‘The World Travelist’ Category

Chasing The Summer!

Chasing The Summer!

Day dreaming about our upcoming travels. Its Winter here in Joburg, but in just less than a month, we satisfy that persistent itch to see some world, and chase the Summer. We cannot wait! This is what August will look like for us… #NewYork #Mykonos #Paris

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Mahiki, London

Mahiki, London

If you are in the Mayfair area in London and looking for cocktails to unwind, Mahiki
next to the swank Ritz Hotel in the heart of prestigious Mayfair, serves mean cocktails. A trendy tropical escape and top clubbing venue Mahiki has been a white-hot celebrity hang-out since its 2006 opening by Piers Adam and Nick House.

Two floors of posh Polynesian playground, the Mahiki is known for ultra-delicious cocktails, and a funky resort ambience. Despite its popularity with the glitterati, the super-cool Mahiki has retained an open-door policy, though lines may form later in the evening. Try to slip in early on the popular Thursday theme nights. Friendly and relaxed as a South Sea beach-front sunset bar, the Mahiki delights with vibrant Hawaiian cushions, cheeky Tiki statues, wicker furniture and flickering lamplight.

Truly tropical, Mahiki’s innovative fresh fruit cocktail delights are served in coconut and pineapple tiki-cups, while the Island Grill serves up some tasty tapas. Relax in the laid-back Lanai cocktail lounge area, or let your hair down, flowers and all, in the campy and colorful Aloha Room, where rockin’ DJ’s bring cool beats to this Polynesian playground.

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For general enquiries or or bookings, you can email honey@mahiki.com or contact them on 020 7493 9529.

TBT: Winter in Lesotho, 2011

TBT: Winter in Lesotho, 2011

Firstly….This was my coldest winter EVER!

I had heard about the snow in Lesotho, but being the sceptic that I am, I didn’t believe it! We are in Southern Africa… How much snow could there really be? I soon found out that just 500km out of Johoannesburg, the mountains of Lesotho have seasons of their own.

Naturally, a group of friends gathered to explore the snowy mountains of Lesotho.

This was an experience that was out of my comfort zone (I generally do not like the freezing cold), but all of that was forgotten when we arrived. We were welcomed into a cabin with a fire place at Afri Ski Resort Mountain Resort . Well, actually, we had to make the fire:-)  We cooked, drank local beers and immersed ourselves in the snowy landscape. We bonded over bon fires and  bum boarded, mainly because because our alchol intake levels did not allow for us to be up early to do proper ski trainining sessions.  It was good times indeed…

Afri Ski, the only skiing resort situated in the Maloti Mountains, proved to be an exciting and well worth experience. After that holiday, I was sure that you could put me anywhere in the world and I’d still have a fantastic time, as long as there’s good company and great food…even in the ice cold :)

Contact details:

Website: www.afriski.net

Tel: 08612374754

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Rooftop Gardens, London

Rooftop Gardens, London

The best part about London nighttlife, is it is virtually impossible to run out of places to explore. One amazing find was Rooftop Gradens. Situated 100 feet above bustling Kensington High Street, the Rooftop Gardens and Babylon Restaurant are truly spectacular. There are three themed gardens, with over 70 full-size trees, a flowing stream stocked with fish and resident flamingos.For over 70 years this unique venue has played host to countless events, parties and weddings.

Originally above Derry and Tom’s department store which opened in 1933, The Roof Gardens were the dream child of the vice president of Barkers, Trevor Bowen, who employed landscape architect Ralph Hancock to realise his vision. The Roof Gardens is part of Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson’s portfolio of unique retreats.

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High up on the 7th floor with amazing views over London's skyline, only their mouth-watering cuisine will compete for your attention at Babylon!

High up on the 7th floor with amazing views over London’s skyline, only their mouth-watering cuisine will compete for your attention at Babylon!

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And in the evening, when you feel like putting on your dancing shoes, you can visit their hugely popular and trendy club on the 6th floor, with top DJs working their magic in chic and contemporary surroundings.

London’s only rooftop Private Members Club is as glamorous as it comes. Open Friday and Saturday nights only, the dress code is simply “no effort, no entry”. Entrance is strictly over 21 years.

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Whether you come to the Roof gardens for an event, for a night at the private members club, for a meal in Babylon Restaurant or just for a wander around the gardens, you can be guaranteed a mind blowing London experience!

Call them on +44 (0) 207 368 3993, book a table online or email babylon@roofgardens.virgin.com

Get To Know: Lindi

Get To Know: Lindi

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1.What is the best early morning experience you’ve had while traveling?

Waking up to a hot, busy Tel – Aviv. Sea to my left, Metropolis to my right, and feeling right at home

2. Have you experienced any disasters/crisis while traveling?

Losing my luggage for 4 Days  on my way to Harare

3. Have you ever “mysteriously” survived a critical situation?

Nope. Unless drinking Tequila that looks, and smells like petrol counts.

4. What is your travel style?

I am a very, ummm, nervous traveler. I have been offloaded and left behind by FAR too many airlines. I like to arrive early, and by early I mean 2-4hrs early

5. Which songs best describes your travel experiences?

Queen Pen “A Party Aint a Party”

Da Brat “Funkdafied”

Drake “Underground Kings”

6. Most profound lesson learned through travel?

Its ok to get to the airport an hour before you should. It REALLY is ok :)

7. Favorite Town/ Village?  Why?

Village? Don’t have one

8. Favorite City? Why?

I fell in love with Jerusalem, cheesey I know. But the feeling of this city is amazing. Culturally and Spiritually rich.  The energy is palpable.

9. Who is the most unforgettable person you’ve met or interacted with while traveling?

……

10. What are some of the things you don’t like about traveling?

Lost luggage

11. I had my best night’s sleep at:

One of my close friends’ houses in Accra. It may have been the tequila, but the bed was soft too

 12. What are the 3 top eating experiences you’ve had while traveling lately?

I am terrible at trying out new foods, so none yet

 13. Best place to get tipsy:

Where ever my friends are

14. What’s the craziest stereotype you’ve heard about South Africans while traveling?

We live in a country where the crime and violence rivals that of a small civil war. That South African girls are ummm, generous

15. If I had only 24 hours to live, I would spend it in:

My City

16. Best Cities to fall in love?

Not sure, its never happened

 17.Cities you want to see with a lover?

None in particular

18. Cities you want to see with the girls?

The World

19. Best Cities to travel on your own

None, why would I do that when I have so many great people to travel with

 20. What city best suits/ embodies your personality?

I am yet to find one …

21. About Yourself:

This is the worst thing people can ask. I love to talk, but I don’t particularly like talking about my self.

I am a loving, emotional an d opinionated person. I protect what I care about, I’m LOUD and  sometimes tactless. Most importantly though, I am the funniest person I know

Lindi Ghana

 

Tips: Finding the best flights

Tips: Finding the best flights

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Being a traveler, I have been fortunate to get great flight deals and have also been unfortunate to experience not so great flying experiences, so its safe to say I know the ins and outs of flying.  Accompanied with the fact that fuel prices keep fluctuating which impacts on the cost of a ticket and this year also being the year of people saving,  finding the right flight at the perfect cost is very important. So through my experiences I have put together some tips regarding the flight aspect of traveling, to help you when you plan your next trip.

Here goes!

Be flexible with your travel dates

Rather look at traveling during the week between Monday and Thursday as prices are cheaper during the week than over the weekend. And early morning or late flights are also cheaper as few people fly then.

Take advantage of Student flights

I’m on the database for STA Travel and use them to inquire about great deals as well as I get my insurance through STA Travel unless you don’t use your credit card to pay for your flight where you get free travel insurance. Using student flight centers guarantees you discounted rates.

Compare prices

Most people generally go for the airlines they are familiar with. With smart phones you have travel apps only just a click away. I have downloaded the following apps which helps to compare flights. I have the following apps downloaded, Kayak, Expedia, Easyjet and Travelocity to compare flights. Never just book a flight based on one site.

Take your time

I immerse myself in finding the right flight. Take about a week to search for flights. Flights fluctuate and you need to ensure that by the time you have booked, you have exhausted all possible options.

Go to travel agents

I generally start my search by calling or popping into different travel agents to compare prices. Once they have given me advice on what are the best options available, I go back and do the searches myself as travel agents charge a service fee. Travel agents take the stress out of finding a flight so if you do not have the energy to do the homework, they are your best bet.

Sign up for a Airline rewards programs

Most airlines have frequent flyer rewards programs. Even if you don’t use the same airline it doesn’t matter. Star Alliance has many airlines under their belt so you can sign up there and earn points when you fly which might come in handy the next time you are short.

You earn free miles if you signup when you are still on the flight and some airlines have a 3 month gap for free points after your flight.

Look for alternative routes

Some people generally book direct flights which are much more expensive than connecting flights. By changing your route you end bagging a good deal. This also gives you a chance to pop in for a day or two to see another country that isn’t part of your travels.

Connecting flights

After a stressful 6 hour flight delay from Joburg to Thailand, I learned to make sure that there is ample time between my connecting flights. Some of the people on our flight were unfortunately not using the same airline to connect and missed their flights.

 Travel insurance

This is not even a nice to have actually. You need this. Anything can happen, you could miss your flight because you were late for check in, your flight caught be delayed which affects all your connecting flights and not forgetting having your baggage lost. In peak season having to book another flight could be disastrous.

Be at the airport on time

I don’t know how many times I have had to run through the airport because I was late for check in, or I was too busy having a beer that I was late for the gate. It could also happen that you are not at fault, so make sure you have an hour contingency. The last thing you want is receiving a phone call saying they are off loading you because the gate is closed. That could be the most heartbreaking thing ever especially since you have been looking forward to that holiday.

Investigate the airline

This may seem dramatic, but it could be the thin line between a great flight and a pear shaped flight. Myself and Lera decided found the cheapest flight but it came with a price. There was NO ALCOHOL on the flight. Nothing, Zilch, nudda. After running through the airport all we were looking forward to was a glass of wine, and we were met with disappointment. Needless to say at the connecting airport looking for a bar was the first thing we did. So investigate what their dos and don’ts.

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Stick to the luggage weight requirements

Make sure that you pack lightly, because its not the going where it matters, its the coming back. So leave atleast 10kg extra for all the shopping you will do. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have money to pay the penalty fee and have to leave some luggage behind. This experience could scar you for life.

 Have the card you booked ticket with, with you at check in

On my last trip I had forgotten my card at the atm which the atm swallowed. I completely forgot that I needed this at check in. I wasted a good 45 minutes running to the bank and then back to ticket counter to get a letter from the bank. You may think its not necessary, but that one time you lose your card, is when they will ask for it.

Let your family know your flight details

Leave your flight details with a family member so that they can track your flight. You can track your flight using the Skyscanner app that shows all flights arriving and departing and status of the flights. This comes in handy particularly if you are not roaming for whoever is picking you up to know.

 Check your flight information the day before you leave

Some flights change their flights at the last minute. Its your responsibility to check that everything is running according to schedule. You can choose the email option for flight updates as it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you can get access to your personal email account.

Finally: BE EXCITED FOR YOUR FLIGHT

It usually only kicks in when you have checked in and boarding that flight that you are about to embark on the most epic trip of your life. Once you are on that flight, there is not turning back. Leave all your worries and stresses behind, because the ride is far more important. Your journey begins the minute you hop onto that flight. Give thanks that you are able to get the opportunity to go make memories, and pray for safe travels.

 

 

 

 

TBT: Monaco ‘09

TBT: Monaco ‘09

Looking back at a brief but lovely trip I took to Monaco back in September 2009. I had just spent a few glorious days in beautiful Paris and then made my way to Monaco to visit my friend Adjoa who was studying at the International University of Monaco at the time.

The six hour ride from Paris to Monaco on the Euro Star offered a glimpse of the scenic French countryside. Vast green fields that went on forever, beautiful farm houses, and grazing cattle were some of the sights we saw along the way. Eventually, we arrived in the spectacular principality of Monaco, situated along the breathtakingly beautiful French Riviera.

My impressions of Monaco? Beautiful, extravagant, and a glimpse into what REAL (and old) money affords those who have it. High-end restaurants, designer shopping, a stunning harbour, the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo, and opulent nightlife are some of the things you can expect from Monaco.

Overall, I found that Monaco was somewhat over the top, but who can ever be mad at spending a few days of luxury living at its best?

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Stunning French countryside as seen from the train.

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Sheep enjoying their lunch :-)

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As we drove into Monte Carlo

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Place du Casino

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View from our hotel room. The MOST phenomenal view I have ever woken up to.

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The sheer beauty of the French Riviera.

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Walking the streets.

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The harbour

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I want one!

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Dinner and drinks with the girls!

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Caribbean Living…

Caribbean Living…

So someone I know decided to live out a dream and go and spend a month – a whole month –  chilling in the Caribbean! That is life! Her name is Barbara Makumbi, she’s a doctor, and she’s my new hero.  Read this feature for her beautiful Caribbean experience!

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I’m a junior doctor and after working hard (at the bottom of the hospital food chain) as an intern for 2 years, I decided its time for a break, a celebratory break, a time out to see the world.

So I put the next chapter of my career on hold and took a month off.

But when the world is your oyster where do you go?  Well, that was easy. My old childhood friend Fiona is living on the Caribbean Island of Anguilla. We’d been talking about my visiting her for ages. Perfect!

So, the time finally came to leave. I bid farewell to my old job, my old town, friends & family and headed off for my one-month adventure.

After a 20 hour flight to the USA, I landed in Las Vegas. This is where I met up with Fiona. Vegas was everything you would imagine it would be and now I know why they say, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. So, moving on swiftly ;)



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3 days later, we were off to the Caribbean. We flew from Vegas to Miami, and then from Miami to the Caribbean Island of St Maarten, or as I like to call it… Paradise!!

St Maarten is situated in the north-west of the Caribbean.  It is divided into a French territory (the French side) and a territory of the Netherlands (the Dutch Side).

The St Maarten airport is located a few meters from Maho Beach.

Upon landing, one can look out of the airplane and see people soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach. The ocean is turquoise & crystal clear with white sands. This was a sight to behold from the air. I instantly became excited.  Regardless of how many hours we’d been travelling or how jetlagged we were, Fiona and I were going to hit that beach, immediately.

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A rush to our hotel, the Caravanserai Beach-Resort ensued. We dropped off our luggage and got ready for the beach. This hotel is located in the same vicinity as the airport and the beach. Everything we needed was in the same area. We had chosen our hotel very strategically. It was beyond convenient.

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Ready to go, Fiona and I were off to explore. We headed to Sunset Beach Bar, an iconic hot spot in St Maarten.  At this bar, you will get the best view of planes landing overhead at the airport.

The planes fly at such a close proximity that is feels as though they may land on the beach.  While viewing the magnificent sights, Fiona and I indulged in the island’s trademark cocktails.

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In the evening, we were keen to try some local cuisine however this wasn’t easy to find so we settled for a restaurant/lounge, called YOLO- You Only Live Once. This soon became the catch phrase for our trip together.

Dinner was fantastic, and with our bellies full and happy, it was time to paint the island red. We headed to a local & popular nightspot and danced the night away.

The next morning it was time to leave for Anguilla, the place I’d call home for the next 3 weeks.

Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory & located just north of St Maarten. It is a small island with a population of approximately 13 500 people.

We caught a Ferry from St Maarten to Anguilla, via the Anguilla channel, which separates the islands. Fiona had warned that me that Anguilla is the definition of island living. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what she had meant. She tried to explain that, it would be like nothing I’ve ever experienced, as the city girl that I am.

When we arrived at the dock in Anguilla, friendly faces greeted us, so far so good. We disembarked and made our way to Fiona’s beach house. It was lovely. The sites and sounds were definitely the definition of island living. And I loved it!

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Fiona’s accommodation is literally 10 footsteps from the beach. I spent most of my days in her beach-backyard, lazing in the sun and reading. As well as meeting the friendly locals and tourists. It was heavenly.

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Getting my hair done

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The people of Anguilla are a beautiful people, inside and out. They were always willing to go the extra mile to make me feel welcome.  I felt right at home.

Anguilla has a wide array of places to eat out. From the restaurants, to the beach bars, to the local resorts, to barbeques and grills.  We did it all.

Below are my top 4 places to visit in Anguilla:

The Dune Preserve Beach Bar

The Dune Preserve Beach Bar is located on Rendezvous Beach. It has been ranked as the Best Beach Bar in the World by CNN. This charismatic bar is owned by internationally known recording artist Bankie Banks. It’s composed of tree house structure, made primarily of drift wood.

It’s an open-air bar, which boasts beautiful ocean views. There is a restaurant that serves delicious cuisine. And a well stocked bar which houses a Caribbean favorite- rum punch (a very potent cocktail). We spent many afternoons and evenings hanging out at the Dune.

They boast live performances regularly, adding even more to the amazing atmosphere.

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Viceroy Beach Resort

Viceroy is a luxury beach resort located on Meads Beach. This breathtaking resort is Fiona’s neighbour. A short , 5-minute walk down the beach and we were there.Viceroy has a host of restaurants, bars and lounges. We were regular visitors.Many a celebrity has visited this resort on holiday or business. And most recently Rick Ross, Wale and Drake filmed the music video for “Diced Pineapples” there. At Viceroy we enjoyed fine dining, DJ nights, buffet breakfast and spa facilities. This was the ultimate neighbour.

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Sand Bar

Sandbar is a beach bar located in the Sandy ground area of Anguilla. This beach bar is very upmarket with a sophisticated feel. They are renowned for their Tapas and Cocktails which are both very delicious. So you simply order a large number variety of finger foods and sip on cocktails. So fantastic. The best part about Sandbar is the tables and chair that are located in the sand, on the actual beach. (normal seating is available) The beach is majestic & catching a sunset at Sandbar is simply in one word… magical.

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Blanchard’s Beach Shack

Blanchard Beach Shack which is also located very close to us, is a very laid-back restaurant/ take out on the beach. We spent a lot of time here too. We would meet friends, grab a quick dinner and just hang out. Great food, quite an American orientated menu. Tables are located in the beach sand, surrounded by palm trees that are decorated with fairy lights. And just a stone’s throw from the water.

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I’m sure the waiters and waitresses knew exactly who we were by the time I was leaving.

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We went to a few clubs in Anguilla. The nightlife was exciting with a great atmosphere. Many beach bars and clubs host live music events regularly. Safety was never an issue in Anguilla. I was told that crime is a rare occurrence on the island. This was evident to me by the lack of fencing, houses with open doors, unlocked cars, & people walking around fearlessly at all hours of the day and night. If a pedestrian is walking in the same direction you are driving, you pick that person up. It’s the norm. It was so refreshing.

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During our adventures we met singer/recording artist- Omari Banks  & song of Bankie Banks (also a recording artist and owner of Dune Preserve Beach Bar). He is a former West Indies test cricketer. He broke off from his sporting career to pursue his passion in music. Omari Banks is the lead singer of his band called Eleven. The music they play can be described as- a combination of lovers’ rock & reggae infused with a mixture of jazz & R&B. He releases his debut album and music video later this week. Watch this space!

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Photographer- Bob Magee

Check the first single out on itunes:
Omari Banks – Unafraid
& his official website: www.omaribanks.com

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The day I had to leave Anguilla, I left with a heavy heart.  I had connected with this island on another level. The beautiful scenery, the wonderful people, the music, food and culture, I had soaked it all in.  Saying goodbye to paradise was so difficult.  Anguilla has definitely not seen the last of me!

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References:

http://www.bankiebanx.net/Restaurant.html
http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/anguilla/overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguilla

Republic Bar & Grill, Accra

Republic Bar & Grill, Accra

When traveling to a new city, its always good to find out where the locals love to let loose and enjoy a drink or two. Its usually in these environments that the real personality of a city shows itself, and also where you really get a sense of what makes each city unique.

Word of mouth led us to a charming bar & grill in Osu, called Republic Bar & Grill. Osu is a district in central Accra, known for its busy commercial, restaurant and nightlife activity. It is locally known as the “West End” of Accra. When walking and driving through Osu, I felt was a strong sense of the authentic energy and soul of the people of Accra.

The selling point of Republic Bar & Grill is the fact that all the drinks are laced with Akpeteshie (Disclaimer: Not for the faint hearted). Akpeteshie is a home-made alcoholic spirit produced in Ghana and other West African nations by distilling palm wine or sugar cane. But beyond that, this charming bar & grill provides an eccentric and quirky experience in the city of Accra. From the sounds of Fela Kuti filling the air, to the vintage inspired decor, the colourful and interesting  clientele, and the yummy Akpeteshie laced cocktails (AGAIN, Be warned), a night out at Republic Bar & Grill is a sure stop before heading out for a night of partying in Accra (if you’re still standing of course).

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TBT: Amsterdam ‘10

TBT: Amsterdam ‘10

 

June 2012. On a whim, Katiso and I decided that we wanted to see Amsterdam. Within 2 weeks, we made this trip happen. What an incredible city. So beautiful, so interesting, and so colourful! We spent just over a week in Amsterdam. We enjoyed our time trying different food and beer, shopping, exploring, partying, and learning more about the city’s rich history. I’m not done with you Amsterdam, my heart yearns to know you better….

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This house is so beautiful, straight from a fairytale!

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Shopping in Dam Square

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Music for cash monies!

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Houseboats…so lovely!

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Katiso walking them streets.

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The infamous Red Light District!

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We even managed to catch a N.E.R.D show :-)

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Hello there Pharrell!

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:-)

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Katiso getting down!

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People Watching.

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The canals are so beautiful!

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Public toilets in the Red Light District. True story.

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More houseboats. I could so live like that!

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Our reward after a long day of walking!

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Bicycles seemed to almost be the primary mode of transport.

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Love it.

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Canal cruising.

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And another houseboat.