Dam great churros

by Pauline on April 22nd 2017

In the past, I never really appreciated Easter weekend as much because as a student I would get 3 weeks off where I had much more flexibility with my time. I could effectively use my days ignoring my deadlines and re-watching Friends πŸ™„

When I started working full time I’ve learnt to appreciate the weekends, especially the longer weekends and I now try and utilise my free time as much as possible with people I love, doing things that add value to my life. Over the long easter weekend, Hamdah and I went to Holland. It was kind of a #yolo trip.

Back in January, I was doing some planning for my big two week trip to France and Portugal, I really enjoyed the excitement I felt planning the trip (booking flights, hotels and things to see) and thought why not book another (for the excitement I felt booking things!) Seeing as flights were cheap, we went for it. Although it wasn’t as heavily planned as the “bigger trip” I really enjoyed it!

Quickly navigate through the days here:


Day One – It smells funny here

Our travel itinerary was a similar set-up to our trip to Portugal – 3 am train and a 6 am flight. Since we had gone through the process already in Manchester airport two weeks ago, everything was so much faster (travelling experience is great!) and unlike last time, we managed to get breakfast.

After watching this YouTube video, I suggested to Hamdah that we take the train straight to central Amsterdam (where our hotel is) instead of catching a taxi or Uber (which was the original plan) It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be – especially after following other tourists who seemed to already have been to Amsterdam and so knew where they were going.

As soon as we arrived at Amsterdam central, I commented on a horrible smell in which Hamdah educated me with “that’s weed, Pauline” Prior to this point, I had never known – mostly because I’m not about that life and there were lower concentrations back home, I’m guessing. Whereas in Amsterdam, it’s true what they say – it hits you right in the face because of the higher concentrations.

Our hotel was only 20 minutes away from the station, so we decided to walk down instead of taking public transport/an uber. We actually did a lot of walking around on our first day, completely crossing off the use of public transport mainly because on the maps it seemed like everything was close by. Also, I didn’t plan working out whilst I was away, so walking everywhere was a substitute to the usual daily workout.

We arrived early to the hotel so we couldn’t check in straight away, so we left our luggage there and went out to explore. The first on my todo list (I have a holiday to-do list, yep, you read that correctly πŸ˜‰) was the “I am sterdam” sign. It was a short walk to the hotel (I’m really thankful that this was the case, good job Hamdah for finding an awesome hotel). I sort of expected the sign not to be crowded with tourists but unfortunately, it was. We couldn’t get a decent photo with the crowd and people planting themselves onto the “a” in “Amsterdam” but we got this shot instead.

It didn’t help that there was some sort of street show going on at the same time where they wanted volunteers to jump over. πŸ€”

Food – Italian, what else?

It was raining quite bad and we started getting really tired (and hungry) but we couldn’t find any restaurants that were open close to the Van Gough museum. We followed a sign to the Hard Rock Cafe in Max Euweplein, but ended up in an Italian restaurant next to it because what else right? πŸ˜› We also had Italian food for dinner (I love pasta. So. Much.)

Storytime: On our way to dinner, we were actually documenting our day on Snapchat when I caught (on camera, unfortunately) a girl with her group of friends throwing up just outside the restaurant we were about to go into. There was a guy who was helping her out but he too started throwing up from drinking. It was definitely a traumatic experience I couldn’t shake off –  I didn’t really feel like eating afterwards 🀒

Day Two – Stars

Unlike Portugal and France, we didn’t really have much of a plan for Amsterdam apart from the day trip on Monday so we sort of just pointed out some stuff we wanted to see the night before. I mentioned Fault in Our Stars movie a lot to Hamdah leading up to the trip and was keen in finding the places it was shot, in particular, the bench in this scene.

Since everything was walking distance from our hotel we got to do some sightseeing along the way.

Fault in our stars bench

It is just a bench. But it’s a really nice bench. One with lots of promises and love.

And a movie was shot there, where fictional characters said some romantic stuff that makes my heart cry.

Hamdah wasn’t very impressed – if she gave the movie a go I think she’d love it πŸ˜†

Dam square

We spent some time looking around at shops around Dam square and shopping for little gifts. Dam square felt similar to back home in Sheffield’s town centre especially during the Christmas markets! There were a lot of rides, food stalls and cute little shops. I actually ended up spending so much on our second day on really cute things I most likely don’t need (but the purple bike key chain was too cute to resist)

I also had the best churros from Renee’s Churros! It was highly recommended to us and it did not disappoint 😍 We went back on our last day for more of the Nutella goodness.

Museums

It became more apparent as we walked around the streets of ‘Dam, that there were a lot of museums. They were everywhere! Besides the “well-known” ones, we discovered the “bags and purses” museum, tulip museum, cheese museum, cow museum, boat museum… and probably a lot more we weren’t aware of!

After reading Chynna’s post on Amsterdam last year (read my comment on her blog, I made that trip HAPPEN. YEAH I DID πŸ’ͺ🏼) I was fascinated not only by this photo but just the experience of the sex museum she had visited. Naturally, I had to take the same picture. It was a 5 euro entry but it was worth it, it was interesting to see how very “out there” the Dutch are when it comes to sex. There were a few jump scares which I didn’t particularly enjoy but it was pretty fun anyway.

We also visited the tulip museum. Close by this area was Anne Frank’s House but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to visit because I wasn’t in the mood to feel gloomy – the cue was super long too! And the rain wasn’t stopping at all πŸ˜…

Sampurna

Indonesian food is quite a big deal in Amsterdam. We went to Sampurna. It was a little pricey so Hamdah and I shared one huge meal. Because we weren’t going to pay 25 euros for a small plate of food each. πŸ˜‚

Day Three – Adventures

Day three was the most planned day of all the others! We were pretty much convinced, like we were in Nice, that we had seen most of the central things in Amsterdam (it isn’t hard to see most of the “must-see” places especially with the short distance from our hotel to everything) With this in mind and experience from our previous trips, I went ahead and planned a day in Harleem and Keukenhof which is just 20 minutes away via train.

NEMO – Science Museum

During breakfast, I was talking to Hamdah about science and my degree (I’m that person, yes. I swear I am interesting!!!) and found out that there was a science museum close to Centraal station where we were going to catch the train to Harleem. After encouragement from another tourist over breakfast, we decided to take a visit. I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of science?

Apparently Hamdah but y’know.

The museum was interesting. We took the entrance which required you to walk up this steep staircase, I’m sure there was another route in but why not get those steps in and increase heart rate when you can eh? πŸ’ͺ🏼

The view was amazing too. It was the first time we’d be up high enough to see such an awesome view.

The scientists of the future

The entrance fee was 16.50 euros but worth it. I really enjoyed reading lots of fun little scientific facts that I didn’t know despite studying a degree in Biomedical Sciences. The whole museum had a lot of families with their kids running around – I even bonded with a kid who passed me the endoplasmic reticulum when I was building a cell during workshop. Thanks, little guy.

And as Amsterdam is a place that seems to be obsessed with love and sex, there was a section all about the science of love, sex and intimacy. Open to all – educating kids whilst they’re young!

Thanks for answering my question – “what is love?”

I took a fun little quiz to determine my ‘love style’. I was in the 16% who was more Mania (you can read more about it below.) As you can see from the results below, I scored 20% Eros which was:

Passionate lover, who very easily falls in love. Ero lovers often have a clear image in their minds of what their ideal partner looks like, which means they often fall for one specific type. Love often strikes Eros as lightning. When Eros is in love, his/her partner is the centre of attention. Eros lovers can spend hours talking, or making love to their partners. Eros lovers would not force or rush their partners into anything; they will follow their partners’ pace because they want the feelings to be mutual. Love is very important aspect of their lives, but it is not an obsession to them. In relationships, Eros is self-confident and trusting.

Taking little quizzes like this has always been so much fun, especially reading through the results because Hamdah would be like “so you OMG” and I too found myself agreeing to certain things. πŸ˜‚ Clearly, these aren’t fixed things because of many factors of each individual but it was interesting to read anyway.

*writes notes* *reflects* *actions*


This model took me back to A Level Chemistry where we had to create molecular structures of certain chemicals. Ah, organic chemistry will always have my heart.

In the midst of excitement from the science museum, I managed to misplace my disposable camera which had lots of different photos I had taken up to Day Three. It sorta sucks because I had captured some really good shots, but at least I had another back in the hotel. We didn’t go back for it for the day so missed some shots in Harleem and Knenhuoof which sucks BUT it was a lesson learnt i.e. treat that camera like your mirrorless camera! Valuable. Even though it was only Β£7. πŸ˜…

Storytime: On our way to the train station, we walked past this Chinese restaurant which reminded me of the games I used to play when I was younger. Dynasty Warriors, KOEI ring a bell to anyone? πŸ˜†


Harleem

The train to Harleem wasn’t difficult to find – I think I’m getting better at understanding trains abroad.

Speaking of trains, they are so efficient compared to the ones in the UK. Not to mention, comfortable and just high quality – probably a bit better than our easyJet plane.

It’s not NYC but it’s still pretty great

Keukenhof – the Tulips garden

In order to get to Keukenhof, we had to take a bus from the station in Harlem. It was a long bus journey! Once we arrived, we were a little annoyed by the fact we couldn’t actually go into the garden. It was blocked off with security guards and gates.

It was still a beautiful sight – the tulips looked unreal! They sorta looked like the ones you’d expect to obtain magical powers from.

People were trying to get the best shots of the tulips, including using their selfie sticks. I may have been that person too.

Red Light District

On our way back from dinner at Vapinos (one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve been to and trust me I’ve been to a lot as you all know by now) we went through the Red Light District. It was getting quite late but not late enough to get the ‘full experience’ of the district although we did get a flavour of the culture in the short time we were there.

Storytime: There were some red light tours going on whilst we were there. We spent some time listening in to some and ended up joining up with this huge crowd of other tourists and blended in. We then – somehow – ended up in this small cubicle thing? And if you paid 2 euros, a woman would come out of the side and perform an artist act for you. Hamdah and I couldn’t stop laughing at how the tour guide didn’t realise we weren’t part of the group and pushed us into this weird room. πŸ˜…

And if you’re wondering: we didn’t pay that 2 euros but I was fighting the urge to, ngl.

Day Four – Exploring

Our final day in Amsterdam we ate breakfast twice – at a local bagel espresso bar called Village Bagels and at our hotel.

One thing I wish we did more in ‘Dam was to go to more coffee shops that weren’t Starbucks. I always enjoy a good coffee shop.

The great thing about Village Bagels was it was:

  • It was only two minutes away from our hotel
  • They had great bagels
  • Perfectly chill atmosphere
  • They were playing my favourite album from Kina Grannis. I’d never heard her music play out loud before in public, so that was a bonus!

Check out was at 11 am and with our flight at around 5 pm, we spent the rest of our time exploring and walking down streets we never went to before towards the Centraal Station.

We came across BPD which is hands down one of the best shops I’ve ever been to. No, I’m not exaggerating.

I’ve never had the urge to buy everything in a shop before but this got me. πŸ˜‚

I ended up spending most of my money for the ‘Dam here! I’d recommend it to anyone who is into decorating rooms, cute lights, buying friends and family gifts.

By Popular Demand

We spent the rest of our time at the airport, waiting for our plane where I was meditating away the negative policial energy I saw from my Twitter feed. A few people were laughing and judging me, but I was only glad that I made some people smile πŸ˜‰

Dank Je πŸ‡³πŸ‡±

“Did you get high in Amsterdam? 420!!!11! Omg!!! What did you do??” Was the most frequent question when I got back.

And my reply would be: “I went to this awesome Science Museum and built a cell from scratch!!!”

It’d be funny to see people’s reactions because we didn’t really do the typical things people do when they get to ‘Dam. It was an awesome, tailored, different experience for sure! 

When I was 15, I dated a Dutch guy who taught me some Dutch and I came into Holland with the intention to use all the lovey-dovey Dutch phrases I know to locals,  I didn’t need to! Everyone spoke English and we heard more accents from across the UK there than our previous trips. This was pretty cool because it helped us feel a lot more at home, Hamdah even said that she can imagine herself living in Holland!

All in all, it was a great getaway trip! I would recommend going once for at least two days, you’ll get a feel of the Dutch culture almost immediately.

I hope you enjoyed the travel posts recently. In the past month, I’ve been so grateful for the experiences.

I’ve come back home knowing a bit more of the world, with a bit more confidence in myself. Yes, Pauline, you can fly, take a train, bus abroad. You can even assertively demand pasta in a restaurant after they get you pizza instead and refused to give you pasta, but hey girl, you got that pasta. Not to mention, an enhancement of a more global mindset because we’re too young to stay in one place! ✈️

A big shout out to Hamdah for supporting me through the travel anxieties that sometimes spiked up and just for dealing with me for 24 hours for 3 weeks. She is the real MVP and we’re going to take on the world together with Asia as our next stop. πŸ‘ŠπŸΌ


Posted under: Explaw


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18 comments

  1. Rezina says:

    It sounds like you’re having so much fun!! I love reading about your adventures, am insanely jealous of all of them and can’t wait to hear about your upcoming trip to Asia! Sooo jealous, haha.

    I’ve

    • Rezina says:

      Oops – my stupid fingers clicked submit before I could finish writing >.>

      I’ve heard of Amsterdam and Dutch culture via a documentary. It sounded very interesting. The most vivid parts I remember were the free health care, they pay their artists and their open culture on sex, haha. I also LOLed at your description of weed. I live in a state that is very open to weed so am familiar with how horrible it smells. I also totally get your reaction because that was my reaction the first time I realized what it was!

  2. Kemi says:

    Glad you enjoyed all your travels! I’ve been keeping up with all of them on Snapchat haha.

    I actually went to Amsterdam a few years back but will be going again next month just because it’s so close and so easy and there’s so much more I want to do that I didn’t the last time! From what I remembered a lot can be done in just two days (as you confirmed).

    Alsoooo – Vapianos is just beautiful! Reading this me want to get some today. They also had one when I want to Budapest haha. So they must be doing pretty well.

    Will be exciting to see how Asia is- will be watching on snap as per. Reminds me that I actually really want to go to Hong Kong in the coming years!

    Finally, congrats with overcoming all your travel fears – always a great idea to push yourself out of your comfort zone. πŸ™‚

  3. Claudine says:

    I enjoyed reading this post! πŸ™‚ I’m glad you had lots of fun on your trip – now I want to go on another adventure as well! πŸ˜›

    Oooh, I never saw that Snapchat story you mentioned in this post, but it would find it really gross too! No wonder you lost your appetite! -_-

    The places you went to sound very interesting, I especially like the photos you took of the science museum and the tulip garden! So beautiful! It’s a shame that you weren’t allowed to enter the garden but at least you saw the beautiful flowers all around! <3

  4. Anca says:

    I’ve been to Amsterdam, but I didn’t get to the Sex Museum. :)) I loved Nemo, it is an exciting museum.

  5. Chynna says:

    I was so lucky to get the last Easter weekend off. I’m usually working at least one of the bank holidays, but I actually got all of it off. I didn’t do any exciting (like doing to Dam πŸ˜‰) but it was still very much appreciated!

    I love the feeling of booking a holiday. I remember when I made the last payment for my trip to Venice and I thought, “YES! Now I can start properly looking at what sights to go to, what tours to do, where to eat, etc.” So exciting!

    Glad you guys managed to have breakfast this time.

    Wish I’d visited the science museum! I LOVE the one in London. My only thing with museums outside of London is that you have to pay for them, so I’m like “What? But it’s free back home?” Lol.

    OMG, I WENT INTO BPD TOO! I absolutely loved it in there and had a blast, haha.

    Ah, this post has given me Dam feels and I need to go back ASAP. Just reading this is bringing back so memories and how much I enjoyed it out there. Not even weed or nightlife or anything, I just love that they have such a relaxed laid back attitude over there and everyone is really friendly! I did notice things were quite pricey out there but I’m guessing that it’s because its a tourist hot spot.

    I’m glad you had good time πŸ˜€

  6. Holly says:

    Amsterdam is on my travel bucket list so I found this post really informative. I’ve saved it for future reference, for when I finally get my arse back on a plane (hurry up and finish uni Ty!).

    I thought you were going to say the smell was from the canals, like how the canals in Venice smell, but weed?! Haha! I hate the smell of weed and it’s definitely not something I’d be interested in trying. Even in Amsterdam!

    Churros are my favourites. They look so damn good! I think they have Vapinos restaurants in the UK now. I’m sure I’ve seen one in Manchester.

    I love a good science museum. That molecular structure model also reminds me of my chemistry days. *shudders*

  7. Delphine says:

    Ah!!! I never get tired of seeing your trip pictures on Instagram! It makes me want to travel too 😭

    Weed smells horrible alright 😭 It’s illegal to smoke it in France but I happen to smell it in the street from time to time, it’s disgusting ugh.

    That science museum looks so interesting! I would totally take that love quiz hahaha it makes me very curious of how they sort this out! Was it part of a temporary exhibition ? 😯

    I’m glad you guys had fun during this travel! ❀️ Can’t wait for your future adventures!

  8. Nancy says:

    It’s so cool how you get 3 weeks off during this time of the year! This sounds like the perfect time to go traveling…
    Oh hey, that’s what you did ;)!

    YES!!! I know I appreciate the weekends after a long week of working full time. Glad you took the opportunity and traveled outside of town.

    You two are beasts for that travel hustle! Weed has a horrible smell and Amsterdam is the high-zone X’D. Hope the smell didn’t bother you too much! (I usually compare the smell of weed to a skunk’s stench – pretty similar).

    Uggg I’m sorry you had to experience seeing a bunch of people throwing up. Definitely not a good sight or smell! Dam square looks really neat. I like the whole medieval vibes the street had going on. Those churros look DELISH!!!!!!! I’ve never seen Indonesian food before and it looks tasty. Though, it sounds expensive just by looking at the price tag XD.

    It’s pretty cool that you got to check out the museum. Even though you’re studying a particular subject doesn’t mean it is expected for you to know everything. I’m always learning something new and doing stuff like this helps you with upping your facts level :D. I feel like the US should adopt what Amsterdam/Europe is doing with sex education when it comes to children.

    The tulips garden looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! I gotta go there someday ;)! It’s good that you didn’t get high in Amster. You can probably tell my stance with that sentence XD.

    Thanks for sharing your trip! Totally enjoyed reading about your experience :)! (Get ready for school) XD.

  9. Sounds like another awesome trip! Filled with yummy food and neat sights!

  10. Michelle says:

    One day, I will travel but for the most part I am content with home and Texas. Great adventure you had there!~

  11. Kya says:

    So awesome that you decided to have the trip and were able to move around easily. It would certainly be a big contrast with the smell of the weed being so common! It’s a shame that the sign was so crowded. Whoa, catching someone being sick would be awful. >.<

    The photos from day two are great. Hahaha. The sex museum photo is a classic. It's amazing that they do have so many museums for different things!

    Wow, the science museum sounds so good. Oh no, that is sad that you lost the camera! It was good you didn't lose an expensive camera, but still a bummer about the photos.

    The tulips look so beautiful. <3

    It would be have an interesting experience being on the red light tour. It's funny that you ended up in the group!

    It's really cool that you had a great time and did the things that you wanted to and were interested in. πŸ˜€ I love your reply about the science museum!

  12. Gillan says:

    Same, holidays back in college was trivial for me but now that we’re actually adults, it’s so hard to find time to take a break. You were very adult in booking your own flights and planning your itinerary, I love it. I am so envious that flights are cheap over there!
    I have no knowledge of what weed smells like so I wouldn’t have known too. That’s awful that there were retching people outside the Italian restaurant. Unappetizing πŸ™
    The Sex Museum sounds so entertaining lmao. I love that you took the same picture πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ And I love science museums-any kind really- because there are so many things to learn! I’m a sucker for quizzes too, even if I know I shouldn’t rely on them πŸ˜‚
    Wow, you really do love pasta to reject the pizza they gave you. Fight for your pasta, gurl! πŸ˜‚

  13. Cat says:

    I know what you mean about appreciating weekends more after working full time. I get kind of jealous when people in school mention things like Spring Break or winter break because I don’t have that anymore! (Though, I guess I have more flexibility on when I take time off now.)

    That’s too bad you couldn’t get a good shot of the “I am sterdam” sign, but I think the photo you got instead is nicer! I haven’t seen “Fault in Our Stars”, but I can relate to wanting to visit the location of something you saw in a movie. In Japan, I visited some spots specifically because I saw them in a video game (and in cosplay too), haha.

    Dam square looks like a fun place to visit! I remember Chynna’s Amsterdam post, and before I clicked on your photo from the sex museum, I had a feeling I’d know what it was, hahaha. I think science museums are so interesting to visit. I’m glad the one in Amsterdam was worth it!

    Wowww, I would love to visit the Tulips garden. The amount of tulips there is an amazing sight. Everyone I know who has visited Amsterdam has loved it, so I’m glad it was a great trip!

  14. Tara says:

    Holland is definitely on my list to visit one day. I love World War II, and Anne Frank and her story’s been something I was interested in, so to one day visit her hiding place is a dream.

    The weed smell, huh. I would have never thought about it, but now it makes sense. Walking is my main mode of transport πŸ˜€ Cheap and it’s make for a good workout!

    The street shots — AHHHHH! It reminds me of the old photos of all the Anne Frank books I read, so seeing them is making me really want to go and see the place in person!

    The tulip garden made me smile, too πŸ˜€ Being that I associate tulips with Holland, I really like seeing your photos of the place!

    I love how people expected you to do weed, but you instead let your geeky side out and did the science museum and built a cell! πŸ˜€ That is so you, Pauline, and I love you so much for it πŸ˜€

  15. Georgie says:

    Amsterdam is pretty progressive I think, so I’m not surprised that it wasn’t hard to communicate with everyone and that you spotted/heard a lot of English people. πŸ™‚

    I can imagine it would smell a lot like weed there! I’ve only smelled it randomly at concerts when band members smoked weed but I don’t think I smelled it enough to really remember the scent. πŸ˜†

    Eeep, sorry you had to witness some people getting sick and accidentally caught that on camera 😦

    I would totally do the science museum if I was there, I love those! I learn a lot of things at science museums, and there are often a lot of interactive things in those museums. Shame you didn’t check out the Anne Frank museum but yeah, you would’ve had to have been in a more serious mood.

    I dooooo think that The Fault in Our Stars was a good movie, since John Green had a hand in the directing, but I love the book too! I feel like I’m over the movie, people keep talking about it. Kinda like what happened with the Twilight books, they were OK until they made a big deal out of it and I just got fed up with hearing everyone talk about it 😭

    Ah, I really want to go to Keukenhof. 😞 So many things coming up in my life meant that a trip kept having to be postponed. I’m surprised that you are able to get so much time off? We’re only allowed four weeks a year if we have a full-time job, and you’re travelling so much! I haven’t travelled since our Europe trip which was almost a year ago. But yeah… I didn’t know a lot of Keukenhof was going to be cordoned off. 😦 Sounds like you still had a lot to see and it was still a good view, though? πŸ™‚

    It’s cool that there was Indonesian food there – I have a coworker from the Netherlands and he said his grandma used to make a lot of Indonesian food since there is a lot of influence. And the other way around too – there are a lot of Dutch-inspired foods in Indonesia because of the Dutch invasion of the country. πŸ™‚

    The bagels sound and look really good! I love a good bagel πŸ˜„

    I’m glad you had a great trip; Hamdah was awesome for keeping up with you! πŸ’–