Archive for the 'Amsterdam' Category

How To Do Amsterdam Like A Local with ClinkNOORD

Amsterdam like a local

Despite the title of this blog post being ‘Amsterdam like a local’, I’ve heard a lot of Amsterdam locals rarely even venture into the Noord – which I find incredible, because it is hands down the most beautiful and my most favourite part of Amsterdam. Just a two minute (free!) ferry ride from Amsterdam Centraal train station, the Noord is home to a creative, wholesome, natural loving community – the perfect area for vegans and vegetarians!

Where to stay in Amsterdam - Clink Noord

My lovely friends at ClinkNOORD invited me back to stay at their home-from-home hostel so they could show me how the locals do Amsterdam and  encourage folks to see more of the hidden parts of this amazing city. I stayed at ClinkNOORD earlier this year when I tested out how easy it was to see a gig in Europe vs London – if you missed it, pop back and see how awesome our stay was!

This time I stayed in a 4-bed dorm room with three other bloggers, two of which I had never met before, to get the full hostel experience. The rooms at ClinkNOORD, while compact, give you plenty of your own space. We had lockers for our suitcases (bring your own padlock) and our own night lights which we left on in the evening in case we had to stumble back in the middle of the night and find our bed in the dark. If you need more space for working or just hanging out, ClinkNOORD has loads of communal areas to have a drink, enjoy a coffee or sit with your laptop which is really what makes it such a home from home.

Boat Trip Amsterdam

Bright and early we had breakfast at ClinkNOORD, who offer breads, spreads and some hot food. I was mostly interested in making a cup of tea though and I took my own Yorkshire tea bags with me. From breakfast we headed out into the most beautiful September day with not a cloud in sight.

Private Boat Hire Amsterdam

Best Things To Do in Amsterdam - Boat Tour

Our first stop was a relaxing cruise along some of Amsterdam’s canals with Pure Boats Amsterdam, an unusual boat trip that matched the homely feel of staying at Clink to a tee. Pure Boats offer a private boat tour for up to 6 people for €250 on their beautiful boat with other options coming soon. One of their pick up points is just outside ClinkNOORD too! Not to leave you wanting for anything, they even have a beautifully stocked bar so we enjoyed some Dutch gin & tonic with our 10am ride through Amsterdam’s waters. I have never felt so relaxed while travelling. Pure Boats was one of my favourite things of the whole day, check back for a full blog post about our cruising coming soon!

After the boat trip we headed up A’dam Tower, just a few steps away from Clink, to check out their 360 views of Amsterdam. Unfortunately due to an emergency situation we were evacuated before getting chance to ride the highest swing in Europe, situated at the top of the tower, so I am still yet to check that one off my Amsterdam bucket list. However the views from A’dam are stunning and again, the fresh air and city views up there make me feel so chilled. A++ recommedation! You can even get discounted tickets from ClinkNOORD reception!

Hiring A Bike Amsterdam Like A Local

We grabbed 5 minutes for a pick me up coffee (Dutch coffee is soooo good, like most of Europe) before heading to TIP Noord to get on my first bike in fifteen years!!! To say I was terrified is an understatement! The bikes laid at TIP were absolutely gorgeous classic bikes, the type that you see being ridden around in films with a well dressed lady carrying fresh bread in her bike basket. In that moment I wanted to be one of those ladies so much, so I sucked it up and mounted the bike… I was dreadful.

I just couldn’t get going and when my legs finally did co-ordinate enough to cycle I was wobbling all over the place and terrified I was going to fall into another person or a bike. Every so often I would panic and stop, then not be able to get going again. As we got to the actual roads I became more and more nervous and almost let my anxiety get the better of me, feeling panic creeping up my spine. I stopped at the side of the road, had a drink and took a moment before we headed off to lunch at De Ceuvel.

I was exhausted by the time we parked our bikes in the bike racks and sat down wanting a beer more than I ever remember wanting an alcoholic drink in the middle of the day.

Lunch at De Ceuvel, Amsterdam Noord

Best Vegan Lunch in Amsterdam

Lunch was the absolute polar opposite to my bike journey, sitting outside on long wooden benches as the sun blazed down, chatting with my new pals and having a refreshing beer. We started with a spicy soup, served in a glass topped with herbs. It tasted even better than it looked and I realised I was starving. For main course we were served a selection of open topped sandwiches with sweet potato paste and lentils, alongside a beautiful salad. The food was so fresh, I wished someone would come home with me and cook like that every day.

After lunch we wandered around De Ceuvel, a former shipyard that now hosts an incredible creative community. On such a beautiful day, I could see how you would want to spend your whole life living out of a house boat, painting and creating all day long. In fact, even with the rain drumming on the old windows, I bet it’s the picture of a perfect life.

De Ceuval, Amsterdam Creative Community

Getting back on my bike after lunch I was a changed woman, it really is like riding a bike as they say and I was off without a hitch, keeping up with the group and feeling the wind in my hair – God damn, it was one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time. We cycled through NDSM Werf, my favourite part of Amsterdam, which was a brilliant way to see such a huge area. Cycling through the shipping container was so much fun and if we had the time, it would have been the perfect moment to park up our bikes and have a drink at Pllek right on the river.

NDSM Werf, Street Art Amsterdam

Cycling in NDSM Werf Amsterdam

After we found one of the few actual windmills in Amsterdam, we headed for a tour round the Noord. Riding past some abandoned petrol stations that now house live music events and through Buiksloterweg, a quaint village bursting with kooky homes as the sun rays painted the street a gorgeous golden hue – I immediately wanted to move there and I think I still do. If you’re unsure about riding a bike in Amsterdam, start in the Noord – a much more relaxed area with very little cars and bikes on the road and I must say that I never even came close to falling off despite my shaky start!

The View From Pllek, Amsterdam Noord

Windmill Amsterdam Noord

I reluctantly returned my gorgeous mint green bike, feeling very much like I’d seen Amsterdam like a local and we headed back to Clink for the evening for a very special surprise.

ClinkNOORD is just across the river IJ from Amsterdam Centraal Station and beds start at €17 per night.

posted by onetenzeroseven in Amsterdam,Travel and have No Comments

Exploring The Best Street Art in Amsterdam: NDSM Werf and Art City, Amsterdam Noord

NDSM Werf in Amsterdam Noord

Hands down, my favourite part of Amsterdam was the Noord.

Our amazing hostel, ClinkNOORD was just across the river IJ from Amsterdam Centraal, so even though it was technically in the Noord we hopped on a ferry every morning down to the centre of Amsterdam. It wasn’t until our last day in Amsterdam that we decided to explore the Noord properly and we got a ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to NDSM Werf, which was slightly longer then the ferry to ClinkNOORD and less frequent, but still free!

Botel Amsterdam

NDSM Werf Amsterdam Shipyard

On your way to NDSM Werf on the ferry, you will eventually pass the mighty Botel bobbing along, anchored along the edge of the river. Botel is a boat-hotel in Amsterdam, with massive red letters on it’s top housing rooms you can actually stay in which must have the most incredible views! I do fancy a night there next time we stay in the ‘dam.

NDSM Werf Amsterdam Noord

Noorderlicht Bar Cafe Amsterdam Noord

There’s an incredible atmosphere to this area of Amsterdam, bursting with street art, a cultural cafe and a fun second hand market. We wandered around some amazing shipping containers painted edge to edge with vibrant colours and bold emblems, unsuspecting bollards and old boats covered with signs of love and fun graffiti.

There was something invisible, pulling us towards Noorderlicht Cafe as the sun was shining and both locals & tourists were pouring out of the beautiful greenhouse building to sit on the grass with their beer. We settled into a spot and watched the bunting flags blow in the breeze coming off the river. It was one of the most perfect moments in my life, akin to looking out over Central Park from the Top of the Rock in New York or standing on the Golden Jubilee Bridge at night watching the neon London lights.

The Best Street Art in Amsterdam

Art City Amsterdam Noord

Street Art Amsterdam

Wandering around the old shipping yard, we ventured towards a quieter area with an opening into an old warehouse – were we allowed inside? Sheepishly, we ventured into the building with artwork dripping from every corner. As the warehouse opened out there was an old piano, painted white, sitting there waiting to be played by a multicoloured arrow display. Huge letters spelling out NOORD sat at the far side of the container where giant billboards hung from the ceiling. Thank God we took the chance to venture in or I might have missed out on seeing the best street art in Amsterdam!

Street Art in NDSM Werf Amsterdam Noord

Barbie Peepshow Art City Amsterdam

Amsterdam Noord - Best Things To Do in Amsterdam

Then what was that? There’s an actual artist, way up by the roof painting the most stunning piece of artwork with what appeared to be a spray can. I was frozen in awe. We watched the guy creating something bigger and more brilliant than I ever hope to in my lifetime before wandering back down the other side of what we later found out was Art City/Kunststad.

Back outside we looped back round through the car park and down the side of the warehouse where the best street art in Amsterdam was paraded at the side of the road. Getting so up close to the work so you could see how each individual brick was coloured was incredible and I took so many pictures that both my phone and camera ran out of space!

Best Street Art Amsterdam

Best Street Art in Europe - Amsterdam NDSM Werf

Graffiti Art Amsterdam - NDSM Werf

As we queued up to get the ferry back I thought about our day in the Noord and our time in Amsterdam and it really was the most inspiring trip for me – I was absolutely full the brim. It delights me so much that Amsterdam is just an hour flight away, when usually the places I fall in love with while travelling seem so unobtainable.

Robot Street Art Amsterdam

Loves x xx

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