Fun fact: Did you know that Amsterdam is a city in the region of Holland in the country of the Netherlands whose people are Dutch?
We didn’t! Anyways, after the windmill town we headed to Amsterdam. This is the station – a famous building in itself.
We had no concrete plans so we just wandered around the city.
Continue reading “amsterdam, netherlands”
Ditta and I decided to take a mini-trip to another country while she was here. We chose Amsterdam since it was the cheapest in such sort notice. I had also wanted to see the Tulip festival.
Since it was last minute plus the Easter holiday, accommodations were pretty pricey so we ended up in a spare room Airbnb in Wormerveer (about 20 mins from Amsterdam). Our hosts were a well traveled young married couple who rented out their room to meet new people. Marcel, the husband, picked us up from the train station, gave us tips to save money on transportation, and even cooked us breakfast one of the days. As nice as they were, I think I’ll stick to whole apartment Airbnb’s going forward. My days of couchsurfing seem to be behind me.
Unfortunately, I ‘m still not quite used to taking pictures of things so didn’t take a lot here. It was a cute little town with a main canal running through it, but reinforced that I need to live in a city. We tried to find water and dinner the first night and everything was closed by 9. We ended up eating at a Dominoes for the first dinner.
The second night we ate at Patmos, a ‘grieks’ restaurant Marcel suggested. We sat down and picked up the menu and realized that it was all in Dutch! Pretty much pointed to a random line and got lucky. It was good, but the portions were way too big for either of us to finish.
All in all, it was good to see a different side of Holland by staying here, but a bit too quiet.
houseboats are everywhere in NL
not sure what this is but focal point of town
John wanted to show her around his neighborhood on day 4 so we headed over to Brixton after work.
He took us around the places he showed me when I first arrived: Brixton Village, Bowie Wall, etc.
We had dinner in Pop Brixton at Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. I had been itching to try African cuisine and I’m glad I tried it. Had the delicious jollof fried chicken with the hot pepper mayo. John and Ditta got the stews and they were much spicier than I though they would be. It was all good, though probably not one of those meals I would have a craving for later. Washed it down with some palm wine, which kind of taste like kombucha.
It was great to get together with old LA office buddies.
I had work during the week so we met up after and wandered around London some more. The nights were kind of a blur since we explored all the nearby neighborhoods.
We hit up sights in Chinatown, Soho, and Trafalgar Square. While walking around, we even found where Ben Franklin used to live and Ditta showed me this super cute hidden gem she learned about online – Neal’s Yard.
Day 2: Took her to the rooftop of my office in South Bank. We ended up having dinner there – cheap but yummy pizzas and cider.
Day 3: Had dinner at the Admiralty at Trafalgar Square for some traditional British pies and ale.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I led us astray a bunch so ended up walking miles each day. We kept joking that we would be super fit after her visit instead of putting on vacation weight.
I’m hosting my first visitor – the lovely Ditta.
She is hopping around Europe for the next 2 weeks with my apartment as home base. Thanks to John for lending the air mattress and Anne for the extra comforter. 🙂
I picked her up from the Heathrow on Sunday, dropped off her bag at my place, and straight away began the tour!
We walked along Bank Side to the London Eye, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral.
She saw online that the Coppa Club had outdoor igloos so she made a reservation for dinner there that night. We typed in Coppa Club to Citymapper and made our way there. Of course, we ended up at the wrong one near St. Paul’s. I wish I could say this is the only time that happened during her stay, but we ended up walking 10 miles a day while she was here due in part to my horrible sense of direction.
We ended up in the right place finally and had a couple appetizers and drinks. I wouldn’t say the food was all that great, but it wins for ambiance and view.
After we walked by Tower Bridge and the Tower of London and made our way back. She had counted Sunday as a travel day, but we ended seeing everything she wanted to see in the city in those few hours!
This weekend has the best weather I’ve experience since moving here. I was just planning on hanging at home on Saturday but I ended up going to Anne’s neighborhood of Herne Hill. She was kindly lending me a comforter for an upcoming friends visit. It was such good weather we ended up exploring her part of town. Gotta say it I like the area!
We walked around Brockwell Park, which was just what I needed. Big, green open spaces on a sunny day does wonders for my psyche. I really took for granted the blue, sunny skies of LA.
After strolling through some of the gardens, we then ate at the cafe at the Brockwell Lido’s – which I found out means swimming pool. Ordered a carrot cake and beet/apple juice. I don’t love beets but I had to get it since it reminded me of the daily beet smoothies my mom made our family at home.
With cute attached houses and a huge park, Herne Hill is also conveniently located next to the bustling Brixton. It’s an area I wouldn’t rule out living in – quiet, but close to the action. And, it’s only 20 minutes from work.
We ended up eating dinner at Pop Brixton, where I again ordered Koi Ramen. It was super crowded since everyone was out with the nice weather, but we found a spot upstairs.
Ended the day with a cider at The Regent Prince – a local pub that I would totally go to again. Busy, but with enough space to sit down and have a conversation.
All the trees were in bloom
Walking around with a frappecino
beet juice and carrot cake at the lido
herne hill homes
herne hill local pub
On Saturday, my old parking buddy/ co-worker, John took me to explore his neighborhood – Brixton.
Brixton has a super cool vibe, very Berkeley-esque. There are tons of street markets and vendors of ethnic wares.
We walked around Brixton village and had coffee at his favorite place – Federation Coffee. Ordered an americano… It tasted a bit too strong for me.
Lunch was in Pop Brixton – a collection of old shipping containers turned into restaurants, clothing stores, and various trinket vendors. I ordered from a stall called Koi Ramen. It was actually good! Best ramen so far here.
The highlight was actually the local Tesco. It carried food from all over the world. Aisles of food from Asia, Africa, etc. I was so jealous.
We also did a quick stop by Clapham Common, a nice centralized area that has a large park, chain stores, restaurants, and one of the most accessible transport hubs in London.
After, we went to Soho because he had to some errands to run and stopped by TY Cafe, one of his favorite work-on-the-weekend spaces. I ordered a peach lemonade and it was refreshing after all that walking. It was a cute place to meet up and have a conversation, but I probably too far and pricey to be a regular haunt for me.
We ended up near-ish to Chinatown, so stopped by and loaded up on a bunch of groceries.
Brixton village (John with the red shoes)
Koi Pork Tongkatsu Ramen
Most of my weekend adventures so far have been outside of London, so it was nice to explore one of the local neighborhoods.