Amsterdam, Netherlands

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First arriving in Amsterdam and walking around our neighborhood.
Amsterdam was one of the favorite places that we traveled! WE LOVED IT! It is one of the only cities in the world that I can actually picture myself living in. There are over 1 million bicycles in Amsterdam and the #1 method of transportation.. The island would not function with cars driving its narrow streets so we immediately rented bikes to transport us around. We were fortunate enough to have a beautiful apartment lent to us a from a friend we met traveling in Cambodia last year. Amsterdam is also known as the "Venice of the North" because of all of the canals. I was amazed to see the number of party boats going buy with raucous parties going on and pirate flags. Such a neat culture!!! I would go back in a heartbeat. Here are some highlights:
Here is our bright, sunny, central apartment. So nice after staying in hotels for over a week... Got to do some laundry and actually cook at home!
Hehe I think James looks like a dinosaur here. So cute. They have freshly squeezed orange juice via an automated juicing machine EVERYWHERE in Europe! Even Starbucks serves freshly squeezed orange juice which must be because of the abundance of orange trees lining the streets. Delicious!
I was craving za when we first arrived *shocker* so we hit up a great little pizzeria and James got his usual- HAWAIIAN! He ALWAYS gets Hawaiian which I used to loathe; fruit doesn't belong on pizza is what I used to say.. It has really grown on my although I am not 100% converted. I still crave mushrooms and salty pepperoni so pineapple, pepperoni and mushroom is my new fav!
Not the best pizza we experienced but pretty damn good.. Here is a quatro fromaggio (quad cheese) with extra mushrooms for me :D
We felt a bit deprived of veggies since most meals consist of meat, cheese and bread so we tried to sneak the greens in when we could.
Cannabis is legal in Amsterdam and sold in "Coffeeshops" that don't sell liquor or coffee for that matter ;)
Here's a menu you don't see very often! Had to snap a pic ;)
Mmmmm macchiatto.. With the staple cookie on the side! This was at the great cafe across the street from our apartment
Tulips are very famous in Amsterdam and we were lucky enough to travel while they were blooming! Fields and fields of tulips! So beautiful
This simple mint tea was very popular there.. What a great idea! We ALWAYS have loads of leftover mint in our garden. Now we know what to do with it besides mojito's.. Add hot water and voila!
We cooked a lot of meals and it felt great after days of restaurant food (okay maybe to James.. I can eat out every meal hehe)... We could not BELIEVE how cheap the groceries were!!! 4 bottles of wine, one six pack of beer, and food for 3 days was $20 !!?!?!?! This really affected the rest of our trip- we tried to picnic and eat in a park when we could instead of eating at restaurants which we initially thought were reasonable.
Oh and did I mention wine is cheaper than water ? Boo ya!
Loads of bikes
I LOVED the food in Amsterdam. This is a "salmon sandwich" which worked great for me because I am not a huge fan of bread. This had a thick slice of rye, rocket salad (arugula), salmon, red onion, dill creme fresh, pine nuts and a pesto... Yep I am still dreaming about this one...
I loved these funky houseboats that lined the canals. They are literally a floating house that are quite Ikea-esque when you peek inside and have wicked rooftop patios and balcony gardens. I think I would want to live in one of these!!
Huge wheels of CHEESE in this shop window!
Legally drinking brewskis in the Red Light District.. Gotta love it!
OMG... One of the best meals ever from "Chocolate Bar"... This was a roasted vegetable and hummus "sandwich" which roasted eggplant, peppers and sundried tomatoes with a really good quality, thick balsamic vinegar... I am going to recreate this at home!
Here is our beautiful friend Maartje who lent us her apartment! She is an orthopedic surgeon in Amsterdam and someone I have so much respect for... A gorgeous young woman with such passion and drive! Not to mention generosity... It really made us feel like a local since we were "living" in Amsterdam.
The Heineken brewery is located in Amsterdam so we took a browse around
These delectable little morsels are Dutch meatballs! They actually have a creamy mashed potato inside with chunks of bacon. REALLY good and paired with yellow mustard :D
This ain't no Ihop pancake! Of course we had to indulge in a Dutch pancake while we were there.. WOW! I can see why they are so famous... REALLY yummy and I am not a huge fan of pancakes.. More like a crepe really but more flavorful. I chose chocolate with whipped cream... BEFORE...
AFTER! NOM NOM NOM
We took a really great evening canal cruise that turned out being really interesting and informative... I could not believe all the canal parties floating by! I wanted to be on one or kidnap all my friends to join.. It was especially neat peaking in the funky houseboats
Skinnyyyy houses! Taxes are charged based on the width of the homes so they are built super narrow. So narrow that the staircases inside are too steep to bring furniture up so they have hooks on the peaks of the buildings to pulley their furniture up!
Thank you for enchanting me Amsterdam.. I will be back!!!

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