Amsterdam Photo Diary Part 1

Amsterdam Travels 2014

Amsterdam Bridges

Wheels should be rolling

Amsterdam Bikes

Amsterdam Street Art

Amsterdam House Boats

Amsterdam Canal Houses

Amsterdam Canal Bridges

Lock Lock Bridge

Tommy Hilfiger Amsterdam

Amsterdam City of Bikes

Amsterdam pretty bridge

Milo Amsterdam

Amsterdam City Flag

Amsterdam Buildings

Royal Palace Dam Square

Its taken me almost 6 months to post my photos from our week in Amsterdam, this was our third time in there & we are planning on going back in March. We just love this city so much, its beautiful, cultural, friendly and so vibrant. There is always something to see or do and we never have a dull day there.

We have done most of the touristy things during previous visits so on this visit we just relaxed and explored the city making many pit stops for coffee & cake. Its such a beautiful city to walk around, It feels like you never go up the same street twice.

I would say Anne Franks House is well worth a visit, it is so moving and even worth waiting in the long queue. Canal tours are a nice way to see the city & relax. I recommend using the smaller 6 – 10 seater boats run by Eco Tours, they are very intimate, the guides are amazing & the boats are electric which are environmentally friendly too. The guides are really knowledgable and you learn a lot about the history of Amsterdam and little quirky pieces of information, we had an amazing guy called Nikolai.

We had a really rainy day on this trip & decided to take shelter in one of Amsterdam’s brown cafes. These are really old & traditional bars. It was like stepping back to the 1920’s and the place had great atmosphere. The one we visited was on the corner of Nieuwe Vijzelstraat and Flevoroute.

On the same rainy day we visited the Rijksmuseum to see some of Rembrandt’s paintings including The Nightwatch. The museum was extra busy as it was raining outside & it was in the middle of european summer holidays, but it’s well worth a visit. I would recommend getting there early. The area around the Museum is really pretty & if you manage to visit on a sunny day there is lots of green space to relax on & have a minute or a picnic. Amsterdam has so many beautiful parks that you’re quite spoilt for choice. They’re very well kept & a great way to escape the hussle and bussle of the city streets.

I took so many photos on this trip, I must have a few thousand to sort through & edit so I’ll write a part 2 to this post soon.

Let me know if you have any recommendations for places to visit in Amsterdam or things to do.

San Francisco Part #1

Its been over 2 months since I went to San Francisco with my husband and I can’t believe how fast that time has gone. This year is just flying past. It was my second visit to this wonderful Californian City, I went for the first time in 2006 and once again it didn’t disappoint. We went for 1 week and loved every second of it. Even though it has been so long since I went I thought it would still do a little photo post. I took so many photos it was very hard to narrow them down.

We normally fly from Manchester and connect in London but this time we found a great hotel mystery deal which included a nights stay before the flight & parking for 8 days for £60. The mystery hotel turned out to be The Marriot near Heathrow so we drove down, had a relaxing night the night before flying and took the airport shuttle to Heathrow the next morning. This was a much more relaxed way of flying to the states. Normally our flights from Manchester are really early but doing it this way we got up at a normal time and had breakfast in Heathrow.

We were really impressed with the Heathrow departure lounge (much more so than the SFO one which was awful). From designer clothing & makeup to fancy whisky and nice places to eat, it really wasn’t a hard place to spend a few hours before flying. I can never resist a little duty-free shopping, esp when it comes to makeup!

Flight to SFO was straightforward, we flew Virgin Atlantic again. It’s been a few years since we last flew VA as we have mostly been visiting Europe for the last few years. My husband is quite tall so we pay for extra leg room so being 5ft tall I have ALOT of room. The food on Virgin is always so good, I can’t be the only person that enjoys plane food?!

On arrival in SF we went straight to the hotel. Normally we stay at major hotels, it saves any disappointment on arrival and you kind of know the quality to expect. However we have recently started staying at Independent & boutique hotels. this trip was no exception and we stayed at the brilliant Hotel Diva, in a Junior Suite. Trip Advisor highly rates this hotel. The decor is amazing & a little filthy (very sexy hotel). They didn’t have a hotel bar but they did have an on site Starbucks & restaurant. Perfect. Also they left us a little gift inside the safe but I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

The hotel was in an excellent location, just one black from union square & almost opposite Lefty O’Douls. Really easy to wander into town for a bite to eat. That first night we had a wander around. It had been 7 years since we last went to SF so it took a little while to get our bearings. We soon got the hang of it.

We went down to fisherman’s Wharf the next morning. We wanted to book a trip to Alcatraz as we did this in 2006 and loved it. The Alcatraz tour has had a big revamp and has been given its own pier and visitor centre. This has obviously increased the popularity as we couldn’t get tickets for the next 10 days. it was fully booked up. So my advice would be to book these tickets from the UK before you go. Just glad we saw it last time or it would have been a major disappointment.

Painted Ladies

California

Jack in the Box

Fisherman's Wharf

alcatraz

Loui's Diner

Haight Street

Haight Street

Tram

Downtown San Francisco

Street View SF

View Alcatraz

We tried to do all new things on this visit, things we didn’t get chance to do last time, which I’ll cover in later posts. We visited Haight Street & the painted ladies, we hired bikes & cycled the coast/golden gate, Walked from Union Square through North Beach, Japan Town & we went out to bars in the evening (something we have never been able to do due to Jet Lag kicking our butts). We love just walking around neighbourhoods and off the beaten track exploring and finding small places to eat and drink and relax the day away. San Francisco is perfect for that as the architecture is so pretty and there are lots of cafes and Vegan restaurants, we were worried before hand that we would struggle finding Vegan options but we had no trouble at all.

San Francisco is such a laid back City, there is no stress and you can take it at your own pace. The people were so friendly, we met some characters! I’d go back again for a third time in a heartbeat.

Weekend In London

I had a wonderful time in London & was so proud of my brother running the Marathon in 3:24 his PB time. The weather was so nice & often there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I took a fair few photo and I thought I’d post a few below.

Laduree London

Gary & Me

The Needle

The Mall

Gary running the Marathon

Admiralty Arch

Trafalgar Square

Tube Station

Liberty

Family

Tower of London

Laduree Macaroon Shop in Covent Garden / Gary & Me on the train to the Marathon / The Needle on a sunny day / The Mall / Gary running the Marathon mile 17 / Admiralty Arch / Trafalgar Square / Tube Station / Liberty / Mum, Gary and John / The Tower of London

Bill’s Cafe Restaraunt

I knew whilst I was in London that I wanted to visit Bills. I’ve seen so many cute posts about it & heard nothing but good things. So I thought the day before my brother ran the Marathon would be the perfect time. I went with my husband, brother & mum, none of us had been before.

I took loads of photos whilst I was there, I may have been a little excited! There are a few Bill’s in London and decided to go to the one in Covent Garden Wellington Street. We made a great choice, it was a lovely restaurant so cute inside and the staff couldn’t have been nicer. They have paid great attention to detail and we would recommend it 100%.

Bill's

We ate there for breakfast and the menu was fab. All of us enjoyed what we ordered and it was very fresh and super yummy. I would love to go back for Dinner next time.

Bill'sBill's Cafe Restaurant Bill's Food

Guacamole Eggs and beans on toast (brothers) / Blueberry Pancakes, Banana & Strawberries and maple syrup (mums)

Bill's Cafe Smoothies / Soya Porridge with banana & hazelnuts (mine & it was so good)

Bill's Covent GardenBill's Cafe

Have you ever been to Bill’s – let me know what you thought and which one you visited