Amsterdam || Part I

Complimentary breakfast at the Hoxton Hotel

Amsterdam is one of those places I could see myself living a happy, fulfilled future in.  From the chill vibes to the friendliest people we met in Europe, Amsterdam left a remarkable impression on me that I just can’t shake.  When visiting this city, you should definitely stay at the stylish Hoxton Hotel.  Hands down, our favorite accommodation on this trip.  The Foam Museum, is also worth checking out.  While we we’re there, the museum was running an incredible Helmut Newton retrospective.  Helmut Newton is one of my favorite photographers with an amazing body of work.  I left the exhibit feeling inspired, humbled and in awe of his life’s work. 

After spending the morning at FOAM, we headed to CT Coffee & Coconuts for lunch.  We would revisit this place again and again for it’s awesome food, coffee and green juices.  Not pictured is the amazing dinner we had at the Indonesian restaurant, Blauw.  When you come to Amsterdam, you have to eat Indonesian food.  Some of the best Indonesian food in the world outside of the country is in the Netherlands.  

Stay tuned for Amsterdam Part II.

Details: 

Hotel:  The Hoxton

Breakfast, lunch & coffee:  CT Coffee & Coconuts 

Dinner:  Restaurant Blauw

Foam Museum 


San Sebastian Spain | Sun, Surf & Pinxtos

Mackobe with txips from A Fuego Negro.  We came back for these damn burgers again and again.  So good.

Frozen sandwich of corn and txokolate.

Pickled guindilla peppers with anchovies at Ganbarra

Basque country has been on my travel list for quite some time.  Unfortunately, we only had time to experience the city of San Sebastian.  The first thing on our agenda, Txikiteo, or, bar crawling for pinxtos.  Pintxos are northern Spain’s version of the tapa, served with a glass of wine, beer, or Txakoli, Spanish white wine.  When you’re done eating your pintxo, throw your napkin on the ground.  It’s said, the more napkins on the ground, the better the pintxo bar.  

After bar crawling, we took the bus to Monte Igueldo to get a panoramic view of Playa De La Concha.  To get to the top, you can hike up the mountain, or take the funicular, which we did.  The view from above was breathtaking and well worth a visit.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach, just in time for sunset.  

San Sebastian has the second highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants in the world.  If we had more time, we would have made reservations for dinner.  Instead, we opted to hit our favorite pintxo bars again, A Fuego Negro being the hands down favorite.  The cool kid of the bunch, A Fuego Negro is a modern approach to Basque cuisine with respect for tradition.  The Makcobe With Txips, mini kobe beef burgers with banana chips and ketchup infused bun, was my favorite pintxo in San Sebastian.  

San Sebastian is a magical place that deserves way more attention than one night.  I still have Rioja, Bilbao, Zarautz, and much much more to visit on my next Spanish journey. 


Details 

Hotel:  Pensión Garibai

Pinxtos Bar Highlights:  A Fuego Negro, Ganbara, La Cuchara De San Telmo, Bar Aralar Jatetxea, Bar Zeruko


Madrid, Spain

Just came back from a soul cleansing two weeks traveling through Europe with my friend Lindy.  Lindy is finishing up her masters degree in Valencia, Spain.  We met up in Madrid to begin the first leg of our journey, onwards to Basque country.  Madrid is a city that never really sparked my interest before.  Well, I was wrong because Madrid is an incredibly beautiful city, with beautiful, kind people and amazing food.  

When visiting any of the major Spanish cities, a must try is the churros con chocolate.  In Madrid, the most iconic place to eat these is Chocolateria San Gines.  Despite being jet lagged, this was my first stop in Madrid.  After filling up on churros, we headed to Plaza De Oriente where, to our surprise, the local opera was performing a live broadcast to a massive crowd of spectators for free in the park.  After a long day of travel, this was an amazing introduction to the city of Madrid.  We spent the rest of the evening walking around central Madrid before stopping at a local cafe for dinner.  We arrived at around 9pm to an almost empty restaurant.  9pm is very early, in Spain time.  By the time we left at 10:30pm, the restaurant was hopping with patrons eating tapas, a pre-course meal before actually eating dinner.  

Our final day in Madrid was spent walking around El Retiro Park for a few hours before heading to the massive Prado Museum.  The Prado has an impressive collection of art that you definitely should not miss.  We finished off the evening at a local tapas bar before meeting up with our new friend Eva who lives in Madrid.  Eva took us to one of the coolest rooftop terraces I’ve ever seen, the Tartan Roof at Circulo de Bellas Artes.  The terrace had an amazing view of Madrid that pictures cannot do justice.  Spanish people love to party, and at 12am, it was still very early.  We opted to hang out on the rooftop for the rest of the night since we had an early train to San Sebastian the next morning.  Madrid is such a fun and beautiful city, it’s a shame it doesn’t get as much recognition as it’s sister cities. Next up, our Basque adventures in the city of San Sebastian! 

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