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Travel Diary: Amsterdam, Netherlands & Copenhagen, Denmark (December 2019/January 2020)

This was my first trip across the pond, so needless to say I wasn't sure to expect & went into this experience with a completely open mind. Which IMO, is the only way to travel (lol) because after you step onto that plane theres only so much you have control over. I digress. Overall the trip was absolutely wonderful & I CANNOT WAIT to go back. For this recap I wanted to go through everything: What we did, where we went, what we liked, what we didn't like, what I packed, if I wish I had brought anything else, where we stayed, etc. All the details are below broken up by days with some miscellaneous details dropped at the end! If you love travel recap blogs be sure to drop some love in my email with feedback.


Day 1

Day one of our trip (December 27th) was spent on a plane. (UH DUH SARAH) We decided to take an overnight flight from our local airport that connected in New York & then went over to Amsterdam. Total travel time was close to 11.5 hours with the connection. Honestly, I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't tough. I've never spent so much continuous time on an airplane before (7ish hours) & it was rough. We even flew Delta to NYC & then KLM to Amsterdam in business class. We figured that we would be able to get at least 5-6 hours of sleep on the long haul flight but we were sadly mistaken. I was so excited that I couldn't fall asleep until the end for maybe 2.5 hours, plus there was continuous meal service. Absolutely not complaining because I know how fortunate I was to be able to have that experience, but all the yummy food in combo with excitement lead to zero sleep on the flight over. If you have the means, upgrading your seat is 120% worth it for the lie flat seats and wonderful customer service.


Day 2

By the time we landed in Amsterdam at 7 am, it was officially day two and we were EXHAUSTED. But we ran on excitement for the first half of the morning so I guess it worked. Once we landed & got off the flight we first immediately got coffee at the airport because well, coffee was necessary. Our AirBnB wasn't going to be ready until at least 11am that morning, but they said they had a baggage drop off location so we figured we would drop the bags off until the place was ready. We hopped in an Uber (Which was super simple & convenient, there are SO many Ubers in Amsterdam) & headed into the city. Once our Uber dropped us off, the baggage drop wasn't open and our contact wasn't answering. Which was extremely frustrating because they knew when we were arriving. We tried finding the hours online but we couldn't find them.

Also its good to note that John had done an international plan so we would use his phone. I didn't do a plan so my only option was to connect to Wifi when it was available, which turned out to be extremely easy because pretty much everywhere we went had public wifi. If you're traveling by yourself, I recommend getting some form of an international plan at least for internet use.

Back to day 2, since our contact wasn't answering we decided to take our baggage with us and walk down to the street to a "coffee shop". Which we quickly discovered wasn't an actual coffee shop, but a marijuana shop that also happened to sell coffee. LOL. We should have done some more research, but it does make for a funny story. After we drank our coffees we went back to see if the baggage drop was open, but it wasn't so we decided to give up and go drop our bags off somewhere else since it was only 9am by that time. We googled baggage drop locations, which there were plenty, and picked one with seemingly good reviews. Another funny story, we get to the supposed baggage drop and we walk into a record shop that also held your baggage. A very nice gentleman came out and helped us store our bags. I think it was around 60 euros. We walk back outside only to see that the actual baggage drop that we found on google was down the street. LOL. I think we were too tired to think any differently so we just shrugged it off and started to walk around.

We spent the rest of the morning starting to explore the city and walked through Jordaan (super trendy spot with lots of boutiques and pubs) as well as Rembrandtplein (Another trendy spot, known as old Amsterdam). Around noonish we picked back up our bags because John's brother and his wife landed. They were joining us for the trip but their flight landed later than ours because they flew out of a different part of Florida. We met up at the AirBnB- which was SO CUTE! It was a 2 bedroom 2.5 bathroom off of Prisengracht Lane. We napped for the remainder of the afternoon & then got drinks/food at Pigs & Punch, a local bar down the street from where we were staying. We also quickly learned that even in the down season most places require you to have a reservation if you want a table. We're cool with sitting at the bar so thats what we did most of the time.


Day 3

This was our first full day in Amsterdam (not jet lagged lol) & we started off the day taking a semi-private tour through the countryside of holland. Let me just say its 120% worth it to get out of the city for a bit, I LOVE seeing what the surrounding areas look like. We went through an old windmill farm, a cheese/clog farm & an the old fishing villages of Volendam and Marken. I'm a slight history nerd to I loved walking down the old cobblestone streets & imaging what it looked like decades ago. Once we got back we checked out Foodhallen, which was great if you're wanting to try out a bunch of different local/non-local cousin! It's basically a big dining hall with a bunch of different miniature versions of restaurants. Plus, if you're with a group and everyone is indecisive on what to eat then its perfect because everyone can just get whatever they want. But take note that finding seating is almost impossible. We finished up the night with a Stromma wine & cheese evening canal tour of the annual light show!


Day 4

Day 4 of our trip, December 30th, we decide to sleep in until 11am. Which was probably much needed to catch up on all the jet lag. Once we got ready we set out to knock off some must-see places from out list, but first we got dutch pancakes because breakfast is necessary in our world. After breakfast we walked by the Anne Frank house... sadly we couldn't go in for a tour because you need to book tickets months in advance. Noted for next time through & if you're going to the city & want to get inside then be sure to book your tickets now! Our next stop wasn't anywhere in the research we did (a couple on the countryside tour we went on yesterday told us about it), but I'm sure glad we went. It was called A'DAM Lookout. The highest swing in Amsterdam that gives you a full 360 degree view of the city. I was terrified, but it was an amazing experience! After our swings & some drinks, we stopped by the Royal Palace of Amsterdam & walked through the iconic Red Light District. More so just to say that we did it, but it was interesting to see all of the women working the windows & to see how many different types of people were also walking through.


Day 5

December 31st was the 5th day of our trip. We slept in & then caught our flight over to Copenhagen, Denmark! Once we got in we went to find some food & then got ready for our "Party Like Gatsby" NYE party! It. Was. Wonderful.


Day 6

Since we only had about a 1.5 days in Copenhagen, we didn't sleep in much on New Years Day. (Probably because I'm antsy & wanted to go explore the city Lol) We walked through City Hall Square, Christiansborg Palace, Rosenberg Caste, the iconic Little Mermaid Statue, Kastellet (1700's military base), Amalienborg (Home of the royal danish family) & Nyhaven (17th century waterfront canal district). We even tried a Langelander! It's basically the Danish version of a hot dog. You need to try them because they're absurd looking & actually quite good.


Day 7

Today was another travel day, we went from Copenhagen back to Amsterdam. A little on the uneventful side, but we did try some of the traditional mulled wine before we left called Glogg. It was WAY to strong for my personal taste, but John enjoyed it!

A couple things we learned about Copenhagen:

- There is no ride share, but you can get a taxi pretty easily if you want to go by car. We simply walked everywhere because it was totally safe to go by foot around the city.

- 10 USD=150 Kroner, which felt really odd when we were translating prices.

- & There isn't nearly as much fluent English spoken as in Amsterdam, which made it more interesting to get places as well as order, but isn't that the fun of traveling!?


Day 8

January 3rd was our last full day in Amsterdam because we flew out on the 4th & I am SO happy we made the trip out to Muiden Castle. It was a solid 25 minute Uber ride from inside the city, but our Uber gave us his personal cell so that made it incredibly easy to get a ride back. (That was our main concern about going out that far because we were not sure if we could get back) This famous medieval castle dates back to 1280 when the original structure was finished by Count Floris V Soon. It was only 16 Euros per person to take as long as we wanted with an audio tour around the castle & it was completely worth the trip to feel like you're going back in time!

We ended our trip with a wonderful dinner at The Moon Restaurant. (The revolving restaurant underneath the A'DAM Lookout!) We had a full 6 course dinner with wine to top it off as the restaurant gave us a 360 degree evening view of the city.

My final thoughts for the trip? Europe is wonderful & I cannot wait to go back!

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