Travel Vlog | New York

In the Summer of 2018 I visited California and New York. I visited New York for the first time whilst on a budget and I still had a great time! Have a watch if you want to see what I got up to and all of the amazing pizza I ate! I’d love for you to show it some love…!

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A New York Minute | Day 38 – 44

Touching the Surface of Amsterdam

A perk of having friends who live in different cities, is that it gives you the perfect excuse to have a weekend break away! Amsterdam has quickly become a very popular and need I say – an insta famous city. Posing by it’s many bridges or cycling around the city whilst hoping not to get hit by a tram, it’s an easy choice for any 20 something to go visit. Although proceeded by it’s reputation of the red light district and coffee shops, there is so much more to discover. With art, history and culture at it’s core, this picturesque city is a gem in the European crown.

Paying for only a £50 flight from London to Amsterdam, I travelled with another friend who conveniently lived nearby the airport, meaning that waking up at 5am ready for our 7am flight wasn’t so bad after all. By 9am we were in a new city reuniting with one of our oldest friends in a running, jumping and high pitched squealing hug. Meeting at Amsterdam Centraal Station, I took the city in whilst being nearly ironically knocked down by an ambulance. We began the morning by having breakfast at my friend’s home which was located by The 9 Streets, before taking a stroll around the city. I’ve heard it said before, but I can now confirm that Amsterdam really is a great city to just simply enjoy walking around. If you like to potter around little European cities, it’s a must visit!

I wanted to do something true to the city and by true no, I did not mean the coffee shops! Unfortunately with little time, we decided not to tour Anne Frank’s house but paid tribute with a moment of reflection whilst passing it by. My best friend a.k.a. tour guide for the weekend, showed us the highlights of the city. Passing through Rembrandt Square we headed towards Rembrandt Museum to enjoy a bit of art. But with many museums to choose from, Van Gogh being the most famous, we opted for the Banksy Museum which scratched the cultural itch without the hefty price tag.

Later that afternoon we enjoyed the novelty of drinking some Dutch beer inside a windmill called Brouwerij ‘t IJ, followed by having a spot of some of the best pizza in Amsterdam in La Perla restaurant. Afterwards we took one last quick walk passing through the Red Light District. To be honest, this left me with mixed emotions. With burger bars and regular city life buzzing away just the next road along, it seemed so alien to me that the two could coexist.

We returned back to my friend’s apartment and somehow all still had so much to talk about; I suppose that is the magic of true friendship! But soon enough the combination of chatting with my oldest friends for hours and walking thousands of steps across the city, meant that I was out like a light as soon as my head hit the pillow.

On Day 2 of our trip we decided to conquer the rest of the Amsterdam streets by bike. Although I had not cycled for 10 years and felt very nervous, it was how they say – just like riding a bike! Nonetheless, I was unable to master the classic backpedal, so I chose to rent a standard bike for the day instead. Word to the wise: I would suggest that if you haven’t visited the city before to stick to cycling around a local park for a stress free experience. There are a lot of cyclists, mixed with trams, pedestrians and buses which can be very intimidating and scary if you’re not careful!

We began with a cycle around Vondelpark and then followed my friend as she took us on a tour of the city, stopping at various other parks along the way. We also enjoyed a coffee and cake (just a regular coffee shop to clarify haha, not the Dutch kind) for a break at Blond Amsterdam Café. That evening we caught a train outside of Amsterdam to Leiden to attend a Eurovision party, which was a very European celebration! After a few hours and a couple of drinks it was time to head home. However it seemed somewhere along the line of the Netherlands winning the competition, we underestimated the distance back to the station and had to sprint at Usain Bolt speed in order to make our train. Although we each felt like throwing up as a result of the run for our lives, we had a great night!

During my short visit to Amsterdam, I learned that the city has something for everyone, even though I only really touched the surface. Whether it’s window shopping and browsing Amsterdam’s pretty jewellery shops, admiring it’s traditional pottery, or enjoying a Stroopwaffel – this little city as a whole lot of personality!

Have you been to Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments! Which cities should I add to my list?

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Kindness Doesn’t Cost A Thing

Travel Vlog | Wine Tasting in California!

A Weekend in Costa Del Sol

Dear 2010’s

A Weekend in Costa Del Sol

One thing in my 20’s that I have been trying to take advantage of is how easy it is to fly around Europe from London (at least this was the case pre-Brexit). In just two to three hours with a ticket costing you under 100 (sometimes even 50 pounds) you can find yourself in a much sunnier climate. During Easter 2019, I took a trip to Picasso’s home town for a long weekend in Costa Del Sol. Spain is such a beautiful country to explore and is very accessible to travel around particularly by train; ideal if you fancy doing a tour around the country.

My trip to the Andalusian region of Malaga was short but sweet. Touching down at the airport, I took an easy train ride to Fuengirola to my newest Airbnb home for the weekend.  Tip: The train platform is located right outside the terminal so there is no need to worry about the train being an inconvenience. It is also certainly cheaper than a taxi ride! We initially had planned to stay in Malaga but as it was Holy Week or Semana Santa as it is locally known, this meant that the peaceful weekend getaway I was hoping for, may not have gone to plan. The loud musical Easter processions run all night in the city, so I was advised to stay in Funegirola – a smaller beachside town instead. Easter processions still run in this town just as they do across country so you can still experience this Spanish tradition. However, by 11pm the town reverts back to it’s typical Spanish lifestyle of wine and tapas bars taking the centre stage again.

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Fuengirola

Fuengirola is certainly quieter than Malaga but by no means should it be overlooked.
My Airbnb was a centrally located, light and a very spacious 2 bedroom apartment, kitted out so chicly in Ikea furniture. The host was kind and even bought some board games for us in case we decided to stay indoors, as rain was forecast for the weekend (of course the British weather travelled with us to sunny Spain!) Nonetheless the rain mostly held out despite the clouds, and we spent the first two days pottering around the town. We walked leisurely walking alongside the beach, occasionally stopping to have a Cruzcampo in the bars that were interwined throughout Fuengirola. There is also a small lovely beach, but our April visit unfortunately meant that it was far too cold to do a spot of swimming or sunbathing. One of my favourite finds in Fuengirola was La Galleria, a food market with stalls to enjoy a bite to eat and a relaxed place to grab a drink. One thing to note is that smoking is permitted inside, something that of course has been banned in the UK for a while so it was a bit odd to get used to again!

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Fuengirola

During my long weekend I also spent one day each in Malaga and Marbella. Both are easily accessible by train and/or bus, with public transport even running during Holy Week. On Good Friday we explored some of what Malaga had to offer by beginning with a walk in Parque de Malaga. Here we admired the ornate baroque and renaissance statues,  surrounded by many colourful and somewhat tropical plants! But with only a few hours to see some of Malaga’s highlights we had to be selective with our time. So we took a walk to Castillo de Gibralfaro for some great views of the city, followed by walking down to the Roman Theatre to see the ruins. The sun finally came out in the afternoon so we sat by La Malagueta beach, which is located on the city’s waterfront. Being so centrally located, I can imagine this beach would be heaving in the Summer months. Tip: For any Summer visits to the city I’ve also read that Torremolinos (approx 20 mins away) is a nice day trip out, as are the beaches, La Misericordia and Los Almos; Los Almos even has beachside concerts in the Summer!

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Malaga

We correctly anticipated that the city would be busy given it was Good Friday in Spain- a Catholic country. Upon first impression, the processions were slightly intimidating. Large crowds march in traditional dress of long robes and tall pointed hats covering their faces, as they carry religious statues throughout the towns, accompanied by a band playing instrumental music. However, after a while you soon become accustomed to it and the processions really are a unique and cultural experience.

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Old Town, Marbella

On our last full day in Spain we travelled by bus from Fuengirola to Marbella. We mainly walked around the Old Town but if you are in Marbella there is a lot to do! Popular for partying in the Golden Mile, you can also go shopping in Puetro Banus, do water sports at Naguelas Beach or walk along the Paseo Maritimo.

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Old Town, Marbella

Overall I really enjoyed my weekend in Spain – even if the sun didn’t come out to play as much as I hoped! If sipping wine and eating tapas or some espeto (grilled sardine) at a local chiringuito (beachfront bar) isn’t enough to sway, this Andalusian region also has some incredible hikes. I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to this but the views from Caminito del Rey look breathtaking and would be a good activity to keep you busy for 3 hours or so!

If you liked this post you should read:

Dear 2010’s

A New York Minute | Day 38 – 44

California Travel Diaries | A Weekend in San Diego

Dublin | Travel Vlog!

 

Hey there lovely readers!

About a week ago I returned from Englad’s lovely neighbours’ across the pond – Ireland! Although a blog is yet to follow for the full detail, check out my YouTube video in the meantime to see what I got up to in Dublin and remember to like, comment & subscribe.

I hope you enjoy!

Natalia x