A WEEK IN AMSTERDAM

It's hard to give you the right words to describe my experience in Europe. I was only there for a little over a week, but that was more than enough for me to get bit by the travel bug. Now I'm constantly catching myself daydreaming about my next European adventure. My brother and I had the time of our lives exploring the city by foot, bike, and tram, all while attempting to find local spots and taking in the beauty of Amsterdam itself. 

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We stayed in an adorable air bnb in Amsterdam West, which is about a twenty five minute walk to the city center. Our house was adjacent to one of the main streets in our area, Jan Everstraant, which was lined with cute restaurants, bars and shops. I still don't really understand the street system, being that there are no "traditional" signs like the ones we have in the US, in addition to the street names changing from block to block. To say it simply - thank god I had google maps. I'm certainly not complaining, because throughout my stay I learned even more about the European way of life, and how everything seems to run a whole lot smoother when you cross the Atlantic. 

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 My brother and I walked through Vondelpark and found an amazing Italian restaurant called Pompa, where I proceeded to stuff my face with pasta in order to cure the repercussions from the bar crawl we did the night before. 

My brother and I walked through Vondelpark and found an amazing Italian restaurant called Pompa, where I proceeded to stuff my face with pasta in order to cure the repercussions from the bar crawl we did the night before. 

 This was a tea house a block away from our bnb that I discovered a day before we left. It's called T's. 

This was a tea house a block away from our bnb that I discovered a day before we left. It's called T's. 

 Shoes by the brand EMMA

Shoes by the brand EMMA

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If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, you need to take a canal tour. It's one thing to view the canals from one of the many bridges, but when you get to see the city from the water it's truly incredible. Tip: Request Stephen from the Cruise Like A Local tours! 

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After a few days spent in Amsterdam, we headed to Haarlem for a day trip. It's 15 miles west of Amsterdam and extremely easy to get to by train. Haarlem has a similar layout as Amsterdam, but it's less crowded and has a beachy-vibe to it. I absolutely fell in love with this town, and it felt refreshing to visit another city in the Netherlands. 

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After walking around Haarlem and spending way too much money on clothing and coffee, we rented bikes and rode twenty minutes to the beach town, Zandvoort (thanks for the recommendation, Cierra!). 

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This is me. Sipping sangria while lounging at an ocean front restaurant. I think this was one of my favorite moments. I loved this beach because not only was it beautiful, but the boardwalk was lined with places to sit and watch the sunset which is something I'm not used to being able to do. The Oregon Coast is a little difficult to relax on since the constant wind is bound to blow you away at any moment. So I really enjoyed this. 

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A million thank you's go out to my brother for taking me on this adventure and making it all happen. 

x Matti