Visiting the Tulip Fields in Holland

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you might have noticed that my travel schedule has been (for lack of a better a phrase) pretty f*cking hectic lately. In April I had guests or work travel every week, with the exception of one stunning long weekend, right at the end of the month. My boyfriend, who I had been neglecting due to work obligations and guests, sweetly suggested that we enjoy the long weekend together. And so I took a red eye back from NYC, napped for a few short morning hours, and packed yet another bag. Thankfully, we had decided to forgo planes and enjoy a mini-European road trip, with an overnight in Antwerp, Belgium and some spontaneous pit stops along the way. Road trippppp! :)IMG_5592Springtime is my favorite season in Holland. In the spring, the weather is often warmer and more reliably sunny than in the summer, and!! you have the tulips. Miles and miles of endless colors paint the horizon, as Holland’s flagship crop begins to bloom. As Kai had never seen the Dutch tulips in all their vivid glory (which I’ve done before, many times! here and here) I suggested that we take our first road trip pit stop in Lisse, where the rainbow-colored tulip fields are both abundant and magnificent.

If you are also interested in visiting the tulips in Holland, here are some tips on when to visit, what to do, and how to get there (along with some photos from our adventure!) Continue reading

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Easter in Texel, The Netherlands

Usually I spend the long Easter weekend in London (see here and here) but this year, I decided to switch it up. I’m headed over to the UK for the Royal Ascot in June, so I’ll still be seeing all of my London friends then, on a slightly belated schedule this year :) And to be honest, I’ve been traveling so much for work as of late, the thought of cramming all of my belongings into yet another suitcase, braving Schiphol, and hopping on an airplane in my downtime sounded tiring and unappealing. And so as the long Easter weekend slowly crept up, I decided to stay local. IMG_4586Luckily, my guy friend ;) was also stark on plans, and so we started toying around with the idea of taking a road trip up to Texel, an island in the north of Holland marked by endless dunes and white sandy beaches.  Continue reading

A Night at The Duke Hotel, Den Bosch

As I used up almost all of my paid leave visiting the States this summer, I’m trying to squeeze in mini-holidays over the weekends so I can still explore Europe and travel with friends. Last weekend, The Duke Hotel kindly invited me for an overnight in Den Bosch. And so on Friday night after work, I packed my overnight bag, grabbed the boyfriend (I still feel weird saying that!) and hopped on a train down to den Bosch to enjoy a short city break in Holland. Den Bosch the Duke Hotel - 13 of 102The formal name for den Bosch is ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which translates into The Duke’s Forest in English. The name is often abbreviated to Den Bosch, which simply means The Forest. And so we took a train down to The Forest, where we saw many birds, dragons, and beautiful buildings (but oddly not a whole lot of forest!) Continue reading

The Keukenhof, Holland

I’m sorry for going quiet these past few days. There are ebbs and flows in blogging, and this past week has definitely been a photo-taking, e-mail-answering, event-attending week. So I neglected the blog space slightly, for which I am sorry! To make it up to you, I would like to share the most colorful post of all time :) One of the reasons I’ve been preoccupied lately is because I’ve had a slew of guests visiting over the past few weeks. First my two best friends, Katie and Amie, came to town. Then my Mom. And then two good friends from college. So now springtime is coming to a close, and I truly feel like the past month has flown by in a blur. I took two weeks off from work, and there have been numerous long holiday weekends this month as well. As you can imagine, with so many guests, I’ve been constantly on the go, super social, and doing tons of cool things in and around Amsterdam! One sunny day while my Mom was here, we headed over to the stunning Keukenhof to admire the endless flower gardens (I’ve mentioned the Keukenhof before here, in my Amsterdam city guide!)
IMG_7168I really have no words that could compare to the beauty of the Keukenhof . . .  Continue reading

Rembrandt Canal Cruise, Amsterdam

Hello blog friends! It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper catch up, so I wanted to make this next blog post extra pretty for you! This past weekend, I was invited on the Late Rembrandt Canal Tour. I booked into an early morning cruise, intent on capturing the quiet beauty of Amsterdam before the masses came alive. After grabbing a coffee from de Wasserette, I biked over to the Rijksmuseum to catch the Rembrandt tour boat. I expected it to be a relaxing morning, floating around the canals, sipping coffee, and taking pictures. And while the canals were as beautiful as ever . . . .
IMG_6185It turned out to be a not-so-quiet morning . . . .  Continue reading

The IJ-Hallen Market, Amsterdam

When you live in a studio apartment, you can’t be precious with your junk. Wares that gather holes, duplicates, or a bit too much love need to be recycled. And if you don’t have the heart to chuck your goods in the bin, renting a stall at the the IJ-Hallen Marketis is the next best thing.

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Brunch at Drover’s Dog, Amsterdam

Two weekends ago, B and I had breakfast at Drover’s Dog with our friends Tom and Melissa. Typically, B and I stay in de Pijp when we brunch. Stellar spots such as Little Collins, Bakers & Roasters, and Trust are all within a 2 minute walk from our flat. But as these places are located in de Pijp, they’re usually packed on the weekends, and good luck getting a table at prime brunching time, never-mind in the sun, without a wait. So we decided to be crazy and try a new spot outside of de Pijp, and Drover’s Dog came highly recommended.

Mint Tea

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Summer is Here

It’s currently 75° and sunny in Amsterdam. Boats are cruising the canals, the parks are swamped with blankets, beats, and urban dwellers, and everyone seems . . . happy!  The sunshine will do that to people I guess :)  

B and I have been taking full advantage of this lovely weather. On Friday night we went on a two hour walk after work, yesterday we had brunch outside with friends and then laid in the park, and today we are going on a long bike ride. I don’t have a full-on awesome post for you, but here are two photographs I took on Friday night. B has a new iPhone 5 and I’m in love with the picture quality! I’m actually considering selling my Lumix and just upgrading to an iPhone 5. But anyways, I digress! Here are some sunny snaps, and I hope your weekend (sunshine or not) has also been a good one!

Amstel Sunshine Amsterdam

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King’s Day in Amsterdam

On Saturday, along with the rest of Holland, we celebrated our first ever King’s Day. Up until last year the very orange, open air city festival was known as Queen’s Day, in celebration of the lovely Queen Beatrix. However, last year she passed along the title to her eldest son Willem-Alexander, and the holiday underwent a slight name change to represent our new monarch. Despite the holiday’s new naming convention, the crazy antics have remained the same, with endless street food and thrifting options, outdoor stages and bands, drunks, raves, party boats, and more orange than a citrus farm in Florida.

The night before King’s Day is referred to as (can you guess?) King’s Night, and on this evening the city-wide party kicks off. Stages are erected, bars are set up along the canals, and everyone in this tiny country flocks to Amsterdam, in hopes of celebrating in the cool evening air with the masses.

As our flat is very centrally located, year after year we have a front row view of the insanity below. Of all places, a stage is set up across the street directly facing our windows, and the pedestrian walkways below become flooded with people, kicking off an insane evening of Dutch rock, hip-hop, and crazy euro beats.

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Tulips in Holland

Dutch fun fact time! Despite being a super tiny country (comparable to the size of Maryland) Holland ranks 3rd worldwide in value of agricultural exports, earning over $55 billion annually. Considering the limited amount of surface space here, I’d say that’s a pretty impressive feat. And the most significant agricultural export? Fresh-cut plants, bulbs, and flowers – the Netherlands exports two-thirds of the world’s total! If you’re thinking of visiting Holland, I highly recommend coming at the end of April. The trees are full on green this time of year, the sun is our until 9pm, Queen’s Day (I guess now formally known as King’s Day) is right around the corner, and the tulips, Holland’s most impressive crop, are in full technicolor bloom.IMG_6722But let me start from the beginning . . .  Continue reading