Home to over 7000 islands, The Philippines is one of those destinations that is hugely underrated compared to the other destinations in Southeast Asia. This beautiful collection of islands offers endless white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, volcanoes, lakes, huge rice fields and impressive mountains.
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For a late summer trip in Europe we decided to head back to one of our favorite cities, Amsterdam. We partnered up with IAMSTERDAM who kindly give us two City cards so we could fully explore the city without limits.
The card gives you free entry to some of Amsterdam's best museums and attractions, it gets you free unlimited use of the bus, trams & metros, a free canal cruise, discounts and special offers throughout Amsterdam and its surrounding areas (the list is endless!). This card was a saint, it honestly made getting around the city very stress free. You can pre-order them online or purchase one upon arrival in the IAMSTERDAM store located at Schiphol Airport.
I Amsterdam City Card
Free entry to the city's top attractions and free public transport for the duration of your stay.
After our short flight from Cardiff Airport, we arrived in Amsterdam and checked into our first hotel, The Hotel Exchange. Located on Damrak Avenue, it was a great location and only a two minute stroll to Dam square. The Hotel The Exchange is a considered a fashion hotel with a variety a unique rooms all designed by young fashion designers from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. Its truly a great, quirky hotel and I'd highly recommend staying there. Plus the breakfast at Stock (the hotels cafe situated right next door) is literally to die for!
Hotel The Exchange
Damrak 50, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, 1012 LL
For our second night in Amsterdam we were reccomended a lovely restaurant called De IJ-Kantine, located in Amsterdam North. We took the ferry (which is free btw!! I know right) over to Amsterdam North where the restaurant was right within walking distance. The location was unreal. Possibly one of the most picturesque places, especially at 7PM when the sun was setting. The food we had was a delight, and the service was excellent. They couldn't do enough for us! it was perfect.
Mt. Ondinaweg 15-17 (From the back of central station you can catch the NDSM ferry)
After an amazing few days it was time to check in to our next Hotel, The Canal House. A canal side luxury hotel that was home to Dutch merchants in the 1600s. This place was gorgeous, situated in a quiet but great location, just a short walk from the artistic Jordaan district and the Anne Frank House.
The bedroom boasts a king size bed, (Oh Yeah!!) a grand fireplace, with views extending onto the garden, and a pretty big bathtub which makes this place the perfect getaway. The staff at Canal house were extremely accommodating, friendly and even recommended us some of their favorite places to go in Amsterdam. After possibly one of the best nights sleep I've had, we made our way to the breakfast room, where there was a complimentary buffet. It was beautifully presented and had a vast variety of cuisines for all tastes. They basically had everything you need in a good breakfast to start you on your day of exploring!
Keizersgracht 148, 1015 CX Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Our final stop in Amsterdam was the Gem that is Foodhallen. This place was built in a renovated tram depot in October 2014. The concept was inspired by indoor food markets from around the world, a big hall with high ceiling with 20 stalls serving different cuisines. This is a very informal place, you wander through dozens of food stalls, make your pick, buy a drink, and try to find a table or be friendly and share with others.
Although being a little bit out from the way from the city centre where we were staying, the food and drink was worth the journey. It holds a great atmosphere and thats why this place is a must if your visiting Amsterdam.
Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands