WanderLustRuby’s Most Instagramable Guide To Amsterdam

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To be honest, Amsterdam is adorned with so many cute cafes, bars and dining spots, 3 days was absolutely not enough to experience them all. So, out of all the cute places I managed to pop in during my busy 3 days, Bar Botanique and Plukk certainly stood out when it comes interior, am- bience, high quality good food and excellent service.

Here is my guide to the most instagrammable places to

  • Eat (restaurant/cafe) – pluk & bar botanique
  • Shop (amazing interiors) – both on Utrechtsestraat street
  • Sleep (hotel) – hotel& Bar toon
  • Take a day trip to (just 20min by metro) – Zaanse Schans
  • Explore (the prettiest neighbourhoods/ streets to walk around) – The 9 Streets & De Pijp

 

..To Eat

Pluk

Pluk is more than just a restaurant, it is also a home decor store where you can buy the newest and most sort after items for your home, kitchen and food related products. Slightly on the pricier side, it is undoubtedly one of the hottest brunch spots in Amsterdam. A lot of healthy dishes with a good amount of vegan / vegetarian options and a whole lot of yummy cakes.

@plukamsterdam

Reestraat 19, Amsterdam, Netherlands

www.pluk-amsterdam.com/nl/

Bar Botanique

Located in Amsterdam East, Bar Botanique is slightly out of the way but totally worth the trip. Who doesn’t love a beautiful indoor tropical paradise where you can order a coffee, or a perfectly hand crafted cocktail and watch the world go by.
Also, we really loved exploring a different neighbourhood of Amsterdam that we would otherwise not have ventured to. Get cultured at Tropen museum, take a stroll at through the magnificent Oosterpark, find something unique at Dappermarkt and then take all the time you want to unwind at Bar Botanique, designed by studio Modijefsky.

@barbotaniqueamsterdam
Eerste van Swindenstraat 581, Amsterdam, Netherlands

www.barbotanique.nl/

 

..To Shop

 

Bolia

This place is the definition of the new Scandinavian design. I felt like i had arrived in ins- tagram heaven. Working with a team of award-winning designers Bolia oozes individuality, style and innovation. Using only the finest materials from European and Danish suppliers to create customised products that are all hand-made and delivered directly to your front door.

@boliacom

 

Utrechtsestraat 78-80, Amsterdam, Netherlands

http://www.bolia.com

 

Mobilia Woonstudio

One of the most amazing interior design shops in the city, the designers actually work in- side this gorgeous space they created for themselves. Each little corner is like a show- room of its own kind, while the whole space still has a harmonised look . Slightly on the pricier side, but if you are looking for one of a kind unique design its worth every penny.

@mobilia_interior
Utrechtsestraat 62-64, Amsterdam, Netherlands

www.mobilia.nl/

 

..To Sleep

 

HOTEL&BAR TOON

Besides excellent location, modern & stylish design , complimentary mini-bar and free beer vouchers for the bar downstairs, what made our stay at Hotel Toon so exceptional was the most hospitable and friendly staff I have ever experienced.
From the outside, Hotel Toon could easily be missed as Bar Toon. Its a small independent boutique hotel with only 7 rooms above the bar. Breakfast buffet is serves at the very trendy bar from 8:30am-10:30am. Upon your arrival, you would be served with complimentary drinks of your choice. There wont be any standing & waiting like a typical hotel lobby. Instead, Our check in was done by the staff behind the bar while we sipped our mint tea ( highly recommend) and cappuccino.

Just like the bar downstairs, our room is immaculately clean and stylish.
On top of all that, I adored the personal touch of a welcome note and fresh flowers.
Of course, if you are ever reading this, dear Anneloes, thank you for making our stay at Hotel&Bar Toon so wonderful.

Utrechtsestraat 18, 1017 VN Amsterdam +31 20-2334431

http://www.hoteltoon.nl/hotel/hotel-toon

..To Take A Day Trip To

Zaanse Schans

Just a 20 minute train ride from the centre of Amsterdam, actually 4 stops. Zaanse Schans is the perfect escape from the city. You are instantly transported back to a simpler and traditional Dutch country side, with views that just make you feel you are in Land- scape from the Dutch golden age of painting, you cant help but find yourself just slowing down and starring at the clouds reflecting in the canals and passing behind the windmills. One thing you have to do while you are there is go to the Wooden Shoe Workshop to see traditional Clog making. It is free to enter with amazing demonstrations of how they are preserving the skills of this most traditionally Dutch footwear, Plus it is such an amazing place to take photos

http://www.woodenshoes.nl/en

Kraaienest 4, 1509 AZ Zaandam, Netherlands +31 75 617 7121

 

..To Explore

 

 De Pijp District in Amsterdam

One of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant districts of Amsterdam. De Pijp District is also know as the Latin Quarter of Amsterdam.
I adore De Pijp for it being a melting pot of different traditions and ethnicities, not forgetting it also hosts one of the best daily markets in Amsterdam, Albert Cuypmarkt has over 260 stalls. Thanks to De pijp’s multinational demographic, you’ll find an exciting array of ethnic cuisines, Moroccan, Surinamese, Spanish, Turkish, whatever you fancy, I’m sure you will find something to satisfy your palate.

 

9 street Amsterdam / De Negen Straatjes

Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s canal district. the 9 streets are filled with fashion boutiques, art galleries, cute cafes, independent bookstores, and some of the best al fresco bars and restaurants.
9 little charming alleyways crossing two canals: Herengracht and Keizersgracht; surroun- ded by Prinsengracht canal from the west and Singel canal from the east. You will be spoiled with choices when it comes to speciality and independent stores selling high quality and hand crafted items.

Not forgetting all the most beautiful canal shots you can get while wandering around this oh-so chic district.

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Skopje, Macedonia 

Here are the pictorial highlights of Skopje, Macedonia. A fascinating city and nation that’s waiting to be recognised on the world map. 

view from the Skopje Fortress

Interesting facts of Macedonia:

1. The national currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD). The cost of living in Macedonia is extremely affordable, probably the lowest in Europe.

2. Macedonia has an impressively high rate of English proficiency. Everyone I talk to, even the shop owner of the little convenient store down the street speaks perfect conversational English.

Areas to explore in Skopje

1. Old Bazaar  

This vibrant quarter of Skopje is situated on the eastern bank of the Vardar River. Not to be confused with the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, it is an entire neighbourhood where old traditions are still kept alive. 

If I have to draw a comparison, it reminded me of the good old Jewish quarter “Balat” in Istanbul, with charming cobblestone streets, traditional cafes and old craftsmen shops of sleepers, bags and jewellery. You can easily enjoy a whole day exploring this neighbourhood so full of history and traditions.

  2. Museum of Comtemporary Art 

On top of an impressive art collection, this museum is definitely one of the most well designed museum space I have ever experienced. 

One particular quote I read from the exhibition really resonates with me, 

somewhere within us lies a utopian spark worth preserving” 



3. Mt Vodno Hiking Trail  

Mt Vodno has one of the most clearly marked hiking trails I have ever experienced.

1,066 metres high, Mt Vodno overlooks the beautiful Skopje city and hosts the once controversial Millennium Cross. 

  
It takes about 90min to hike from Skopje’s city centre (Macedonia Square) to the start of the cable car (Hotel Vodno). Alternatively you can take a bus (35MKD one way) 

From Hotel Vodno, you have the choice to take the cable car to the top of Millennium Cross (50MKD one way). Alternatively, which I think is the best way, you can choose one of the 4 available hiking trails with various level of difficulty.

   
 
  

  
I did not experience the cuisine and nightlife of Skopje, partly due to bad weather but mainly just pure laziness. 

Dear Skopje, I will be back 🙂

Canyon Matka, Macedonia

Matka Lake, also known as the “womb” lake, is ideal for a day trip from Skopje. 

Only a 30 minutes drive from Skopje , Matka Lake has remained a popular weekend outings spot for the locals and it is best to visit this stunning Macedonian gem during the week.

Stacey from Australia and I planned to go to Lake Matka on her last day in Macedonia.

Hours before we leave for our journey, Tyson from Canada and Niclas from Germany checked into our dorm and decided to join us. The beauty of backpacker hostels!  

  
After a few failed attempts at finding our bus (bus 60, MKD 35 each way), we discovered a taxi ride from Skopje to Lake Matka is MKD500. Yes it is much more expensive than the bus but when converted to Euro, it is a 40min ride that costs less than €10, a deal we are all happy to take.

   

The oldest artificial lake in Macedonia, Matka lake hosts several monasteries and ten caves that could only be accessed by boat or kayak.
Hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, Lake Matka has plenty to offer for outdoor enthusiasts as well as day trippers.
  

 

Chasing Sunrise in Cappadocia 

 Sunrise in Cappadocia is pure magic ✨ Yes, it is definitely worth waking up for!:) 
I stayed in Cappadocia during the month of August. The best place to watch sunrise is called “Sunset Point”. You could easily find it on Google map by searching for “Sunset Aydın Kırağı Seyir Yeri” and it is about 15min walk from Göreme’s otogari (bus station).

Personally I would recommend you to get to the sunset point around 5:45am, bring along some refreshments and wait for the magic to begin:) 

On this blog most of the pictures are taken around 6:15am, enjoy:) 
    
    
 

Cappadocia Hike 4 – En route to Red Valley and Rose Valley 

Today I am not even on a real hiking trail. I was en route to Rose Valley and Red valley. however, I ended up taking some of the best pictures of Cappadocia. 

I guess sometimes you have to walk off the beaten path to encounter the best beauty of a place. 

   

Today’s hike starts from Göreme and just follow the arrows on the map😊

     

   

   

     

    
 

Cappadocia Hike 3 – Paşabağ, Zelve Open Air Museum and Devrent Valley 


Most of the pictures from this post are taken along Paşabağ Yolu, which personally I think the most scenic part for Hike 3.

click on this picture for a more insider story by my fellow German Blogger Christian 🇩🇪

Hike 3 starts at Çavuşin Village. You can easily take a dolmuş from Göreme bus station to Çavuşin Village for ₺2 (one way) and that would be the starting point of your hike.


Following the blue arrow, you would be hiking along Paşabağ Yolu, where you would see a lot of interesting rock formations and landscapes.

However, once you hit the main road, you would be hiking along the highway until you reach the area marked with a black pointy glove on the map.  Once you are here, it is impossible to miss as it is packed with tour buses and tourists.

Of course my instinct is let’s escape this tourist crowd now!

As you hike further down Zelve Yolu, you would have the option to visit Zelve Yolu Museum (marked by a yellow star on the map) or take a dolmus further to Devrent Valley (marked by a red arrow)

  
  
  
  

Cappadocia Hike 2 – Love Valley 

The first thing you would notice about Love Valley is the abundance of greenery in addition to the scenery between the chimney rocks.

The second thing you would notice is the unusual shapes of the rock pillars. They are simply the result of ancient volcanic eruptions, approximately 9 to 3 million years ago during the late Miocene to Pliocene epochs. 

the famous asparagus or phallic-shaped pillars

  
    
    
   

Cappadocia Hike 1 – Pigeon Valley 

  
I picked Pigeon Valley (Güvercinlik Vadisi in Turkish) for my first hike in Cappadocia. After some online research, I was convinced that’s where I would find the famous Tree of Evil eyes. 

  

“In Turkey, and Greece, the Evil Eye has a deep cultural symbolism and the talisman is fixed to anything perceived to attract greed, envy, or ill-will to ward off the evil eye.”
  

I hiked the long trail from Göreme to Uçhısar via Görçeli Sk. 

 

  

At the start of my hike, I passed by Traveller’s cave hotel. I went inside with the intention to get a bottle of water but ended up discovering they have the most beautiful terrace that would be perfect to watch sunrise in Cappadocia. 

Here are some pictures from the start of my hike. 

   
  
 

A Natural Wonder: Pamukkale Turkey 

  
 
Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale. 
Pamukkale, literally means ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish, is indeed a natural wonder. 

Pamukkale is made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. 

However, if you are looking for the most iconic google image of Pamukkale, you will be disappointed. The area is left empty and there is no spring water in those terraced basins
    

At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.