Amsterdam’s Art Scene

When I think of Amsterdam I just think of a cool city with cool people. And naturally, when a city and its people are cool, there is a pretty mind-blowing art scene. Not only are there some amazing, well-known museums, like the Van Gogh Museum, but there are galleries and exhibits that are rarely mentioned in the plethora of guides to Amsterdam that you see on Pinterest.

Amsterdam art galleries

One of my favorite places that we stumbled into was the Home of Art art gallery. I loved this lantern-like exhibit that was displayed in the front of the space. The way the sun shone through the windows was beautiful.

Amsterdam small hidden art galleries

I think I loved this gallery so much because of the people that ran it. They were welcoming, offering us up some wine and snacks, and left us alone to enjoy the art. If you are a frequent gallery-goer than you know that those running it make or break your experience. A lot of people can be stingy, watching your every move, judging you, or simply ignore your presence all together.

Amsterdam Van Gogh museum

Of course we visited the Van Gogh Museum, which was an amazing experience. I learned so much about the artist that I never knew. I loved seeing how his work evolved throughout the different time periods in his life and changed depending on where he moved. The museum does a brilliant job at intertwining Van Gogh’s history with his paintings, explaining his story perfectly through his art.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

Lastly, right next to the Van Gogh Museum, is the Moco Museum, a pleasant surprise for someone who loves street art or impressionism. I had never even heard of this museum before walking by it. It houses an extensive collection of Banksy and Dali, walking the viewer through the meaning of their different pieces. While we did not get the chance to go inside, this will definitely be the first museum I visit the next time I’m in Amsterdam. Remember to hit up all of the museums early in the day so you don’t face the same struggle against the 5pm closing times that we did.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

To learn about more of my favorites spots in Amsterdam, check out my Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam- What to See, Eat, Do, and be sure to follow me on Instagram to see all of my European adventures!

Hidden Gem of Amsterdam: Toastable

After strolling through the Bloemenmarkt early in the morning, I needed some coffee to get me through the rest of the day. I was instantly attracted to Toastable because of their cute, cheery sign greeting me at the door.

Amsterdam's cutest cafe

I ordered a cappuccino to-go, although my cousin and I ended up spending quite some time in this quaint cafe. Wood tables, pink peonies in glass bottles, white walls, and a decadent gold-framed mirror. If I lived in Amsterdam I could easily spend hours in this light, airy atmosphere.

best coffee in  Amsterdam

While I only came in here for a cup of coffee, I later found out that they sell all varieties of grilled cheese. I mean who doesn’t love grilled cheese? If you stop here, try the Gorgonzola toastie for me; I couldn’t help but eye up all the delicious options on their menu! I highly recommend stopping in here for a quick bite to eat and a cup of coffee before being on your way to explore the city.

Amsterdam's best coffee

Being a blogger, I can’t leave a place this aesthetically pleasing without having a little photoshoot!

Check out my Amsterdam Guide for more recommendations when visiting this city.

Burberry Makers House

This week only, Burberry is holding an exhibit which showcases their February 2017 collection that was shown at London Fashion Week on Monday. The exhibit is named “Henry Moore: Inspiration & Process at Makers House”, brought together in collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation. The exhibit walks through the artwork, created by Henry Moore himself, and how it inspired this season’s collection.

Burberry cape

In addition to Moore’s artwork and Burberry’s latest collection, Burberry has also displayed their made-to-order couture cape collection. These capes are some of the most beautiful, detailed pieces I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Each one is created from the most exquisite materials such as shells, feathers, plastic, rope, and beads.

Burberry February 2017

This grey cable knit sweater dress is a favorite of mine from the collection. I can just imagine myself wearing this with some knee-high black boots and a grey trench coat. A girl can dream, right!?

Burberry Makers House 2017

Burberry Makers House production

Being a sewer, I loved experiencing the making of a huge fashion house’s runway collection. The exhibit laid out the fitting and tailoring process of each special piece in the collection. They even had a jacket displayed that still had the pins in it. Many people who aren’t familiar with designing clothes don’t understand all of the math and careful planning involved with each garment. This exhibit gives a deep insight into the process of designing and creating clothing.

Burberry cape

Henry Moore Burberry

This is one of Moore’s bronze sculptures which was the largest source of inspiration for the collection. Each sculpture is meant to represent a sense of security, which can be noticed throughout the clothes in the collection. You can also see how the geometric elements of this sculpture translate directly into the geometric elements of the clothes. This is seen most literally in the shoes paired with each look which have a cut-out round heel.

Burberry Henry Moore

Burberry February 2017

Here is a more literal interpretation of one of Moore’s art pieces. You can see that Christopher Bailey was inspired by the fluidity and design of the light piece when designing this knit sweater.

Burberry cape

We looked at the contradictions in  Moore’s work, between power and gentleness, heaviness and lightness, familiarity and abstraction. Between the hardness of his materials and the fluidity and softness of his forms -(Christopher Bailey)

Burberry February 2017

If you are in London this week then I highly suggest you make a stop at the Makers House. Not only is it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the fashion phanatics, but it’s free! When you’re traveling on a budget there is no better word to hear. You have until February 27th to check it out, so go now! I am definitely making a few more visits before the exhibit closes. If you go be sure to let me know what you thought!

Street Art of Alfama

Art truly is everywhere you look… It just depends what you are looking for. I see art in the the literal sense, through murals and paintings, but also in people and places. Lisbon, as a city, was a work of art in itself.

Aflame street art

Two friends enjoying lunch on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I quickly fell in love with the bicycle, flowers, and painting of the woman with the traditional Portuguese guitar.

Aflame street art

This alley was my favorite discovery I made while wandering the streets of Alfama. It was covered in plants and random colorful collages. There was also a back and white cat sitting on a chair, bathing in the sun. I think he appreciated the artwork just as much as I did!

Aflama street art

The contrast of old and new. Who is to say that one is more beautiful than the other? Although I do wish I knew what the graffiti says.

Aflame street art

A graffitied truck parked in front of an exquisitely built building- the perfect contrast.

pure poetry pura poesia

Pure poetry.

Aflame street mosaic

Aflame street graffiti

Most people choose to just look at the view of the city, I choose to look at the graffiti surrounding it as well.

Aflame street art tile mosaic

Hand-painted tiles on the side of a building that highlight the Portuguese lifestyle in Alfama.

aflama art coffee and red wine

My three favorite things- coffee, wine, and paintings!

I am always mentioning this, but, art is what you make of it. Start opening your eyes to view everything you see as its own work of art. You never know what you will learn to appreciate in the process.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos of street art seen around Europe.

 

Lisbon, Portugal- What to See, Eat, Do

This past weekend I headed to Lisbon, Portugal for my first weekend trip of my study abroad adventure. Portugal wasn’t even a place I considered visiting until my friend asked me if I wanted to join him. I can definitely say I am happy that I said yes and had the opportunity to experience such a beautiful city.

Lisbon is a city that is best seen by wandering the streets aimlessly. My friends and I had no specific plans but to walk around and take in whatever sights we could find.

To See…

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The Jerónimos Monastery happened to be only a 15 minute walk from the Airbnb we were staying in. It took my breathe away the moment I saw it. The details of the carvings of the stone are something a picture cannot even capture. The construction began in 1501 and was completed in 1601. The beauty is priceless, both literally and figuratively, making it a must-see!

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We decided to walk up a bunch of tiny alleyways in Aflama which somehow led us to this gorgeous view. From here you could see the entire city, including the 25 de Abril Bridge. Did you know this bridge was built by the American Bridge Company, the same company who built the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (hint the resemblance)? Explore the city streets and let them lead you to magical spots like this one.

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To Eat…

Portugal is known for their traditional pastry called the pastel de nada, a creamy custard egg tart. They are traditionally eaten in the mornings with coffee, and that is just what we did. Every morning of the trip, actually. I recommend Pastéis de Belém, a pastry shop with an endless selection of sweets and a buzzing environment.

pastel de nata

Being a seafood connoisseur, of course I was most excited to try the fish of Portugal, specifically the ceviché. Ever since I went to Puerto Rico I have not been able to find ceviché that compares to theirs. While Portugal’s still comes in second, it was nearly as delicious. I recommend trying the grouper ceviché and prawn tapas at Mesón Andaluz, a hidden gem just off the popular pink street. One of the things I loved most about Lisbon was the incredibly generous, kind people. You definitely don’t find those in London or New York City! The manager of the restaurant was making jokes and slipping me free food. How could I not love this place?

Portugal octopus ceviche

While I usually head to a certain restaurant for its trendy atmosphere, there was something special about eating in the quaint restaurants owned by the local people. The food was authentic and never disappointed. You can find many cafés with outdoor seating along the streets of Alfama, all with spectacular views of the colorful buildings and city streets.

To Do…

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After realizing a tuk tuk was the same price as an Uber, we quickly embarked on an adventure in one driven by a local, from Belém to Alfama. The fresh air in our faces was liberating and the experience was like no other. Our driver was extremely friendly and told us all the best places to see.

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Lesson learned: say yes to everything. Well, almost everything. Say yes to life, say yes to exploring, say yes to new cities. Life has a funny way of working itself out. I am sure glad I said yes to Portugal.

Hidden Gem of London: Daunt Books

Literature has been a major theme of my new year. After all, I did set a resolution to read a new book each week, which I will be filling you in on at the end of each month. Naturally, I am always looking for a new book to pick up and dive into next. 52 books is a lot of books! Can you even name that many books you have read over the course of your life? I’m not sure I even can.

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I stumbled upon Daunt Books one day after venturing off of Marylebone Road where my University’s campus is situated. The surrounding area is bustling with small cafes, boutique shops, and, of course, this fabulous book store.

Best London Bookshop

The first thing I was attracted to was the large window in the back of the store, lined on both sides by upstairs railings. In this room, each bookcase showcases a different country and travel guides to visiting that country. The perfect shelves to browse while planning a European adventure! I must say, the atmosphere is truly unlike any Barnes and Nobles at home (sorry!).

Best London Bookshop

Aside from the unique beauty of the store, each book itself is a true work of art. I was able to find some of my favorite books lining the shelf, all of which had cover art that I had never seen before (Michael Lewis’s books included). Despite popular opinion, I am a firm believer of judging a book by its cover. The outside is an art entirely separate from the words inside the pages, and it deserves to be treated that way.

As an art and book lover, I highly recommend stopping in this shop while venturing through the neighborhood of Marylebone in London. Not only can you find an endless amount of inspiring and well-written literature but also individual works of art in the form of cover pages.

Discover more gems of London with me by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Vail, Colorado

As I welcomed in 2017, I knew I was inviting a bunch of new places, new people, and new cultural experiences into my life. My first trip of 2017 was to Vail, Colorado, a much different place than where the rest of my travels will be leading me. I headed off to Colorado mostly to spend time with family, but, of course, couldn’t neglect the fresh ten inches of snow on the ground.

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I started off my trip by taking a relaxing yoga class at the Vail Vitality Center. There is something so soothing about taking a yoga class on vacation.

The next day we decided to go on a snowshoeing nature tour atop the mountain. Although it was during a huge blizzard, I was able to take in the natural beauty of the mountain while also learning a lot about Colorado’s wild life. Did you know that mice are resisters and do not hibernate or migrate during the winter? They actually bury themselves into the layer of snow closest to the ground, building tunnels deep throughout the snow. However, although this sounds like an intelligent way to escape preditors, foxes have the ability to use Earth’s magnetic field to hunt them down for dinner.

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After the snowshoeing adventure, we went on an art walk of Vail Village, a free tour that the town holds every Wednesday at 3:30pm. The guide pointed out independent art works that you definitely wouldn’t pick up at first glance. There are intricate tiles that makes up the paths of the village that represent different rhymes and riddles of the various ski slopes.

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One of my favorite sculptures in the village is the one pictured above. This structure is called “The Water Tree”, constructed by artist Lawrence Argent. It lights up the town in various shades of blue, purple, yellow, and green at night. Jen Lewin Studio installed 52 LED forms in order to make this light show come to life.

When traveling to a ski town like Vail, don’t forget to take in everything the city has to offer. Ski by day and explore the culture by night! You will be surprised by how many hidden gems you can find and all of the new things you can learn.

Keep up with more of my travels by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.