Top 5 Things to Do in Amsterdam.

I’ve written about all of the things below in greater detail, but if you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam in the near future, these are the condensed top 5 things i would recommend doing! (See all my writing on Amsterdam here.)

1. Albert Cuyp Market. If you want to see a local side of town, this – the oldest street market in the Netherlands – is it. The market is exploding in stalls of things to try – everything from frites stands (mmm!) to lingerie shops. We took a full morning to peruse the selection and mostly ate our way through, devouring a powder-sugar-covered waffle at Wally’s Wafels and gorging ourselves on local olives. The prices are unparalleled for such gourmet food! (The market runs Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm).

top 5 - market

2. A Bike Tour. Really, i’m sure any company will do you just fine; Mike’s Bikes was great for the youthful, edgy side of Amsterdam (if a little heavy on the information about weed and prostitution for people not looking for that sort of entertainment) but if you want to get the lay of the land hop on a bike and go. It is the local way of getting around, after all!

shop cats make for the best bikes!

shop cats make for the best bikes!

3. The Van Gogh Museum. While the actual Van Gogh museum was undergoing renovations whilst we were in Amsterdam, the Hermitage Museum displayed the bulk of the collection in a special exhibit. Regardless of their housing, Van Gogh’s paintings come alive off the walls and force you to pay attention to their kinetic, vibrant energy. Though this is on the pricier end of Amsterdam museums, it is worth every cent!


4. Dam Square. Though this is certainly the touristy center, there are so many great little shops to peak in (and wonderful people-watching!).  As a connoisseur of cheesy souvenirs, i loved shopping in Dam Square Souvenirs which is full of beautiful – if pricey – wooden shoes and other lovely Holland-themed merchandise. The best part, though, is the enormous yellow wooden shoe outside. Free mega-tourist-photo-op!

top 5 - souvenirs

5. Eat. Anything, really, but especially the bread, cheese, sausage, and frites! The Albert Cuyp Market is definitely the place to eat your way through, but don’t let your gastronomical exploits end there. Our favorite restaurant was van Kerkwijk, in Amsterdam Centruum. The menu is recited by the wait staff, who are warm and friendly folk, and it’s a selection abrim in quirky combinations (like steak slathered in strawberry sauce and goat cheese – shockingly good!). Another great place was right next to our hotel, the Café Onder de Ooievaar – the cheese and sausage plate made for a sumptuous late-night snack!

top 5 - eat

Bon voyage!

Highly Honorable Mentions:

The Anne Frank House (it was a wee bit crowded for this claustrophobic, but still very powerful – book tickets online & try to go first thing in the morning, rather than in the afternoon!)

if you like my condensed travel reviews, you’d probably like my tripadvisor profile!

current jam: ‘shake it out’ florence + the machine.

best thing: magna carterrrrr!


Fifteen Things in Six Months: The Challenge Revisited.

Greetings, Ducklings.

Last night, i published a rather lackluster account of my mostly-adequate attempt to accomplish ten tasks before January 1, 2012, set forth in September of 2011. I managed to do 6 out of the 10; not shabby, but certainly not stellar. As my friend Morgan commented, “6 out of 10 is passing in college, so I’ll take it.”

And while i’m glad to have at least passed my initial challenge, i am a Gryffindor. I don’t take defeat very well – not very well at all. Therefore, i am not going to lie down and let the list go undone – i am burning the boats, facing forward, and upping the ante. Perhaps not the wisest idea as i couldn’t even complete ten things, but still. Gryffindors are not always revered for their brains. And i did think i couldn’t write 50,000 words in one month, but i managed. So maybe i’ll surprise myself.

Enough rabble – to the point! I am now, hereafter setting forth, a new and revamped and more extensive list. What’s this? You already know what it is from the title?

Oh. Cut the dramatic music then.

Well, i guess here’s the list, and stuff:


  1. Go to a Broadway show.
  2. Shake John Green’s hand and tell him how Looking for Alaska saved me (melodramatic, but pretty true).
  3. Road trip to Vermont. Eat Brenna’s cooking.
  4. Get a summer job.
  5. See my brother Thom’s directorial debut – a play entitled The Pillowman, whilst never relinquishing the hand of the poor soul who winds up sitting next to me from sheer terror. (Seriously, the show will be brilliant and scarring).
  6. Go to a temple, synagogue, or some kind of house of worship different from the kind i was raised in.
  7. Apply for studying abroad in 2013.
  8. Finish the first draft of my novel.
  9. Host a live show on BlogTV or something akin.
  10. Go ice skating. Preferably on the MHC lake.
  11. Blog every single day for one week.
  12. Celebrate my one-year blogging anniversary with a giveaway!
  13. Write postcards. Actually mail them.
  14. Present a blog entirely in photographs.
  15. Watch a documentary.

Now, i do realize some of these are repeats from the last list. But! The things i’ve repeated are things i feel worth repeating – tasks i wished i had accomplished or ones i know i can do again. Big and small, these are the ten goals i aim to have completed by May 7th, 2012. Whew, that seems so distant from me now – but i am assured that, come that date, the time will have flown faster than the TARDIS.

Until then, ducklings.

current jam: ‘blink’ chameleon circuit.

best thing in my life right now: sherlock. new episode sunday! and the premiere of season 2 of downton abbey! (it’s really laughable when people call me productive. really. i do nothing but spew nonsense here and watch telly).