Oh Thanksgiving, you are non existent in this distant land I chose to rest my head and it’s a little strange. As you all know Thanksgiving is strictly an American holiday (the whole origin of Thanksgiving makes no sense to me but that’s for another time) so here in London it was just an ordinary day. There were a few places here acknowledging Thanksgiving and we even stopped by a restaurant a couple weeks ago that was offering a Thanksgiving menu which I found extremely odd, but overall it does not exist here. I honestly thought I would have more FOMO being without family on this day but I guess I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in a while anyway so it didn’t feel that weird.
But what really made up for it is that my friend from childhood is here and I was able to meet up with her and her grad school friends to have our own little Thanksgiving dinner. Eleven of us sat around a large table in the back of an Italian restaurant in South London and we drank wine, laughed, and ate really good Italian food. Surprisingly it really kind of felt like Thanksgiving. At the end of the day, the holiday has turned into people enjoying other peoples company, being thankful for what they have, and eating delicious food, and I did all of that.
Afterwards, we headed to my friends place and played Cards for Humanity which is wild inappropriate and also my new favorite game! At the end of the day it felt nice to know that I’m not completely alone out here. I’m not going to lie, the homesickness keeps creeping in and out but I’m still happy with my decision and enjoying each day I get to spend here.
On a slightly different note, North Shore Animal League America is offering free pet adoptions for the weekend! I had to share because this is the most meaningful Black Friday “Deal” I’ve encountered. So if you’ve been thinking about adopting. Now would be the time! Follow this link to find a participating shelter near you!
I was searching for a bow everywhere to make these bow boots and after I while I just decided to make one myself! You know I like to keep it easy for your guys so I searched until I found one I can share that requires no sewing!
Today was….rainy. I mean we knew it was going to be like that already but man oh man Amsterdam you sure are wet! We had our whole morning planned. Emily had to take photos in the hotel so we were going to wake up super early, get some hotel shots while the lobby was empty, then head out to meet one of Emily’s insta-friends who lives in the Netherlands. Welp, that plan went to crap. We waaay overslept. The hotel bed was so comfortable I think our bodies were like, “nah, were not getting up!” So after waking up 3 hours later then planned, we rushed to meet her friend an hour late (sorry!).
Emily’s friend is also a blogger, @adashoffash, so of course she picked a very insta-worthy location. We met her at The Corner Bakery which is known for their epic milkshakes. This shake had whipped cream, sprinkles, marshmallows, and a donut on top. It’s for sure probably the amount of sugar you should intake in a week not a day but it was too cute not to try! But honestly that wasn’t the best part of this place, Amsterdam wins breakfast, we had the red velvet pancakes here and O.M.G. those things were LIFE. So so so so so so good. I wish I could bring them with me back to London cause Lord knows their breakfast is very…shall we say…”meh.” I feel like we’ve been eating on eating on eating. I kind of can’t wait to go grocery shopping and cook for myself again but I’m definitely enjoying all the amazing places we are trying during our travels.
After brunch we headed to The Red Light District. This is probably the most infamous thing about Amsterdam and we were not leaving without seeing it! Prostitution (among many other things) is legal in Amsterdam and The Red Light District is the area where you go to find them. It’s a very touristy area with bars and restaurants and nestle in between are essentially brothels and the women stand in the window enticing men to come in and “play.” The women don’t actually live there, they basically rent the room out to work their shift. I don’t know why I’m fascinated by this, I’m fascinated in general by the idea of legal prostitution but Amsterdam takes it to the next level because these women are willingly doing it. In fact they try their best to crack down on anything otherwise. The city has people who search the houses to make sure the women are ok and that everyone has all the required permits.
How do I know this you ask? Well while walking around the red light district we stumbled upon the Museum of Prostitution and decided to check it out. It was SO informative and gave a real inside view of prostitution in Amsterdam with first hand narration from a working prostitute. They treat it like a job as if any of us would our own job. I do think it says a lot that there are no male prostitutes. I think it’s because it wouldn’t bring in enough business?? What is it with men and these sexual desires? They see on average 2,000 clients A DAY! Just ONE house of the many prostitution houses. I’m floored.
But the most interesting part about Amsterdam is that even with legal prostitution and the fact that most drugs are legal there, they still have dramatically less crime, drug, and sex trafficking problems then America and many other countries and that’s the part that really fascinates me.
When we left the museum we took the 15 minute walk back to the hotel and at that point we were drenched. I’m so proud of us for thuggin’ it out in the rain, we even took pictures and everything. Nothing was gonna stop us from enjoying this trip!
We ended the night with dinner at the hotel restaurant Jansz we were craving something hearty so we both got burgers and they were bomb ( I know I know). We only have a short day here tomorrow as we fly back to London but I’m so glad we squeezed Amsterdam into this trip. I actually really love this city and hope to visit it again sometime in the future!
So here I am in a 5am Uber ride to the airport headed to Amsterdam nauseous from lack of sleep and I thought to myself, “wow, I’m really blessed.” That I get to travel throughout Europe is something I do not take for granted. If you had known what the beginning of the year was like for me you would be shocked at where I am right now. I will share with you what really propelled my transformation soon but for now here’s a little of our first day in Amsterdam. I’m learning everyday to be grateful for the blessing God sends us… The flight to Amsterdam is so quick from London. 1 hour to be exact. As soon as we landed we headed to Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam. You guys…this hotel is so dreamy and quaint. It was this quirky yet classic vibe and service that upholds to a 5 star without feeling stuffy. Also the toiletries are all from Le Labo, I meann…I’ve actually never been to a hotel with such high end and trendy toiletries #goals. Our room wasn’t ready yet so we checked our bags and started exploring. The hotel is basically in the heart of everything. We are right next to Nine Streets which is iconic Amsterdam. We basically could walk to anywhere we wanted to go.
First of all, the first thing I noticed is how chill people from here are. London is such a big city always hustling and bustling it was a nice change of pace to see how the Dutch live. It feels much colder here I think it may be because it’s near water because the temperature actually wasn’t much different from London but it felt much colder. And everyone says London rains a lot but Amsterdam has the WEIRDEST weather I’ve ever experienced. Maybe it’s the time of year but it would just start raining out of NOWHERE and then stop. It happened all day while we were walking it was sunny and then literally in a blink of an eye rain and then BAM, it stops. We just embraced getting rained on (well tried to at least). The weather says its supposed to rain every day we’re here but I’m hoping it will at least be on and off like today. Poor Emily, my little California girl, she’s doing a good job bracing the cold and rain but she’s definitely feeling her first real cold weather, it’s kind of funny to watch. She lost her glove today and was so confident just wearing one glove because at least one hand could be warm!
We were so hungry so we ended up at Ree7 a cute little brunch spot right down the street from the hotel. I know I keep saying food was good everywhere but we haven’t eaten anywhere bad so far thank God. The pancakes were probably some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had, no lie!After brunch we walked around a bit then headed back to the hotel to check in. Our room is adorable, I’ll be vlogging about this trip so you’ll see it soon. I’ve been feeling so exhausted all day. It’s been one stop since I arrived to London and I feel like some virus is trying to infiltrate my body so we took time to rest in the afternoon.But then we were STARVING again and torn because we didn’t want to leave the cozy hotel room to brace the wind, cold and rain that awaited us outside. But hunger one and I we headed to De Reiger for dinner. The food was…you guessed it! YUMMAYYY. I had a very healthy dinner so we decided we deserved dessert. Emily found a place called Winkle that was known for their Apple Pie so we walked a few blocks over to indulge.
Ok so after everything, this was the most underwhelming place we’ve been. The apple pie was good but it didn’t exactly blow me away and felt more like an apple cake then a pie, at least the kind of apple pie I’m used to. It was almost like deep dish apple pie. It was good, but left me a bit underwhelmed.
Of course it started raining on our way back and Emily decided she didn’t want to use the GPS so here we are navigating Amsterdam in the dark our first time ever being there. But Emily did good and got us back in one piece!
I’m not looking forward to the rain tomorrow but also learning to embrace everything lately so I know we’ll make the best of the day regardless.
On Emily’s last full day in London we basically braved it on the rainiest day since I’ve been here. I’ve lucked out and only got caught once in the rain since being here but today was a very wet drizzly day.
First we headed to see the London bridge and ended up at the cutest spot for brunch, Blueprint Cafe, with a view of the bridge. This time I learned my lesson and made a reservation and of course it wasn’t event packed! They gave us a nice seat with the perfect view and the food was so good. It was definitely a place with a more upscale feel. The Shad Thames area where the restaurant was located was so quaint, it reminded me of Dumbo Brooklyn and the apartments on the waterfront in Charlestown Boston. The cute little streets seriously looked like a movie set. After brunch we headed to Buckingham Palace to have tea with the queen… I wish! In fact we really wanted to do high tea at one of the fancy spots but didn’t realize it’s so expensive! 75 pounds each for high tea?! Maybe another time Felicia. The construction was killing the vibe of the palace. It’s crazy how much construction is going on in London around the historical building. I don’t like it!
Then we went to the BEST Place ever! I felt like I had transported into the 1920’s when we walking into The Ned! It had a glorious atmosphere with live brass music and flappers that put on a performance and danced! They served high tea and had a restaurant in the back. And don’t get me started on the most beautiful bathroom I’ve seen in a hotel!We ended up having lite bites at the restaurant and enjoying the views. This by far was my favorite place so far in London. I want to come back decked out and have tea with my gloves and big hat!
We called it an early night but not before heading to Wafflemeister and getting some waffles topped with whipped cream chocolate and strawberries!
Currently forcing myself to sleep “early” cause we’re heading to Amsterdam in the morning!