On Thursday last week I flew to Amsterdam for a girls weekend with my Mum. It was the first of hopefully many trips to Europe now that we are living in the UK and it’s fabulous being able to travel so quickly and easily to new cities.
Mum lives in Dublin and had booked herself a weekend in Amsterdam a few months back and invited me a along. It was perfect for us to catch up on gossip and have some girl time!
I arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday evening and after checking into the hotel, we headed down to the bar. It was a lovely evening for sitting outside people watching so whilst we had planned to just have a drink and then go for a wander and find somewhere to eat, we were enjoying our current spot and ended up staying there the rest of the night.
First up, we found somewhere for breakfast and then started walking towards the Museum and Bags and Purses. I’d heard about it from a few friends and it sounded like my kind of museum!
It’s not huge but well worth it if it’s something that interests you. There’s bags dating back hundreds and hundreds of years! The Bakelite and Lucite was what really got me excited though. I figured there’d be some featured but I wasn’t expecting so many!
I was very excited to see that they had a lucite purse the same as the one that I bought in Las Vegas! Seeing them in all their glory definitely reignited my love and appreciation for them and may have a number on my eBay watch list now as a consequence…
Luckily, Mum didn’t mind hunting down some vintage shops so after the museum we walked in the direction of a couple that I’d seen on Google maps and weren’t far away. There were two great ones ‘1953 Retro & Chic‘ and Marbles Vintage & Design. I didn’t buy anything from 1953 but there were a lot of lovely items including a great selection of shoes, hats and accessories.
Mango wasn’t quite so midcentury, it was very much like most of the other vintage and retro stores in Amsterdam and mainly has 70s-90s items but I did find a beautiful broderie anglaise dress that for only €35, I couldn’t resist.
Further along, there was a large outdoor market that had a interesting mix of stalls including some vintage sellers.
The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around the street of Amsterdam, stopping for lunch and a bit of a afternoon nap since Mum was battling a cold.
That evening we were booked to go on a dinner cruise of the canals. It was a really fun way to spend the night, the food was great and the drinks were unlimited! Mum and I were rather taken with some of the elaborate house boats- I can see myself living on one of them!
First up was the Anne Frank House. Luckily I had booked tickets a few weeks prior as the lines can get absolutely huge. We started with a 30 minute talk from one of the Museum staff outlining the events leading up to the war and Anne’s family history.
I’m not going to go into great detail about the house itself, but if you do get a chance to go… it’s well worth it. It’s heavy, emotional and I felt anger on behalf of the Franks and everyone else who were (and still are) in similar positions just because of their beliefs/religions/race. But, it’s important that history is not forgotten so that we can hope to never repeat it.
After a cup of coffee and a slice of cake in the Museum Cafe to wind down a little bit, we walked up the road to I Love Vintage. They’re a stockist of some of lots of European and UK reproduction brands and I definitely could have gone nuts if I didn’t have limited funds and suitcase space! I did get a Banned Cardigan in a gorgeous Emerald Green and a Mum made friends with the cat who jumped up and settled on her lap as soon as she sat down- so sweet!
The staff were really lovely, offering us cups of tea or coffee and were helpful and honest without being too pushy. The lady also recommended for us to go walk down De 9 Straatjes or ‘The 9 Streets’ which is a area just down from The Anne Frank House and had lots of quirky shops and a few vintage ones too. There we found a fabulous vintage shop called Laura Dols which was definitely the best one we went into during our weekend. There’s a big downstairs area filled with party dresses and I tried on 4 beauties and settled on two of them. Mum was a great shopping buddy as she was the one who found the gold brocade one!
After that, it was time to find some lunch! We sat outside overlooking the canal, writing postcards home. Next, it was time for a 6 hour tour taking us to the outside of Amsterdam! We’d seen it advertised in one of the brochures at the hotel and thought it sounded like lots of fun so booked it that morning.
The bus first took us to Zaanse Schans which is a big open-air museum and about 30mins outside of the city centre of Amsterdam. We were taken inside one of the fully functioning windmills and shown how they work. The little village was very picturesque and we were a little sad that we didn’t have more time to look around before having to get back on the bus again.
From there we travelled to Volendam Museum which I must admit, wasn’t particularly exciting except for getting to see some of the traditional Dutch costumes. But the next part was probably my favourite! We walked through some of the gorgeously quaint avenues and houses which was all on reclaimed land. We then were taken to the local cheese factory where we learnt how cheese is made and were able to try and purchase some. As a big cheese lover, I of course bought some!
We had about 30mins free time after that before moving on to the next place and right opposite the cheese factory was a waffle and pankcake shop. I was yet to have a waffle so I ordered one drenched in Nutella… delicious! Mum and I sat and watched the revelry of the festival going on. Everyone was singing along to the songs and having a great time!
Our last stop on our tour was Marken, a small fishing island that has now been connected to the mainland via a reclaimed causeway. We got the ferry over which was wonderful for getting to look back at Voldendam. We had some time before heading to the Clog Factory so Mum and I went to one of the pubs for a bowl of hot chips and a coffee.
Watching the clogs being made was quite facinating. I kind of a assumed they’d all be done completely by hand but of course in this day and age, there’s machine for that. Still, it was really fun to see how quickly the shape of the clog could be carved.
After that, it was the end of our tour and we were taken back to Amsterdam. I was totally shattered and pretty much went straight to bed when we got back – it had been a massive day! But the tour had been a great way to see other parts of The Netherlands and I’ve always got a soft spot for smaller towns and villages. If you are interested, this is the tour that we did.
We had a very slow and lazy start to the day – we had contemplated going to the Van Gogh Museum before I had to leave for the airport but we slept in too late. By the time we went and got breakfast and packed my bags, it was time for me to go. Mum was staying on for a extra night so we said our goodbyes – it’s much easier saying goodbye now that we are on the same side of the world and will be seeing eachother again next month!
Amsterdam was a lovely city, I really enjoyed it! I’m sure I’ll be heading back at some point with Matt so I’m looking forward to seeing more it has to offer!
Check out the little video I put together of some highlights from the weekend. I hadn’t planned on doing this at the time, it was more of a after thought but I think I’ll continue with future trips and make sure I take more videos!
Our next trip is Stockholm at the end of September and I can’t wait! Also don’t forget that every good vintage store I visit on my travels, I add to my ‘Worldwide Vintage Shopping Guide‘! I only add on stores that I’ve been to and think are worth a visit.
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Categories: Miss VV Around The World