Tuesday, October 1, 2013

{travel} amsterdam, the sights

Ten years ago I fell in love with Florence. It was my first time visiting Europe, so I was absolutely enthralled with the beauty and history of the old Italian city. I declared it to be THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, which is a lot coming from an indecisive 13 year old!

In March, all of my 13 year old thoughts disappeared. That familiar feeling of falling in love with a city took over my body again as I stood on the top tower of the Alcazar, drinking in the view of Granada. From the windy cobblestone streets to the majestic Alhambra up on the hill, I couldn't imagine a more beautiful place. I declared on my Facebook page that I had left a piece of my heart in the gorgeous Andalusian city.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I went to Amsterdam on a whim, after booking my plane tickets and hostel two days prior. I didn't know what to expect, except for being sure that I would see some legal prostitution and marijuana ingestion take place. Red light district and coffee shops aside, Amsterdam is a wonderous city filled with charming restaurants, beautiful canal houses, a million bicycles, and ridiculously stylish & attractive people. The city is picture perfect, and so much more than I expected it to be. And my goodness, the fashion. It took all of the willpower I had not to run into every single store we passed and buy everything in sight. Needless to say, that familiar feeling of falling in love with a city hit me again.

My girlfraaaaands

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I went a little InstaHappy when I was in Holland. It's no different for my blog. I'm planning on doing a few blog posts on Amsterdam because the sights, food, and scenery / people all deserve their own posts! I hope you don't mind, friends. :)

The land in Amsterdam is broken up by many different canals. I stayed very close to the Prinsengracht street / canal. My friends were lucky enough to book a place, way before I looked into the trip, right on the canal. 

One of the many "coffee shops" around town. Note that this one is called Easy Times. hehe. They literally open at 8 - 9 AM and stay open until about 1. You can get your fix any time of the day, if that's your thing!

Old houses off of Dam Street. A little harbor is just on the other side of the fence. Lots of tourist boats were lined up, ready to take foreigners on a canal tour. I absolutely love how large the windows are on the houses in Amsterdam. Natural light is my best friend.

One of the famous museums in Amsterdam - the Rikjsmuseum. We didn't make it inside, but the gardens were beautiful!

I do not understand how people take good pictures with the Amsterdam sign. It is definitely not something we accomplished while we were there. The best we could do was "DAM." Ha. Oh well!

No words.

One of the things I probably could have done without while I was in Amsterdam was the Heineken museum. It was fun enough, but I would have much rather sat in a cute restaurant and bar and ordered a Heineken!

On the other hand, I'm SO GLAD I didn't miss out on visiting the house Anne Frank, her family, and family friends hid out in during WWII. It was incredible to walk through a place I've read and learned about since I was a child. I think it is so important to continue to spread knowledge about the Holocaust, especially since there is STILL so much prejudice, hatred, and turmoil today.

I'd love to someday end back up in Holland during the spring season. There were still so many beautiful flowers blooming and for sale in late September. I can only imagine what it would look like earlier in the year. 

My friend Helena and I also checked out the Van Gogh museum. I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already been so tired from walking around for hours earlier in the day. His work is exquisite in person, but we missed out on seeing Starry Night in person. Guess I'll have to fly back to the States to do it - it is hanging up in the MOMA in NYC! Gosh.

If there is one thing I've discovered about myself, it is that I am going to continue to leave little pieces of my heart all over the world. My intent is not just to enjoy traveling, but to learn about new cultures, eat new food, and live like the locals, even if only for a weekend. So, here's to you Amsterdam. A piece of me will always be with you now too.

xx, Jen


  1. I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam and wonder around all the canals, your pictures are gorgeous!

    My family and I are visiting Spain for 10 days this December and I would love to pick your brain for any and all suggestions! Look at for an email from me!

    1. Ahhh so much fun! I got it! I've been to all of the cities you mentioned, so I will definitely write you a long email back with fun suggestions. :) xx


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