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Away in Amsterdam

While 2019 brought many new changes to this business, we decided to take a little break this past August and head to the free-spirited and laid-back city of Amsterdam. A couple of years ago, two of my closest friends moved to the city of canals and ever since their transplant, I had been eager to make the trip over. It took far too long for the transatlantic journey to happen but I’m already thinking about our next trip over. 

 

Being in the Netherlands, is actually like being in a story book. Everything is polished and put together, flowering shrubbery and trees were in full bloom, and the weather was never too hot or too cool. We biked around the city, cruised around canals on a small boat while enjoying plenty of wine, and soaked in what the daily lives of expats were like in Amsterdam. 

 

Our first full day was one of our favorites and although we were still recovering from our flight, we hit the ground running (or biking I should say) and fought through the tire. We jumped into the lifestyle right away and biked to a little boat where we cruised around the canals with a group of expats all day long. And what made this day so special was the progressive dinner. During our day of biking and boating, we stopped at the houses of these expats for drinks, appetizers and desserts. Nothing could have given us a better taste as to what everyday life is like in Amsterdam than touring four different apartments from people that live there now. The wine was quenching, the food was divine, but the company throughout the day was the best! 

 

And from day one - we realized this little slice of heaven was just as idyllic as you see in postcards. 

Biking in Amsterdam

Later on in the trip, we took the bus to Zaanse Schans. Yes, it's touristy, is slammed with people and is basically the Dutch Disneyland, but it is a must! Everything you think about when you think of Holland is in Zaanse Schans. The windmills, the wooden clogs, and the lush landscape. If you’re looking for that picturesque spot, this is it! And it’s so accessible to get to - just a short bus ride from Amsterdam. And at the bus station, we decided to hit up a little grocer and filled a bag with hummus, veggies, crackers and small bottle of wine. We brought our own blanket and enjoyed the most peaceful picnic by a windmill. 

 

Even with all that there is to take in, Zaanse Schans is not an all day venture. We left in the morning and were back in Amsterdam by the early afternoon. And we decided to take a stroll through the Rijksmuseum. The art is captivating and the architecture of the building is awe-inspiring. And just as impressive are the grounds of the museum. Striking trees, vine covered walkways, and towering sculptures fill up the gardens of the museum that are a must to walk through. 

Amsterdam Travels
Towards the end of the week, we took a day trip to the city of Delft. An early morning train ride got us into the city right as the markets were opening up on a Thursday morning. If we thought Amsterdam was picturesque, the city of Delft was like actually stepping into a quintessential Dutch painting. Its a bustling yet quiet city on a much smaller scale than the neighboring city of Amsterdam. We strolled the brick covered streets and popped into a slew of curated boutiques and antiques stores. The antique stores were almost too much for me to handle - in a good way! Every antique store that we went into seemed to have something that I pondered over for way too long, only to convince myself that it would be too hard to travel with (think large brass Asian vases, heavy pottery, and large artwork…) 
Zaanse Schans
You know I love some blue and white and the city of Delft is where your blue and white dreams are made of. Delft is known as the manufacturing base for Delftware, the famous blue and white hand-painted pottery. All around the city square you’ll discover hand-painted and reproduced Delftware at a variety of price points. When I say all around - I mean store after store after store are chock full of blue and white pottery. All around the city square you’ll find beautiful creations to touristy trinkets.
Delft Netherlands
A Few of Our Favorite Shops in Delft 
  • Heinen Delfts Blauw - go to spot for classic Blue and White Delft Tableware 
  • Dille and Kamille - this kitchen goods store is like a take on Williams Sonoma, but with an even more natural vibe
  • Flying Tiger - we first came across a Flying Tiger in Iceland and fell in love. Imagine if the dollar section at Target had a whole store - that would be Flying Tiger!
  • Loco Llama - a quirky home goods store where I could have walked away with almost one of everything in the shop
Day Trip to Delft
Our final day was spent biking around the city with our friends. We biked, and biked, and biked, and then biked some more. We rode all around the Amstel and passed lush parks, stately homes with pristine landscaping, and popped into some breweries and restaurants for bites to eat. I discovered that the old expression of riding a bike is true, we clocked miles on our bikes as went from busy city centers to quiet countryside roads on our day of biking. We got an overload of landscape inspiration from this bike ride. Of course, we could have never done this without our friends leading the way - to say that they were the best tour guides would be the biggest understatement. But if you’re lucky enough to know someone that really knows their way around Amsterdam - spend a day biking in, around and out of the city - it was our favorite part of our trip! 
Biking in Amstel

And our final day ended the same way it began - on a canal cruise. This is truly the best way to experience this city - from the water. It presents the architecture of the city and all that it has to offer from a totally new perspective.

 

Months after this trip and we still bring it up once a week, so Amsterdam travels part two is definitely on the horizon.

Biking in Amsterdam
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