So Long, Amsterdam

It’s February 3rd and today we dropped off ~80 lbs of our stuff with one of the people who’s helping us “figure it out.” Her name is Lindsay, she’s one of my cousin’s best friends, and she’s offered to help store a lot of the extra crap we brought that we totally regret packing into our suitcases. It feels good to have less things to be responsible for and keep track of. Shoutout to Lindsay & Stefan for making our lives a thousand times easier!

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Wus Good

Our last night in Amsterdam creeped up on me. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been MIA because I’ve been doing a little extra housekeeping with myself and my belongings. Not only did I have to part ways with the items I didn’t want to say goodbye to in the first place, but we’re still planning the rest of this weird trip we’ve embarked on.

No, we’re not staying in Amsterdam like we first thought…for now. BUT, I am not going to ignore the option of coming back for grad school in September. It’s something I’ve been tossing around in my head, and I think missing Amsterdam in a few days will make me want to do it more. I’m not making any decisions yet…I still have some time before that.

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Used my time and money wisely @ Caffe Milo

Because this is our last night in Amsterdam before we leave our apartment in Amsterdam-Zuid, I’d like to catch you up on some other tourist activities we’ve done before I go on and spoil where we’re heading next.

I Ate a Pannekoek

This week, Shannon found out she has a friend who’s killin’ the travel life and his name is Kevin. He’s in Europe networking to build his career and knocking out a degree at the same time – shoutout to you Kevin for putting in work! What better situation to meet up with him than to get pancakes, right?

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We found Pancakes.Amsterdam using iamsterdam.com, which has been a really good guide for us on this month-long experience. Pancakes is located right by Centraal Station and is ranked #2 on the Top 10 Pancake Restaurants in Amsterdam. The dish surprised me because I didn’t quite realize what a pannekoek was before we got there.

My idea of a pancake is the classic American flapjack stack…or even the teeny ones Shan got that day at Albert Cuypmarkt. Both are sweet and fluffy. As you can see from the picture below, Dutch pancakes are a lil different from what I’m used to.

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Traditional ham & cheese pannekoek, just like the one I got

Pannekoeks are thinner than an American pancake, thicker than a crêpe, and bigger than the plate. I would say it had a sort of hash brown consistency (though it’s not made of potatoes) and it came in sweet or savory. At Pancakes.Amsterdam, popular styles are with ham and cheese, bacon and cheese, ham and apple, or bacon and apple. The sweet and savory is not my favorite combo, so I stuck with something I felt comfortable with.

If you’re wondering, I just about ate the entire thing. #ShanVsFood

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The Smallest House in Amsterdam

Thanks to a YouTube video with 15 of A’dam’s hidden gems, Shan O discovered the narrowest house in Amsterdam. Though there are a lot of slim buildings in this city, none compare to the little guy that holds the record…unless it’s not really the smallest house in Amsterdam but they bought a very clever trademark…hmm…🤔

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Guess the dimensions of that thing.

Just guess.

Have a guestimate in mind?

Ready for the answer?

2.02 meters (6 feet 8 inches) wide and 5 meters (16 feet 5 inches) deep.

Wtf! How could somebody live there? Who thought that was a reasonable size for a home in the first place? It looked crazy cramped. I really wanted to see how uncomfortable it was to be inside of, but it was closed. ☹️

Proost!

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Let’s play another guessing game – guess what’s inside of that building called Wynand Fockink? ⬆️

If you’re not familiar with Amsterdam or the Dutch, then your mind probably went to a dirty place. The rest of us know it’s a famous distillery that serves the oh-so famous Dutch gin aka genever.

“Genever is the juniper-flavored national and traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Belgium, from which gin evolved.”

-thx Wikipedia

I saw this place on Anthony Bourdain’s 24 Hours in Amsterdam: The Layover, in the YouTube video mentioned earlier, and had a few others suggest this tasting. Let’s be real, Bourdain alone makes it worthy of experiencing.

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Here’s a cheesy stock photo of some young twenty-somethings drinking genever the proper way. It’s traditionally filled to the brim, so it’s custom to bend your butt over to sip genever to ensure it won’t spill when you pick it up – making the taste of strong alcohol last longer with baby sips – yum!

Shan, Kevin & I tasted two genevers: one that resembled vodka and one that had something fancy involving bourbon. We all decided on the bourbon. As I gave my full glass a tiny taste I tried to stay down a millisecond longer so I could get the repulsed expression off of my face before anyone saw. I genuinely don’t think it tasted bad, but my body reacts to all kinds of hard alcohol like I just ingested the nastiest thing in my life. Somehow I made it through the entire tiny cup.

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A’dam All in All

Being able to immerse ourselves into Amsterdam to the degree that we have has been a mind-blowing experience. It’s given me space to have crazy fun, to learn more about myself, and to remember how extremely grateful I am for the opportunities I’ve been #blessed with.

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Tying back to the fact that we left our stuff with a friend in Amsterdam – we’re coming back for them! There are still some things on our to-do list (like Keukenhof) and I can’t wait to knock em off in late March/early April before we leave the Schengen Area.

Now you’re probably wondering where we’re going next…

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We’re Going to Rome!

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At 4 o’clock in the morning we’re parting ways with Kevin and Amsterdam, and we’re leaving for the beautiful city of Roma.

Why Rome?

For the reasons we loved Amsterdam! It’s rich with history, culture, and places to be discovered. Beginning the moment we arrive, I’ll try my best to share our adventures in Italy with you.

Ciao!

🤗

And if you’re wondering why there aren’t more pictures from me/my phone, it’s because it got taken at a nightclub in Rembrandtplein. I’ll never see it again 😢 but I’ll try to be better with the actual camera from now on for more pics!

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We Arrived in Brussels

Here’s what we checked off the Brussels tourist list thus far:

Manneken Pis

Why is this the main attraction of Brussels? What makes this special?

The answer is we don’t effing know. We walked up to this bad boy with no expectations and found a tiny statue of a boy peeing with barely a description as to why.

Here’s what we learned from the info provided: The little statue was erected at the end of the Middle Ages when the city of Brussels was in the process of developing a public water supply network up until the mid-19th century, this fountain played a vital role in the city’s drinking water supply system. The original stone statue was replaced in the 17th century. Then a bronze model was commissioned by the municipal authorities from the sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy the Elder…interesting…

La Grand Place

The Grand Place

Of course, we went to the Grand Place of Brussels. It’s a cornerstone of culture, history, and food (on paper). Does it surprise you that we immediately bought chocolate, a beer tasting, and a waffle right afterwards? HELL NAH!

Sadly, we walked the streets of Brussels like it was Amsterdam and expected a bar and a tattoo parlor on every block, but instead we found normal buildings…like corporate buildings and stores with clothing we can’t afford. It was then and there we decided to make this mostly about the food

We haven’t ventured far beyond our boundaries yet. But until we do, I’ll be petting the weird black cat that’s in our AirBnB that’s more like a hostel than a hotel.

Thanks!

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Stroop, There It Is!

Peep the video, then read the post…or do it the other way around.

National Tulip Day

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NTD is a celebration that kicks off tulip season in the Netherlands, and it happens in Dam Square on the third January of every year. For those of you familiar with the beauty that is Keukenhof, you understand that tulips are something that deserve a big splash of attention. The Square is filled with about 200,000 tulips that are up for grabs for whoever gets there in time to snag a spot in line before they’re all gone.

We were told about this event from a new friend met here in A’dam (shoutout to you Sonny!) and were so excited to check it out – SO excited that we didn’t think about the thousands of others who had the same plans for their Saturday morning. We thought we could stroll in, pick a tulip, maybe get a cute Insta while pulling the flower up from the crate, and go on our merry way into the day. Boy were we wrong.

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This picture doesn’t even do the crowd justice. This was only half the square and it was cut off from the line of hundreds of people waiting to get in. Shan and I only got to peek in because they offered a platform to watch the smart ones who arrived early posing for pics while picking their tulips. This platform was also uncomfortably crowded and someone was coughing on me while I took this picture #doitfortheblog.

Albert Cuyp Market

Our next stop was one of the places I’ve been the most curious about visiting – Albert Cuypmarkt (Cuyp is pronounced like “cowp” – I messed that up in our video). This market happens to be conveniently located near the Heineken Factory in the neighborhood known as De Pijp.

It’s been one of Amsterdam’s most popular markets since it began in 1904, and has been featured on many travel shows…so yeah, that’s where I got the idea to go. BUT, it was the fresh stroopwafels I saw with the drool-worthy caramel pull (1:21 in the video) that motivated me to get off my butt and venture off to this new place.

Boy am I happy I did…try to keep it in your pants because the following content is straight up food porn:

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Mini mother-effing pancakes with Nutella
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Pre-stroopwafel
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STROOP there it is!

Sweets aren’t the only things Albert Cuyp has to offer – vendors sell everything from fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish and spices to clothes, cosmetics and bedding – all of which I resisted because ya girl’s still unemployed.

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The Heineken Experience

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Next stop was the first Heineken brewery (est. 1864). We’ve received many recommendations from friends and family to go on the tour and learn the perfect pour, so that’s exactly what we did. It began with the history of the creator of Heineken, Gerard Adriaan Heineken, and continued with more about his grandson, Freddy, and other key people who made Heineken as refined and famous as it is today.

2 things that blew my mind about Heineken:

  1. It was one of the first brands to boil beer down to a science. Scientists relied on chemistry to experiment and master the perfect brew, which was revolutionary for its time.
  2. Many of the Heineken men who drove the brand received multiple medals and awards from different countries – not for their beer, but for their service to the world.

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The tour turns from history to good-ole-fashioned fun with interactive toys, games, and samples, of course. It ends with the two beers you get included with your entrance ticket (€16 per person) in a club-style atmosphere and another great view of the city.

Check out some of the other souvenirs we walked away with:

The following video is a bit odd:

What did we do after the Heineken factory? Grabbed a six pack of Heineken, of course. It was just the beginning to our night out in the Red Light District, which I’ll share more about once I can wrap my head around what I witnessed there.

Hope you’re all having a fantastic day and enjoyed reading!

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Fun fact: I once wrote a business plan for an ice cream shoppe named Scoop, There It Is! in my Intro to Management class. It was the coolest theoretical hangout ever out ever & you best believe I got an A.


Have a favorite flower? Ever been to a famous market? What’s the best brewery tour you’ve been on? We’re interested! Comment below to share them with us 🙂

We Had a Supperb Weekend

Peep the video, then read the post…or do it the other way around. Whatever.

We’re covering more and more of the city each day.

It’s been a few days since we’ve done these things so I promise to be better about keeping up with this blog. These pictures below will do a lot of the talking for me, so feel free to skip the sap, scroll through them, and then head onto the next post.

The Rijksmuseum

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Look at this thing! This giant wonderland was founded in 1800 and is rich with art and history – because the two go hand in hand (duh). I was in awe with the size of the museum and its collection, and here I’ll share with you some pieces that caught my eye.

A Few of My Favorijks Things

The main attraction:
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The Night Watch, Rembrandt, 1642

Three fun facts about The Night Watch:

  • The artist – Rembrandt – is a famous Dutch artist and this is his most popular painting.
  • The figures in Rembrandt Square were created in memory of his 400th birthday.
  • It’s the centerpiece of the Rijksmuseum.
The biggest painting in the museum:
Ironically, I don’t know how to get this video to shrink.
Jan Willem Pieneman, The Battle of Waterloo, 1824
A pretty outdoorsy landscape:
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Italian Landscape with Umbrella Pines, Henrik Voogd, 1807
Ugh…I found Herbert (our mouse, who we saw yesterday):
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Mouse with a Candle Stump and a Nut, Joris Hoefnagel, 1594
And here’s the most beautiful thing I saw in the entire museum…my reflection: 😉
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Selfie in a Mirror, Shannon McCormick, 2017

I’m extremely glad we checked this place out first. Through the magnificent storytelling of visuals and guides, I’m beginning to further understand this place we chose to venture off to and the history that made it what it is today.

After seeing the attempts to capture Holland’s beautiful violet skies, it was cool to get a glimpse of the magic that night:
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Every canal is picture-worthy.

Right behind the Rijksmuseum is the ever-so-famous I amsterdam sign. Would we have really gone to Amsterdam if we didn’t take this tourist pic?

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The Irish girl who took this could’ve zoomed in a bit.

Dinner in Style

To round out our productive day, Shan and experienced a lovely, chic wine-and-dine thanks to one of our dearest friends, Frank (@frankroche, not the kitty Frank 🐱) – it’s called Supperclub, where we ate and partied (and looked good) in bed.

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When we first got there, the hostess covered our phone cameras with stickers and warned us not to use our phones at all. There were even characters crawling around with flashlights making sure we were following the rule. Funny enough, we met some really cool people on both sides of our setup and enjoyed the company around us. Europeans are so interesting, hah. We lived large with the cuisine and cocktails, and we enjoyed entertainment that was meticulously bursting with unsaid messages. Our dinner turned into dancing and the night disappeared before we knew it. Thank you Frank!

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Needless to say we spent the next day recovering – until Monday when we went back to the Museum Quarter for more.

Stay tuned to see which museums we hit up next!

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Any suggestions on what Shan and I should do next? We’re interested in your recommendations! While you’re at it, feel free to share some of your own experiences by leaving a comment. 🙂  Subscribe to get notified the next time a post is published!

The Grind Started When We Hit The Ground

Peep the video, then read the post…or do it the other way around. Whatever.

Day 2 started at 2 pm because that’s when we woke up.

We messed up a bit and didn’t set our alarms to adjust to the time change. But like, we were 30 hours deep without sleep so I think we allowed ourselves some catching up.

It’s already getting dark and we haven’t left the apartment. My eager self wants to go back into the sparkling city streets and check out all of the wonderful reasons we chose this city, but my adult self is creating and organizing our social media pages and content while looking for a place to live in February. Here’s what we’ve been told about getting an apartment:

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🙃

The city is so tiny and crowded that even Netherland natives have a hard time finding a place to live, let alone an outsider looking for a 2-month gig. It can take months to find what you’re looking for and have someone give you a chance.

Let’s go back to that concept of “figuring it out” for a minute.

“Figuring it out” is code word for “someone helping us” from now on. Here are our current leads on apartments and other important things we need in order to get settled, thanks to the people looking out for us:

Apartments

We’re included in a group on Facebook that is for buying/selling apartments and rooms for rent, which is a popular way to nail something down. This is a place where you’ve got to know people in order to make it. Friendliness has gone a long way so far.

Our leads:

We’ve messaged one seller so far about a private room near Westerpark and had a friend send along the contact info of a landlord her friend used not too long ago. We’ve got our eyes on other prospects, too!

Side note: The apartment we’re staying in now is conveniently placed by Rembrandt Square but it’s too expensive to continue on with. Also, I saw a fucking mouse scurry across the floor and I’m going to lose my mind and this owner’s future business if it doesn’t get resolved ASAP.

Places to eat

I will definitely be sharing these as we visit them, but here’s the first one we’ve gone to so far:

Cannibale Royale cannibale-royale

It apparently has the best ribs in the city, which is all I needed to know before we went. Google led us to this location, and a message from a friend solidified our it as our choice of a first meal.

We walked into the dimly lit restaurant/bar, sort of like what you’d see at Bar Taco on a Tuesday night. The place was decently packed, the music was bumping, and the menus were barely legible – which is the true mark of a happenin’ hipster joint. The walls were covered with modest cannibal-esque items: vintage weaponry, tribal masks, and other interesting themed decor. Did I mention this is right next to Dampkring, one of the most famous coffee shops in the city?

Our waitress was incredibly friendly and helpful – not to mention beautiful, which is something we’re beginning to notice. Everyone here is so hot! 🔥  We’re hoping assimilation works on physiques (or lack of), too. Which brings us to the next thing…

A reliable bike shop

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It welcomes repairs for up to two months after purchase, and we’re going there tomorrow. 🚲  We’re coming for you, Bike is Ready!

And more!

This is only Day 2 and I think we’re doing a LOT better than we were before. In between “figuring it out” and actually trying to settle, we’ve been enjoying the true beauty this city has to offer. We already feel like we’re home. It’s so easy to walk around here like you belong while exploring the squares and trying new things.

Here’s a pic of Shan in the middle of the memoriam at Rembrandtplein aka Rembrandt Square:

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When we have some stories of our daytime adventures, we’ll be sure to post ’em here. Stay tuned for more!

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