If you follow me on Instagram then you’re probably aware that last month I went on vacation to Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) in Europe.
The trip was full of action, fun, food and family time. Read more below!
Prior to my trip, I checked the weather in Europe, which actually ended up being much more chillier than predicted.
However, that didn’t stop us from doing any of our planned/unplanned activities. Upon arrival, we tried to check in early at our hotel (which failed) so instead we went out for breakfast.
We ate at Ted’s, a small, classic all day brunch restaurant located in Overtoombuurt. I ordered the Vegan pulled jackfruit sandwich with waffle fries, which was delicious.
A few hours later, we walked through the famous Vondelpark. Designed and built in 1850, the urban park is stretched across a 120-acre land, and is a popular touristic site for people who enjoy outdoor activities.
The next day, we went to Amsterdam Centraal, the heart of the city. Built in 1889, in Gothic-Renaissance style, it includes many shops and restaurants. Multiple lines of city trams and buses also connect through to the hub.
Once in the center, we completed a sightseeing canal tour. Of course, I also took the opportunity to visit the bench from the blockbuster film, The Fault In Our Stars.
On July 1st, we attented the annual Keti Koti festival. Keti Koti is a Surinamese concept, meaning “Broken Shackles”. It commemorates the abolition of slavery on July 1st 1863 in the then colonies of Suriname (South America) and the Netherlands Antilles, ending a dark period in Dutch history.
Not only was this a beautiful learning experience, but we also had the chance to immerse ourselves in the culture, music and food of the Surinamese people.
Later, I bought some gelato (probably for the 15th time since the start of my trip) in a small gelato shop in Amsterdam Oost.
In the following days, we explored the extensive floating flower market, flea market and fashion boutiques in the area. We also strolled by iconic museums, such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Tropenmuseum.
We actually did end up going inside the Tropenmuseum, a contemporary museum about world cultures. Inside there were Islamic, Japan and other countries in Asia, New-Guinea (Oceania) and Surinamese exhibits.
My favourite was the Longing for Mecca section of the Islamic exhibit, which had a huge display with stats on pilgrimage, as well as various storytelling through multimedia. The Cool Japan exhibit was also pretty dope because it held anime and other kawaii items. It also included a manga library and original Japanese video/arcade games like Dance Dance Revolution.
One notable eat for me was Mastino V, where they only served Vegan and gluten free dishes. We went for dessert and purchased a delicious chocolate pizza and cheesecake of the day.
The rest of our days in Amsterdam went by quickly…
Cologne was a much more low key city in Europe, which I actually preferred.
It felt like being in a type of place where the notion of time didn’t exist.
Walking through the cultural capital is an experience in itself. The city is enriched with over 2,000 years of history, comparable to the Roman times.
Via a tourist two-decker bus, we toured the medieval city, passing through the heart of the metropolis on the Rhine.
Aboard the bus, we saw the Cologne Cathedral, the 4711 House, the Hohenzollern Bridge, the zoo, the Rathaus (historic city hall), the Gürzenich and much more.
The showstopper was definitely Cologne’s Cathedral or The Shrine of the Three Kings.
The majestic site holds the reliquary of the Three Kings since 1164. In 1248 work started on a new site for their remains, inspired by cathedrals in Northern France.
The cathedral is among one of the tallest structures in the city.
Inside, there’s a selection of invaluable art, like stained glass windows and a black marble high altar featuring images from the Coronation of the Virgin.
There’s also a triple sarcophagus decorated with stories from the life of Christ, prophets and apostles. Beside it is the Romano-Germanic Museum, a modern facility housing ancient Roman antiquities and artifacts.
Where in Europe should I travel to next? Let me know in the comments section below!