Amsterdam Visual Diary

Even though it was a little cold outside I carried my new camera around almost everywhere in Amsterdam. Silly of me to leave my gloves in London! Here is my Christmas in Amsterdam Visual Diary.

On the first day I didn’t take many pictures as I was super tired and still adjusting to the cold weather.

Just being tourists on Christmas Eve in Amsterdam.

Christmas day at the Zoo and night photography.

A little more of the hotel. Last images before flying back to London.

Hope you enjoyed my first visual diary. I will probably do more of these in the future.

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2017 Rewind

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

Lets talk about 2017. This year just flew by as I was super busy for the most part of it.

I don’t recall travelling as much as I did this year. Planning was sometimes rushed but having little time between trips made it harder to plan everything properly.

When it comes to my travelling agenda, 2017 started in March with a 10 day visit to Lanzarote. It was my first time in the Canary Islands. I was a bit skeptical about this destination as I thought it would be too touristy but it was a pleasant surprise. There are plenty of things to do and to see in Lanzarote and the landscapes are something else.

For April I had booked my first trip without my boyfriend and went to the best city in the World with one of my best friends. It was amazing to be a tourist in such a special place. I was a little nervous about changing up my travel partner but I loved it. And I think she loved it too. Even though we drove through a long suspended bridge she never said she wanted to go back home early! She also put up with my late night burger cravings and got out of the room to go round the corner to the closest diner. We had fun.

June is a month for celebrations as it is both my birthday and our anniversary. As the dates are not too close we traveled twice this year. For my birthday we hopped on a flight to Copenhagen. I quite liked it there despite the very expensive food. Our Airbnb by the lake was unreal. Later in the month we chose our beloved Menorca to celebrate our anniversary. We have been there a few times and it already feels like a home away from home.

September was time to head back to Portugal. It was time to catch up with family and friends and to spend quality time together in one of our favourite places in Portugal (Milfontes). It was great exploring the beautiful beaches of Alentejo. Even though the weather was not amazing we made the best out of it and enjoyed spending time with our loved ones.

By the end of the year we were still craving Sun. So the destination in December was again in the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura. Not as amazing as Lanzarote but still quite pretty. We did catch some sun rays and a lot of wind too. The post holidays blues hit us hard after Fuerteventura so I booked a last-minute Christmas break in Amsterdam. It was a very special time (hot tubs included) spent in the best possible company, my boyfriend.

I can’t complain I didn’t travel enough this year.

In between travels other things went on in my life.

I finally decided to start blogging in English. Not hiding behind the language barrier anymore. It was a bit scary to get myself out there. To be exposed to the ones close to me “in real life” but so far it has been a very rewarding experience. The support I get almost on a daily basis is amazing and I am so grateful for all of it.

A special thank you goes to my boyfriend that pushed me to start getting serious about blogging. He set up all the technical bits for me. All in one weekend back in July! He also puts up with me stressing out about getting content out on time and allows me the time to do it. Even when we are away he doesn’t complain if I sit down for hours to write. This blog would not exist without his support. Thank you!

My love for photography was reignited this year. I have learned a lot and stepped out of my comfort zone a few times. A big thank you to Reo for the vote of confidence, she was my first customer and pushed me to believe in myself. Another thank you goes to the @uk.shooters for the amazing meet ups that allowed me to get great shots and to work with amazing people.

Also decided to give myself a little more credit for being able to keep up with the blog, for learning about photography almost daily and getting out there to shoot when possible. Still having a full-time job and planning all those holidays. It is not always easy but I am loving every little bit of it.

Hope 2018 will be even better! Please stick around with me for whatever is coming up next year. Thank you again for all the support.

Happy New Year to you all!
Lots of love,
Ana

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Amsterdam for Christmas

I feel alive when I allow myself to do things last-minute. The plan was to spend a quiet Christmas in London eating delicious food and watching movies. I don’t think I was 100% happy with that plan. Not this year. Which meant that we would end up in Amsterdam for Christmas.

Flights and hotel booked on the mobile apps. A vague idea about what to do after a couple of Google searches. No real planning involved. Everything done within 10 days of flying.

It was not our first time in Amsterdam but we had not stayed in the city last time. We thought it would be a slow one as shops and attractions might be closed on some days during our stay. We were wrong. Amsterdam didn’t stop for Christmas. Public transport worked really well and most things were open throughout the festive period. This was a very pleasant surprise.

Christmas Eve Eve

On the day we left London we woke up at 4am to get the 8am flight from Luton. Thankfully the airport is just an easy train ride away from home. Carrying just two backpacks made our journey easier than usual.

On arrival we got a train ticket to Amsterdam Centraal and once we got there we looked for a place to eat and warm up. 9 degrees Celsius in Amsterdam feels a lot colder than the same temperature in London. A couple of delicious pancakes after we were ready to go explore the city.

The first stop was the museum of prostitution. It gave us a good insight of the prostitution business in Amsterdam and the prostitutes’ life. It is worth the 10 Euros ticket.

Back at the train station we bought a 3 day travel pass and then headed to the hotel for the check in. Super tired as the day had started early we decided to go chill in the hot tubs on the hotel roof top. It was freezing outside but the water was really hot and felt amazing to get all wrinkly in there.

Showered and ready to head out we Googled places to eat. Budget ones as Amsterdam is not a cheap city. We ended up at Café-restaurant Kerkwijk. It was very busy but we decided to wait at the bar for a table. There was no menu available (we were told the menu) so we had no clue about the prices. The food was delicious, the service super friendly but the bill at 60 Euros did not really match my Google search!

Even though we were dead from all the travelling and waking up at 4am we had energy left for a stroll along the red light district.

Christmas Eve

After a night of over 8 hours’ sleep we were ready for a full day in Amsterdam.

Breakfast was at The Breakfast Club down the street from our hotel. Eggs benedict fueled our visit to Foam, the photography museum. There we found two of the exhibitions to be really good and worth the entry fee. Their apple crumble and coffee were really good too!

In the afternoon we strolled along the canals, bought a night cruise ticket and headed back to the hotel to rest for a little while.

We had sushi as an afternoon snack in our room before making our way to board the cruise. Over an hour watching the houses by the canals, pretty bridges and light installations along the way. It was a great way to spend our Christmas Eve.

It was freezing outside and we were not able to find a good place to eat in the city center so decided to try the hotel restaurant. Turned out to be the perfect choice as the food was delicious.

Christmas Day

Most attractions seemed to be open on this day so we had no trouble finding something to do. Also the public transports were working as in any other day. We were super pleased with this.

Our attraction of choice for this day was the Artis, the Amsterdam Zoo. It did not disappoint. With plenty of different animals to see and most of them in good enclosures or free roaming amongst the public we really enjoyed our visit. It did take longer than we expected and our feet were hurting by the time we left.

Still we decided to walk around the canals to take pictures with just a brief stop for pancakes. It was super cold outside so after a few hours we gave in and headed back to the hotel to rest and for me to start writing this post.

Dinner was at the hotel again.

Boxing Day

Our final day in Amsterdam. Sad times. Breakfast was at the usual spot.

We visited Vondelpark and were not impressed. Guess it is difficult to impress someone that lives in London when it comes to city parks.

The final meal in Amsterdam was at the same place we ate pancakes at when we arrived. After that we ran around in between train platforms until we found the right one to the airport. Luton welcomed us with heavy rain and no train service. Thankful for Uber (even though the ride was more expensive than usual).

Amsterdam Final Thoughts

Amsterdam is a very welcoming city and is super easy to get around (at least when you have Google maps on your phone). Surprisingly it did not stop for Christmas making it the ideal Christmas European city getaway.

If you missed my Instagram stories while I was away…

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Last Minute

Last minute flights! Yes, I am going away for Christmas. No, I am not going to Portugal as the flights were ridiculously expensive. Then, where to?

The chosen city had the cheapest flights for the long Christmas weekend on Skyscanner so I went for it. We are travelling with an airline we have never traveled with before. Wish us luck! Thankfully it is not a long flight but delays can be a pain.

Flights were booked on Wednesday night while I was watching YouTube and chatting on WhatsApp. I had checked flight prices for the Christmas weekend before and gave up on the idea of spending Christmas away from London as I didn’t feel inspired by any of the destinations and the flights were not cheap.

I guess the post holidays’ blues made me impulsive and I just had to book one last holiday for 2017. This made me feel super excited and I cannot wait to be away again. My photography backlog is going to be insane as I am still editing my Fuerteventura pictures.

Free accommodation was on the cards as we could stay at a friend’s place just outside the city but he is not going to be around so we decided to stay somewhere central instead. This way we don’t have to worry too much about commuting to the city.

Finding accommodation was not an easy task. I short listed about 8 hotels in the morning and when I went over them after work half were sold out! Super glad my boyfriend likes the hotel I ended up booking. Now we have it all sorted and are ready to go.

Even bought a new backpack to use on these short breaks away from home as taking the suitcase is a bit much for less than a week. Also the suitcase is not the right size for some airlines.

Again I am taking my laptop with me as I don’t plan on skipping any posts and will be sharing loads of pictures with you guys.

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Fuerteventura North

We “moved” to Fuerteventura North on Wednesday and it did get to our hearts a little more than the South of the island. Our new home was in the popular Corralejo not far from all the action but far enough not to be noisy.

The building looked a little different from what we were expecting but the apartment is just incredible. Should be featured in an interior decor magazine.

It had everything we could possibly need and we were welcomed by the nicest host. As an added bonus we were able to check in early and check out late for free which meant we could enjoy the last day a little more by spending the morning at the beach.

We explored a few places during our days there…

Isla de Lobos

The ferry was not operating on the day so we got a water taxi to the island. It was just 15 minutes away from the port of Corralejo. It was a bumpy ride on the speed boat but quite an enjoyable one. A short walk away was an amazing beach with views to Fuerteventura.

Corralejo Sand Dunes

This was definitely one of the highlights of our time in Fuerteventura as we had never seen anything quite like this before.

El Cotillo

La Concha in El Cotillo became our go to beach as it is so beautiful and really easy to get in the water. The North of Fuerteventura is known for the surf but this beach is as flat as a lake so it is perfect for swimming.

Popcorn beach

Not far from Corralejo through a bumpy road you can find this little gem. A beach full of popcorn shaped rocks.

Other Northern beaches

Well known for the surf these can be reached through the previously mentioned bumpy road and are worth the rough drive.

Fuerteventura North is without doubt the best side of the island. We already miss it.

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Fuerteventura South

First few days in Fuerteventura were spent exploring the South of the island. There is not a lot to do around here apart from taking in the views and that is what we have been up to.

Our first base was in Costa Calma, a nice spacious apartment with sea view in a quiet area but not far from the shops or from the beach. When in the same place for a week or more we try to rent an apartment so we don’t have to spend a fortune eating out. We still eat out though, just not every day.

We recommend Asador El Toril if you are in the South of Fuerteventura and feel like eating meat. Great food and amazing service.

If you haven’t read my previous post, we got a car. Usually the best way to get around on a beach holiday. I am not one to sit around in resorts. Don’t really see the point in travelling and not explore the place properly.

So far we have visited…

Playa Costa Calma

Where we watched the sunrise as it is super close to our apartment and we woke up really early on our first day here.

La Pared

This place is really cool as you can hike a little and have the most gorgeous views. Also you can feed the tiniest and cutest squirrels that live on the rocks. Great place to watch the sunset too.

Playa Risco Step

Popular for windsurfing. A must for walking between banks of sand while watching the kites in the air. Not bad for photography either.

Playa Lagoon

Known for kite surfing. The size of the lagoon is really impressive!

Playa Pozo Negro

Quiet fishing village out of the touristy track of the island. Dark pebble beach and cute little houses by the ocean.

Morro Jable

Super touristy! Long stretch of golden sand and clear waters with large hotels in the background. Worth taking a quick look at but not a place to stay long. At least not for me.

Ajuy

Quite touristy but worth checking out for the cool caves and amazing views.

Fuerteventura South has some pretty cool beaches and landscapes but is not a place we would come back to visit a second time. It gets super windy and is very popular with the senior crowd from what we gathered so far.

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Fuerteventura – Winter Escape

This little break in another Canary island has been planned for a while. In March we visited Lanzarote and now we are in Furteventura.

These islands make for the perfect Winter escape with temperatures around 20C throughout the year. They are also quite affordable. Two return flights with British Airways were only £210 and car rental is very cheap at less than £15 a day.

We have booked two apartments in opposite sides of the island. This should allow us to explore a few different places while we are here.

Saturday was a travelling day and a long one. This Winter sunny destination is about 4 hours away plus another hour or so by train to Gatwick. It was a tiring day but will surely be worth it.

Once we got off the plane we got hit with the sunshine and a nice warm day. It was perfect. After admiring the sea view from the terminal we headed to pick up our car, a white Clio. The apartment is an hour drive away from the airport. Really spacious in a quiet area in the South of Fuerteventura.

Next mission was to get food and water from the supermarket. Thankfully this was not far away. We bought dinner and a few other food items along with wine. Steak, rice, red wine, strawberry dark chocolate for dessert and we were ready to chill.

A little taste of what the first day was like below taken from my Instagram stories.

You can keep up with me on my Instagram stories 🙂 I will also be posting here on the usual days.

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