OUR HONEYMOON // AMSTERDAM

 
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And last, but not least, our final leg of our honeymoon! It only happened about six months ago (I have a year, right?)!
Time to jog my memory...

After our magical time in Copenhagen, we skipped over to The Netherlands to check out Amsterdam and its surroundings for the last three nights of our honeymoon. 

Once we landed, we hopped on a train over to Zaandam, a small city about 45 min outside Amsterdam's city center where some of the original Dutch windmills still stand. We stayed at this crazy, wacky, cartoon-looking hotel, Inntel Hotel, that was surprisingly really awesome (totally recommend it) and was definitely a nice change up from Airbnb.

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Since it was a Sunday, the city itself was pretty quiet and mostly shut down for the day, but we managed to make a right turn and found a cute, lively, cobblestone street to grab some dinner on. Once we sat and glanced at the menu at Wonders, we were instantly excited by the fact that we were no longer in Kron-land, and the Euro was here! We went crazy and ordered a ton of food (seriously... like 2 racks of ribs) and drinks, and sat back and enjoyed the evening's passing. We even got to watch some Euro-kids playing soccer in the streets.  

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The next morning, we headed to go see the windmills of Zaanse Schans. We rented bikes and rode around this magical Dutch place filled with small, fairy-tale cottages, still rivers, and even SWANS and BABY SWANS!

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It was so cool to explore this area by bike since it was incredibly hot out and helped save on time. Even though I didn't get photos of it all, Zaandam is filled with a bunch of cute cafes and little shops that we could've easily spent the day going to. 
Pro tip: bring cash with you here! We did not, and almost none of the places took credit cards. 

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Sticky from humidity and sun-beatten from our ride, we headed into bustling Amsterdam and checked into our Airbnb in De Pijp. This place was listed as a private room but it was really a one-bedroom that sat on the corner, so we had fun views of all the people zooming through with sounds of bike bells. It was already so overly charming I wanted to die.

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We took it easy for the rest of the day and just walked around checking out the sites and planning on our next full day.

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Our last day! We woke up early, picked up some coffee and sandwiches, rented some more bikes (because that's what you do in Europe) and headed over to the Van Gogh museum.

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This museum was one of the best I had ever been to. Impeccably curated, you can easily make your way through its 4 stories without being overwhelmed and without taking up your entire day. We absolutely loved it and recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam.
Pro tip: visit in the morning to avoid large crowds.

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Super energized by the city, we got back on our bikes and rode around, checking out all the charming architecture and beautiful parks (and people). We fell in love with Amsterdam.

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So as luck would have it, our flat was right next to The Avocado Show. It got me at the name. We had to go. Besides the interior just being the cutest, it offered an awesome avocado-everything menu that you could never imagine. Danny ordered the burger that came with "avocado buns", which, when you hear that, you think green bread, right? Wrong, it was actually an avocado sliced through the middle, its two halves acting as buns. It was not a use-your-hands kind of burger! I also got an avocado Daiquiri. Everything was so delicious!

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Full of healthy fat, we headed to the Anne Frank Museum. I did not take any photos out of respect of the establishment, but it was truly a surreal experience and still blows my mind.
Pro tip: make reservations online ahead of time!

As the temps started to cool, we picked up some beer and rented a paddle boat and romantically bobbed around the canals.

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Since it was the last night of our honeymoon, we finally splurged on fancy dinner at Cafe Caron. Of course, I ordered the lamb-shank.

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And it wouldn't be a trip to Amsterdam without exploring the Red Light District to check out the ladies and some "coffee" shops... which is about the time we found churros....

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Our "Hanimoon" was the most wonderful and insightful ten days - and of course, it went by too fast. We hope to re-visit some of these places again together and travel further into each of them. Thank you, Europe.  

Love,
Dandi

 

Where we stayed...

Inntel Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam
Our Airbnb

Where we ate & drank...

Wonders
Cannibal Royale
The Avocado Show
Cafe Caron
 

Where we went...

Zaanse Schans
The Van Gogh Musuem
Anne Frank House


 

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OUR HONEYMOON // COPENHAGEN

 
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So I've really been dropping the ball on keeping up on this blogging game lately. But some exciting things have been taking place in our lives so it's excusable.

Now where did I leave off... COPENHAGEN!

After our magical time in Norway had come to a close, we jet-setted off to Denmark! Copenhagen had been another place on my radar for as long as I could remember because Danish furniture, duh. We landed in the evening and our headed over to our overly cute airbnb in Fredricksberg and called it a day. Seriously, I loved this apartment!

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After some much needed rest, we set out for our first packed day starting with breakfast at Cafe Dyrehaven in the adorable Vesterbro area. Once again, we were greeted with magnificent open face smoked salmon sandwiches covered in fresh avocado. They also had a wonderful campari ice coffee. It was a dream come true.

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Like most European cities, we purchased their city card, the Copenhagen Card, that gives you free access to museums and other attractions, public transportation, and discounts at restaurants. I recommend speaking with someone at CPH's Central Station to figure out which card type would be suite your stay. It is definitely worth it. But, don't buy stamps at the central station, just dont.

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Copenhagen Pass in hand we walked over to the Danish Design Museum to drool over all the sexy furniture designs that have come out of this country.  It was such a cool musseum with so many fun things to look at without being overwhelming. I wanted to smuggle everything out and take it home with us! 

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From this point we headed down the street to Kastellet, the best preserved star-snapped fortresses in Europe from 1624. It was pretty eerie and interesting to walk around this old military base that housed a fairytale-like church and old Danish Windmill. 

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If I haven't mentioned it, it was HOT in Copenhagen.  The weather report lied so I was not dressed appropriately for this 80-something degree heat-wave they were having. So we thought we would head over to Nyygen Harbor to catch a break and a drink. WRONG. It was a zoo. (pictured at the top of this post) At this point I wanted to just leave and go back to Norway OR buy some shorts. I bought some shorts and it changed my life. But we still felt traumatized by the crowds so we decided to rent some bikes and cruise into Christiania, aka Free Christiania, a completely self-sustained anarchist district in the center of Copenhagen where art, music, love and weed are available. This place was effin awesome and nothing like we had seen before. Unfortunately, photos are highly frowned upon inside so I only have this photo of Danny before we went in and delicious popsicle I had inside while listening to some Danish jams. 

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After Cristiania, we took a quick breather and the headed to Tivoli, the 2nd oldest operating amusement park and "pleasure garden" in the world. This place puts Disneyland to shame and there really isn't anything quite like it. Filled with your usual rides but since this isn't America, they are actually terrifying. Once the sun sets, the parks lights up into a vibrant, magical wonderland. As the night went on, we grabbed a drink and watched one of the best firework shows I have ever seen.  They do not mess around here.

The next morning we woke up early in search of one of the Forgotten Giants. These large sculptures made of of recycled wood created by Thomas Danmbo, have been scattered around Copenhagen's suburbs. The project was intended to connect yourself with nature and to give a treasure hunt experience. Yes, there is a "treasure map" of sorts and it was by no means easy to decipher. Danny and I pieced together information and hopped onto a bus not really knowing where to look once we got there. And it was my lucky day to be colored coordinated with our bus.

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After about two hours of walking around, getting on more buses, feeling lost and defeated, we found one! Tucked away in a space I would have never imagined to be, laid Sleeping Louis! Thomas Dambo succeed in his mission because it did feel like the discovery he intended and the reward was worth the search. The craftmanship alone on this sculpture was so impressive. I wish we had more time to search for the others.

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We headed back into the city, rented some bikes again (they have gps and everything), we headed to grab lunch at this cute bakery Bageriet Brød. Now, like Norway, their bread is different. I literally got a roll with some butter and a slice of cheese and it blew my mind. It really must be the water (which is 100% safe to drink the tap here).

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Impressed by Tivoli, we headed back to hop on some more rides that we missed the night before.  
Danny and I are both huge Swing Ride fans so we had to go on their colalosal Star Flyer, the world's tallest carousel. This thing was insane and so much fun! The park is very strict about no phone or cameras while on the ride so I only got views from the ground.

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After our last afternoon at Tivoli, we headed back to our apartment and sadly packed up. Our time in Copenhangen was not long enough as we under estimated how big the city was. It is at the top of our list of places we want to go back to soon. We love you Copenhagen!

Next stop.. AMSTERDAM!

To be continued...

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OUR HONEYMOON // NORWAY

 
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Since about forever, I've always wanted to go to Norway. A mysterious land so far away from Los Angeles with more sprawling landscapes than people, and infinite things to see. Lucky me, when Danny and I began talking about where to go on our Honeymoon, he was all for going to Norway. Beaches are cool, but we wanted adventures rather than lying in the sand.

Norway was going to be our first stop of our Honeymoon, as we flew into Oslo the day after our Wedding Party. Danny had never traveled that far, so the ten-hour-plus flight time made me a little nervous for him, but Norwegian Airlines made the flight nothing but comfortable (we would definitely recommend booking with them). We were set to land around 7pm, which worked out well, because we would be able to catch up on sleep and wake up the next day refreshed. Wrong. Not only was the jet lag very real, but it also doesn't get dark in Norway during this time of year. From about 12am-4am, it looks like dusk with light blue skies - and you can even see your shadow. It's crazy.

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After landing, figuring out which train would take us to our Airbnb, and standing out like a sore thumb wheeling our suitcases over streets made only of cobble-stone, we had finally made it. We were exhausted. Since we needed to be close to the central train station in order to head to Bergen later, we decided to stay in Oslo Sentrum. Our flat was cozy, accommodating, and it gave us our first introduction to what will be a series of weird showers in Scandinavia. 

We unpacked, chilled for a minute, and headed out for our first meal in Norway. We walked over to this cute restaurant called Lokk, which had a wonderful selection of traditional dishes, including a gourmet take on fish soup, a common street food of Scandinavia. I could seriously eat that everyday, and it was by far the best version that we had tried during our stay. This was also our first introduction to Norwegian prices. Yes, it's as expensive as everyone warns you it is. Even the cheapest glass of wine will set you back about $15 - but hey, it was our honeymoon.

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Our first day was dedicated to exploring the city and seeing its interesting architecture, museums, and touching some Norwegian wood. We started off with stopping by Prince Lunchbar where we had our first Sjømat Smørbrød: an open-faced seafood sandwich. Fffff - I also want these forever. So filling and satisfying without being heavy. 

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From there, we visited the Opera House which is a modern monument with 360 views of the city, and laced with delicate Norwegian wood inside. We road the ferry to Bygdøy, where the Viking Museum is located (really cool) and then took a bus to Vingeland, Oslo's "Central Park". Vingeland is really the biggest, most manicured park I had ever visited, with different pockets and impressive sculptures.

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Afterward, we road the bus through Frogner, which I really wish we had more time to explore and walk through so that I could take pictures! We then stopped by Fuglen - a coffee-shop-slash-bar-slash-(I think)-vintage-store. This was probably my highlight of Oslo. I mean, a bar that looks like an awesome mid-century time capsule without having an overly-pretentious LA vibe?! Yes, please. I could've sat in there all day.

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From there, to wind down the night, we ate at a place called Meatballs (not photogenic) and then ended at Kniven - Oslo's heavy metal bar (because... Norway). We sipped on some beers and listened to therapeutic screams before calling it night. Thank you, Oslo. You were short but sweet.

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Where we stayed...

Our Airbnb

Where we ate & drank...

LOKK
Prince Lunchbar
Fuglen
Meatballs
Kniven

Where we went...

Oslo Opera House
Ferry ride to: Bygdøy
Viking Ship Museum
Vingeland Park

 

BERGEN

This is where things started getting good... 
The next day, still jet-lagged, we set off for Bergen (on the other side of the country). We didn't just fly there, but instead, booked what is called "Norway In A Nutshell". It starts off with a five-hour train ride from sunny, warm Oslo, through a frozen tundra, and then into Mydral. It was so awesome, and we got to see so much of Norway.

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Next, we boarded the historic Flåm Railway in Mydral, which took us through the narrow mountains, to where the Fjords are located. This train felt like we were in some Wes Anderson shit. The Flåm Railway makes stops along the way so you can get out, take photos, and get better views of the landscape, including a major waterfall. Even better than the view was the unexpected accompaniment of music and a mystical dancing lady in red. If this isn't Norwegian, then I don't know what is.

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From here, we got a little break to grab a bite in Flåm, which is a really small town that almost reminded us of Big Bear. Unfortunately, it was a bit overcrowded, and if you plan on getting to Bergen by the end of the day, you don't have enough time to hike around. We did eat some awesome fish curry and fish 'n chips that hit the spot. We then boarded the next segment: the 2-hour boat ride through the Fjords.

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Now, I don't mean to sound critical, but for the entire tour I felt like I was waiting for "the moment". It was also freezing and we were exhausted, and I admittedly fell asleep for a portion of it. There were some pretty scenes, though, of small waterfront towns that looked like they were straight out of a tale. Once the boat ride was finished, we boarded the final train in Voss to Bergen. This is when we realized that it probably would have been best to split the entire tour into two days. Voss looked awesome but we had no time to explore.

After 16 hours from beginning to end of the tour, we had made it to Bergen and we couldn't have been happier. It's so damn cute you want to punch it. We met up with our AirBnb host to pick up our keys and checked in. Little did we know, BergenFest was also taking place right across the water from where we were staying, so we had box seats to the music, which was awesome. Tired from the day but excited, we headed out into town to grab a delicious reindeer sausage at Trekroneren and then a glass of wine at Pingvenen.

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After finally sleeping like logs, we got up, and headed out for breakfast at Bergen's open-air Fish Market, Fisketorget. This place is awesome, filled with tons of fresh seafood ready to purchase, and if you want to eat it right away, many of the merchants will cook it right there, on the spot. Salmon is one of Norway's specialties, and I literally could not get enough of it - it's SO fresh. 

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Bergen has a trolly, aka Fløibanen, that takes you to the top of one of its mountains where you can see the whole city from their observation deck, or hike one of its beautiful trails.

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Scandanavia also had this magic candy called Kvikk Lunsj (pronounced like "Quick Lunch") that were recommended by travel officienado, Walter's World, and they are the best! Very similar to a Kit-Kat but like a million times better. I think we bought like 10 of these on our trip.

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Disappointed by our boat portion of Norway In A Nutshell, on our last day in Norway, we decided to give it another go with a different tour from Norde Tours that docked in the Bergen Harbor. Man, was it worth every penny, and I am so grateful that Danny found it. We woke up at the crack of dawn, got breakfast at Godt Brød (and it was awesome - something about the bread in Norway is very special and different, must be the water), and took off. Right off the bat, we knew this was going to be good as soon as we boarded. This tour not only gave us detailed information of what we were passing, but it played scenic music, took us through areas where I literally cried because it was so beautiful, AND it took us up-close and personal to an effin' raging waterfall, where one of the staff went to the bow of the boat with a bucket and collected water for everyone on board to drink! It was pure awesome and SO fresh and SO clean. This was our "awe" moment and I fell deeply in love with Norway. It was everything I have ever wanted, and I had it.

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Sadly, a few hours post-amazingness, our flight to Denmark was set to take off - but we weren't done. We had one last item to check off the list in Bergen: Bryggen Tracteursted (another gem found by my new husband) - an old world traditional tapas restaurant. It had it all. We ordered the herring, the eel, the WHALE, the fish stew... you name it, we ordered it! It was all good in it's own way, though I probably wouldn't eat some of those things again (the herring & the whale). Norway... you have my heart, and we love you forever for treating us so well. Next stop: Copenhagen! 

To be continued...

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Where we stayed...

Our Airbnb

Where we ate & drank...

Trekroneren
Pingvenen
Fisketorget
Godt Brød
Bryggen Tracteursted

Where we went...

Norway In A Nutshell
Fjord Tour by Nordne
Fløibanen
 

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