It’s here!! After two weeks of catching up, I finally was able to gather all of my thoughts and our journey together to bring you my Netherlands post! I had the most wonderful time with my girlfriends taking on Culemborg, Utrecht, and Amsterdam. It was a slightly spontaneous trip for me but it was one of the greatest adventures of my life so far! I hope you all enjoy (and see all of the pancakes and frites we ate)! x
DAY ONE: WALKS, A CASTLE, AND UTRECHT
I am technically starting with day two since day one was filled almost entirely with traveling. After a looooong day/night of traveling and finally being reunited with my bestie who has been living in the Netherlands, we toured the little town we were living in. Lydia had been living in Culemborg for about a month and a half when we arrived and she couldn’t wait to show us around.
WHAT WE ATE: Croissant + a latte from a drug/convenience store.
Next, we hopped on a train and then a bus to head to an absolutely gorgeous castle a little outside of Utrecht. We spent the afternoon in the gardens and dreaming of how in the world someone could have lived in such a massive castle. This is the first time I had ever seen a European castle (I had only been to palaces- Buckingham, Kensington), so I was stoked.
After our castle explorations, we headed back on the bus to downtown Utrecht. The first thing we saw? Frites. We walked around eating the first of many frites while taking in the gorgeous canals. And then… we brunched.
WHAT WE ATE: Frites from *the best* Mannekenpis, fruit pancakes with bacon (Annie and I) + avocado toast (Lydia) at Streetfood Club.
Next, Lydia took us on a little tour of the canals and an old church with coffee in hand.
We then did a little bit of shopping and, of course, stopped for coffee bigger than our faces.
COFFEE STOP: Vanilla lattes (Annie and I) and cappacino (Lydia).
Then… Lydia got another piercing. I don’t know, we were in Utrecht. YOLO. Afterward, we grabbed a takeaway dinner from a Dutch “Chipotle” and headed back home for the evening.
DAY TWO: SHOPPING IN AMSTERDAM
Since Lydia actually has a job in The Netherlands (teaching middle grades because she’s amazing), Annie and I headed out to Amsterdam while she was at work. We spent the morning taking pics of each other, as we always do, and then hopped on a train for breakfast.
WHAT WE ATE: Unicorn acai bowls with a vanilla latte (Annie) and a green tea latte (me) at Pluk.
Then… we went to a Torture Museum. Annie and I are weird, we get it. Afterward, we did a little bit of shopping in the Nieuwe Zijde area and grabbed some brunch facing the canal.
WHAT WE ATE: Chicken sandwiches and frites, of course. (Annie and I literally eat the same things, I don’t know why.)
We continued our shopping while we waited for Lydia to meet up with us. We took her around to the same shopping areas and then grabbed dinner at an Italian place on the corner of a canal. Yes, the weather was perfect and yes, we were living our best lives.
WHAT WE ATE: Margherita pizza + bruschetta.
We then took a walk and dipped in and out of whatever store caught our eye. Before we ended our night, we had to stop and get frites at our favorite place… Mannekenpis.
DAY THREE: CULEMBORG + CHILL
Annie and I decided to keep it pretty chill as we waited for Lydia to get off work. We decided to just stay in Culemborg and sleep in. When we finally rolled out of bed, we discovered the best coffee we have probably ever had. The caramel latte from the cutest coffee shop that was only a 5-minute walk away. After our coffee, we swung over to a bakery to grab a croissant and headed to a flower shop. We bought a gorgeous bouquet and, of course, a photo shoot began.
After Lydia got off work, she needed a nap, so Annie and I literally wrecked havoc while she slept by trying to make a bunch of funny videos. Once she got up, we headed over to the park which was actually a mini zoo. If you don’t know, I’m obsessed with animals so this was an absolute dream.
Then, we got dinner in Culemborg which was BOMB. While we ate here, we met two amazing Culemborg natives and Lydia got asked on a date… no biggie.
WHAT WE ATE: Grilled cheese + tomato soup (Annie and I. Told you we eat the same thing.), salmon wrap (Lydia), and nachos! Lydia and I also got ginger ale with mint which is our new favorite thing.
We then took off to Utrecht to experience what it’s like at night. It was crazy. There were for sure more people out at night than we ever saw during the day. Our first mission? Find tacos… (yes, we had just eaten don’t judge us.)
WHAT WE ATE: Tacos (Lydia and Annie)… can’t remember what kind. But they said they were amazing. I had a cheese quesadilla with guac.
We walked around the busy centers and ended up finding ourselves at a super fun Italian festival/party to end the night.
DAY FOUR: TOURING AMSTERDAM
It’s the weekend and Lydia had the day off so we headed to Amsterdam bright and early. First stop… breakfast.
WHAT WE ATE: Fruit pancakes and vanilla lattes (Annie and I), acai bowl (Lydia).
And then… we went shopping. We ended up spending over an hour in a bookstore reading on a window seat that overlooked the Nieuwe Zjide area. Annie and I both got a Philosopher’s Stone version of the first Harry Potter book and I got to watch her start the books for the first time. Then… we got frites. Again. Shocker. We took a bunch of pictures and then headed to dinner which was, of course, tacos. (We really like Mexican.)
WHAT WE ATE: Tacos and guac at Mr. Haz in the Jordaan area.
We then got to head over and do something each of us had been waiting for our whole life: The Anne Frank House and Museum. Walking through the bookshelf into the literal room Anne Frank’s family lived at for years in hiding was beyond moving and powerful. It was almost impossible to contain your emotions as you grazed past the very bookcase that kept them safe. I can’t even begin to describe how captivating and emotional it was.
Because our emotions were a little shaken up, we knew we needed some ice cream. On our way back to the train, Lydia and I got a little hungry again and snagged some McDonald’s while waiting for our train to arrive.
DAY FIVE: DREAM COME TRUE
Annie and I were heading home today, but we wanted to get one last thing in… Van Gogh. Van Gogh is my favorite artist and one of my favorite historical figures. I could literally sit and talk to you about him all day long. It’s pretty easy to say that I was extremely excited about today. Before our museum tour was supposed to begin, we took a stroll around the Rijk Museum gardens and Annie took some gorgeous pictures of all of us.
Then we dipped into the museum and I had the time of my life seeing the most famous Van Gogh pieces. I think it’s really safe to say, “life complete” at this point. We dashed home to pack up and return our keys to our AirBnb owners and then Annie and I headed to the airport.
It was so sad to say goodbye to such an absolutely gorgeous country. I feel so lucky to have been able to take a trip like this and to take it with some of my best friends. (Speaking of which, both of them have amazing websites and you should check them out here and here.) Can’t wait to cross another country off of my bucket list, but until then I’ll keep cozy Cincinnati close by. x