I traveled to Singapore to celebrate the wedding of my friends Serene and Collins. I had high expectations and they were exceeded.


You’ll see Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures (plus many more) coming together here. Old style buildings contrast glassy skyscrapers and vegetation persists everywhere. It feels like nowhere else in the world yet comfortably “western” to me all at once. An impressive metropolis smack in the middle of the Eastern Hemisphere.

One of my favorite cities in the world, this is a place I’ll return to (and would consider living in). 

Some general tips:

go to any 7-eleven to pick up a SIM card, for about 10USD you can have a week’s supply of data which will allow you to use maps, etc. well worth it! 

Next, get an MRT pass (or use your contactless credit card) to take all trains/buses – Singapore has a great public transport system which you’ll want to take advantage of. 

In case you prefer to hire a car use Grab app (like Uber in Singapore).

Bring a refillable water bottle (the tap water is treated and ready to drink)

Eat at the food courts! Delicious meals for 5-10USD (v 15+ USD in a restaurant) To avoid long lines visit just before/after (noon) lunch hour or dinnertime. Also note that if you don’t mind waiting, the cues move quickly. 

Bring tissues/wipes because napkins are hard to find. 

I saw 24 hr luggage storage at the airport from $10. While you’re there visit the Jewel waterfall in T1.

Now, What to do in Singapore:

Cocktails at Atlas Bar (in the “Batman building”) is a destination I wouldn’t miss. Go before 5pm for a more casual dress code & no reservation needed. Incredible interior and attentive staff, fancy drinks, impressive AC. Sit at the bar and chat with them about what to do around town. Little India and Bugis Street are in the area.

Something I’d never experienced before was a Hot Pot restaurant which gave guests free manicures! Haidilao in VivoCity is the place to go (this is best as a group activity). 

The stunning wedding of Serene and Collins took place on Santosa Island.

I attended a yoga class in celebration of the International Yoga Day. My friend Harshini hosts Flow and Chai Yoga in the Botanic Gardens every other Sunday at 9am. Bring your own mat and mug to Corner Walk (near the Nassim Gate entrance/visitor center).

The Botanic Gardens are very pretty, easy to access via the DLR and free.

The Coconut Club offers yummy SE Asian foods near Chinatown.  

My friend Annaling took me to see the Gardens at Marina Bay (Flower Dome & Cloud Forest $28) these gigantic herbariums are a must.

See the “Supertrees” aka (by me) giant mushrooms light show nightly at 7:45/8:45pm


My friend Andrew was generous enough to invite me to the Marina Bay Sands rooftop pool (hotel reservation needed for this one) which has famous views from the highest point in the city. The infinity edge gives a serious impact. I don’t think the viewing deck option (for non-hotel guests) would really be worth it…


A couple of things to eat: Laksa (fish and noodle curry soup) and an ice cream sandwich (literally a block of ice cream in bread/pictured below)

Take a riverboat cruise for $25 and bring home some Tigerbalm as a souvenir (it’s made here!)

Some things I left for next time: TreeTop Walk, Shopping @ Haji Lane boutiques and the Art Science Museum 

On Solo Travel (for blog)

The following are my responses to questions from Tara at
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Athens, Greece
          I’m Grace, I’m 28 years old and I’ve been to around 40 countries in the last ten years and often journey alone. At 18 I traveled to Colombia with a small group of friends and a year later my second international trip—or my first solo trip— happened by accident. I was planning to tour Eastern Europe with a friend and when she canceled last minute I decided to go on my own. I was nervous and after a few glasses of wine on the flights over, I found myself in Budapest sometime around midnight. It was dark and I realized that I was a tiny bit tipsy.  I managed to figure out the train to the city center then wandered around seeking my hostel for a while. The snow blew in circles, melting on my face, mixing with tears of frustration as I struggled to find where I needed to go. Finally, I walked into a 20+ bed hostel dorm which was completely empty (I should note that it was January/not exactly high tourist season). I ate a chocolate bar then slept with my passport and money inside my sports bra. I questioned whether this trip would be worth it but managed to sleep.
          In the morning everything changed. As I was heading out to get something to eat, I heard someone speaking English down the hall! Desperate for a companion, I rushed to introduce myself and made a new friend that day who even took the train to Prague with me (we’re still friends today). My favorite thing about traveling solo is the incentive to meet new people. All travelers get lost, have to squeeze into a tiny bathroom which won’t fit their bags or have stories to tell another person. We need other people and when you don’t have an immediate companion to turn to you are forced to introduce yourself to strangers. If you’re like me then this is going to be intimidating at first. But finding people at hostels or in train stations who come from worlds vastly different than yours yet are sharing unique and memorable moments with you is worth the struggle. The people I’ve met traveling have become my lifelong friends. These friendships continue to enrich my life.
          Through traveling alone I’ve learned how strong I am (both physically and mentally). I’ve had to punch a robber, push a molester and carry luggage that weighs more than half as much as me! I’ve sat through 12-hour flights that bring one to the edge of sanity and survived some disgusting stomach rebellions. I’ve witnessed riots and bathed in the Mediterranean/Caribbean/Arabian Seas. I’m still learning how to accept and embrace being different (both on the road and back “home”) and (this is a big one for me) how to ask for and accept help from others. Solo travel has made me who I am today and gifted me with many friends and memories. Solo travel is a luxury. Be brave, take the journey alone!
          – One product you recommend for traveling
Dry skin solution: I coat my face with a generous layer of Weleda Skin Food before long flights. Putting a touch of this ointment in each nostril helps protect against circulating co-passenger germs as well. VIM&VIGR compression socks are also a must.
          – An app you recommend downloading
I don’t use many apps apart from Google Maps, Spotify…
You can follow/contact me on Instagram: @graceintheworld

Three days in Paris


Paris night one started at FORMATICUS cheese bar around the corner from our Airbnb in Batignolles with the most delicious variety of goat, cow and sheep’s milk cheeses for dinner street side. Next we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe around 9:45 to catch the end of the sunset and see the Eiffel Tower sparkle (at 10pm) as the city lights came on all around. 


Day two was equal parts tourist and foodie. We went straight to the catacombs in the morning. Tip: grab a coffee and delicious butter croissants & spinach/chèvre quiche from Bonjour Bakery down the street during the two hour wait in line. We headed underground to the display of six million human bones (which I found equal parts creepy and interesting). From there we taxied to what was the best food of the weekend: the lunch menu at Invictus.

Everything was well buttered and made me very happy to be alive and tasting such amazing things. Next up was a wander through the Musée d’Orsay then some canal-side beers with old and new friends from Paris and Montana. 

Wandering around the Louvre on our second night was amazing. It was a Sunday around 11 pm and there were very few people around. The lights and the contrast of old and new architecture, the hype that lingers behind the millions of tourists from all over the world who come to stand in this place, it was romantic, it was moving. (The tourist photos grabbing the top of the  pyramid did not turn out).


On our final day in we kept the itinerary fairly simple. After a walking tour in the morning (my guilty tourist pleasure) we took a break mid day and around 9pm we grabbed some crackers and raw milk cheese and a little bottle of D.O. Champagne and hit a river cruise at 10pm just as the Eiffel tour sparkles and the city lights were coming on.

This experience was incredible and something I recommend wholeheartedly. Don’t forget to wear your blanket scarf because you’ll want to sit on the rooftop deck and once the sun goes down it gets a bit chilly. Incredible ending to the trip. Can’t wait to return to this city.

Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain

{Basque name: Donostia -Castilian Spanish name San Sebastián}

This city has been on my radar for quite a few years and many friends have called it their favorite. Known for its award-winning food and beach vibes, I was actually taken aback by how small the city is (compared to what I had in mind). I walked everywhere- granted that meant an average of 7.5mi per day- and enjoyed my long weekend despite heavy rain every. single. day.


Northern Spain is known for rain and Basque Country is no exception! Most people wore cool matte, thigh-length rain jackets (added to my shopping list, these people know what they’re doing) and museums/attractions provided umbrella holders with a lock and key. I visited in late May. I heard it rains 350 days per year…

I traveled to D-SS with my grandparents. We arrived by train on Friday afternoon and after we dropped off our luggage it was lunchtime. Note: the train station and bus station are located right on top of each other and are walking distance (about 15 mins) to the city center which is convenient!


Cafe Botanika had a great menu del dia: three courses including a bowl of pumpkin soup, vegetarian tagine then carrot cake for 12euros. This veg spot has a cool garden + vibe and drew us back for coffees and sweets on day two as well. After lunch head across the bridge to check out the Tabakalera Culture Center for a trendy (free!) take on city culture and excellent 5th-floor views.


The beach had to be next…despite the wind and the rain. Walking along La Concha without a crowd save a few brave women swimming felt strange since I’ve seen only seen photos of crowds on sunny days.


I learned that the Zurriola surf (and city) beach might be more my style. The neighborhood near it also boasts regentrified hipster finds such as Sakona Coffee Roasters (combine the avocado + salmon toast and follow with a cortado). Mapa Verde vegetarian also came highly recommended but I didn’t have a chance to go this time.

So, FOOD. A city known for its culinary mastery, seafood takes the cake and sits well with slightly sparkling Txakolí or Verdejo (my pick) wine. Try squid, crab and hake anywhere on Calle 31 Agosto. Order from the blackboard, not from the counter.

The place the blew me away was actually further from the famed spots in the center. Chutney Gastrobar makes my top 10 global list. I will be back to D-SS because I must eat there again! These guys know what they are doing! They are friendly and adjust for vegetarians. The food is eclectic, intelligent and fairly priced. I felt both at home and in awe of every. single. dish.

Apart from a walking tour and tapas tour

(arranged through the tourist office), it was an extremely rainy morning walk up Mount Urgull that really sold D-SS to me.

The paths were essentially little creeks, stairs waterfalls, and walking through soggy caves and crevices was creepy and exciting. No one could be found even at the top and the views of the ocean, beaches and city were really cool. It was super windy! You can explore the ruins of a fortress and walk amongst castles and graveyards until you eventually find yourself standing at the base of a giant statue of Jesus watching over the city. Don’t miss it. Might be different with crowds…





Our five night trip through Morocco was packed. In hindsight, seven days would have been much more manageable (having a buffer day between long journeys) but here’s what we did, learned and have to share from our experience:


The best flight options were into the capital, Rabat. After long days of travel, we took a taxi straight from the airport to the guesthouse (riad) where we were staying. Negotiating prices is a major thing, Google maps will get you very lost in the older parts of the cities (Medinas) which are full of tiny winding streets and dead ends. After some comical wrong door opening, we got help from a father and his daughter and arrived at the place we’d booked in advance (we decided to book the first two nights’ accommodation + one activity on Airbnb ahead of time and stay open for the rest).

Riad Marlinea (actually located in Rabat’s sister city of Salé) blew us away! The place was gorgeous, decadent.. the best place we stayed on our trip. Quite a good first impression.


Riads are sort of like bed and breakfasts, we were fed a variety of bread and juice and coffee in the morning then took off for our pre-booked cooking class (our first Airbnb Experience) after postponing a bit due to morning rain.

Cooking class

We met our cooking class ‘host’ near a tram stop (Rabat & Sale have a very nice tram) and stopped by small shops and a market to buy everything we needed to cook an extra large lunch. We stepped into a pastry shop which was swarming with bees, bought fresh cheese and spicy olives as well as produce from a small street market and went to our host’s house to cook.


I wrote down a few notes about the dishes we made (most of which are pictured above–though I forgot to photograph the Tagine):


Vegetarian Tagine: Onions, carrots, potato, bell peppers, zucchini + cilantro & parsley, mix turmeric + ginger + pepper w water, cover w oil, lid (This is cooked in a special clay pot though I think you could use a dutch oven)

Dish similar to a Spanish Pisto: Blacken peppers, smoke inside closed container…skin, fry w EVOO + garlic, diced tomatoes add turmeric, pepper, paprika, parsley + cilantro

BEST DISH EVER: Carrots OR Lima beans (take a bit of peel off so that they don’t explode) + fresh cilantro & (less) fresh parsley + fresh tomato sauce, pickled lemon* (keep a bit of lemon peel) + mucho EVOO & some water (soupy)…cook down and allow to cool

Everything was made stovetop except for the cheese pastries (the little triangles which we wrapped and are pictured above) these are similar to samosas and can be sweet or savory- filled with anything you like and baked until crispy!

*Pickled lemon: slice, add a lot of salt + lemon juice, seal jar leave for one month. This is the most interesting flavor! Can use for veggies and fish–my number one takeaway from the class!

We went straight from the class to take the train to Fes. Many people had advised us to take first class (and we would have, it’s not much more than second) but it was sold out so we settled for second class which was fine for the short three-hour trip.



Fes reminded me of Chiang Mai, Thailand for some reason… TOURIST SATURATION

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We stayed in the Medina near the blue gate. This is a tourist hub and gave us proximity to taxis which was ideal given our short turnover.

Arriving at our hostel in Fes, we were given our first fresh mint tea and at 10pm we began planning our trip South to the Sahara Desert (the city of Merzouga) the next morning! Having booked this hostel based on reviewers noting the host’s helpful nature paid off and we were able to secure a ride the next morning at 8am.



We paid 150 Euros for transport (6-8 hours taxi each way) + all-inclusive camping (glamping) for one night. This price was a bit higher than when some others had told us but given the time crunch, we took it and didn’t regret it at all! Amazing experience!


The first 8 hr drive was the worst part. The driver made tourist stops (to feed monkeys on the side of the road, at “his family’s” terrible restaurant)… and when we were suddenly told to get out on the side of the road at the outskirts of the desert we weren’t sure what to think! Another car dropped off two French ladies then the four of us went in a third car literally into the sand until we arrived at a hotel in the desert. We handed off our backpacks and climbed upon camels (I went first!) then began to walk towards the dunes.


Camels are funny, stubborn animals! We traveled in a long line and the young men who led us seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. I was reminded of my summer spent working at a tourist ranch/resort in Montana (specifically of the wranglers and guides there). When we go to the base of the highest dune around we got back on our own two feet and made the climb to the top before sunset (hiking up a mountain of sand is hard work!).

pro tip: sit on the sunny side of the dune (the shady side is VERY windy; we took too long to learn this)


The landscape of the desert is really unique and beautiful to me. On our way down we saw a beetle! Finding a little life on a huge pile of sand was pretty cool!

After sunset, we took the camels to our campsite where more tourists (maybe 20) were waiting. We had dinner (lentil soup, Tagine, and round bread) then gathered around a fire, played drums & danced. This was really nice.

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Our “room” was a wooden structure covered in many layers of blankets. We had a lifted bed frame and again SO many blankets to sleep on/with which is nice (kept us warm) but in the middle of the night the winds picked up and sand was blowing everywhere! Our “door” was just a  single blanket draped over the opening to our room so we placed our bags on it to keep everything more airtight and were able to sleep through the night. Waking up early to see the sunrise almost happened but we just missed it (and that turned out to be OK since it was a cloudy day- actually there was a bit of rain! In the desert!)


The drive back was a bit faster (our young driver was daring!) The one fun moment was an unexpected parking lot dance party when a bus full of students carrying a large speaker parked behind us and pulled us into the party. We needed to get to Chefchaouen, a city a few hours North of Fes, the next morning and when we realized that the buses were sold out we asked our taxi driver for a contact. Negotiating the car to Chaouen was chaotic. Finally, after multiple calls back-and-forth, we found ourselves running through the pouring rain to a meet someone sent by the taxi company to give a cash deposit. After all of this we opted for a nice dinner at Café Clock (our favorite item was the Fes Platter) then went to have a shower and rest before the next day’s early morning adventure.



In the morning the rain followed us to Chefchaouen. We went to the bus station first thing to get tickets for the next morning (7am on the CTM tourist bus because the local bus option took twice the time). I’d booked a room through Airbnb but we went to have a big lunch first which was really lovely- we sat on a balcony with an open window and a fire near us in the rain.


As the rain cleared that afternoon, we really just wanted to wander around the beautiful blue city. We walked halfway up to a mountainside lookout and walked in circles around the medina stopping for street-side sweets and taking pictures. It was lovely.


The only bus back to Rabat was in the morning so we planned to take advantage of our last day starting with a glam Hammam experience then a nice big lunch… but things didn’t go as planned. The first THREE Hammams we tried were are all broken/closed. We found ourselves in taxis all over the city and finally gave up. We went to a lunch spot: Pause; near the main train station and gave up completely on the Hammam dream… until in literally the final hour we walked by a massage place which happened to offer hammam and happened to be below our budget and happened to have availability right away which was all too lucky.

What is a hammam?

Essentially, it’s a way of bathing. I understand that there are two types of hammams: group or private. The group hammams are walk-in, self-serve steam rooms where you bring your own towels, soap, etc. and the private are in more of a spa setting, can be individual or in some cases couples-friendly. We took this second option and I wore a bikini (though I’m sure it isn’t mandatory). Two women washed and seriously scrubbed my body, scalp and hair. I left feeling incredibly clean which was especially dramatic after all of the camping, taxis and rainstorms we’d experienced throughout the trip. We went onto the airport feeling like new people. Great ending to the trip!


Below are some general notes I’d give to any future traveler who’s planning to visit Morocco:

  • biodegradable wipes SAVE YOU
  • hand sanitizer IS IMPORTANT
  • Closed-toe shoes ARE IDEAL
  • Scarf (for the dessert) — I didn’t have this and had V sandy ears..
  • Cropped pants/skirts/dresses — long things that touch the ground would be gross
  • LADIES Cover elbows & knees (note that this trip left me with some ruined clothing, I’d advise against bringing anything too nice) 
  • No CCs are accepted save for some tourist restaurants; Cafe Clock for example (small change needed HOLD IT DEAR), euros accepted
  • bartering- my strategy (cut in half, meet halfway AND/OR your reasonable price) I’M NO EXPERT


I’m concerned that tourism has taken its toll on Morocco. I think there’s a lot of hype built up around traveling here and it was hard to feel at ease or to ask for help from people because they’ve already helped 1,000 people before you. I’m sure that there’s a lot to be found hidden amongst the chaos here but I felt drained and without much replenishment after our six days in the country. I’ll cherish the memories and the companionship built but I’m not sure when I’ll return to Morocco. For those of you who do visit, please treat it well and give yourself time to rest in between/after the chaos. I suppose there are two ways of traveling: as a tourist or as a visitor. Being honest about which you are and why you are there is important. We were tourists in Morocco. We didn’t know anybody and needed to navigate the array of traps and guardrails which had understandably been placed in our way. All in all, these first steps in Africa were pretty inspiring. There were some high highs and low lows. My travel partner was the best. All in all, good memories. 

Zaragoza, Spain

I’ve been living in Zaragoza, Spain for six months and after hosting a few visitors and doing ample exploring it seems a good time to share some of my favorites in the city. Zaragoza is located between Madrid and Barcelona. It is easy to reach by train or bus and also has a small airport with connections to London, Brussels, Paris, Milan and more. Zaragoza is far less touristy than its neighbors but I believe it offers easy access to Spanish culture and acts as a gateway to the beautiful Spanish Pyrenees (just a short two hour drive North). 


Check out Airbnb & aim for anything in the “Casco Antiguo” area. I live in El Gancho, another older part of town just next to the center which is an up-and-coming neighborhood rich in diversity and home to some of the best tapas in town on Calle San Pablo (check out Taberna El Broquel, Los Faroles Taberna, Lo llevas crudo, Bar Gilda and Bar Pollería San Pablo). Excellent wine selection at Casa Perdiguer if you’d like something to take home afterwards. The Parish Church of San Pablo gives the area its name (meaning “the hook”) and The Espacio Las Armas cultural center offers many events with music, local craft shopping on the weekends (see Zaragena for event info). Lastly, for gluten-free goodies La Mar de Cookies bakery and in case you need to make a run to the pharmacy, Farmacia San Pablo (Moral Gomaz/Jorge Moral) has a beautiful vintage interior.


  1. Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar “The Pilar” – the GIANT cathedral, you won’t miss it and go inside- it’s free! Look for the two holes in the ceiling from bombings (three bombs were dropped none exploded the third spot is marked by an X on the ground and is located in front of the cathedral in the Plaza of Pilar) and art by Francisco Goya on the ceiling (the work is unfinished in the rear of the building). Finally, go up the Tower “Torre de Pilar” for views of the multicolored roof of Pilar + the city. The viewpoint from Puente de Piedra is great for a photo. IMG_7723
  2. The Aljafería Palace (free on Sundays) takes my breath away. I love the inner garden and the park surrounding, the tour is in Spanish but you can ask for an English audio guide.IMG_8605
  3. “La Seo” (Iglesia Parroquial del Salvador la Seo) doesn’t look as impressive as Pilar for the outside but inside you’ll find a wonder for the eyes. IMG_5460 4
  4. Parque Grande is a beautiful getaway from the busy center and easy to access by Tram (go to the the Emperador Carlos V stop – the tram going towards Mago de Oz if you’re coming from the center of the city)* IMG_4565
  5. Zaragoza’s museums are decent and without the lines of those in Madrid or Barcelona, the structures are most impressive to me at CaixaForum (check out the rooftop) and IAACC Pablo Serrano (free!). When visiting the Museo Pablo Gargallo start on the top floor and work your way down. 

  6. The aquarium genuinely impressed me (its a river aquarium- unique since most I’ve visited are marine) and is in a very unique part of the city with neat buildings, an area to see. Perhaps some fine dining to follow at Celebris?
  7. Check out the outdoor viewpoint at Museo del Teatro de Caesaragusta to see roman roots in the center of the city or IMG_7691

*note that you can but a tram card at any Prensa kiosk for 10 euros which is fine to share amongst a group and brings tram/bus tickets down to 70 centers per ride. Scan your card upon entering and note this doesn’t work for the bus to/from the airport but will for all others within the city. 

The most exciting time to visit the city is in the fall for the Fiestas del Pilar. During the biggest celebration of the year in the city you’ll find music and events happening all over the city all week. The famous Cierzo wind is a force to be reckoned with but weather is generally mild in fall (September through early November) and spring (March through May).

Pilares Plaid


All of the major Spanish brands (El Corte Ingles, Zara, Mango/Mango Outlet, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius, Oysho, Decathlon, Bimba y Lola, Ulanka…) can be found along Paseo de Las Damas. Grab some food afterwards at Ric 27. Tequila Sunset is my favorite boutique.


My two favorite picks for sit-down style dining are Nolasco and Baobab.

Start every morning with a Spanish BREAKFAST! Here in ZGZ I find more people eating croissants with their coffee (last year in Murcia it was always toast with tomato). Since the Spanish breakfast of bread (churros/croissant/toast w jam or crushed tomato) + coffee with milk “cafe con leche” + fresh orange juice is pretty solid everywhere I go for a nice ambiance to start the day. Check out Doña Hipólita (great for brunch/has a good selection of cakes too!), Gran Café or Café Botánico. For BRUNCH La Clandestina Cafe. A few other great cafes are Marianela, La Bendita and Koalalumpur. El Criollo is also a local favorite coffee spot. Masa Madre has great baked goods.

LUNCH is the biggest meal of the day. Get a menú del día (three course meal) some good vegetarian spots for this are Baobab and La Retama.


you have so many great spots to choose from! Some favorites: El Champi (yummy mushrooms and beer), best croquettes in town = Taberna Doña Casta, gorgeous interior Meli del Tubo, local feel El Angel Del Pincho, CHEESE Bar Estudios, Vegetarian + craft brews Birosta.

Bar Estudios

On Thursdays check out Juepinchos a tapas event from 8-10PM where around 50 different cafes offer a drink (wine/beer/water) + tapa for just 2 euros! Top picks include Alma Criolla Empanada Bar, Barrio Sur and Bar Gallo.

Fine dining in the center– Casa Lac.


Go for cocktails at Umalas, Chilimango or Moonlight Experimental Bar, shots at Espit Chupitos or craft beers at Hoppy, Beer Corner or Taberna Craft Beer Ordio Minero.

Sip wine at La Bodeguita Real on a cool day or at Terrace Rincón de Goya in Parque Grande any sunny day.

My neighborhood natural grocery store is Biokenzo, pick up some food at Pasta Fresca de Zecchi and go for the rest of your groceries at any Mercadona (my favorite supermarket chain). 


I have yet to check it out but I heard good things about El Plata Cabaret (and their patio is a great spot to sip some drinks on warm evenings)

Salsoteca El Sol – free Salsa dancing classes Wednesday through Saturday

I <3 Amsterdam.

Holland/The Netherlands was immediately lovable to me. I got a sense of kindness and curiosity from the locals I met in a gas station, on the bus, walking on the street… friends told me good things about Amsterdam and it sure didn’t disappoint!


Tip number one: grab a giant bar of Tony’s chocolate. This company has humanity on the mind (plus it tastes like heaven). Albert Heijn supermarket is a good spot to pick up these sweets and other groceries but note they are cash (Euros) or EU debit card only.

My visit being in January meant that riding bikes didn’t happen (though plenty of braver, tougher people than us were rolling around despite the frigid temperatures). I also didn’t book anything in advance (the Van Gough museum and Anne Frank House notably) so those are still on the to do list.

The Anne Frank House can be found near “the nine streets” it is really something to just take in the area today and imagine the atmosphere when she was writing. I hear 80% of tickets are reserved 2 months in advance and 20% are made available same day (a local advised us to visit around 6:30pm for shorter lines).

My time in Amsterdam was successful thanks to some amazing tips from friends (thanks Vernon + Atreya) and residents (thanks girl seated beside me in BlaBlaCar from Cologne, Germany who knew the hip spots!). I did a free walking tour (I love these on day one!) the “alternative” option meant we learned about drug decriminalization, squatting and daily life in the Jordaan neighborhood (an area I quite admire). Next time I visit I’ll ride a bike through these streets. Grab some apple cake/pie from Winkel 43.

If you’re looking to get off the beaten path check out the Noord part of the city. You can take a free ferry over from Centraal Station. I loved Pllek. Plenty of cool street art and container houses to be found here. For city views you can visit AMSTERDAM Tower.  (For free city views head back across the water to the rooftop of the NEMO Science Museum).

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Find food from around the globe at Foodhallen. It’s busy and loud but the atmosphere is cool. If you happen to be visiting on a Sunday head to Volkshotel for a rooftop hot tub experience.

I’d like to live in Amsterdam…