A Weekend In: Amsterdam - Day 1

I’m Back! After a long, and unexpected, break I’m back with more content for you! Hopefully this won’t happen again as summer is here and that means more time for more adventures. Lets get on with it shall we?

Earlier this week I returned from a weekend break to Amsterdam with Emily. Our break started on the Friday (16th June) and ended the following Monday (19th June) and we had such a good time. This post and the following 3 will fill you in on everything we got up to.

Our day started early (and I mean EARLY) at around 2:30am, after just a few hours of sleep. We needed to be on the road to Liverpool Airport by 3am as our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:05am, which it did. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, breezed through security and got ourselves a coffee whilst we waited for our gate to be announced. After a less than desirable flight, due to disrespectful passengers, we arrived at Amsterdam Shipol Airport at around 8:30 local time. Once out of the airport our time in Holland started rather poorly, we got slightly lost making our way to our hotel, but not too badly as there was a direct tram from Amsterdam Central Station to our hotel, The Student Hotel West.

De School - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

De School - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

Our room wasn’t ready for us when we arrived at the hotel but that was expected as by this time it was barely 10am, but felt much later in the day, so we left our bags in the luggage storage, freshened up, and headed out to grab a coffee. We found a lovely cafe called De School not too far from the hotel, perfect for killing some time. We spent about an hour in the cafe, sipping away at our White Label coffee’s and discussing our afternoon plans, which included a wedding! Yes, we attended a dutch wedding! What a way to start a holiday! Anne and Friso, our crew from the sailing trip last year, got married the day we arrived in Amsterdam. It’s a funny story so I’ll keep it short. Earlier on in the week I messaged Anne to arrange to meet up for lunch while we were close by and got a surprise, last minute invite to their wedding. How Cool Is that?

Stare - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

Stare - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

Anyway, back to De School. The cafe is located in a disused part of a school, hence the name, and serves up amazing coffee from local roasters called White Label Coffee. As usual when we’re sat around Emily had a play with my camera, taking my pictures as I instructed her on what to do (see above), and I must say she is getting really good! I might have to set her up with her own blog some day. As the wedding neared we headed back to the hotel to get changed from travel clothes to our smart clothes. We got an Uber at around 2 pm which took us around 40minutes out to the middle-of-nowhere Holland, surprisingly the journey only cost us €45 (around £39).

Farm Life - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

Farm Life - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

The wedding was held at a lovely venue called Molen De Breek, just outside Oosthuizen. We were rather concern when we arrived because if we were in the wrong place we had no idea how we would get to the right place. Luckily we weren't wrong and when we arrived we asked around for Anne and Friso’s brothers to introduce ourselves. Prior to the ceremony we had coffee and biscuits while we waited for the bride and groom to arrived, which they did by horse and carriage. The ceremony started at around 15:30 and was completely in Dutch (obviously), so we just sat and listened, laughing when others did, and looking happy to be there (which we were).

Molen De Breek - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

Molen De Breek - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

After the ceremony there was the obligatory pictures before the Champagne toast and coffee and cake. The Afternoon reception started at around 5pm with the bar opening to serve beer and wine and the BBQ buffet being served shortly after. While we waited for the BBQ Emily and I took a wander around the venue, checked out the windmill and took some pictures. After the BBQ Buffet, which was amazing, the evening “party” started. Friends and family who couldn’t attend the ceremony started to arrive and the speeches started. Fathers went first, then Mothers, then Brothers, songs were sang (including an out-there rendition of I’m In Love With The Coco), gifts were given and good times were had. Emily and I managed to hitch a ride with someone of Anne’s friends who live past Amsterdam and kindly offered us a lift back to the hotel. We met lots of really lovely people at the wedding and are so grateful we were invited.

Selfie - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

Selfie - Amsterdam, Holland 16/06/2017

We arrived back to The Student Hotel after midnight finally checking into our room, and got straight into bed after almost 24hours since leaving the house that morning.

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Have you ever been to a foreign wedding? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

A Week In New York City - Day 7

Well here it is, the final instalment of my New York series. If you have missed any of the previous posts then please look back at Day 1, Day 2, Days 3&4, Day 5 and Day 6 before reading on. Lets begin.

Mad Hatters - New York, USA 18/02/2017

Mad Hatters - New York, USA 18/02/2017

Day 7 was only really a half day in the city due to us flying home in the evening but we made the most of what we could. Unlike the rest of the week the weather was glorious, lovely and warm, and not a cloud in the sky. Myself and Emily made another visit to Central park to see the Alice In Wonderland statue that we had missed first time round. It wasn’t actually that far from the Bethesda Terrace so we knew exactly where to go. We hung around for a while snapping pictures and enjoying the sun. We also had a look at the Hans Christian Andersen statue which the ugly duckling by his side and the story engraved into the bronze book.

Alice - New York, USA 18/02/2017

Alice - New York, USA 18/02/2017

From the statues we made our way over to 5th Avenue for a stroll back towards times square, we meandered along the walkways of the park and through the zoo before returning back to the hustle and bustle of the city. Along 5th Avenue we strolled diving in and out of shops as we walk. There was nothing else we needed to do that day so it was more about killing time and spending though last moments in the city before heading off to the airport.

The Ugly Duckling - New York, USA 18/02/2017

The Ugly Duckling - New York, USA 18/02/2017

The only pictures I took that day were in Central Park, but to be honest I just wanted to take the city in one last time before we had to head home. We met with Emily’s family in Times Square for one last experience, people watching, a quick shopping spree and a sit down in the sun before it was time to leave. Back to the hotel we go via a classic American diner on West 57th Street, not to eat, just to see. Back at the hotel we collect our bags, change into our flight clothes and jump in the car to the airport, savouring every last sight of the city as we go.

Duckling - New York, USA 18/02/2017

Duckling - New York, USA 18/02/2017

Nothing exciting happened at the airport other than me needing my cast swabbing and scanning due to the screw holding my Scaphoid together. Airports are usually a pretty dead place, one big waiting room with not an awful lot to do other than eat and shop. We found a table to dump our carry on bags before getting something, terribly overpriced, to eat and snacks for the flight then waited patiently for our departure. There isn't much else to say about today really, other than the flight was long and uncomfortable.

All Smiles - New York, USA 18/02/2017

All Smiles - New York, USA 18/02/2017

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What do you do in airports to pass the time? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

A Week In New York City - Day 6

Welcome to the 5th instalment of this mini series. If you have missed any of the previous instalments then check out days 1, 2, 3 & 4, and 5 before continuing. If you are up to speed then carry on as normal.

Day 6 in New York City was another free day for us, so we split up. Myself and Emily had a few places we wanted to go back to and Will, Tony and Louise had their own plan for the day. Myself and Emily started out by heading back to Grand Central Terminal for a few extra pictures and another nosey round. We didn’t hang around too long before making our way over towards Hell’s Kitchen and B&H. B&H is a large camera shop and as a photography I naturally wanted to check it out, I was thoroughly impressed by the variety of stock they had and all the live displays you could play with. Sadly I didn’t need anything so didn’t buy anything, I didn’t want to buy for buyings sake, but maybe next time I visit there will be something I need.

Take A Break - New York, USA 17/02/2017

Take A Break - New York, USA 17/02/2017

From B&H we wanted to return to Chelsea Markets for some lunch, Emily chose and we have savoury crepes from Bar Suzette Crêperie. We both chose the Pesto Chicken and it was delicious! The crêpes were that big we didn’t have any space for a sweet one as well, oops. After another nosey round Chelsea Markets we took a stroll over to Union Square, where we stumbled upon a farmers market. Emily grabbed some snack from a bakery stall to take with us for the rest of the day. Emily had read that there was an Australian chocolate cafe nearby called Max Brenner, me and Emily went rather frequently whilst we lived in Australia so thought it fit to swing by. It was exactly how we remembered and we were so glad we went.

Empire State - New York, USA 17/02/2017

Empire State - New York, USA 17/02/2017

As we were only around the corner from the Flatiron we made a quick, passing, visit just to see it again. The same happened with the Empire State Building as we walked up 5th avenue back towards the hotel. By this point we had been out all afternoon, wandering around Manhattan rather aimlessly. Our main activity of the day was only planned for 7:30pm and that was to visit the Top Of The Rock at the Rockefeller Centre. Before we got back to the hotel Emily and myself had a drinks stop at a rooftop bar called 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, Emily had a cocktail and I had a Bud Light (never again) as we admired the Empire State Building as the sun started to set (first picture).

I Spy - New York, USA 17/02/2017

I Spy - New York, USA 17/02/2017

We regrouped with Emily’s family back at the hotel before swiftly heading back out to the Top Of The Rock. We had been told to do this at night so we could see the Empire State Building lit up. I actually prefer the view from the Top Of The Rock because you get the view of the ESB as well as Central Park, which is beautiful when lit up at night. Although not as high as the ESB it was still rather chilly when at the top, but luckily there were glass screens to hide behind. We spent a good few hours up there admiring the view before heading back down and to our hotel for our final night in NYC.

Looking Lower - New York, USA 17/02/2017

Looking Lower - New York, USA 17/02/2017

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If you have been. Which do you prefer, Empire State or Top Of The Rock? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

A Week In New York City - Day 5

Hello Again! Before I start talking about our 5th day in New York City be sure to check out days 1, 2, 3 and 4. Now let’s begin!

Day 5 was all about filling some gaps from previous days, which meant heading back down to Brooklyn to walk the bridge and to the bottom of mid town for the Flatiron building. We set off early again to make our way down to Brooklyn via the subway and got off at the High Street station by Cadman Plaza Park. A very kind gentleman directed us to the bridge, as even though we were pretty much underneath it we couldn’t figure out which way to walk from the station.

Only The Start - New York, USA 16/02/2017

Only The Start - New York, USA 16/02/2017

Once on the bridge is was a straight forward walk to the other side, with lots of photo stops along the way. The bridge is just amazing to look at and one of those places where everything make an interesting photo and tells a story without any words, it was also extremely busy with masses of other people doing exactly the same as us. I actually held back from Emily and her family and took my time getting the pictures I wanted, next time I visit I’ll be taking a tripod with me to get some log exposure shots of people going about their business which should look cool.

Brooklyn Bridge - New York, USA 16/02/2017

Brooklyn Bridge - New York, USA 16/02/2017

Once over the bridge we hopped back onto the subway towards Union Square and the Flatiron Building. Upon arriving at Union Square we headed straight towards the Flatiron Building, stopping to nosey in a few shops along the way and a lunch stop in Chipotlé. The Flatiron is another iconic New York landmark that you just have to visit and one of those pictures you just have to re-create for yourself, which is exactly what I did. After everyone had got the pictures they wanted it was time for coffee, and conveniently we found another Le Pain Quotidien cafe to rest for a short while.

Flatiron - New York, USA 16/02/2017

Flatiron - New York, USA 16/02/2017

After we had ticked the 2 landmarks off our list we meandered our way up Broadway back towards Times Square and the hotel. By this point it was getting towards evening and we all needed to rest our feet, so back to the hotel we went for a lie down. Tea was at the Hard Rock Cafe tonight and went down a treat after such a taxing day on our bodies. Back to the hotel again to call it a night and settle into our food comas.

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Which would you rather see, the Brooklyn Bridge or the Flat Iron? Let me know your reasoning in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

A Week In New York City - Days 3&4

Welcome back to my A Week In New York City series, if you have missed days 1 & 2 then you can see them HERE and HERE. If you are up to date then read on and see what we did on days 3 & 4. Before I start though I’ll let you know I have grouped these 2 days together because day 4 was a bit of a down day for us and I didn’t take my camera out with me. Anyway, here we go!

Lady Liberty - New York, USA 14/02/2017

Lady Liberty - New York, USA 14/02/2017

Day 3 was all about Lower Manhattan, which includes the Statue Of Liberty, Staten Island, Wall Street, Chelsea Markets, the High Line, and so much more. We started our day off with breakfast and Fresh and Co just by our hotel before jumping on the subway down to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The Staten Island Ferry is a free ferry to, you guessed it, Staten Island but passes right by the Statue Of Liberty, meaning you get a great view of Lady Liberty on both legs of the journey without having to pay a penny! We opted to have a wander round Staten Island to see the 911 Memorial they have there before getting the ferry back.

Wilted Rose - New York, USA 14/02/2017

Wilted Rose - New York, USA 14/02/2017

The 9/11 Memorial is supposed to look like the twisted metal structure of the twin towers and has all the names of Staten Island residents who sadly passed that day, each on a separate plaque shaped like the side profile of their face. Some plaques had roses tucked into them, like you see above. The view through the memorial was stunning, a perfect shot of Lower Manhattan right though the centre which made a great picture.

Charging Bull - New York, USA 14/02/2017

Charging Bull - New York, USA 14/02/2017

After returning from Staten Island we proceeded to walk up to Wall Street and the famous Charging Bull statue, but not without a coffee stop first. When we arrived at the bull it was surrounded with people all trying to get a picture with either its head or its ‘tail’. Emily and her family got their pictures and I hung back for a minute to get my own, which proved rather difficult with the amount of people around but I managed. From the bull we strolled down Wall Street and passed the American Stock Exchange as we made our way over to the One World Trade Centre and the 9/11 Memorial Fountains.

White Rose - New York, USA 14/02/2017

White Rose - New York, USA 14/02/2017

The 9/11 Memorial Fountains are beautiful and rest in place of the former Twin Towers. Each fountains has the names of those who passed cut out of the continuous plaque that surrounds the fountain. Lots of the names had a white rose stood in them which is placed there on the persons birthday, either by or on behalf of the family. We stood and payed our respects for a short while before moving on to our next location.

Snap Happy - New York, USA 14/02/2017

Snap Happy - New York, USA 14/02/2017

We walked up Hudson Street, through Tribeca to The Little Owl Cafe but sadly it was closed which meant we had to fid somewhere else for lunch. Luckily, just around the corner, we found Le Pain Quotidien and had a beautiful lunch before carrying on our mission to the High Line. The High Line is an old railway line that has been repurposed into a walkway and garden filled with sculptures and art for it’s entire length. We walked for a short while before coming off to have a look around the Chelsea Markets, which is filled with eateries and trinket stalls to suit everyones taste. After a quick nosey round we continued along the High Line, through the meat packing district until we reached Hell’s Kitchen. After our stroll along the High Line we headed back towards Times Square for tea before calling it a night.

10th Ave. - New York, USA 14/02/2017

10th Ave. - New York, USA 14/02/2017

Day 4 was a bit of a down day for us all. After 3 busy days we just wanted an easy day with no real plan.The only thing we had to do that day was the Brooklyn Nets basketball game we had tickets for in the evening. We started the day a little later than usual and spent the morning doing a bit of shopping. After a spot of shopping we started to make our way towards Brooklyn. There were a couple of bagel shops we wanted to try in the East Village so that was our next stop. We tried Black Seed Bagel and Tompkins Square Bagel and both were amazing! After stuffing ourselves with bagels we made our final journey down to Brooklyn for the game. If you haven’t been to a basketball game then I highly recommend you do, they are so fast paced and the atmosphere in the arena is incredible, making it hard not to get excited and involved in the game. The Nets ended up losing 129-125 to the Milwaukee Bucks, that didn’t dampen our spirits though. By the time the game had finished it was past 10pm and we were all ready for bed. The subway station at the Barclays Centre was PACKED and took us a while to actually get on a train. Once back at the hotel we all collapsed into bed, eager for rest before the following day.

To see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

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Have you ever been to a basketball game? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob