4 Amazing Cities That Are A Must See For Those With A Case of Wanderlust

The world is a huge place, and there are so many fantastic places to go and see. The places we can visit completely vary and offer us different unique and incredible experiences. So I am just sharing with you today, a few of those different and varied cities that are across the world. You might have been to some; you might have some on your bucket list. Either way, they are all fantastic places that are a must visit at some time in your life.

blog1

image

London

Where do I start with London? It is a city like no other. You might think that it is quite a bland English place to visit, but you would be most incorrect! It is a bustling and diverse city, full of variety. There are the grand historical sites to see, including things like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. There are also much more modern sites and attractions to see, including things like the Tate Modern and Millenium Bridge. The food is varied; the shopping is fantastic. There really is something for everyone!

Perth

There are only a select few cities that have dream beaches to go with them, alongside the bustling city scene. Perth in the western area of Australia is certainly one of them! The beaches are beautiful; some of the best in the world. You could enjoy a picnic and a swim and then check out some of the best tourist attractions in Perth. There is a great food and music scene in the city too.

blog2

image

New York

If you are looking for a city that never sleeps, then look no further than New York City. One of the great things is that there are so many shows and movies that have been filmed there. So you can visit a lot of the different spots that have been in movies. The weather is varied there, going from snow in winter to hot sunshine in summer. So you can choose ice skating or sunbathe in Central Park, depending on the time of year that you visit. The shopping is fantastic, as well as lots of things to do like visiting a comedy club or Broadway. The street food vendors are a must when visiting the city too.

amsterdam-922263_1920

image

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a vibrant city that is full of life. There are parks and skate parks, as well as plenty of museums and tourist attractions. It is a big center for culture with an art institute and the shipyard area. You can take a boat ride down the canal, or cycle around taking it all in.

Paris

What would a list of cities to visit be, without a mention of the city of lights? Paris is just as glam as it might seem in the movies. With plenty of parks to stroll around, you can enjoy the great cuisine and atmosphere. A walk down the Champs De Elysee is a must, as well as the Eiffel Tower. With good transport links, you can see other areas of France easily from Paris too.

Visiting Amsterdam for the last time

For those of you who have been reading my blog for sometime, you may already know that I am an ex-pat living in Belgium for the past three years with my family. Unfortunately or fortunately we are leaving Europe and going back to our home in the USA in less than a month. It’s a mixed feeling for all of us…we kind of got used to this relaxed life in Belgium, at the same time we missed our friends, families, and familiar things of what we left behind in Oregon. I do want to thank you all my readers and followers for supporting me with your “Likes” and your nice comments. After moving back to the USA, our goal is to start exploring South America, Australia, and some parts of Asia.

Only 4 weeks left before we say good-bye to this beautiful land of Belgium and all Europe. We may come here in the future again to visit but won’t be for this long. After we came back from Belgrade, Serbia we are utilizing every weekend to go everywhere for one last time. We visited Germany 2 weeks ago and were in Amsterdam for the last time this past weekend. We will probably make one last trip to Paris and some other old/new places, and the last weekend we kept it to visit Mont Blanc … the French Alps that we have been longing to go for a long time.

So saying it all, here are some of the stuff we did during our last visit to Amsterdam.

Endless canals of Amsterdam in The Netherlands

Endless canals of Amsterdam in The Netherlands

First time we came to Amsterdam was when we were flying from Portland, Oregon, USA to Stuttgart, Germany. We had a stop over in Amsterdam Airport Schipol for few hours. We had only 5 hours to explore the city before our next flight to Germany. It was 1st week of April and the weather was simply marvelous. Second time we went there was in 1st week of September, 2011, on a Saturday. The weather was awesome, not too hot and luckily no rain. Another time we were in Amsterdam was when we took our Baltic Sea Cruise by Carnival Legend in August of 2013. We only visited Van Gogh Museum the day we docked in this city. Last time we went to Amsterdam was before we left Europe for good, in June of 2014. My husband’s aunt was here from Virginia and we spent a weekend there to enjoy all the Dutch environment we could for one last time. Weather was nice, around mid 60s during day and a bit on the cold side after evening.

EATING and SHOPPING: Few times we were in Amsterdam, we had mostly fast food or street food, like hotdogs, Subway, and Burger King. We were told by few people that Amsterdam is well-known for Indonesian restaurants. So when we visited Amsterdam for the last time before leaving Europe, we had to try some Indonesian food. There are plenty of them in the center, and all around. We sat down in “Srikandi” near Rijksmuseum. This is a small but very homely restaurant. They have a wide range of  options but no pork or ham. It’s a bit pricey, dishes start from 20 euros, but very tasty food with rich flavors. We had fried rice, yellow rice, spicy beef, whole fish, and a mix meat platter…every single dish was unbelievably good. For dessert, we had Javanese cinnamon cake, coconut slices in syrup, and some exotic fruits with ice-cream.

Our Indonesian food at "Srikandi" in Amsterdam

Our Indonesian food at “Srikandi” in Amsterdam

For shopping, Damrak or the small streets near Dam Square and in city center are very good. When you are in The Netherlands, you gotta buy wooden shoes, ceramic windmills, or wooden tulips. You can also find blue and white Delft potteries in most of the stores along with generic t-shirts, mugs, magnets, post-cards, key-rings, and etc.

PLACES WE’VE VISITED:We were lucky enough to get many chances of visiting Amsterdam from time to time. Different times we visited different sections of this town. Most of the attractions are in or around Dam Square. Museumplein is the best place to hangout for all the museum-lovers. Walking in Amsterdam can be a bit hard because of overly crowded tourists, locals, and bi-cycles, but this the best way to enjoy its true beauty. For me, canals of Amsterdam are the most unique and I prefer walking over anything to get the most of it. There are trams, rickshaws, and other public transportation available if it’s too much for you. This time we visited Rijksmuseum, took a canal cruise, saw the beautiful building of Central Station and walked along Damrak.

Bikers in Amsterdam

Bikers in Amsterdam

 

DAMRAK and CENTRAL STATION: Damrak is main street that connects Dam Square and Amsterdam Central Station.  Damrak is the place to for souvenirs hunters, but shops are a bit pricey on this street. You can find plenty of cafes, snack-bars, restaurants here as well. Sex Museum, Medieval Torture Museum are also located on this crowded street. The walk between Dam Square and Central station is less than 10 minutes. Central Station is where we came to first time we reached Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands. This is an imposing building inside and out. Trains for all the big cities, like Paris, Brussels come here everyday.

Amsterdam Central Station in The Netherlands

Amsterdam Central Station in The Netherlands

 

RIJKSMUSEUM: On our last visit to Amsterdam, we had only two agendas – one was to visit Rijksmuseum and another was to take a boat ride in the canals. Rijksmuseum is considered as one of the top ten museums in the world. The building itself of this museum is very artistic from outside. There are total four immensely big floors to explore in Rijksmuseum and each floor has two wings to cover.

A medieval sculpture in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

A medieval sculpture in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The museum has unique collections of some of the extraordinary masterpieces of famous Dutch painters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer, and many other medieval and contemporary artists. Arts and artifacts here are from 1100s up to 2000s. Delft collections and other ceramics/potteries left me in awe for more. There is also a small portion of Waterloo, ship models, dolls’ houses, art nouveau, arms, jewelries are just some of the sections you have to visit in Rijksmuseum.

Dutch painter Rembrandt's masterpiece "Night Watch" inside Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Dutch painter Rembrandt’s masterpiece “Night Watch” inside Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Rijksmuseum is located near Museumplein and the “Amsterdam” sign. Ticket is 15 euros per adult and free for anyone below 19 years of age. Guided tour is available for 5 euros only which takes about an hour. We toured the museum by ourselves and it took about three hours…may take more for others if you take time to go thru everything. There are some cafes/restaurants inside the museums as well as a big gift shop. Despite having hundreds and thousands of visitors each day, the staffs of Rijksmuseum is extremely helpful and friendly.

A royal pottery collection inside Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A royal pottery collection inside Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

AMSTERDAM by BOAT: I couldn’t leave Europe without taking a boat ride in the canals of Amsterdam at least once. Opposite of Rijksmuseum, there were few boat companies who offer different options for canal tours. The one we took was “Lovers”. It was a 45-minutes ride which starts in front of the museum and took us to the big canal near Central Station. We were dropped off very close to the main train station. The boat runs thru historic buildings and landmarks like Anne Frank’s House and famous churches and cathedrals. You also have the option of getting off at any particular spot and get on the boat again when you are done.

Boat tour in the canals of Amsterdam in The Netherlands

Boat tour in the canals of Amsterdam in The Netherlands

Our one-way ticket was 10 euros per person. Round trips are also available for 14 euros which is for 1 1/2 hours ride.

Thanks for being with me in all my journeys. I still have many places left that I need to post about…keep in touch.

Travel Theme: Multicolored

What a lovely theme!!! Here are some old photos I dug out from my library…enjoy.

This first one is from Keukenhof Flower Parade 2012 in The Netherlands, when we went to see the Tulip Festival

Keukenhof Flower Birds

Keukenhof Flower Birds

 

 

The second one is from a castle in Keukenhof, The Netherlands…a very colorful Venetian chandelier.

An original Venetian chandelier, look at the detailed work

An original Venetian chandelier, look at the detailed work

 

And the last one is from an open market…some typical Croatian souvenirs in Zagreb

Colorful trinkets in Dolac Market

Colorful trinkets in Dolac Market

 

 

 

Thanks to http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/09/13/travel-theme-multicoloured/ for this lovely theme.

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

We were lucky enough to get many chances of visiting Amsterdam from time to time. Different times we visited different sections of this city. Last time we were in Amsterdam was when we took Baltic Sea cruise in August of 2013. Our ship was docked near the city for few hours and we managed to visit only this museum which I’ve been longing for quite a while.

Van Gogh Museum is a must see when in Amsterdam, even if you are not into arts and paintings. It has the largest collections of world-famous Dutch artist Van Gogh’s many early works and iconic well-known paintings which he painted before his death. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see his famous “Starry Night” here (it’s in a museum in New York), but some of his other famous works, such as “Almond Blossom”, “The Potato Eaters“, “Sunflowers”, and many others are hanging in this museum walls of Amsterdam.

Last self-portrait by Van Gogh painted in 1888 in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Last self-portrait by Van Gogh painted in 1888 in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
      

To give you a little bio on this famous artist of all time, Van Gogh was born in 1853 and was only active as an artist for 10 years, from 1880 until his death in 1890. In those 10 years he produced about 800 paintings and more than 1000 drawings, as well as large number of watercolors, lithographs, and sketches in hundreds of letters that he wrote to his brother, Theo. He was a self-taught painter with few art lessons from Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium. His dramatic life story, unhappy romances, apparent lack of recognition, illness, and finally his attempt of suicide are some of the events that were great deal of interests after his death, as well as his exceptional use of colors and characteristic brushworks.

"The Potato Eaters" by Van Gogh from 1885 in Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
“The Potato Eaters” by Van Gogh from 1885 in Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
     

It’s a very organized museum with information written both in Dutch and English. It’s a wonderful place to get to know Van Gogh up close and personal. His depressed life, incomplete education, what inspired him, love and relationships, and finally why he was dead at such an early age…all are portrayed here in a very nice sequential way.

Another famous painting by Van Gogh "Almond Blossom" from 1890 in Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Another famous painting by Van Gogh “Almond Blossom” from 1890 in Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
     

The museum is located in Museumplein near the city center of Amsterdam where you will find many other different types of museums. Our taxi charged 20 euros for one way from Amsterdam cruise port to the museum. It’s open daily from 9 am – 6 pm. Be ready to stand in the ticket line for a LONG time. We were standing there about half and fifteen minutes, even those who bought tickets online were moving like sloths. Ticket is 15 euros per adult and kids visiting below 17 years are free.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,420 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 479,588 hits
%d bloggers like this: