Category Archives: All things Dutch

Amsterdam’s NeighbourFood Market

In an attempt to lift us out of our post holiday slump, we ditched our usual lazy Sunday routine and headed out for a long cross town bike ride to the NeighbourFood Market in Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek. The lovely weather, delicious food and cozy atmosphere definitely helped boot out our end of summer blues. 😉

First stop, burgers and beer :)

First stop, burgers and beer – with some stuffed Greek grape leaves on the side 🙂

Hazelnut, Limoncello & Honey and Thyme truffles for dessert :)

Hazelnut, Limoncello & Honey and Thyme truffles for dessert 🙂

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The market is open one Sunday per month and offers enough sweet and savory treats to please almost any palate.

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Post food stroll through Westerpark

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To keep the spirits lifted as the cooler weather undoubtedly approaches, we’re determined to fill the calendar with as many fun activities as possible for the next few weeks. This weekend we’ll be heading to the popular Grachten Festival (canal festival) in Amsterdam.  With boat filled canals, live music and a fabulously festive feel- it’s quickly become one of our favorite summer send offs. 🙂 

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Dream holiday part 1: Athens

Sebastiaan and I just returned from an absolutely amazing holiday in Greece. We spent 3 days in Athens exploring the city and visiting the sights and then ventured off to Paros for 5 days of sunshine, rest and relaxation. The trip was more incredible than I could have even imagined…

As soon as we arrived in Athens I was struck by the city’s fast pace, narrow streets and old town charm. Although, given the financial crisis now overwhelming this part of the world, it was hard not to also notice the boarded up shops, staggering homelessness and the abandoned pets (dogs and cats) on nearly every street corner. 

Wandering the streets of this iconic city, visiting the Acropolis, enjoying epic views and even better food was definitely an unforgettable experience.

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Our first (of many) Greek salads!

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Yummy Gyro!

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First bite of Mousaka!

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Beginning our LONG hike up Lycabetus Hill!

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We made it to the top!

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First dinner out in Plakka area of Athens

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In front of the Parthenon!

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Taking a break on our way down from the Acropolis – incredible view

Although there were definitely some spots we didn’t get a chance to visit, and we had an absolutely amazing time, I have to admit after 3 days in the hot, busy (and sometimes dirty) ancient city we were more than ready to catch the ferry for our Island escape!

If you’re planning a trip to Athens and looking for a great place to grab a bite I highly recommend here, here and here!

(I wasn’t crazy about our hotel in Athens so I won’t be recommending that one…)

More pictures from our trip below!

My first Dutch soccer game

This weekend I crossed a BIG “must do” off my ‘Things I must do while living in Holland’ list. Yes folks, I attended my very first Dutch soccer game. It was aaamaazzingg!

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The Dutch certainly don’t mess around when it comes to soccer (voetbal)- fans from 6 to 60 were dressed head to toe in Ajax gear and screamed, chanted and booed as appropriate throughout the nail-biting match. Thankfully, I was appropriately warned of potential hooligan behavior and earnestly practiced my Dutch cursing  beforehand– let’s just say I fit right in! 😉 photo 1photo 5

The stadium was packed with 90,000 die-hard fans and literally shook as the game went into overtime. Luckily Ajax came out on top winning 3-2 (against the other guys…) 

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It was definitely an evening I’ll never forget! In fact, it was even fun being a bit of a soccer hooligan for a night! 🙂

photo 2I’m already looking forward to our next game! 🙂

 

Why I love summer

There are about a million reasons why I love summer, actually why I’ve always loved summer, but now that I live in Amsterdam (a city notorious for its lack of warmth and sunshine), I’ve grown really thankful for the few days a year where “we” Dutchies can shed the layers, dust off the sunnies and cycle off to the nearest terrace to soak up the good ol’ Vitamin D.

Date night downtown :)

The warm weather isn’t likely to stick around too long, but while it’s here, Sebastiaan and I are determined to enjoy it as much as possible. We’ve had picnics in the park, dined alfresco here, here, and here and enjoyed a few too many cocktails outside with friends. Basically, we’ve remembered what it is we love so much about this city. Although a common expression among expats in Amsterdam is, “No one moves to Amsterdam for the weather” 4-5 months of rain and clouds can get even the peppiest of travelers down.  balcony bbq!

Luckily, we’re jetting off to Greece next week just as the weather is expected to turn. We’ve both been working like crazy over the past few months so we’re really looking forward to 8 days of much deserved rest and relaxation (accompanied by fabulous food, drinks and views!).  Happy feet :)

Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying the warmer days, after all,  before we know it we’ll be bundling up for fall. 🙂

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Easter Sunday

This year on Easter Sebastiaan and I woke with a little extra ‘spring’ in our step so we decided to take advantage of a rare plans-free day out on the town.

We began with an extravagant and delicious 5-course brunch at Quatfass. It was our first time there and definitely won’t be our last. With the friendly staff, delicious food and reasonable prices, I think it’s fair to say we’re likely to frequent this one!

After 2 hours of eating, drinking and chatting, we left completely stuffed satisfied and headed out into a brisk but sunny (!) Amsterdam. We began with a stroll through a little neighborhood festival, then headed to an organic street market followed by some delicious wine and cheese at this chique little wine bar downtown.

And, because we obviously hadn’t eaten enough for the day, to top off  the evening we headed for Ethiopian food here. (surprisingly messy when eaten with the hands!)

Although today my pants are feeling a tad more snug than I’d like to admit, it was definitely worth the splurge for the picture perfect Easter Sunday in Amsterdam! 🙂

Amsterdam <3

Amsterdam ❤

Spring? Are you out there?

Complaining about the weather is a common pastime in Holland, but I have to say, this latest ruse played by the weather gods is just plain cruel. It’s Easter weekend and it was flurrying last night. (?!) With temperatures well below freezing  through the week, it’s definitely time for a little pick me up.

Inspired by this blog post written by my best friend, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite spots across Amsterdam that I just can’t wait to visit if once this lovely Dutch weather decides to cooperate… 

        Sipping cocktails at the floating swimming pool on the Amstel river

                                                 A BBQ in the beautiful Oosterpark

                                            A day of sand and sun Zandvoort beach

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                                  My first trip to the famous Wadden Area of the Netherlands

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                                                 Dining al fresco at Pata Negra

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                                    Our annual trip to the beautiful Keukenhof gardens

I’m not sure if that made me feel better or worse… Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Spring will show its gorgeous face soon! 🙂

Little Collins

This Sunday Sebastiaan and I woke up with a taste for a good old fashion American brunch. Although Amsterdam is home to many of Europe’s great restaurants, I have to say, the brunch scene is lacking a bit… Coming from D.C and NYC, brunch capitals of the US,  this has been pretty hard to do without.

So, on Sunday, without anywhere in particular in mind, we decided to just grab our bikes and stop off when we found something that looked appealing. While usually this is a pretty good strategy around Amsterdam, luck was not exactly on our side to start. When hunger got

The food looked about as old as that tablecloth...

The food looked about as old as that tablecloth…

the best of me us, we finally stopped off in what looked like a cute corner bakery/café. One glance around the “restaurant” I knew there was no way in hell I was going to eat anything prepared within the confines of this god forsaken place (ok, maybe I was in a bit of a mood at this point…).

For some reason we felt compelled to order a cup of coffee, which I sipped (while occasionally shooting daggers at Sebastiaan) and proceeded to look up nice places for brunch on my phone. Thank goodness (for everyone involved) I came across Little Collins. I called them immediately, made a reservation and told Sebastiaan to chug his cappuccino and meet me outside.   

Little Collins is fairly new Australian owned restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam, and although it’s picked up some great reviews around town, we’d never had to a chance to check it out. Wow, I am glad we finally did!

As soon as we walked into Little Collins (well, after I had a delicious bloody Mary in my hands) I knew we were going to be in for a treat.The friendly (albeit slightly hungover) staff quickly made us feel at home as we  drooled watched mounds of food leave the beautiful open kitchen. We both threw our new “healthy habits” to the wind and splurged on some much needed comfort food.

The Original Bloody Mary

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Stan’s Bangers and Mash

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Coriander and Corn Fritters

The food was absolutely delicious and definitely worth the drama wait. Although we were rushed out a bit at the end of our meal, we’re already looking forward to our next Aussie inspired brunch! 🙂