July 5, 2017

Bon Voyage: Amsterdam

Bonjour, hallo, ciao! It's a beautiful and clear morning in Zermatt, Switzerland. I'm sitting at the desk in our lovely hotel room as Tony captures photos of the Matterhorn view from our balcony. We keep looking at each other and saying how lucky we are. To be together. To be experiencing all of these beautiful places. A LOT has happened since our stop in Amsterdam a week ago, but I'm going to continue to recap our travels in order (for the most part). Tomorrow I will be back to tell you about a very special something from our last day in Paris because I'm anxious to share and I think many of you are anxious to hear more. ;-)

We arrived at Amsterdam Centraal station on Tuesday, June 27. Walking the streets of the city to our hotel, our immediate impression was that it was much noisier and not quite as clean as Copenhagen. Then, we got to Prisengracht and the scene changed. The canal was lined with trees, charming homes and shops. It was quiet and calm. We knew in an instant Amsterdam was going to be up there on our list just as Copenhagen had been. 

After a long day of travel, our hotel room at Andaz was a welcome retreat. We settled in and cleaned up before hitting the streets for a little evening exploration.

With Amsterdam, I didn't really know what to expect. It's not a city I know much about and the only research I had done was with my 500 Hidden Secrets of Amsterdam book (find link below) in the Copenhagen airport. This stop was going to include a lot of wandering which excited me! 

(I picked up that pen holder at HAY in Copenhagen.)

First on the list: traditional Amsterdam apple pie at Winkel 43. What's not to love about a city that's famous for apple pie?! We also tasted another traditional snack, bitterballen. They were the perfect warm bite on a brisk evening. On our walk home, we passed the Anne Frank House. With such a short stay, we opted to do more discovery versus wait in long lines, but this will definitely be on my list for a future trip. Just standing in front of the house was a moving experience for me. 

City Vibes:
Amsterdam was a city with an overall leisurely pace. Different neighborhoods had very different vibes as I described at the beginning of the post, and we definitely preferred it by the canals near our hotel. There, the streets were relatively quiet and it was fun to watch bikers out and about. The women here were impressive. One mom had a baby and a preteen on her bike, pedaling up a cobblestone hill! It was quite the site. The canals were lined with nice shops and boutiques, and it was a perfect mix of new and traditional. 

Favorite Finds:
While breakfast at Pancakes Amsterdam may have been pretty touristy, it was nothing short of delicious! Tony ordered ham & cheese Dutch pancake, and I had one with yogurt and some of the most delectable strawberries I have ever tasted. Hut Spot was one of our very favorites. We got an Amsterdam print to add to the travel wall in our apartment (I will post a photo of the wall when we return). Wandering the streets we discovered Pluk café and boutique which was probably my favorite. There, I got a croissant phone case and an Amsterdam tote that has been perfect for carrying the souvenirs we are picking up along the way. 

(Pluk Amsterdam)

I also enjoyed Skin Cosmetics. I was in need of a serious skin detox after all of the trains and planes, and the saleswoman here was incredibly helpful. I picked up a mask by REN, a skincare company that "uses only 100% plant and mineral derived actives and is free from skin-unfriendly synthetic ingredients." I've used it twice so far and really love it! Stay tuned for an entire post about the beauty products I used and picked up on my travels. 

A final favorite: dinner at Papeneiland. We enjoyed toasties, bitterballen, and of course we couldn't resist another slice of apple pie. This one was the most delicious of all. 

Style Watch:
Style in Amsterdam was not nearly as defined as that in Copenhagen. Looks were overall casual and typically included sneakers. I did see women on bikes in stilettos! This city definitely inspired me to want to get my bike out more back in St. Louis. A few of my favorite looks on the streets: stripe tee + blazer + dark jeans and cream waffle knit sweater + dark jeans. 

Overall Impressions:
As I previously mentioned, I had few ideas or expectations when we arrived in Amsterdam. The city charmed me completely, and I would love to go back and explore more in the future! 

Coming soon to the blog - our Paris adventures! I cannot wait to share our four days in Paris with you. :) Just a reminder that you can follow me on Instagram @fleurdestlouis. It's much easier for me to post there on the go if you'd like more frequent updates. Tony is also posting wonderful photos @tonyclawsonstl. Until my next post (which will be an incredibly exciting one), I'll be taking in the beautiful scenery in Zermatt! 

Warm wishes and bon voyage from me to you,

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  1. My parents spent several weeks in Amsterdam for my stepfather's job back in the 80'same. Quite the experience for them!

  2. And yes, DYING to hear all about the Paris adventures!!


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