Sunday, 17 December 2017

A Look At Amsterdam Through Instagram.

a look at amsterdam through instagram travel photo diary city guide 1

Oh, Amsterdam. 

After three visits in the space of just nine months, I make no hesitations in saying that the Dutch capital has well and truly managed to capture every inch of my heart this year. It's easy to see why Amsterdam has left such an impression on me, even through such brief, fleeting visits. With its cobbled streets, winding canals, stroopwafels at literally every turn and the fact that pancakes are a perfectly acceptable meal at any time of the day. What more could you want?

When you take a stroll around the city of Amsterdam, there is no denying the calm, chilled out atmosphere (you can take from that what you will) and I think that's why it holds such a prominent place in my heart. Throughout our visits, we took everything at a steady pace, taking the opportunity to really take in as much of the charming Dutch city as we could. I left my camera back at the hotel and made a point of trying to be in the moment rather than always trying to capture the moment. I mean, don't get me wrong, as much as I would like to have Instagram content and outfit photos for days (without tooting my own horn, my outfits were pretty great); freeing myself from the pressure of creating content whilst trying to enjoy a getaway with my boyfriend was nothing short of liberating (for both of us, probably). And so, sure as sure, I'm slightly lacking in the content side of things from all three of our trips. Though, what I do have, is what you might call a more authentic look at the city through a bunch of spur-of-the-moment Instagram snaps.

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Where To Stay

We decided to stay somewhere different each time we visited the city this year. We wanted to keep our first and second visits as budget as possible, as both trips were so close together and each centered around gigs that we were attending, so we really just needed somewhere reasonably priced and conveniently located to lay our heads for two nights.

Hotel CC is a reasonably priced, budget hotel located just a stone's throw away from Amsterdam's central station and the Red Light District. Although the rooms are tiny and it's not the most luxurious of stays, the spot is so convenient that it's hard to argue. The A-Train Hotel is another affordable stay, located directly opposite Amsterdam's central station. You'll either love or hate the hotel's quirky train theme; Adam adored it, I remained indifferent, but for such a great price you can't complain. The room was surprisingly spacious, the beds comfortable, and making our way back to central station to catch our flight home was easy peasy; perfect if you're wanting to keep the cost of your trip low.

Our most recent stay was in the WestCord Fashion Hotel and, in total truth, I really wanted to rave about this place. I really did. Prior to booking our trip I read a ton of great reviews and was undeniably allured by the thought of the hotel's spa. Being the longest stay out of our three trips, we were willing to pay a little bit more for somewhere slightly more luxurious than where we'd stayed before. Although the hotel was nice, and the room spacious and comfortable; it was the location that ultimately killed it for us. I will admit, I had friends who stayed in the WestCord Fashion Hotel on one of their previous trips, and they did warn me about the rather inconvenient location. Admittedly, after reading the reviews about the hotel itself, and again more importantly, the prospect of making use of the spa; I didn't pay much attention to what I thought would be a minor inconvenience. Safe to say, I was wrong. After using our days to explore and nights to stay out late, we didn't even make use of the spa. I know, I know. And with the hotel located a half hour tram journey from the centre, the time taken to travel back and forth just wasn't worth it. For a city break such as Amsterdam, staying just a stone's throw away from everything you want to see and do is wholly worth it.

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Where To Eat & Drink

With traditional Dutch pancakes and stroopwafels at every turn, there is simply no denying that the city of Amsterdam is home to quite a number of world-renowned delicious eats. And, for Adam and I, the number one thing we love to do when embarking on a city break is hunt out the best places to eat and drink. Not necessarily the fanciest or most expensive spots, but more so those rare gems that you happen upon by chance and fall head over heels in love with. During our visits, it didn't take long for Adam and I to find said gems that we'd already give anything to go back to.

Our favourite of the bunch was Bakers & Roasters, a New Zealand style cafe and a perfect spot for breakfast or brunch. With adorable interiors, charming staff and incredible food to boot; this place was an instant winner in our eyes. Adam opted for the Veggie Brekkie, which featured creamy mushrooms, poached eggs on avocado toast and, of course, a delightful helping of grilled halloumi. I went for the Kiwi Brekkie, which included breakfast potatoes, spinach, sausages and bacon. It is a breakfast-lovers dream, and on our most recent trip we shamelessly visited more than once.

Another beloved favourite was a drinking spot we happened upon by chance during our first visit before heading to a gig. Located in Leidseplein, the Waterhole bar ended up being the spot where Adam and I spent almost every night. Considerably cheaper than drinking anywhere near the Red Light District, the Waterhole offers happy hour from 12pm-9pm every single day, with some form of live music every single night to boot. Every night was different, but every night offered the same chilled-out atmosphere and friendly, welcoming vibe. I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

A few other honourable mentions in terms of food would include Maoz, a veggie fast-food spot and Adam's undeniable firm favourite. Located in numerous spots across the city, it's the perfect food to grab on the go when exploring. If you're a pancake lover, Pancakes Amsterdam is a must-visit at least once. Offering every style of pancake and topping you could possibly imagine; from traditional Dutch pancakes to American-style pancakes. Pancakes all day, every day.

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What To Do

As mentioned before, every time we visited the city we had plans to attend a gig, the most recent being Enter Shikari (which, by the way, was hands-down one of the best shows I have ever seen). Two out of three of the gigs were located in Amsterdam's Paradiso; a huge venue housing dozens of live shows every week. Even if you head to Amsterdam with no prior plans of attending a gig, there's a great chance there will be something to see during your stay in the city.

If gigs aren't your cup of tea, there's truly an abundance of other things to see and do in Amsterdam. You can hit up all of the typically toursity spots, such as the Red Light District, the coffeeshops, the Van Gogh museum, the sex museum and the Anne Frank house to name but a few. Though, without a doubt, one of my favourite things about the city of Amsterdam is the very simple fact that it's just such a great place to explore and take a wander. From Vondelpark to the canals, you can wander around and truly soak up the atmosphere of the Dutch capital to your heart's content.

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What To Wear

The forecast for all three of our trips was cold, to say the very least. Visiting the city in February, March and the tail end of November into December does mean that you're going to be in for some rather chilly temperatures. As such, a coat or sweater (or both, in my case) was always essential. I packed my beloved teddy coat, because nothing else I own is quite as comfortable and like wearing a warm hug. I'm really digging different styles of trousers at the moment, so I didn't heistate to pack my H&M red tartan trousers (which are an undeniable new favourite) and what I like to refer to as my grandpa-esque trousers from Urban Outfitters; and both looked pretty great against the charming Amsterdam backdrop. I wore my Vans on my feet every day, because comfort is essential during any and all city breaks.


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Is Amsterdam on your list of places to visit?

Katy Belle.
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