Foggy London Town

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Last week Adam and I spent a week in England with Adam’s best friend Kyle and his wife Katie. We hadn’t seen them since we attended their wedding last October (in which Adam was best man, ahem) so it was a treat to catch up with them overseas. They are both so funny and easy going, which made traveling fun and low-key. We passed around a bit of a summer cold (that actually knocked me out all this week…), but despite feeling under the weather at some points, we had a great time exploring London and the Cotswolds.

While in London we stayed in an Airbnb in the Notting Hill/Kensington area, which was beautiful and quiet. Our flat was pretty close to Portobello Road with all its markets, shops and restaurants. We did some poking around in the area and had a great meal at e&o on our first night. I’d highly recommend ordering just about everything on the starter menu and the fried brown rice with whatever unique main you choose.

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We also gobbled up very juicy burgers covered in American cheese and something called “freddar” from a chain called Byron. It’s certainly unexpected and not at all sexy to get cheeseburgers in England, but a really good one (washed down with root beer!) is a rarity here so we like to grab one while we’re out of the country. It turned out to be great fuel for moseying around the British Museum in the afternoon where we saw ancient Egyptian artifacts and dozens of very cute little British children in matching uniforms.

Of course no tour of the city is complete without popping into a dark, carpeted pub in the middle of the afternoon. We found a cozy one in the Lamb’s Conduit area and spent an hour there catching up. Resist the urge to sit outside, even if it is lovely. The whole point is to belly up to the old wooden bar or hunker down in a corner booth : )

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We also spent a little time around some of the bigger highlights, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. One could spend a lot more time at these places than we did, but there is just so much to see in that gigantic city and we wanted to keep moving.

I do wish we would have spent more time in the east part of the city, which is apparently “where all the action is”. But we did get an afternoon to walk the streets of Shoreditch and I liked seeing all the people knock off work with a beer and spill out onto the sidewalks during happy hour. We found a lush beer garden through an alley, which proved a popular spot for locals. There are cool boutiques and restaurants in this area and I think it might be a fun place to stay should we visit the city again.

That night we had the best dinner at 8 Hoxton Square and I can’t recommend that place highly enough. It was the perfect evening to sit outside and share some small plates before digging into bowls of pasta, juicy steak and perfectly cooked sea bass over panzanella.

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Our time in London felt very brief and honestly I’d like the chance to return for a longer period of time with a more condensed itinerary. I felt overwhelmed with all there is to do and see!

Have you been? What was your favorite part of the city? And what would you recommend for others planning a trip?

Our Weekend in Amsterdam

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IMG_0733It’s hard for me to imagine a European city I love more than Amsterdam. It has incredible culture, remarkable architecture (oh, how those buildings lean!), friendly locals, and an increasingly diverse and delicious restaurant scene. Let us not forget about those bike lanes; I’m in love with them. I suppose the weather could be a bit more reliable but if that were the case we would literally all be living there and it wouldn’t be quite as comfortable.

We had a great, breezy weekend there full of strolling and eating. A lot of Europe has been experiencing an “Indian summer” so we were there at a great time. It rained a couple times, but we heard it was relatively warm compared to what it’s usually like, and walking along the canals was really lovely.

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IMG_0745After Adam and I checked into our Airbnb we immediately set out for De 9 Straatjes–The 9 Streets–a great shopping and dining neighborhood. When we arrived at the southern edge of the area and took one look at the shopfronts and signage, Adam rightly declared that these nine streets have more cool in them than the entirety of Switzerland. It was fun to be surrounded by good design and more current styles.

We made our first stop at Café de Pels, a typical brown cafe. It’s a cozy spot perfect for fueling up before shopping. We had sausage, mature cheese and beers, but I can also recommend their bitterballen since we went back on Saturday and had them as an appetizer. HOW did I not know about bitterballen and where can I get a good recipe?!

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IMG_0736We did lots of meandering and even picked up a couple of souvenirs. Phil’s flight landed in the evening and we met him for dinner at Wolvenstraat 23, an Asian place with funky decor and cool tunes.

The next day Phil had to work (whomp whomp) so Adam and I headed out toward the Jordaan neighborhood, which is where we stayed last time we were there. I’d highly recommend it as your destination because it’s so quaint and homey.

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IMG_4717We stopped in Typique, a letterpress shop along Haarlemmerdijk, itself a great street for shopping and dining. We met René, the artist and craftsman and ended up coming home with a beautiful monotype of the Dutch seashore. It’s a special reminder of our trip and we both think art makes a great souvenir.

On the next block over we stopped for lunch at Restaurant Teun. I opted for a giant salad and mint tea to help offset the cheese, beer, fries, and other delicacies from the trip, but everything on their menu looks great. It’s also a hotel if you’re interested in staying in the area.

IMG_4725After walking, walking, walking, and a freak rain storm in the afternoon we met up with a couple of friends of mine from college at Café Pieper, another brown cafe that was just two blocks from where we were staying. It was established in 1665 and still retains all the charm of the 17th century. Great beer, low ceilings, wood everything, and a friendly bartender. It was perfect!

We then walked over to Café George for dinner before our CHVRCHES concert. It’s a New York-style French brasserie that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day from 11-11. We managed to squeeze in for dinner without a reservation, but I would recommend trying to reserve a table if you can. It was quite full when we got there and still bustling when we left for the show. Our concert was awesome, by the way. The band put on a great show and we had loads of fun dancing and being crazy. It was very sobering, however, to walk out and immediately find out about the tragedies in Paris. Indeed, I shudder thinking about how we had just been in a concert hall, where the same thing that happened at Bataclan could have happened to us. It’s yet another reminder not to take our liberties and freedoms for granted.

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IMG_0786The next morning we had plans to visit the Rijksmuseum, but sleeping in came in first on the priority list so we went out for brunch instead at…Café George. I’m not kidding! We had just been there but it was so, so good and we are always looking for brunch spots since they are an anomaly here. We had fresh fruit, eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, and a croque madame, all very delicious.

We did finally manage to get over to the Rijksmuseum, which is just a tram stop or two away from where we had brunch. It’s a beautiful collection and we did the multimedia tour which helped make sense of it all. We spent about two hours there but I could easily see how might find yourself for an entire afternoon. Adam especially likes the Dutch masters so it was great to see so many of them together.

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IMG_4748After a quick rest at the apartment we went to Brouwerij’t IJ, along with everyone else in the city. It was completely packed but it’s no surprise given their great selection of beer and snacks. It was pouring outside at this point so the outdoor seating was no longer an option, but I imagine it’s always this full during the early evening hours. Go for the beer and stay for the grillworst and mature cheese.

For dinner that evening we went to Restaurant de Struisvogel, which is in the basement of a shop in the 9 Streets neighborhood. It’s a teeny tiny place—only 34 seats—so reservations are essential. Everything here was so yummy and comforting, and I loved the ambiance. There’s something so cozy about a tiny bistro with wooden tables and chairs and dim lighting. How romantic for the three of us : )

Amsterdam, we love you! It is such a magical city and I’m always delighted to visit. One of these days we’ll finally go when it’s truly warm outside…

Have you been? What did you think of it? Next time I’d love to see the Van Gogh museum and actually make a visit to Keukenhof, the tulip fields.

P.S. Part 1 and Part 2 from our trip last year.

A Great Documentary

Adam and I watched the documentary Art and Craft on Sunday night and we were so intrigued by this art world scandal. Have you heard about it? Mark Landis, a Mississippi recluse, painted and drew copies of relatively famous artworks, distressed and aged them with coffee and strategic layers of lacquer and paint, then brought them to regional museums as endowments. He sometimes went as himself, but he also embodied various personalities, including a priest on his visits. At times the painting or drawing was a gift from his deceased mother, or his sister who recently passed, a sister who actually doesn’t exist.

The catch is that Landis never asks for money, he always donates the pieces to the museum, so his shenanigans are not considered fraudulent; he’s not committing any crimes. Yet, what he is doing can easily be seen as wrong, at least to many people. Willingly and repeatedly duping curators and collectors feels morally corrupt. In many instances, he gifted the same piece to many museums, telling each that they had the original, suggesting a cunning deceitfulness that contains a great deal of thought and planning.

It is clear, however, that Landis is mentally ill. He speaks candidly about his nervous breakdown as a teenager and time spent in mental hospitals and psychiatric wards. He has been labeled as schizophrenic and regularly visits psychologists and behavioralists for consultations on his current mental state and medication. So his mental instability cannot be ignored when one considers the scheming and deceiving that he is doing. Does that make him seem more guilty or less? Does it matter either way?

Matthew Leninger, a dogged and determined former registrar who was duped by Landis has made it his mission to bring Landis down and put an end to this tomfoolery. The scope of his investigation suggests that what’s happening his much larger and broader than it truly is, and one can’t help but find Leninger more than a little pathetic. He has lost his job at the expense of his investigation and his tenacity would be admirable if not for the fact that Landis is so clearly unwell. Their meeting toward the end of the film is so charged and awkward–Leninger vainly hoping to be validated as some sort of art world hero–that I almost had to look away. Leninger is the true tragic character of the film.

I was impressed by how the filmmakers took great strides not to come to any conclusions about Landis or the morality of his behavior. They let the audience form their own opinion, which could not have been an easy task. Personally, I don’t agree with what he’s doing, peddling fake art as special endowments from deceased relatives, both real and imagined, but it’s Landis’ welfare that I’m more concerned about. It’s a quirky and moving film that will leave you with conflicting feelings of dismay and sympathy.

Strasbourg for the Weekend

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Last weekend Adam, Phil and I went to Strasbourg, France to celebrate our birthdays, and also just to take a trip together. Strasbourg was recommended to us by a friend who was charmed by the old timber-framed houses, numerous sidewalk cafes and excellent shopping options. Though it was a bit too chilly to dilly dally outside, Strasbourg truly was a beautiful place, especially around the holidays.

I didn’t fully realize that the city is commonly referred to as the Christmas Capital of the World, but once we arrived we realized how seriously Strasbourg takes that special distinction. Christmas markets popped up everywhere and lights were strung with almost careless abandoned. Every restaurant, shop and bar was fully outfitted and it would have bordered on the kitsch if it wasn’t so earnest. If you’re looking for the sweet nostalgia of Christmas, this is the place.

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On Friday night we had dinner at Winstub S’Kaechele, a tiny nine-table restaurant near Le Petite France. Typically, a winstub serves traditional Alsatian food and wine in a warm, cozy atmosphere. Wood paneling, checked tablecloths, low-beamed ceilings and several variations on pork are all standard at these places. There are a few restaurants of note in Strasbourg, but the winstub will offer the most authentic and delicious experience, in my opinion.

The main specialty of the region is charcroute, pictured above. A large helping of homemade sauerkraut sits buried underneath at least five variations of pork and sausages, if not more. Boiled potatoes and a side of mustard accompany this dish, along with a hearty appetite. I’m not a big fan of sauerkraut but I was promised that this would have none of the vinegar-y tang that is usually so off-putting. This was sweet and almost creamy in its consistency and was a beautiful complement to the rich, fatty pork. The guys had potato gratin and pork shoulder; everything was so delicious. We’d highly recommend this place, but bookings are essential since it’s so small. There was a sign on the door turning away everyone who didn’t have a reservation.

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^^^nothing wrong with a little post-meal burst mode session outside the restaurant

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After dinner we walked around the town to check out lights and the giant Christmas tree that had been lit earlier in the evening. We stopped for a couple drinks along the way but really soaked up the Christmas spirit.

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The next morning we woke up to find a farmers market right outside the apartment we were staying in. It was full of the usual suspects: fresh produce, stinky cheeses, warm bread and pungent seafood. It was fun to stroll through on our way into town.

We walked through a few of the Christmas markets and stopped for flammkuchen and coffee on our way to the cathedral. Once there we walked up over 300 steps to enjoy the view from the top.

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We walked further through the markets and some of the shops in the more popular part of town, around the cathedral that is, before submitting to the cold and heading into a nearby bar. We had a deck of cards and played round after round of golf in La Mandragore, a very cool bar near the Galleries mall. It’s full of taxidermy and oddities and makes for a great place to relax and gear up for the next tour of markets.

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That night we went to Restaurant Au Pont du Corbeau for dinner. It was another winstub-like place with dark wood walls and checked tablecloths. It too was completely booked for the evening so I would recommend reservations here. We shared wild boar, pork cheeks and salmon after devouring foie gras, escargot and quiche for starters. We were beyond stuffed but very happy indeed. Everything we ate was so, so good.

We visited Le Petite France to walk off dinner and see more Christmas lights. This is definitely the most picturesque part of town and I wish we could have seen it during the day. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 13th century.

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On Sunday we visited the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. They had a couple of interesting exhibits and it was a nice place to stroll through on a quiet Sunday.

We headed home shortly after that. It was a quick trip, but a fun and festive one. It’s nice to get out of town every once in a while, especially when there are so many neat places easily accessible by train. This was our last trip of the year, besides our trip back to the States for Christmas. Nothing is exactly on the books for next year, but we’ve been brainstorming like mad and 2015 looks like another exciting year for travel. Visitors welcome and highly encouraged!

 

Monday Night Movie

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Have you seen The Artist is Present? It’s a documentary following the 2010 exhibition by Marina Abramovic by the same name. Several years back, at the Museum of Modern Art, Abramovic held a retrospective of some of her most popular, influential and controversial works. She also unveiled a new performance piece wherein she sat in a chair for 7 hours straight, 6 days a week for 3 months and allowed people to sit across from her as long as they wanted. Despite the simplicity of the performance, it became a mentally and physically demanding experience for Abramovic, as well as transformative for both her and the participants.

We watched the movie a couple weeks ago and I’d highly recommend it. Her work can be upsetting and disturbing but also enlightening. She explores questions surrounding male/female relationships, hierarchical societies and the limits of the human body. Her oeuvre is truly fascinating.

The film also offers an interesting study on the dichotomy between life and art and the ever-puzzling question, What is art? It doesn’t set out to answer or explain anything, rather it adds to the already rich discussion, forcing us to examine our own preferred aesthetics in contrast to others’. Does running naked into a wall count as art? Does filming yourself screaming until your voice gives out count as art? If not, then why does painting count as art? Does it still count if the canvas is a body? Must art be beautiful?

After “The Artist is Present” closed Abramovic struggled with what to do next. This past summer she held an exhibition at London’s Serpentine Gallery titled, “512 Hours.” The title refers to the amount of time she will be in the gallery, walking around with visitors. There will be nothing in the gallery except for her and the patrons. Is this art?

You can watch the documentary on Netflix and iTunes. Let me know if you see it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

(oh, and welcome to December! When did that happen?!)

Artist: Cindy Sherman

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Oslo Untitled Horrors

 

Last Tuesday I went to Zurich for the day because I had a free day-ticket and Adam was having a training there. We agreed to meet up for dinner at our favorite pizza place, but before that I shopped the sales and walked around as much as I could given the pouring rain. While on the tram I saw a poster for the current exhibit at the Kunsthaus Zurich, Cindy Sherman–Untitled Horrors and made it a special stop for the afternoon.

If you’re not familiar with Cindy Sherman, here’s a brief primer: Born in New Jersey but raised in Long Island, Sherman is one of America’s preeminent contemporary artists. She is both a film director and a photographer, and is well known for her role as challenging representations of women in mass culture and media. Her portraits are probably her best known work, yet many people don’t realize that she is her only model. In fact, she does the styling, make-up, costumes, direction, and shooting for all her productions. It’s incredible when you look through her entire oeuvre and see the magnificent transformations her body and facial expressions undergo.

The current collection at the Zurich Kunsthaus is a special collaboration between the art houses in Zurich, Oslo and Stockholm. It features the most grotesque and horrifying works from all her of series and truly is a disturbing selection. I was there alone but I wished desperately for a companion to help me dissect and discern so many of the worrying images.

This particular collaboration, like many others, encourages viewers to question traditional gender roles and fundamental issues of human existence. What does it mean to be beautiful? At what age are we no longer considered young? Why is sex glorified? Why do body parts, taken out of context, horrify us?

It was one of the more thought provoking art experiences I’ve had, although I truly wish I had had someone with me to (attempt to) unpack it all. There’s a companion catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibit, which you can purchase here if you’re interested. I sat with it for quite a while, transfixed by close-ups of all the photos. There’s no real art criticism in the book, rather there are original pieces by contemporary authors such as Miranda July and Lars Norén. Sherman doesn’t find much at favor in art criticism, considering it to be trite and a misrepresentation of her work.

As I recounted the exhibit to Adam over dinner I couldn’t help but feel squirmy and uncomfortable yet again. I love how art can have such a visceral effect on us, much like books do, at least for me. Art doesn’t have to “mean” anything, but I do believe it should make you feel something. Appreciation, confusion, anger, disgust, joy, warmth, what have you. If it stirs emotion within, then I think it’s a success.

Have you ever seen anything by Cindy Sherman? She’s been at MoMA several times and regularly has traveling shows. Her work is truly incredible. If you’re in Zurich, the exhibition lasts until September 14th. I didn’t include the truly gruesome images because this is a family-friendly space, but if you’re interested, I’d encourage you to dig around a bit and let me know what your impressions are.

“I think people are more apt to believe photographs, especially if it’s something fantastic. They’re willing to be more gullible. Sometimes they want fantasy. Even if they know it’s fake they can believe anything. People are accustomed to being told what to believe in.” –Cindy Sherman, BOMB Magazine, Spring 1985

(image 1 // image 2 // image 3 // image 4 // image 5 // image 6)

Amsterdam for the Weekend: Part 1

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Oh, Amsterdam. You have my heart!

What a tremendously beautiful city. Amsterdam is so rich and full of culture and heritage that it’s nearly impossible not to fall for its charm and elegance. Architecture and ambiance aside, the Dutch people we encountered were phenomenally friendly. I’m pretty sure we have a million new best friends! It was so nice to feel so welcome by the locals and all the kind people we met. We will be back, I’m sure of it.

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We read numerous times how wonderful the city is in the spring and the reviews did not disappoint. The new greenery and blooming flowers, the promising local-to-tourist ratio, and generally mild temperatures were certainly in our favor. Though I must confess at the beginning of this recap that we did not go to Keukenhof Garden like we meant to. But, if you had been there for the line in the tourist office that foreshadowed the equally long and disorganized line just to get on the bus that didn’t even speak of the long bus ride out there you probably would have done the same. That is, walked around the city, had an amazing lunch and then enjoyed sunshine at the local brewery. So, I do want to apologize for the distinct lack of tulips in this post (and the next) because we really didn’t see that many. And I know that’s the point of being in the Netherlands in the spring, but alas, it’s distinct absence from this visit only giving us more impetus to return.

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But there are a lot of bikes in these pictures and they are just as prominent, if not more so, as the tulips. (Did you know that are an estimated more bikes than actually inhabitants in Amsterdam? I knew there would be a lot of bikes, but I was still blown away by the massive concentration of them in the city. It was amazing.)

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Adam and I arrived on Thursday afternoon and checked in to our Airbnb apartment. As I mentioned on our trip to Paris, we really like staying in local apartments. This flat was actually set up as permanent tourist apartment and wasn’t anyone’s home, but it was in the beautiful Jordaan neighborhood and cost quite a bit less than staying in a hotel in the same area would have. Jordaan is full of stylish cafes, shops, and delicious restaurants. It was also far less clogged with tourists than other districts and we got a great sense of how the Dutch live, which, to be frank, looks fantastic.

After checking in we had lunch at Cafe de Tuin, which was right around the corner from our apartment and had the best little sandwiches. Everyone eats sandwiches, or tosti’s, for lunch and we were happy to fit in with the cool kids. I highly recommend the smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives. This spot also hosted a chic crowd for late-night drinks.

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IMG_2813^^Mr. Adam’s traveling shoes

 

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Obviously, we spent a big chunk of the early afternoon just walking around and taking pictures (and trying not to get run over by bikes). It was a stunning afternoon that unfortunately gave way to strong winds and a chilly rain later in the day. We did walk by the Anne Frank museum and admired the line, if not the touching and poignant exhibit inside.

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Perhaps it will be a part of our next visit.

 

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IMG_2834^^Mendo is one of the most fashionable book shops I’ve visited. It has an impressive array of design, style, architecture, and fashion titles and top notch music to accompany your browsing. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in need of adding to the coffee table collection.

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We finally headed indoors to escape the chill and spent a good hour at Foam, Amsterdam’s photography museum. Foam is a very manageable size and doesn’t leave you completely worn out like some of the larger museums do. The Enclave by Richard Mosse is on view until June 1st and I’d highly recommend it. It’s a moving and emotionally stunning feature that treats the violent conflict in Congo through both visual and audio representations awash with a psychedelic hot pink filter. Interested? Of course you are.

There are several other rotating exhibitions that are worth a visit, especially if you’re fond of photography like we are.

IMG_2844^^afterward, we needed sustenance. Fries covered in mayonnaise and ketchup were a must.

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That night for dinner we ate at Worst Wijncafe, a dim and cozy enoteca on the northern side of the city. If you’re looking for a cornucopia of sausage and meat then hustle up to this joint and snag a seat at the bar (or if you’re really lucky, the two-person table in the kitchen). I won’t say, “Prepare to be amazed!” because I like you too much, but everything is so, so good. Of course, we may have been a little biased because we immediately spotted our favorite bottle of Spanish Garnacha (Camino de Navaherreros) that we used to drink all the time in Charleston and promptly threw down a few glasses, but I think everyone who is not a vegetarian will enjoy the place. Our waiter, Kees, made it an even better experience, as did our tablemates, with whom we shared great conversation and dinner recommendations. Go for the charcuterie plate and the fennel sausage. And the wine.

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The next morning we started with coffees at Winkel, a cute café in the Noordmarkt neighborhood. They are supposed to have unbeatable apple pie but it was a bit early for me to indulge.

Just along the same street is Moooi, a very cool store that is honestly way too cool for me. It was a great spot for inspiration, however, and offered a fun look at what’s happening in Dutch contemporary design and interiors.

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We later lunched at t’Smalle (above) which was also right around the corner from our apartment on a sweet little canal. It’s a distillery and brown café that was opened in 1780 and is still a local favorite. It’s perfect for people watching and a quick sandwich lunch.

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Bikes. Oh, the bikes. I was, in a word, obsessed with the well-maintained and clearly demarcated bikes lanes in the city. Everyone mostly rides these kooky little one-speeds and ours didn’t even have hand brakes! They were the kind where you just reverse peddle to stop and it took me way back to my first bikes.

We rented ours through our apartment but there are dozens of companies around the city that offer rentals. I liked that we didn’t look super obvious as tourists because ours were black and inconspicuous (unlike a lot of rental places that have bright red, yellow, or gold bikes) and I was hoping that would deter thieves, which we heard are numerous. I’d highly recommend renting one, however, since it was so easy to get around by cycling and we ended up saving a lot of money by not buying public transportation tickets or taking taxis. Doesn’t Adam look great?!

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We rode our bikes over to the Stedelijk Museum, which was another highlight of the trip. It’s an incredible contemporary art museum that reopened in 2012 after extensive renovations and additions. Their collection of modern and contemporary pieces was extensive and thoughtfully curated, but the temporary Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013 exhibit really stole the show. His large-scale photographs mounted on lightboxes offer extraordinary glimpses into the lives ordinary people. Yet, there is also an element of the sublime and absurd. His technique and point of view add so much vibrancy and life to the space. It’s a can’t-miss show and it’s open until August 3rd.

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IMG_2879^^new closed-mouth smile. Thoughts? (Oh, and a pretty good glimpse at what short hair will look like. Again, thoughts?)

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After a couple hours at the museum we went around the corner to Vondelpark. It’s akin to Central Park in New York City or the Tierpark in Berlin and is obviously the place to be when it’s warm, which it most definitely was not when we were there. That didn’t deter the hundreds of people we saw, ourselves included! My hands were tiny ice chips by the time we got home, but it was a great ride nonetheless.

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We recovered at the apartment for a bit with a couple of Grolsch beers (when in the Netherlands…) before biking over to Blauw for dinner. It’s just past Vondelpark, so we of course could have timed it better, but the ride out there further fueled my flames of love for the city’s bike lanes. Blauw is well known by both locals and tourists for great Indonesian food and, again, we were not disappointed, though admittedly we did order an insane amount of food:

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There’s a medium-size square dish right behind my bottle of Bintang beer. That’s my entree. Every single other dish is just one order of the “rice table” and that is supposedly all for Adam. It’s a healthy combination of meat, vegetable, and fish dishes that give you a diverse taste of Indonesian cuisine and heartburn. We had to order the additional spicy shrimp entree since they don’t allow you to “share” the rice table because, of course, you would never order anything else. It really was a great meal, but despite our big appetites we barely put a dent in dinner.

We tried to squeeze in next door at Franklin for a digestif, if you will, but it was too packed and smoky. We instead cycled over to Bar Oldenhof for a more exclusive experience. After we rang the doorbell and walked around the block for ten minutes (seriously) we were finally let in and given the star treatment. I mean, we were everyone’s closest friend there. That city is so, so nice. Our waitress even wrote down a long list of her favorite bars and restaurants in the area. Adam indulged in a few bourbons (they have the largest selection of whiskeys in the area) and I sipped Champagne before heading home. It has a very warm feel and it’s a fun place to hang if you’re looking for a treat.

Phew! And that was only two days! I’ll be back tomorrow with more photos and highlights of the trip. Until then, have you been to Amsterdam? What were your favorite places/experiences? Do you love it as much as I do?!