A Little Homesick
The Graduate Escape

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Amsterdam

Along with the rest of the British university population, Ant and I jetted off to Amsterdam for a couple of days earlier this summer. It was our post-university jaunt, a time to reflect on our studies and ponder our studies. Just kidding, we went on a mini RHOBH does Amsterdam tour and were heartbroken to find the pancake shop closed for the entirety of our trip. 

Eat.

The little bakery just outside our hostel. Oh my word those pastries. I would definitely recommend the chocolate twist, Nutella pancake and the croissant with glazed strawberries.

There's also a nice cafΓ©/restaurant right by the university with amazing tabbouleh. Did I order it just because it sound cool and healthy? Yes. Was I disappointed? No! We grabbed seats in the outside terrace and it was so lovely and I felt super sophisticated.

We also stopped at a picturesque little cafe in the Red Light District. I've conveniently forgotten the name but it's a little garden courtyard by the canal and it is the definition of Instagram-worthy!

FINALLY I almost forgot to add one of my favourite restaurants ever - Getto. Burgers named after Drag Queens. Oh yes. This place is truly fabulous. Delicious burgers, chunky chips, twirly blue decorations in your burgers, and a cocktail named after the legendary Kylie Minogue (strawberry liquor and prosecco) - need I say more?

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Sleep.

This hostel is not for the faint hearted. Or those with a penchant for short skirts. The stairs are ridiculous, I actually thought it was a joke. However the rooms are clean, the bathrooms really nice and the location is amazing. It's just a ten minute walk from the station, right off the main square and just a block from the red light district.

Activities.

Ant and I have a thing for churches, museums and old buildings. We're two peas in a desperately uncool pod. 

Anne Frank. On our first day we headed to the Anne Frank House. We were actually uncharacteristically unprepared and didn't manage to pre-book tickets. We'd also heard that the queues stretched for miles, but by the time we sauntered down there at around 6pm we only queued for maybe 20 minutes? The place is open until 9pm so unless you've already got your ticket I definitely suggest going later.

Windmills. A mere 18 minute train ride from Amsterdam central takes you to the little town of Zaanse Schans and its here that you can get your Dutch windmill fix. It's about a ten minute walk from the station and it is SO CUTE. Windmills, fields, a river - what more could you want?! The place is free to wander around and you only have to pay to go inside the actual windmills. There's also a cheese and chocolate shop, giant yellow clogs, and chickens. I've found nirvana. Oh and if you think you can smell chocolate en route to the windmills, you can: there's a chocolate factory there too.

Red Light District/Museum of Prostitution. This may come as a surprise to some, but seeing giant penis statues wasn't really high on my to-do list. Instead, the lure of a history museum with the opportunity to sit in one of the infamous window was far more appealing. Surprisingly I didn't manage to lure any customers. I did, however, leave with an increased respect for the ladies and a desire to own my own business. I'm not sure if there's any correlation there.

Walking tour. I love walking tours. Absolutely love them. One afternoon we decided to join one and although we had been to most of the places on it already, there were plenty of places that we'd walked right past. My personal favourite was a sort of retirement village for wealthy Dutch women. Back in the day the only option for female widows was to become a nun and give away all your riches to the church. Funnily enough, that didn't fly for many women, so instead this sort of retirement village was built. I forget the name but it began with a 'b'. Anyway, all these gorgeous houses are built around a green and the place comes complete with a Catholic and Protestant church. If my husband ever dies before me, you know where I'm headed. Oh, I forgot to mention that it was a Sandemans tour

Final thoughts on Amsterdam? I loved it.

Photos from Amsterdam and Zaanse Schans. Taken June 2016.