BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO CREATE YOUR OWN SUNSHINE
My boyfriend and I recently spent a long weekend in Amsterdam and my only regret is that we did not take enough photographs! It was our second time visiting this artistic and very unique city and we specifically wanted to spend a bit more time discovering it this time around. We were there to visit some friends we had met on our first trip there as well as to celebrate ‘Queen’s Day’. It was an extra special year for The Netherlands and an extra special experience for us because their Queen Beatrix abdicated her throne and her son Prinz Willem-Alexander became the new King. So, it was also celebration of the coronation of the new King.
Now where do I begin?! With Day One I guess! We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and checked into Hotel The Exchange which is located conveniently in the city center, very close to the main train station and other forms of public transportation; only a 5 minute walk from the notable Dam Square. The hotel is generally small but very chic. The rooms are designed by students of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and they hold the concept of cleverly intertwined fashion and architecture. We were impressed with the haute artistic style of the hotel. The only disadvantage was that the rooms were very small with not much space to even use the bathroom with the door closed. Frustrating yes, but we were not expecting to spend much time in the room so we decided to roll with positivity and rush out to enjoy the city.
We went spend a few hours strolling around lively Dam Square (where the Royal Palace is), through the shopping haven Kalverstraat and then walked across and along part of the canal ring until we ended up in Nieuwmarkt for a beer and some people watching. There was a small festival taking place in this square so we got to enjoy some live music too.
In the evening we met our lovely friend who organised a dinner with a group of her friends at Indonesian restaurant SAMPURNA. It is a rather small restaurant, the food was not my taste but was enjoyed by everyone else. The staff was hectic and did not know what to do with all the customers pouring in but it was still an enjoyable experience.
After dinner we headed to a bar called The House of Rising. Hip, trendy and stylish; it is the most unique bar I have ever been to and one should not be fooled by the simplistic website. It brings in local artists, musicians and designers together and gives them the chance to play or display their creations within. The bar itself still holds an aspect of minimalism but displays expressive art effectively. It is a true house of style and as it says on the website “If art is the language of the soul, the House hears what is being said.” The bar staff were unique and friendly too.
As the bar filled up we left and went to Bourbon Street Bar; a very cool live blues, soul and jazz music venue. It is an intimate and very busy bar, the doormen are friendly and relaxed and the drinks are much cheaper then most other bars and cafés in Amsterdam. Most importantly, the live jazz/blues music was fun, authentic and exhilarating. It definitely beat a night out clubbing and and great ‘welcome back’ treat from our friend. Our group was filled with jolly, lively, smart, interesting, funny and high-spirited people. A lovely evening filled with laughter, chat, music and maybe too many glasses glasses of wine!
Part Two to follow.