Amsterdam | The Netherlands II

I wrote another brief post on Amsterdam a few week ago. However, it only touched on a coolie cafe to try. This post details a few of my favorite things to do, see,  and eat in the lovely city of canals.

TO DO

1. Rent a bike! Oh what a joy it is to see a city on a bicycle. If you don't feel confident enough yet on the bike, before you pull out of the bike shop make sure to practice the hand signals for left turn, right turn, and stops. Be sure to stay to the right, be alert of your surroundings, and go at your pace. It can be a little intimidating if you have never ridden in a city before, especially during rush hour but I know you can do it!

I have experience with two different companies in Amsterdam and I highly recommend both.  The second one was exceptionally understanding when I accidentally dropped the key to my locked bike in one of the canals. Picture: a beautiful sunny day, locking the back bike wheel then stumbling with the key to next thing I know the key is sinking into the oblivion of the dark canal! I did not have a cell phone to contact the bike shop either. I was somewhat relieved when I looked up and an Irish couple had seen the entire situation... We looked at each other and said "Did that just happen?!" Long story short I met a lovely Australian girl who helped me big time. M, I hope to see you again!  And remember, these things happen! (My bike locked to hers in the picture above).

Bike Company #1: We Bike Amsterdam, link: http://www.webikeamsterdam.com

Bike Company #2: A-Bike Vondel, link: http://a-bike.eu

2. Visit the Anne Frank House. http://www.annefrank.org

3. Visit the museums. The Rijksmuseum is famous as well as the Van Gogh Museum. https://www.rijksmuseum.n and https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl

4. Visit Tinkerbell, Spiegelgracht 10, 1017 JR. If you have nephews or nieces or are looking for toys for a little someone special, you won't be disappointed because it is the best toy shop in town. https://www.tinkerbelltoys.nl/service/about-tinkerbell/

TO SEE

1. Take a canal tour.  I know, I know you must be thinking "Really, Why? It is so touristy!" Despite this sentiment, I feel that the two times I took a canal tour - one in the dead of winter and another during the most beautiful part of summer- it was immensely enjoyable. (This might be because of my love for water and boats but still, I highly recommend it!)  The views of the crooked houses and commentary by the knowledgeable boat captain teach you the history of the city as well as give you an orientation of the city by water. I recommend this company: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/what-to-do/activities-and-excursions/excursion-finder/see-amsterdam-canal-tour

2. Vondel Park. This is one of the coolest parks I have ever spent time in! Try the coconut water straight from a coconut from the food truck called Aloha Juice.  https://www.facebook.com/ALOHAJUICETRUCK/ The outdoor garden cafe called VondelTuin is lovely. http://devondeltuin.nl We tried Vondelpark3 and enjoyed that too. http://www.vondelpark3.nl

3. Jordaan. The neighborhood is poppin' with loads of cool cafes and shops. 

4. Museum Plein. Near the Rijks Museum, Van Gogh Museum, and home to one of the I Amsterdam signs. In the summer kids go in the fountain and splash around. It's cute!

5. Pulitzer Hotel, Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ. I love exploring hotel lobbies and the Pulitzer is no exception. Check out Pulitzer's Bar and if you like cocktails, definitely splurge and get one for yourself. It is a classic bar!  https://www.pulitzeramsterdam.com

TO EAT

1. Zest, Raw Cafe, van Baerlestraat 45 hs Visiting this cafe was such a treat. The freshest ingredients, a variety of raw dishes to choose from, and a lovely outdoor seating area. What more could you ask for?! We had the Chocoholic and Protein Power smoothie, the pad thai, and the raw living soup. http://rawfoodcafeamsterdam.com

2. von Kerkwijk, Nes 41. Having visited this restaurant numerous times (even being the last party before they closed for the evening!), I can say they are a happy crew. The menu has great dishes to choose from - even if you are a vegetarian or vegan and the deserts are seasonal and delicious! http://www.caferestaurantvankerkwijk.nl/eng/11.html

3. Spanjer & Van Twist, Leliegracht 60 1015 DJ. Sitting outside next to the canal, you can sit for hours watching the boats and skiffs float by. One of the best places to relax, visit, and watch the Dutch on the water. https://www.facebook.com/SpanjerenvanTwist/

4. Restaurant d'Vijff Vlieghen,Spuistraat 294-302, 1012 VX. Delicious food served in a wonderful ambience. I quote the website of the restaurant in that "the restaurant is a true culinary museum, where you can dine underneath 4 original works of art of the famous Rembrandt." Little did I know! http://vijffvlieghen.nl 

TREAT YO' SELF

1. Koan Float, Herengracht 321, 1016 AW.  Have you ever heard of "floating?" It is a relaxing treatment where you submerge yourself in water that is densely concentrated with salt so that you get the sensation that you are floating. You can turn the light off or keep it on and just float around with yourself. I am open to trying alternative therapies and relaxing treatments so it was my first time "floating" and I enjoyed it. Although I will say, I prefer a nice, warm bath. http://koanfloat.nl/?lang=en

I hope this short inventory of fun activities to do in Amsterdam peaks your interest and inspires you. Feel free to leave comments about your favorite spots in Amsterdam and tag MyNaturalBeet if you visit any of the above.

Lots of love & light,
Cook

Bridgetown | Barbados

My time in the Caribbean was amazing!! It came at the most perfect time too - justo despues sitting for a bar exam. Barbados is a beautiful country.  What brought me here was a dear friend of mine, N.  We met while we both lived in Spain. We were in the same Spanish class and instantly had a special connection. It had been five years since we had seen each other!  N is kind, warm-hearted, and has a calming aura.  N and her beau, A, showed me the ins and outs of the island. We saw a Davis Cup match, the Gold Cup Horse Race, and were even able to match a Polo match.  We shared and taught each other recipes, talked long into the cool breezy night, and mainly enjoyed the time that we had together.  Below is a glimpse into the beauty of the island and a few To Dos!

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Beach day at Pebbles Beach

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Before dinner at Cafe Sol (http://www.cafesolbarbados.com), a lively Mexican restaurant with a picturesque view

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My first polo match

To do

1. Go on a catamaran tour. It is a beautiful way to see the land from the water. 

2. Visit Holder's Farmers Market and get a tea or coffee at The Market Cafe.  You can even buy freshly brewed Kombucha and incense! It is a lovely place to spend the morning. 

3.  Explore the city of Bridgetown.  Get a little lost and see what you stumble upon.

4. Go to Pebble's Beach and play in the sand! Remember suncream ;) 

You can see the beauty for yourself, huh? 

 

In the meantime, I encourage you to do more of what you like :) :)