Amsterdam, the perfect city break, a birthday present, romantic weekend away with my husband.
This years birthday gift started with Monique Van Den Heuvel's, Amsterdam Style Guide is a beautiful book, full of gorgeous photos and top tips for adventuring, finding hidden treasures in the city's many exciting areas. Shops, restaurants, bars, barbers, cinemas. A perfect insiders guide to the city.
1. The Dylan
A wonderful hotel perfectly positioned in the central canals. The hotel has a michelin stared Restaurant Vinkeles, the tasting menu was delicious. The bar and fireside lounge served the divine rum laced hot chocolates, so cosy.
Our duplex room, a lovely birthday upgrade treat with sumptuous bed, balcony bathroom, a huge bath, spiral staircase, a dreamy haven.
Easy to walk into the centre, better to cycle on their fleet of bicycles round the local areas.
A great hotel in a brilliant location.
2. Van Gogh Museum
A must visit for any art buff, a modern building, opened in the 70's by Vincent's nephew, 4 floors of the artists work and more from his inspirations. Vincent van Gogh came an artist at 27 and worked for 10 years, creating amazing work. Many self portraits, as he was too poor to hire models and landscapes from his beloved south of France.
I love his nature paintings; flowers and landscapes.
The City Centre is made of many canels in a horse shoe shape with roads in grids dotted with shops and bars becoming more dense with tourists as you get nearer to the Dam. We followed some of Monique's advice, the classic vintage shop Laura Dols and Van Stapele cookies, so popular, the queue was around the block, so we missed that treat, probably for the best. The huge De Bijenkorf department store, has a roof top deck for a quick coffee stop and tons of designer clothes. As the sun glistened on the water, we wandered the streets marvelling at the beautiful architecture.
The East, quite a way out of the centre, we cycled to investigate Bar Botanique, one of my rainbow coloured restaurants see post. A buzzing bar in green tones, plants, multi levelled, with splashes of orange. A simple menu, we were too early for dinner so had little pizzas. Monique recommends the Volks Hotel for sunset, a groovy hotel that wouldn't look out of place in east London, up on the 7th floor with panoramic views of the city.
Areas we missed, but noted for next time...
De Pijp; 'Real Amsterdam, and it's many shops and restaurants make this a much loved part of the city'
Noord; a new area in the city, 'The industrial NDSM wharf has become a become a breeding ground for cultural entrepreneurs and young creatives. New hangout spots in old factory buildings, have made this neighbourhood the area of choice for many.' source
This legendary music venue, a former church held memories for both my husband and I, he played there with his band The Jennifers in the early nineties, I partied there in the late nineties with the Skint crew, we returned to see Bedouin a Brooklyn duo, they played a cool set to a packed crowd. Amsterdam knows how to rave, go and have fun!
5. Dutch Flowers
Holland is famous for flowers, Tulips from Amsterdam and a whole row of flower stalls in the market, open everyday. We bought some sunflowers to plant at LPM, watch this space to see if they survive amongst the weeds.
And if you like the other popular plant in the Dam, Dutch Flowers is a sweet little coffee shop on the corner playing vintage classics with a host of treats at the bar...
Please check out Monique's book when adventuring to Amsterdam, hope you find gems amongst the canals, and the achingly groovy bars and restaurants. There's always next time to visit all the places missed, a mere 45 minute flight from Heathrow, a pleasant flight with British Airways makes this the perfect spot to get away for a weekend. (alas I'm not sponsored by BA, it is a dream to be...)
Thank you husband for a wonderful weekend , I love love love you!
For more of my adventure posts please sign up to Club Cazza. March is action packed with top tips. And if you have any top places to go in Amsterdam please leave a comment, share your treasures and inspire!
Peace, love and happiness,