Netherlands- Amsterdam and Rotterdam

amLike I said in my last travel post about the Netherlands I was going to post my adventures about Amsterdam and Rotterdam in a separate post. So as promised, here we go..

AMSTERDAM
I arrived at Amsterdam Central station around lunchtime and after I put my suitcase in a locker, I headed to the vegan restaurant called ‘Dophert’. It’s only a 20 minute walk from the station. It was a lovely walk to a lovely restaurant. The restaurant is bright, but if you sit upstairs it still feels very cosy. You can even sit outside, but it was quite chilly that day. A few people tried though, but came inside again after while. I ordered the Dophert burger with fries. It dhtook a little longer, as I think my order was given to somebody else by accident. I really didn’t mind because the staff was so friendly and they apologised. In the meantime I ordered a cupcake for dessert and an apple juice. It was all very delicious. I was so hungry (I didn’t really have breakfast) that I ate all the fries and the whole burger until the last crumb. Then I was so full, that it was impossible to eat the cupcake too. So I had that take away to enjoy later. The fries were definitely one of the best fries I’ve ever had and the sauce that came with it was ahhhh-mazing! The burger itself was a bit like a falafel burger and the bun it came on was lovely and fresh. I so enjoyed this meal. Dophert is not only a restaurant where you can eat, they also do catering and you can order cakes. You can go to their website (only in Dutch I’m afraid) to gain more information about that. Something good to know is that you can only pay by card. Anyway, I definitely recommend going here when you are in Amsterdam. Happy with my lunch choice I walked away to explore.

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I didn’t really make a plan, so I was going to let it surprise me. I decided to walk towards the centre via the street ‘Haarlemmerdijk’ and almost immediately I found an ‘Eko Plaza’. A lovely organic supermarket. There is also one in Assen, which I often go to with my mum. I think it’s a mix between the Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic. I find it a very nice supermarkets to do some shopping. They have a lot of things. I noticed that this one had a lot more vegan products. I think because it was bigger than the one in Assen, but I hope it’s because veganism is growing. I bought a Vivani chocolate bar with organic almonds, just because it was talking to me ‘buy me, buy me!’.
The next thing I found was ‘Bagels&Beans’. This is a cafe all about.. bagels (lucky guess). They try to use organic where they can and there are a lot of vegan things to put on the bagel. I didn’t go here to eat something as I just had my lunch of course, but I did go there before amstand the bagels are delicious. In the same street I found something so nice, called ‘The Tea Bar’. A store all about tea!! I’m a sucker for tea and I love the idea of a tea bar. They have more than 100 unique flavours and also lots of nice gift ideas. Next time I’m in Amsterdam I’d love to go here, but I was just too full at that time to even have one sip of tea. So I walked towards the Prinsengracht and then I just got so lucky with the weather. The clouds were dark grey on one side and the sun was fully shining on the beautiful autumn coloured trees from the other side. It gave such an amazing contrast that I was able to make some lovely pictures. Then a little bit later it started raining and I was blessed with a rainbow. Rain, sun, rainbow, autumn, Amsterdam, canals, boats.. it really was my lucky day! I loved the rain on my skin as I walked past the canal.

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I bumped into a juice bar, called ‘The Cold Pressed Juicery’. I went inside to have a quick look and it looked very fancy! The juices looked amazing and you could almost feel the boost in your immune system by just looking at them. Looking at the prices I was almost sure you had to pay for looking at them. For 250 ml (what is just a normal sized glass) you had to pay €4,75 and for 500 ml €7,25. In their defence, all the juices are cold pressed, organic, raw, unpasteurised, HPP free, and contain a lot of vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes. They also offer Juice Cleanses (1,3 and 5 days) and I think they must be really good, but again there is this price. I really like their website though. It’s clear and with a lot of good information. Also on the Prinsengracht I found am2‘Bolhoed’ and I really liked that I accidentally found it. I heard about this restaurant a lot and it must be really good. Next time I think I’m going to have a meal over here. It’s a shame I couldn’t stay in the evening, otherwise I could have had my dinner here. A little bit further I found this lovely shop called ‘Varsana’. A shop with everything you could possibly need for yoga or pilates. I really loved this shop and I think anybody who is into yoga will love it too. The last thing I found on the Prinsengracht is the ‘Tulip Museum’. For only €5 you can learn within 20-30 minutes all about tulips. You can also buy a lot of tulip things, including tulips itself. I love tulips and because it’s not that long I think it could be a nice thing to do.

stI walked via the Westermarkt and Raadhuistraat to the Kalverstraat. The Kalverstraat starts at Dam Square (most famous square in Amsterdam) and is the biggest shopping street in Amsterdam. You can find all the well known shops like H&M, Blokker, TheBodyShop, Forever 21, Lush and River Island in this street. If you keep walking straight, you will end up on Rembrandtplein. This is a square with a statue of Rembrandt, surrounded with a lot of bars and cafes. I walked back via Rokin where you then come back on Dam Square again. From there, via Damrak, it’s only a 5 minute walk back to the station. At the station I discovered a little cafe called ‘Yoghurt Barn’, where you can get yoghurt with the most amazing toppings (think ‘mango, brownie and walnut’). You can choose any yogurt you want and it turned out they have 2 (!) vegan options: Soy and Coconut. They also have coffee, tea, smoothies and juices. It looks great! Next to Yoghurt Barn you can go downstairs and the first shop on your left is ‘WAAR’. I did post about this amazing shop before, because there is also one in Groningen. I love this shop. It has such lovely gifts (what most probably ends up in keeping it yourself) and they sell (and I bought) the ‘Tony’s Chocolonely’ chocolate. Theeeee best!

It was a lovely and relaxed day with lots of hotspots I found by coincidence. I love Amsterdam, it’s such an amazing city. Nothing compares! But around 18:00 it was time to get my suitcase out of the locker and catch the train to Amersfoort.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Dophert
– Spaarndammerstraat 49-H, 1013 ST
Eko Plaza – Haarlemmerdijk 164, 1013 JK
Bagels&Beans – Haarlemmerdijk 122, 1013 JH
The Tea bar – Haarlemmerdijk 71, 1013 KC
The Cold Pressed Juicery – Prinsengracht 154, 1016 HA
Bolhoed – Prinsengracht 60-62, 1015 DX
Varsana – Prinsengracht 100, 1015 DZ
Tulip Museum – Prinsengracht 116, 1015 EA
Kalverstraat – Rembandtplein
Yoghurt Barn – Stationsplein 17B, 1012 AB
WAAR – Stationsplein 41A, 1012 AB

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ROTTERDAM
It started with the 3 cheap train tickets my mum bought (only €13 each). You can use the tickets everywhere in Holland, in the weekends, for the whole day. Rotterdam is named best city of Europe in 2015, so that was the reason why my mum, my sister and I planned to go to Rotterdam on the Saturday I was in Holland. Before we went there was a very nice coincidence. As I was telling you guys in my last travel post, my mum works at hotel-restaurant Rikus. She gets very nice and interesting guests from all over the country. Just a few days after we decided to go to Rotterdam it happened to be that the director of the VVV tourist office of Rotterdam was a guest and she wrote down a lot of hotspots and tips for us. What is super kind of her. How lucky for us!

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That Saturday morning.. We came home so late (2:00) the night before that it was a little bit of a struggle to wake up. We did make it in time though and we took the first train allowed (the tickets are only valid from 9:00). We had so much fun and when the 3 of us are together we can be uhh.. loud! I’m sure a lot of people were annoyed by us (like the man who asked us to calm down at one point), but I also saw some people smiling and laughing at the stupid jokes we made, haha! It was so much fun! After the 1st change my mum sat next to a girl and then suddenly she was reading the book ‘VeganForHer’, the same book I was reading at

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the moment. My mum pointed it out to me and it made me so happy that I immediately started talking to her. She was vegan too and was even working for a vegan company who makes raw bars, called ‘Lifebar’. She actually lived in the Czech Republic and she told us all about it, she was so kind. She also gave us 3 different flavours of the Lifebars to try. I gave her a Vego bar(Yes.. I happen to have one in my bag, haha..) in return as she didn’t know it yet. After lots of nice chatting we had to say goodbye at the next station, but it gave me so much positive energy. What a lovely girl!mhIn the next train we directly opened the Lifebars and shared it so we could all try every flavour. Omg, they are so nice! My favourite was the ‘Brazil Guarana’ and my mum agreed with me, but my sister liked the chocolate one the best. It didn’t take long before we arrived at Rotterdam-Blaak and when you get out of this station there is a lovely architectural surprise waiting for you. The ‘Cube Houses’. It’s an amazing piece of architecture by the architect ‘Piet Blom’. When I was studying Interior Design I’ve been inside one of them and it was such a cool experience. If you like to go inside yourself, you can, because there is one open for the public. The real reason we came to this station was because here is the ‘Markthal’, what literally means ‘Market hall’. meIt’s an amazing building and inside there is a market, some restaurants and there are flats where people are actually living. It opened on the 1st of October 2014, so it’s quite a new concept. I love the building and then especially what they did with the inside. If you look up they decorated the ceiling with massive flowers, fruits and vegetables. Lovely! In the end I was slightly disappointed with the lack of vegan options though, especially because my hopes were up high walking inside and vegan treats was the first thing I saw. Silly me forgot to remember the name of the company that sells them, but if you use the entrance closest to the station, it’s right in front of you. I did like the big range of tropical and rare fruits and I got myself some red bananas which were delicious. Also there is a juice bar and a ‘Jamie’s Italian’, but overall it wasn’t what I expected. On a cheerier note, behind the Markthal is burger restaurant ‘Burgertrut’, where they sell yummy yummy vegan burgers. They’re not 100% vegan, not even vegetarian.. but they have amazing vegan options!

spIn the meantime it was lunchtime and we were all so hungry. I wanted to have lunch at ‘Spirit’ as I heard so many good things about this restaurant. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the Markthal and on the way we also bumped into ‘Poké Bowl’, what is a little restaurant with Hawaiian food. It’s actually a fish restaurant, but you can fill your own bowl and the options include tofu, rice and lots of veggies. A lot of people are crazy about this, so I’ll try it one day. Restaurant Spirit is part of a little shopping mall called ‘De Groene Passage’ and there sp2is also a health supermarket called ‘Gimsel’ and a shop what is called ‘the Wereldwinkel’, where they sell all fair trade stuff from all around the world. But first lunch.. omg, they were right, Spirit is amazing! It’s a vegetarian buffet, but almost everything is vegan too. I was being so greedy and I wanted to try it all and I ended up with a very big plate of food and it’s not very cheap. I had to pay €20, what was a bit of a shock, but I also didn’t really care as it was my holiday and I really wanted to try all these things. I forgot all about that hs2price too when I tasted it, because it was soooo good! I really want to go again, haha! Big pieces of seitan, things with seaweed, tempeh, corn cakes, fried veggies, chunky guacamole.. I’m seriously getting hungry writing this all down. My mum and my sis really liked the food too, but they both got the same drink which they didn’t like at all. It was a ‘matcha latte’ and I agree the matcha was wayyy too strong. Only after a while the matcha sunk to the bottom and though the taste was still quite strong, I actually liked it. It was just not possible to drink the last few sips. I can’t imagine that anyone will like this, so maybe a little less matcha powder is an idea?!

statAfter our tummies couldn’t even stand the thought of another bite we went to Gimsel. It was a good tactic, because walking inside I knew straight away that walking around here with an empty stomach was a bad idea for my bank account. It was a lovely supermarket with lots of great products. You could taste oat yogurt, what my mum and my sis hated, but I absolutely loved (I had to taste it twice.. hehe..). In the end I did buy 3 things. A ‘wooden toothbrush’, what was on my shopping list since forever, ‘dried grasswort’ which you can use as a salt substitute and what do you think they had there too? Lifebars! I was hoping for the ‘Brazil at2Guarana’, but they didn’t have it. They did have ‘coconut’ (hallelujah), so that was that, easy decision. I loved it btw.. this flavour was very tasty too. I didn’t see them in London yet, but I’ll keep an eye on it. We also did have a little wander around the Wereldwinkel, because it’s a lovely shop and my mum and sis bought some Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate. Can’t blame them. On our way back to the station we passed ‘Foodelicious’ and that looked so nice and bright that we had to go inside. You can get so many nice things here. They have a big range of lovely oils, vinegar, tea, beautiful bowls and dishes, books and so much more.. and a lot of very nice gift ideas too.

gd2Back at the station we decided to go to the centre of Rotterdam and that is not even 5 minutes by train. Rotterdam central station is such a cool station. It’s really one of the reasons I love Rotterdam, it has amazing architecture. Rotterdam has a very nice centre for shopping. It actually has 3 shopping streets/areas: Lijnbaan, Coolsingel and Koopgoot. Walking from the station first ‘Lijnbaan’ will appear and then you can via ‘Coolsingel’ go to ‘Koopgoot’, but before we got there we had a little break at ‘Green Delight’. My mum and sis ordered chocolate milk and I ordered the tastiest Chai latte (+ an energy bomb) I’ve ever had. What a lovely place! It’s so different from other cafe’s. We sat in a very comfy sofa and it felt like we were sitting in a living room. On the table there were lots of nice magazines, like the Happinez for example and the atmosphere was just so relaxed. In order hs3to go into the cafe you have to go through a very nice shop with amazing goodies, gifts and cactus plants(!). This is a very nice concept, but unfortunately it’s a pop up, so go before it’s too late! After we walked to the ‘Koopgoot’, what is very close from there. I think I like ‘Koopgoot’ the best, because they made it look so cool and there is a Lush. My sis got some new tooth tabs as she nearly run out and I got a new pair of comfy jeans at C&A. Then it was really time to go home, because it’s about 3 hours by train and my dad was picking us up. We didn’t want to make it too late. But before we got to the station we past this really nice restaurants called ‘Freshii’. They just closed it, but I looked them up and I think they’re pretty good. They do burritos, salads, wraps, soups and more.. all fresh and they try to make a lot of sustainable choices. They’re not 100% vegan though, but there are a lot of veggie choices and you can even custom make your own lunch.. so do I need to say more? Great for a next visit!

We had such an amazing day with so so much fun, tears of laughing all the time. I love my mum and sis so much! Also I want to thank Renske Satijn, director of VVV, who gave us so many helpful tips, they were all so good!

HOTSPOT LIST:
Cube Houses – Overblaak 70, 3011 MH
Markthal – Dominee Jan Scharpstraat 298, 3011 GZ
Burgertrut – Hang 5,
Poké Bowl – Hoogstraat 117B, 3011 PL
Spirit, Gimsel, Wereldwinkel – Mariniersweg 9, 3011 NB
Foodelicious – Mariniersweg 47, 3011 ND
Green Delight
Lijnbaan – Coolsingel – Koopgoot
Lush – Beurstraverse 55, 3011 AE
Freshii – Korte Lijnbaan 18B, 3012 ED

Have you been to Amsterdam and/or Rotterdam? Did you know about these cool hotspots or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip! You can comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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