Amsterdam …. Another city ticked…..

Hey everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well.

I am just getting back on track after a busy April. In one week I went to see Nathan Carter play the 3Arena on the Saturday night, party until 5 in the morning. Helped my friend pack up her house for moving on Sunday. Back to the 3 Arena on Monday for Olly Murs and then flew to Amsterdam for 3 days at 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning.

But that is pretty much how I lead my life, I am always on the go and making memories.

When making travel plans I love to read travel blogs on different places so I thought I should write blog posts on the cities I have been to. I have ticked most of the European cities off by now except for the usual suspects Paris and Rome. I have been to neither and with the way Paris is at the minute it’s moving further down the bucket list.

Amsterdam was one city that was high up on the list. I had heard so much about it I just wanted to see it for myself. 2 weeks ago I finally took the plunge and we jetted off.

We booked our flights with Ryanair about 2 weeks before going and they were only €55 return. We decided to go for 2 nights and 3 days so we fly out early morning and back late in the evening.

We arrived at the airport early in the morning and got the train to Amsterdam Central Station. We weren’t quite sure which train or Metro to get but we just asked at the desk and the lady gave us all the information we needed. The train ticket was €5.70. When we got to Amsterdam Central we got the Metro to the hotel which was only 2 stops away. We purchased a 3 day ticket for €17 so we had unlimited travel on the Metro for that.

When booking the hotel, I did so through Booking.com and used Tripadvisor to make sure I was making a good choice. No matter where I book I will check with Tripadvisor first. I read about 5 bad reviews and 5 good reviews and make a choice. It is hasn’t let me down yet.

I booked Hotel Allure. The hotel is really well located and only 2 minute walk from the Metro Station Wesserplein. It is also about a 10 minute walk to Dam Square and The Heineken Museum. It was clean and fresh, perfect for our stay. Don’t be put of by the outside facade, it could do with a lick of paint but other than that it was perfect. It is located in the quieter part of town but like I said it is only 5 minutes by Metro to Central Amsterdam.

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When we arrived we planned out things we wanted to do. The usual tourist suspects.

First up for us was The Amsterdam Dungeons. I had been to The London Dungeons a few years ago and still rave about them (if you are ever in London they are a MUST) so I was dying to go to these. If like me you have been to the London ones, I would proceed with caution. I was very disappointed with the Amsterdam Dungeons. I just felt they didn’t tell the stories as well, the theatrics weren’t as good even the staging was lacking something by comparison. The finale left me thinking “Is that it?”, I was just expecting so much more. However my sister who hasn’t been to the London ones, went to Amsterdam in November and thought they were really good.

The Heineken Experience, this wasn’t high on my list as I’m not a beer drinker but you know when in Rome kinda thing. I was pleasantly surprised by this, it wasn’t the museum experience I was expecting. You literally talk a walk through the Heineken life cycle from production to bottling to promoting. There is lots of cool interactive features that are free to use and of course a little sampling for the journey. The tour itself was €16 and we bought our tickets at one of the many Tours and Tickets shops located around the city.

One thing to note in Amsterdam is the bikes. They are everywhere to the point that you are probably more likely to get knocked down by a bike than you are a car or tram. You can hire bikes out at most hotels and from several spots throughout the city.

 

Dam Square, possibly my favourite place of the whole trip. Yes it was overrun with tourists clamouring to get their picture on the IAMSTERDAM sign but the place is just beautiful. The sun was shining, the tulips and ducks on the water.  It was so peaceful despite the hustle and bustle.

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We spent the day strolling through Vondel Park and all the little city streets. Amsterdam is a city that you want to stop and take pictures every 2 minutes and if like me you have an appreciation for Architecture you can double that. Sometimes you feel like you are strolling through a little dolls village. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been too.

 

In Amsterdam there is plenty of canal tours that you can take. We booked the Lover Cruise. It was grand, passed a few hours on our final day, saved us walking and we got to see some parts we probably wouldn’t have seen had we been walking. The tour guide also gives you some interesting facts on the city. If you have a few hours it is worth taking just don’t expect fireworks.

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We couldn’t take a trip to Amsterdam and not visit the infamous Red Light district. We were surprised at how close it was to the center but you would stroll by the edges and not realise you were as close to it as you were. I described it as a quote from Disney’s the Lion King “That shady place over there we don’t go there”. Strangely there appears to be a “shadow” over it which is simple down to architecture and the streets being narrower. It is everything you expect, as a girl it’s a little unsettling and you do feel a little uncomfortable when you spy a girl in the window. But again when in Amsterdam and I can say I have seen it.

My one disappointment with my visit to Amsterdam was Anne Franks House. Tickets for the house are booked out months in advance so as we only booked 2 weeks before flying it was completely sold out. I would definitely go back in a few years even just to visit this.

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Three days was absolutely plenty of time to see the city. We felt like we saw pretty much everything we wanted to see. It is a beautiful city, however I wouldn’t be rushing back. I feel like I have seen pretty much all there was to see. I have heard people who return every year and for that I just can’t see the attraction. It’s too small a city to keep me returning that frequently but still worth a visit.

Lots of Love

Laura

xx

 

2017 – It’s the significant one!

Hello everyone,

Happy 2017!

The year that I have been dreading for the last 2 years!! This year I have a significant birthday. The next one after 21, you know that one! I’m still not comfortable with actually saying it or even writing it down!

Why am I am dreading it? I’m dreading it because I had always thought in my head that I would have my s**t together well before I reached that significant milestone. I thought I would be in a job I love (I have that box ticked to be fair), earning a fortune (Boss, we should talk :P) have met the man of my dreams, built the house of my dreams bla bla bla! All those stereotypical grown ups stuff!

What I hadn’t factored in was that I would all but complete a degree in Interior Architecture and then decide I actually want to go down the PR and Marketing route adding a further 3 years to my college life which delayed my departure into the real world. This also delayed my earning power which in my head seemed like it would be way more 😛 , I hadn’t factored in that the man of my dreams could very well be intent on staying in my dreams, hasn’t shown up yet or maybe I know him but I just don’t know it yet! And the house of my dreams well, I do plan to put those 3 years of Interior Architecture to use but I just haven’t got to it yet.

When I mention that this year is a little significant the main response I get from older people is “you are still only a baby” , “you are so young” , “your whole life is ahead of you” which may well be true but in my head all I keep thinking is what have I accomplished or achieved! Nothing! I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be when I turned that age!

But why? Because I had not ticked off all those boxes by the time I approach this milestone. I had wasted my twenties having fun, laughing and enjoying my independence! Something I hadn’t done in my teenage years the way my friends had and maybe they were a few steps ahead of me on the boxes ticked sheet but that’s ok isn’t it? I have grown up in the last 5 years more than I have in the rest of my oh so very short life. I took spontaneous trips to random cities, I did things without thinking I just did them, I have been to see most of my favourite music artists in concert, I have attended gigs in 28 of the 32 counties on this little island! I made mistakes, I learned, I started drinking (very late twenties I might add, when the peer pressure had pretty much stopped I decided I would jump on that band wagon lol, yes I have a stubborn streak :P)

I have a  family I adore more than life, friends who mean everything to me, I job I love, I’m happy and healthy so to quote a song ” I have a life that’s good!” I shouldn’t have a worry in the world!

So do you know what 2017 come at me, my life was not meant to have been lived by the time I turn 30! There I said it :O I may not have all the boxes anywhere near ticked but what I did do in my twenties is laugh and enjoy it and I’m not done yet!

Lots of Love

Laura Xxx

live-your-life-and-forget-your-age

 

Malta <3

Hello lovelies,

I am having a much needed night in with my Nurofen after a hectic few weeks, a party weekend away with friends, moving house and a holiday in Malta. I was on the go all the time, so it is sooo nice to just be at home 🙂 I am a total home bird and there is nothing nicer than coming in the door to home, the place I grew up, my own bed and my family ❤ Anyways enough of that for now I am here to tell you about Malta.

My cousin and former housemate 😦 emailed me at work few weeks ago with a link to gohop.ie for a really great deal 5 nights in Malta for €166. In a total impulse decision we booked it in less than half an hour, she had sent it to me kind of joking but we totally would be mad not to go for that money. I love to visit new places and see the world and I am not even near as travelled as I would like to be.

So 2 weeks later there is 4 of us sitting in the airport heading for Malta. 🙂 We landed quite late at night it was midnight when we got out to get a taxi, our hotel was the other side of the island but a taxi was only €35 between 4 of us so cheap. Our hotel was the Riviera Resort Hotel and Spa. It was a lovely hotel, clean, well kept, very comfortable hotel, it’s only downside I would say is that it is a little away from the main places but the island is so small & public transport is so cheap, you can get the bus just outside for €1.50 per day unlimited use, just hold on to your ticket.

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Our first day we went to the capital city of Valetta, this is a lovely city with a very Mediterranean feel, in comparison to the rest of the island Valetta is quite a posh city, lots of shops and little streets to stroll around, view the palace, the museums etc. Now it took us a good hour on the bus to get to Valetta from our hotel so when we arrived we went for a lovely lunch in a little café down a side street. We then strolled around the shops and took in all the sights before heading back to the hotel.

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We were advised that the nightlife in Malta all happened in St.Julians so we decided to head there for dinner and drinks most nights. The majority of the holiday we spent it eating and drinking mixed with a lot of relaxing lol. St.Julians was definitely the liveliest of the all the cities, again we were there in the off season so the place was still quite quiet, but we enjoyed lovely meals in Dolce Vita , Parapette and drank in 2 Irish bars “The Dubliner” and “Cork’s”. Isn’t it mad that in a tiny city in a tiny country there was 3 Irish bars that we seen, our little country is a much loved nation 🙂 or at least we have a good recreational reputation 🙂 lol. It is very cheap to eat out in Malta, with the most we spent on a 3 course dinner with wine being €25 each. Drinks again are very cheap a vodka and orange being €2.50 :O 🙂

The highlight of the trip for me was Silema, a seaside city on the east coast of the Island, it was beautiful, although the weather was quite good there it helped (the weather every other day had been quite windy and cold) The scenery along the docks was beautiful, and it was just a very peaceful place to be.

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Malta is a beautiful little country and I would definitely advise a visit once in your lifetime, but I would advise to go in the summer months, it is a country very much dependant on tourism and much of the attractions shut down for the winter reopening in April. Also I would advise staying in one of the towns, transport is quite cheap but it can be a pain getting a twenty minute taxi drive after a night out and you just want bed. The weather also wasn’t on our side but we still enjoyed the trip, came back very relaxed and rested and in 5 days we did see pretty much the whole of the island.

So that was Malta in a nutshell, hope you liked it,

Lots of Love

Laura xx