I haven’t done a tag in such a long time (sorry to anyone who’s nominated me, I don’t often have time to do them and keep losing track, but thank you anyway!) but I saw Bethany did the Shuffle Song Tag on her blog, and I was interested to see how my music taste has changed since the last time I did a tag like this.
So the rules are to press the shuffle button on whatever platform you use to listen to music and reveal the first ten songs that come up.
Here are mine:
London – Paris Youth Foundation
Paradise – George Ezra
Hard Times – Paramore
Tiger Teeth – Walk The Moon
Lost in Paris – Tom Misch, GoldLink
Wild Love – James Bay
Mercy – Madame Monsieur
Hell – Eliza and the Bear
Falling – HAIM
Hunger – Florence + The Machine
I feel like my music taste has definitely broadened in the last two years! I still listen to some of the same artists like Walk The Moon and James Bay which will always be amongst my favourites, but I’ve started listening to smaller artists too. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my music taste and if you’d like to do this tag too, consider yourself tagged!!
When thinking of summer, traveling is usually the first thought that comes to mind for me. Ever since I can remember, my family and I have spent our summer’s camping in the Great British Countryside from Devon and Cornwall to Wales, we’ve been exploring our country one summer at a time. Even though we’d spend just a week away at a time, those nights spend under canvas felt like they stretched out forever when I was a child.
In my teenage years, I’ve been lucky to travel abroad in the summer too, including an amazing Scout adventure in Austria and various city breaks in Berlin, Marseille and, most recently, Amsterdam.
Since returning from Amsterdam, I’ve realised that traveling really does give me a sense of fulfillment in life and I can tell because I’ve found my inspiration to blog again, I’ve started some painting and sewing projects and I’ve started reading again after 6 months of a reading slump. The thrill of exploring a new culture and being surrounded by foreign languages will never grow old for me and when I spend time abroad, I feel content as if there is nothing more I need in life. In Berlin, I felt – for the first time outside of the UK – at home as if I could leave my life here behind me and start a life in Germany. Then when I travelled to Marseille last year, I experienced the same feeling but more intense as I can (somewhat) speak French so felt more immersed in life there, which made it hard to adjust to being back at home and having to switch into English-mode. I was surprised how quickly my brain switched to understanding and thinking in French during my four day trip. In Amsterdam, I also felt this homely feeling – and almost a week after returning when I’m writing this, I still feel as if I want to go and live there.
In the near future, I would love to spend a summer interrailing around Europe, revisiting these cities that I’ve come to love and long to return to but also exploring new places.
Before, the prospect of travelling on my own seemed daunting but since going to Amsterdam with two of my friends, I know that I’d be able to get by and that thrills me because now I can plan a future of travel and experience this sense of fulfillment more often.
Maybe one day, my travels won’t be exclusive to the summer and I’ll be able to live abroad for a few months, maybe years.
When this post is published, I will be camping in North Wales, exploring the beautiful mountainous Snowdonia but after that, I’m not sure where I’ll be traveling next. My friends and I were thinking about going to Rome or Barcelona next summer or maybe somewhere else. I love the uncertainty of it all. Who knows where I’ll end up next!
Do you like to travel? What is your favourite place that you’ve visited? 🙂
Our last day 😦 Due to our early flight, we had to check out from the hostel at 4am. Considering we’d only gotten to sleep at 2am due to noise in the hostel after the football game, we were pretty shattered.
However it was fun to navigate the streets of Amsterdam in the semi-dark when there weren’t so many cars, trams and bikes to avoid!
We walked through the Rijksmuseum tunnels into Museumplein before getting our bus so we could finally take photos by the i.amsterdam sign without hoards of tourists.
We then discovered that the art installation Self-Portrait of a Dreamer by Joseph Klibansky in the water outside the Rijksmuseum was lit up at night! It looked so pretty and space-like with reflections of light in the water – I managed to get some good photos!
Then it was time to get the bus and headed back to Schipol Airport. We saw a lovely sunrise that morning but it didn’t stop me from being sad about living such a wonderful city behind.
We spent our time at the airport getting breakfast – I had a cheese and ham croissant which was AMAZING – and doing some last souvenir shopping before boarding our flight and sadly heading off home.
The only good thing about the flight home was that we flew right above our local beaches and it was so cool to see them from the air!! When we landed on the runway at Bristol it was raining (surprise surprise) which just made me want to go back to Amsterdam more.
I was very tired for most of that day, as we’d had to get up at 4am and when I got home it was only 8:30am so my family were just waking up but it felt like lunch time for me 😂.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay in Amsterdam and there is definitely more I want to come back and do!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series and if you’re heading out on your travels soon, have a lovely time. 🙂
(P.S. I am writing this just before heading off on holiday to Wales so I don’t have time to upload all the photos that I’d like to from my laptop so it’s possible that I’ll add more when I get home!)
Day 3!!!!!!! We all managed to get a much better sleep, and as we were planning to have a more relaxing day today, we weren’t in a rush to have breakfast and go out. I actually really enjoyed breakfast at the hostel, as I mentioned before the food was really nice, but also the general atmosphere of the hostel was very friendly, despite the mixture of ages and nationalities. Also the restaurant area was really artsy with bright, colourful patterns and words relating to Amsterdam written over the walls in big letters (looked nicer than it sounds, trust me!!).
Our first stop of the day was again the nearby Albert Heijn to buy lunch for the day – I bought some honey stroopwafels which were delicious!!!!! I’ve been obsessed with stroopwafels since my swap box with Michelle a few years ago, so thanks to her for introducing me to them! I couldn’t leave the Netherlands without buying some!
Our plans for the day were to visit the Rijksmuseum which is a museum of Dutch art and history across the past few centuries. Since we are under 19, our tickets were free which was cool! The actual architecture of the Rijksmuseum building is so beautiful (I attempted to draw it in today’s header but lol it doesn’t do it justice!!) and HUGE. When we were inside, we somehow walked past the desk where you could collect a map, so we ended up wandering around the various floors and exhibitions not really knowing where we were??
I think we managed to see most of the Renaissance exhibition, which had many religion-based paintings and artefacts from France, Italy and Spain from what I can remember! I particularly liked these mourning statues.
We then went on a hunt for the library as I’d seen photos online beforehand it was definitely worth having a look!! I mean, wouldn’t it be amazing to have your own library like this with spiral stairs?!?!?
We then ended up upstairs where we saw an exhibition about the Napoleonic era and some Vincent van Gogh paintings!! I was really excited to see the van Gogh paintings – I think these are probably the most famous pieces of artwork I have seen (I went to the Tate Modern years ago but can’t actually remember what art I saw as smol Em wasn’t as into art). I’d love to see Starry Night one day.
Finally we made it to the Hall of Honour on the top floor where famous Dutch paintings (I think they were just Dutch but as I didn’t have the guide I could be wrong) are displayed. Here we saw Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and admiring the huge stained glass windows at the end of the hall.
Somewhere in the museum, we also came across this Studio Drift exhibition which I believe is called Shylight. I think they’re meant to represent flowers opening and closing – they were really relaxing to watch and almost kind of hypnotic??
Overall, I really enjoyed visiting the Rijksmuseum – my inner art-lover was happy although wishing we had more time to explore the whole museum and other art galleries in Amsterdam!
We ate lunch in Museumplein, watching the hustle and bustle of people around the i.amsterdam sign and desperately trying to shoo away pigeons that kept trying to eat our stroopwafels and fruit!! We did walk around Museumplein as well and almost went into the Moco Museum as there was a big Banksy exhibition there and Banksy is from Bristol (near home!!). However we didn’t have enough time to go in as we had other things planned for the afternoon. We also saw Stedelijk and the Van Gogh Museum, which I definitely want to come back and visit!
Our next plan was to try to find the bus stop that we would have to take the airport express from the following morning. The stop was by the Rijksmuseum but it took us ages to find it because for some reason, when we got off the bus there a few days ago, the bus didn’t actually stop near the bus stop so we weren’t sure if it was the correct one, but after checking timetables and signs we figured it out eventually.
As the sun had come out and it was getting warmer, we headed over to Vondelpark to walk around and explore. My friend showed us the hostel she stayed in last year that was in the entrance to Vondelpark, then we walked around a few of the lake areas and ended up just sitting down and chilling for a bit in the sunshine. I love parks and nature, so it was really relaxing to be out of the busy streets into a more peaceful area of the city!
After a few hours, we headed back to our hostel as we wanted to head out for dinner earlier as it was our last night. We chose to go the De Carrousel Pannenkoeken for dinner, which was a really cool pancake house on an old carousel. It was in an area of Amsterdam that we hadn’t explored yet, so it was nice to see a different area of the city! (Plus pancakes are delicious!!!!!!!!). I had a ham and cheese pancake and then poffertjes (which are a Dutch speciality, kind of like mini-pancakes???) with cherries and cream – it was sooo nice!!
Finally we went back to the hostel and packed our things as we had to check out early for our flight the next day. We spent the evening in the hostel bar watching the England/Croatia game, which was possibly a bad idea as most of the guests were supporting Croatia so we just hid in a corner haha.
I was kind of sad it was our last day, because I was really enjoying the trip and the freedom of being able to do what we wanted to do that I hadn’t experienced before on family holidays or school trips – I actually felt like a responsible adult for once! However as I loved Amsterdam so much, I knew I would be coming back some day! 🙂
The second day of our Dutch adventure began in a rather unexpected way. We woke up to find that we had no electricity in our room and our phones that we’d left to charge overnight were completely dead! We had to go to reception and report what happened and they called an electrician to come and sort out the electrics whilst we were eating breakfast (which was delicious!). It turns out we’d accidentally left the mirror light on in the bathroom and it had blown a fuse overnight, but it was soon fixed which was a relief (although slightly embarrassing that we hadn’t even been at the hostel 24 hours and already had an incident…).
Anyway, the breakfast we had was surprisingly nice – there was a choice of cereals, toast, cold meats, fruit and even pancakes so we definitely had enough energy for a busy day of sightseeing (and it really was busy) after eating!
As it was our first full day in the city, we’d planned to take a canal tour and get our bearings, as well as seeing the sights and learning more about Amsterdam’s history. Although before we got on the boat, we managed to locate our nearest supermarket, an Albert Heijn on the main street at the end of our road. There I got a second breakfast (I’m sorry I can’t resist croissants!!!!!) and we bought our lunch for the day incase we weren’t near a supermarket around lunchtime. I think we also looked in some of the tourist shops but I can’t quite remember as we walked down that street so many times throughout the trip!
It was actually raining quite heavily so we had to wear our rain coats (which I almost forgot to pack) and when we did get to the boat – which was a hop-on, hop-off tour so we could get on and off multiple times and explore the city – the roof was on, which made it a bit difficult to see out of the windows due to the raindrops but at least we were dry.
The boat had an audio tour guide which you could plug headphones in. I started off listening in French because I need to keep practising but eventually I switched to English as I was worried I was missing important information. It was actually really relaxing seeing the city from the water. I think we spent about 2 hours going round the whole route just to listen to the audio tour before we actually got off. So relaxing that one of my friends fell asleep for part of it!
The first place we got off was at the Gassan Diamond Factory as we found out we could have a free tour of the factory included with our boat ticket. It was actually really interesting – we saw people polishing and cutting the diamonds and then learnt about how they were valued. We also stopped off at the shop to get a few souvenirs before finding somewhere to sit and eat lunch. My family and I collect patches on our camp blankets from places we’ve travelled and Scout camps so I bought some for us all. 🙂
We wanted to go to the Waterlooplein market next but we discovered it was quicker to walk there than wait for the boat to arrive to take us so we (successfully this time) navigated ourselves to the market. I love looking around markets – we have some at home in Bristol but they’re all fairly small. What I like about markets is that there are a lot of handmade gifts and small businesses so you often find more unique products than you would in more tourist-y areas. My friend and I both bought some little Delftware animals for our families as gifts. I got my nan an elephant as she has a small herd of elephants in her living room, so I thought it would be a nice addition!
I also bought myself some clog slippers – which I had been wanting to get ever since my friend brought some home from Amsterdam last year. Plus my slippers at home were broken so I did actually need new ones!!! I got yellow and red ones with a windmill and tulips on the top – they’re actually the comfiest pair of slippers I’ve ever had and I’ve been living in them since I got home!!
We then walked to the next boat stop which was over the Skinny Bridge, which I didn’t realise we’d walked over until about ten minutes later! We tried to run for the boat as we had the app which told us the boat was just at the stop but when we got there it was just pulling away so we ended up having to wait half an hour sat in front of the Hermitage Museum. But as it had stopped raining by this point, it was a good opportunity to take photos of the canals!
We needed to take the canal boat to the other side of the River IJ to northern Amsterdam as we’d booked tickets for the A’DAM Lookout, which is basically a hotel with a viewing platform on the top where you can see across the whole of Amsterdam. It is also home to Europe’s highest swing as well (fun fact for you) which actually swings you over the edge of the tower! When you arrive at the tower, you get a free photo shoot in front of a green screen with various views of Amsterdam in the background and then you take a very cool lift ride to the top floor (no spoilers!!).
The views from the roof were just??? AMAZING??? I think we spent a couple of hours up there just admiring the view and taking photos and trying not to get blown off the roof by the wind. We could see the whole extent of the city and surrounding land, it was so beautiful and kind of a surreal feeling thinking about how many people were going about their everyday lives within the radius we could see. The sun actually decided to come out too which was a bonus!
My friends went on the swing over the edge, but I’m not great with heights so I was quite happy looking out over the city and trying to pick out landmarks.
The A’DAM Lookout is possibly home to Europe’s highest red horse??? I mean, there can’t be many red metal horses 100m high! We had a bit of an incident with this horse too. I tried to climb up first but it couldn’t make it so I gave up (to be honest I didn’t want to get stuck!). My friend successfully climbed up second but then couldn’t get down so my other friend and I spent ages trying to help her down before a French guy came over and helped to lift her off. Then my other friend managed to climb up and down within a space of 5 minutes. It was quite an interesting experience…
We also went to the floor below the roof which was a bar and had a mini exhibition about Amsterdam, including a model map of the city. We managed to find the street our hostel was on the map so we can’t have been that bad at navigating!! There was also a glass floor, so an obligatory feet photo had to be taken of course.
After leaving the tower, we went for a stroll along by the river. It was nice to be in a part of Amsterdam that wasn’t busy with tourists and residents and that we could walk around the grassy paths peacefully in the sunshine. We thought we’d missed the last canal boat so resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d have to take the ferry and walk 40 minutes back to the hostel in the south of the city, but then my friend spotted the canal boat at the jetty so we sprinted all the way along the waterside to see if we could catch the boat. The boat started pulling away so two of us gave up running but my friend carried on and the boat driver actually came back to the jetty to pick us up which was so kind of her (although a bit embarrassing for us!). One thing I noticed whilst in Amsterdam was how friendly Dutch people are – in Britain that never would have happened – and on other occasions too I was surprised at how friendly everyone was, like at some of the restaurants we visited where staff would have a proper conversation with you about where you were from and what you’d been up to – Amsterdam felt like such a friendly place.
Anyway, so we managed to get on the canal boat which would have taken us all the way back to the hostel but as the sun was out still, we decided to get off at the Anne Frank House and walk the rest of the way. I really wanted to go inside the Anne Frank House but we didn’t have time unfortunately, but I am definitely going to go back again!!!
We took a detour to walk through Dam Square and see the palace. It was very busy in Dam Square and pigeons (and my friend) kept photo-bombing my photos haha but it was good to see the palace! After that, we carried on walking back to the hostel which was surprisingly straightforward and we passed the Bloemenmarkt – or floating flower market – as well and had a look around because you can’t go to Holland without seeing tulips!! (These photos were taken on my phone because I somehow forgot I had my camera with me??? So excuse the poor quality).
It really was an action-packed day, and we were exhausted by the time we got back to the hostel so ended up going out for dinner quite late. Especially as one of my friends got locked in the bathroom in our room so it took like half an hour for various hostel staff to unlock the door and let her out! Thankfully the staff saw the funny side of it – we thought they might be fed up of us after having to call in an electrician earlier that day – but we were all relieved when she finally got out!
We went to Leidseplein again and this time had pizza. The pubs and bars were really busy as it was the France/Belgium game so when we went to the Hard Rock bar for cocktails after dinner, we had to wait for the football to finish before we were served haha.
It was so pretty walking back along the canals at night, and this time I took my camera so I could get some decent shots. It felt really safe walking around too, even thought it was nearly 11pm when we left the bar, because the streets were still busy and a lot of shops were still open, whereas at home its dead at that time so I usually don’t like staying out that late.
Again we stayed up and played cards for a bit and then we swapped my mattress because I’d hardly slept the previous night as it was rock hard and I woke up aching, but luckily we had a four person room between the three of us so I could swap to a comfier mattress!
Hope you’re enjoying reading about my Amsterdam adventure and it will continue with Day 3 soon (when I get around to writing it!!) 🙂
Hello! Or should I say hallo as I’m writing about my trip to Amsterdam last week. 🙂
A couple of months ago, two of my friends and I spontaneously decided to book a holiday in Amsterdam. Well, it wasn’t quite like that – we didn’t just rock up at the travel agency and book a holiday on a whim. In fact, we almost didn’t make it to our appointment at the agency as we got the times muddled up and got carried away eating pizza (and our parents still trusted us to go abroad by ourselves?!?). We were hoping to go on holiday in the UK and stay in a caravan or something, but we actually discovered that it would be cheaper to go on a European city break than holiday here, especially as not many places in the UK will allow groups of teenagers to stay, so going abroad was sort of a last minute decision. As one of my friends went to a Scout and Guide jamboree in the Netherlands last year, we thought Amsterdam would be a good option as at least one of us was (kind of) familiar with the city already.
I’ve wanted to go to Amsterdam for a while now – not only because I’d have a greater chance of bumping into my bae Douwe Bob 😉 – but also to explore Dutch culture too. I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to go so soon though!! To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in that I’ve actually been, haha, but I’m looking forward to documenting the trip here to look back on in the future.
Anyway, we left the UK last Monday to head off on our adventure. I was actually quite stressed beforehand as airport security really stresses me out and I was worried I’d packed something that I wasn’t allowed to take (like my Harry Potter pin badges on my denim jacket – I would have been so sad if they had confiscated them, but luckily they didn’t). Funnily enough, I actually had to be patted down both times we went through security as I apparently had something metal on me which set of the scanners?? But it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be and we were soon through security and waiting for our gate to open, so it worked out okay in the end.
The actual flight only took 55 minutes from Bristol to Amsterdam, which is mad because that’s shorter than the amount of time it used to take me to get to college everyday on the bus!!? I clearly should have just gone to college in the Netherlands instead 😂 As we were flying with KLM, we did get free sandwiches and drinks which was cool as I’ve only ever flown with EasyJet before where you don’t get any refreshments, also the packaging was really cute!
We’d tried to organise the holiday as much as possible beforehand, so we’d already bought our tickets for the bus that would take us from Schipol to the city centre. However, it took us a good 30 mins to actually find the stand that the bus was leaving from because the departure board kept sending us to different bus stands – one of which didn’t exist??? We had to get on at stand B17 but we couldn’t find any bus stops past B14 which resulted in us running around like headless chickens along with two other travellers, who were also looking for the same bus, until the bus we needed happened to pull up next to us, so I guess we’d found the invisible B17 stand without realising? It was confusing.
The chaos continued when we got off outside the Rijksmuseum 40 minutes later. I’d printed out a map and attempted to lead my friends to our hostel but everything looked different in real life and we ended up walking around in circles before we actually found the street we were staying on. I think we must of arrived in rush hour or something as well because the roads were so busy with cars, trams and bikes so it was a nightmare trying to walk through the city with all our luggage. So what should have been a 10 minute walk ended up taking over 30 mins due to my bad map reading. Oops. We landed in Amsterdam at about 4pm I think but it was past 6pm by the time we arrived at the hostel.
We were lucky enough to be staying within the canal belt near to Museumplein and although our hostel branded itself “the worst hostel in the world”, it actually turned out to be rather good compared to other hostels I’ve stayed in! We were on the 4th floor so the view we had from the window was amazing. I spent so much time with my head stuck out the window looking at all the different buildings whenever we came back to the hostel. It really was a great view though.
After unpacking and having a rest, we headed out for dinner. Unsurprisingly, we again ended up walking around in circles trying to get to the Leidseplein area to find somewhere to eat, but we managed to find a shortcut on the way back which we remembered for the following days. We strolled along the canals after dinner and it was beautiful – I really wish I hadn’t left my camera in the hostel but I did manage to get a few (bad quality) photos on my phone!
I think we ended the day by playing UNO and Irish Snap in the hostel, and of course I kept looking out of the window trying to get photos of the street at nighttime (I was obsessed with this window ahh I miss the view!).
Most of day 1 was spent travelling to Amsterdam, as you can tell, as we had an afternoon flight. However it was really relaxing to have the evening to settle in before our busy second day of the trip!
Hope you enjoyed reading about our first day in the city, stay tuned if you want to see what else we got up to. 🙂
(p.s. I drew all the featured images for this mini-series myself so apologies if the drawings aren’t great haha)
As bloggers, we often find inspiration in the most unlikely of places. Today I was so inspired by a place that the words for this post were forming in my head as I was walking home from visiting it. I was in such a daydream that I actually twisted my ankle on a lump in the pavement and made fool of myself in front of a group of teenagers but I’m just happy I’ve found the inspiration to write again.
I wanted to write about the place that inspired me today as it has become an important part of my life recently. As some of you may know, I live in Somerset which is well known for its farms and countryside. I’m lucky to live on the edge of a suburb, so farms and nature reserves are just around the corner.
A habit of mine is to stroll through the lanes and fields as it helps me to clear my mind and put my problems into perspective. A few months ago, whilst on one of my “walks”, I noticed a little gravel pathway disappearing between the reeds by the river bed. I hadn’t seen this path before, however I knew over the past year or so the local council had been creating a nature reserve and flood plains by the river behind my house, so I assumed that this pathway was a new addition along with that.
As I soon discovered, this pathway continued right along beside the river, lined with reeds and grasses and trees and since then it has become somewhere that I visit often.
It’s quite a winding pathway, and often you have to push branches aside to recover it’s route. In some places, the reeds are taller than me and I feel immersed in the wildlife. It really is a beautiful place.
I love hearing nothing else but the sound of wind blowing through the leaves, birdsong and crickets. Occasionally there are ducks too. The river and pathway are sort of sunken below the pavement, so when I walk along I feel sort of hidden from the rest of the world and I find a blissful peace within myself.
As I mentioned, this place as become very important to me over the past few months. Anytime I’m feeling stress or overwhelmed with life, I go there to escape and relax. Nature has this sort of calming effect on me, making me realise that there is a world outside of my head and that it is thriving. This long, winding path has experienced some of my biggest breakdowns and the wildlife there has listened to my unspoken thoughts, given me time to contemplate before they are whisked away by the wind. It has heard me practicing for exams, going over and over French speaking questions, reciting essay plans and dates of historical importance.
When I walk here, I feel lost. But not a bewildered, disconcerting sense of lost. A comforting lost. I feel separate from the pressures of society, even if just for a small amount of time. My problems feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and that brings me peace.
I guess everyone has their “escape”. Sometimes it’s a person, an object, music, sport or a place. This place is my escape. Maybe – it’s impossible to know – but maybe it is someone else’s escape too.