's always so much fun to hear how other people experience a city that I've been to sooooo many times (given that it's very close to where I live..) And you captured the spirit of Amsterdam really really well!

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  11. The Netherlands is a beautiful country with a less than satisfying food... I lived there one and a half year and I love the Dutch, but I find kroquetten disgusting... Gorgeous photos.

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  12. Oh thank you so much everyone! Your positive feedback make the hours spent sorting pictures worth the effort. I'm so glad you enjoyed our little Amsterdam trip with me.

    @Asha - I definitely want to visit Amsterdam again and winter season sounds really tempting! :)

    @El - your are so kind El, I'm flattered!

    @Zizi - oh you noticed! I was laughing when I saw that. The shadow of her boots is so funny! :)

    @Diva - what a shame your mom didn't let you go, I'm sure you'd love Amsterdam same as I did! I had a blast! :)

    @Junglefrog - thank you Simone, that means a lot coming from you! What a shame we didn't meet!

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  13. can't wait to see you taking picture of my countryside! I'm over exicited!

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  14. Beautiful, beautiful photos, thanks for sharing!

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  15. Fantastic Photos!
    x
    Nicole
    http://nicolefranzen.blogspot.com/

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  16. Gorgeous photos! I've been once to Amsterdam and it was in winter, it was all covered in white. I loved looking at your pictures and reading your experience!

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  17. I have been dying to go to amsterdam and your photos are making my heart ache! They are gorgeous and I may just spend all day looking through them!

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  18. Gorgeous gorgeous pictures Sarka! I've been to Amsterdam a few times and each time fell in love with it in a different light. Will have to tell you about my hilarious experience through the red light district sometime. You brought back some awesome memories with your pictures!

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  19. very beautiful photos, Sari. x shayma

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  20. Beautiful (and funny ;-)) photos!
    A curiosity: how many photos did you take and how many times for selection (and post-production)?

    PS: Pulp fiction fan? ;-)

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  21. Love the pictures Sarka! This is truly a beautiful post showcasing Amsterdam. Thank you for sharing your trip.

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  22. Thank you all for your comments! I'm really happy you like the photos from my little trip! Amsterdam is so interesting city and I hope I will go back again soon. Visiting Amsterdam in winter sounds really tempting! :)

    @nico@spadellatore - thank you, I agree some photos are funny and I chose them deliberately because I wanted to show that Amsterdam is truly diverse city. :)
    I took about 300 photos in 5 days but many of them were "family shots". I am not getting the second part of your question, sorry. Do you mean how many pictures I chose for post-production?

    Hehe, yeah I like Pulp Fiction It's classic! :)

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  23. @Sari: I mean how many time did you spend for selecting the photos of this post from the 300 you taken... ;-)

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  24. Fantastic set of pictures... I am hoping to go to Holland for the first time next spring and intend to see Amsterdam then.

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  25. Oh Sarka these photos are beautiful. They really bring back fond memories of my trip to Amsterdam several years ago. I still remember how my friends and I took photos with every single letter of the "I amsterdam" sign - all that climbing was very fun! ;)

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  26. Love your post :-)
    Love Amsterdam too, very much

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  27. Beautiful photos!! Lovely post. I would love to visit Amsterdam one day.

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  28. These are gorgeous! do you remember the name of the old dusty pub by any chance?

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    1. It's called Cafe De Dokter http://www.cafe-de-dokter.nl/

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