In anticipation of our Travel Journal launch on April 20, we're sharing travel stories, tips, and advice for each of the four destinations that inspired the four Travel Journal colors! Read more about the colors and destinations here.
The Dusty Rose Travel Journal was inspired by the city of Amsterdam. Below, Promptly Journals Marketing Manager Tessa Woolf shares the details of her recent trip to Amsterdam with her fiancé, Chris, and answers prompts from our Travel Journal.
AMSTERDAM TRAVEL GUIDE
Names of travelers:
Tessa Woolf and Chris Neihart
Trip taken August 2017
What inspired the trip and the destination?
We were planning a trip to Europe for the summer, and specifically wanted to visit Spain. But because there are no direct flights from Salt Lake City to Spain, we decided to take the direct flight to Amsterdam and spend some time exploring the city before traveling on to Spain. I'm so glad we did! We quickly fell in love with Amsterdam and can't wait to go back for a second visit.
My favorite thing to do in any city is just to wander through neighborhoods and pop into any shops, cafes, or parks that catch my eye, and Amsterdam was no exception. We loved wandering through the Jordaan neighborhood and taking in all the beautiful canals and iconic canal houses and classic Dutch architecture. But we also loved visiting so many of the city's great museums like the the Rijksmusuem, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. I have a whole new love and appreciation for tulips after visiting Amsterdam.
Favorite shops you discovered:
In the Jordaan and "Nine Streets" neighborhoods, there were so many cool boutique shops. I feel in love with a local bookstore named Mendo, the fanciest, most glam bookstore I've ever seen—so many beautiful art, fashion, travel, and photography books. Amsterdam has a super rad sneaker scene, and I had to find myself a pair of stylish kicks to bring back home! We happened upon the store Sneaker District and they had the chicest selection of sneakers in all manner of colors and styles. I brought home a pair of suede lilac-hued Nikes that I love so much I haven't even worn them yet because I don't want to ruin them!
Most inspiring or memorable moment:
One day we woke up and had the most delicious breakfast at Berry, then we walked to Vondelpark and spent a cloudy morning wandering through the beautiful park and gardens. It was so peaceful and serene. Then we walked to heart of the city and visited some museums and did some shopping. We also stopped into the Conservatorium Hotel and enjoyed cocktails in the beautiful lounge area. We walked back to our Airbnb and finished the day at a quaint corner cafe in our neighborhood—we ordered dinner, drinks, and did some serious people watching before watching the sunset over the canals. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
We stayed at an AMAZING Airbnb for the duration of our time in Amsterdam, and it was one of the highlights of our trip! Not only was it beautifully designed (I made a mental checklist of all the decor details I wanted to recreate in my own home), but our hosts Mirjam and Bienna were the sweetest couple! They greeted us with big hugs, a small cake, and a bottle of bubbly for me and a bottle of beer for Chris. They were so helpful with recommendations and even offered us their own personal bikes to tour the city. I can't say enough good things about them or their darling apartment, which occupied the second floor of a traditional canal house—they own the entire building and live on the third floor.
We spent an entire afternoon hunting down the best pommes frites in Amsterdam, and I think we finally found them at Vlaams. But we weren't alone—there was a line down the street all afternoon for these fries! You could choose from a number of toppings and sauces for your fries, from curry mayo to spicy ketchup, but we kept things classic and topped ours with ketchup and mayo. The fries are served in paper cones with small forks—so cute. We also loved exploring Foodhallen, a massive indoor food market with a variety of cuisines, and we had a delicious brunch at Pluk in the Nine Streets area, a darling shop and cafe serving organic coffee, tea, salads, sandwiches, and egg dishes. Also, stroopwafels—need I say more?
Any funny/awkward moments or mishaps?
A funny moment happened while we were visiting the Van Gogh Museum: we randomly ran into someone who works at The Bagel Project in Salt Lake City, one of our favorite spots for breakfast on the weekends. We all did a double take and laughed about how small the world can be sometimes. Now whenever we go into The Bagel Project, I feel like we have all share a special Van Gogh/bagel connection.
What did you love about the local culture?
I loved the city's symphony of bicycles. It blew my mind to see so many people riding bikes and to see full-on bike traffic jams. It was almost dangerous crossing the street sometimes with all the bikes flying past us. I love how the locals bike around the city dressed in their day-to-day attire rather than workout gear (so many women riding bikes wearing heels and dresses!) and with baskets filled with groceries and flowers. It's so much more civilized and enjoyable to use a bike for transportation than driving a car around town.
What advice would you give others going here?
Plan your visits to museums and purchase tickets ahead of time! We really wanted to visit the Anne Frank House, but tickets were sold out for every day we were in Amsterdam. Apparently it's best to buy tickets month in advance! Even for museums that don't sell out, like the Van Gogh Museum, it's a good idea to buy tickets ahead of time so you don't have to wait in line. Also, be sure to visit neighborhoods outside of the main tourist area. Our favorite neighborhood was the Jordaan area—if we had only seen the Red Light District and hadn't ventured outside the heart of the city, I don't think we would have been so enamored with Amsterdam.
Stay tuned all week for more Promptly Journals Travel Guides! And don't forget to mark your calendars for April 20 when our new Travel Journals land in the shop!