Monday, February 08, 2010

My perfect day in Amsterdam

I recently managed to spend the perfect day in Amsterdam, on my own even, and I was so happy with the plans I had made I thought it would be worth sharing. Obviously, this was all tailored to my current interests, but still, I think I managed to fit in a good day's activities, varied and quite relaxed at the same time. It all started when I very suddenly jumped on the train and went over for the week-end to keep my husband company, since he had to work there for a week. But since the company resumed to the PM, as he was working during the day, I had to keep myself amused. I also have to mention that the first time I was in Amsterdam I found the city to be pretty unfriendly and not particularly lovely in any way. But this day really changed my perception of it all. So here's my itinerary, very happily fulfilled on a cold but sunny Saturday.

I woke up in one of the coolest hotels I've ever stayed in, CitizenM. It really is a concept hotel and our room resembled a futuristic moon pod. It was small, but so awesome that it just doesn't matter. It makes you feel different about having the toilet in the middle of the room, and the bed was more of a big, high playground! Plus, the remote that controlled everything from the colors of the neon lights to the TV and the blinds gave everything a very handy feel. Also, the texts on the shampoo bottles and soap were a really good read. I warmly recommend it, there's a lot of really nice quirks to it and you have to experience it to fully grasp it.

I decided to walk to the center (4 km distance), where I actually wanted to visit the famous 9 shopping streets, since I was in a vintage/antique shop browsing type of mood. And browse I did. There's something still charming to me in looking around in one of those really crowded antique shops where you find anything from old plastic Mickey Mouse toys to silver milk cups to vintage coloring books. The center was also oddly quiet when I got there, and that teamed up with the really cold, crisp morning light, made for a cool little atmosphere.

After walking around for quite a bit, I went and had a nice surf and turf in a steak place and decided to head for my next destination: the Kochxbos art gallery, a very small but very cool little place that displays lowbrow art. The first thing that jumped at me when I walked in was this Mark Ryden print, big and lovely and swoon-worthy. I also spent a few minutes staring at a Lori Earley painting, wondering if it was the original, only to realise it was simply printed on canvas. It looked amazing and I am now starting to understand why they are so damn expensive.

Really close to the gallery, on the street, there was a really cute handmade/vintage market. Even though the stalls were already being taken apart since it was pretty late already, I saw some really nice things and I'd definitely go back there to check it out properly. Actually, I think this is what I liked most about my day: walking around from target to target you come across a lot of things you didn't plan for or expect, and that just makes the experience even better. Walking around like this is a really good photo op as well, as personally I am a sucker for mosaic tiles at building entrances and just small cute details that pop up here and there, which you can only notice if you attack the city by foot.

My last destination meant I had to walk all the way over to the train station, which in itself is a beautiful place (from the outside at least). But my final stop was actually a vinyl toy store I sometimes order stuff from over the internet, so I thought this would be a good oportunity to see it live. I looked around, I picked up a few tokidoki pieces I've wanted for a while and I started to make my way back to the hotel, where the husband was waiting to take me to dinner. Luckily enough, although I was almost okay with the idea of walking all the way home, I came across the perfect tram station, and thus proceeded back in style.

Back in the room I looked through all the little things I had collected in my day's travels. The "pray", as it were. The best investment, next to the colorful and fun bits i picked up here and there, was an American Apparel dress you can wear in around 15 different ways. So as I spent the next half hour trying it on in every which way possible, I reflected back on my hard day and I realised I shall never again plan for too much, as I have in past holidays, and will be easy on myself, my brain and my legs, letting the city make stuff happen rather than me forcing it to.


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