Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bikes, bikes and more bikes! Also known as FIETS in Holland

This is where most tourists rent their bikes. They are usually all RED from Mac Bike and they provide you with a lock and chain. The crime rate for stealing bikes is extremely high in Holland, given the fact bikes are the main form of transportation. 

Here are a few really great bike images that I've taken throughout my travels so far. In the image below, look very close. Usually on all of the stairways there are small ramps for bikers so you can get your bike up and down the stairs easily. Makes it nice...

This is the bike of all bikes! The porche bike....the dutch would use this type of bike to put all of their groceries and to pack their children around town.

Mail delivery service...

Amsterdam bike, motorcycle, car accident all in one...priceless!

Trailer Boat Park in Amsterdam

Not quite a trailer park, but you know what I mean! House boats are lined up on different canals throughout Amsterdam. I took these images on a rainy day.

I would live in this floating trailer park!

Canal Tours and Transportation

The city of Amsterdam is surrounded by several canals. You can take the Canal Bus transportation anywhere in Holland. Visit:

There are also package deals where you can take a canal bus to a museum and buy and package deal in one (covering museum fee and travel). I plan to visit the Van Gogh Museum very soon, I'm looking forward to it.

You can also take the Canal Bike tour if there is a good day and no rain. Take your time and stroll through the canals of Amsterdam. I have yet to experience, but it's on the list.

Billboard Ads of Palazzo all over Amsterdam!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Map of the Netherlands

Where I live- Amstel/Amsterdam

I just arrived to Amsterdam a little over 2 weeks ago. I will be living with friends of mine who are performers in a big production here in Amsterdam called Palazzo.

You should visit for more information. The show takes place all over europe with production in Amsterdam, Austria and Germany as well.
Rehearsal night for the show begins this coming Monday. I'm really looking forward to it!

Meet my friends:

Svetlana Perekhodova

This talented Russian artist blends modern dance, magic and contortion to create a totally unique act. Trained in the ancient art of contortion from the age of nine, Svetlana studied at the Kiev State Circus School and has performed her remarkable “Candela” act at some of Europe’s most distinguished venues .

Svetlana a graceful and bewitching creature appears in the spotlight and twists, undulates, curves, and coils her lithe and supple body into the most amazing shapes and configurations. 

Evengeniy Voronin

A man of mystery, with a magic all his own, and the elegance and polish of bygone age. He has a uniquely powerful and mesmeric presence, the looks and charisma of a matinĂ©e idol, combined with a complete mastery of legerdemain and illusion. He is one the greatest exponents of his art today. Which is why he is known wherever he goes, quite simply, as “The Master”.

Max Voronin- 7 year old son

Anastasia Vorona- 10 year old daughter

Here is a picture of our house. We live really close to Amstel and Centraal Station, with easy access to all of the train and metro.

Getting There and Transportation

The major Airports in Holland are Amsterdam Schiphol (pronounced skip-oll), Rotterdam, Eindhoven or Maastricht. All of these airports take about 1 hour from London, or ninety minutes from Scotland and the North of England. Amsterdam is one of the UK's most popular airport.

Here are some great Airlines and Agents to use while booking your travel. or

Major Airlines include: Air Canada, American Airlines, Air France, Delta, United Airlines to name a few.

By Train information:
Dutch Railways: can give you full details in English of train schedules from several stations to the UK and Netherlands. (also ferry times) Another great website is

By Bus:
There is a main route from London to Amsterdam, takes 12 hours or more. You can visit Eurolines at They use the Eurotunnel and a standard fare can cost you 52 euro.

By Bus and Tram:
Ticketing is pretty simple. If you are are going to travel around the UK and Netherlands for a few weeks or months you should invest in a monthly pass called the STRIPPENKAARTS. This gives you ticketing for all buses in the Netherlands, metros and trams organized on a nationwide system. You can buy them at all metro stations.

Renting a Car:
I would use Alamo (, Avis (, Budget ( or Europcar (

One really great way to see the Netherlands is to travel by bike (fiets). This allows you to reach parts of the country you couldn't otherwise by car or transit. Plus, you're able to get a great work out at the same time! There are well marked cycle paths everywhere! You have the main roads, sidewalks that are grey and the bike paths are along the road in red.
You can rent a bike from the main train station for 6.50 euro a day or 32.50 per week.
I would recommend using Mac Bike of Amsterdam.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How many bags should I bring?

I would suggest the following amount of bags/luggage you should bring along for your trip.

If you are staying in a certain location in Holland and living for more than 4 or 5 months, two large suit cases would be perfect. You can take a small carry on bag to put your laptop and electronics and of course have your purse with you as well.

If you will only be traveling for 2 or 3 weeks--I would recommend one smaller suite case and a nice large handbag that can be used as a purse and to carry your electronics in one. The last thing you want to do is lug around bags of luggage on trains and subways as you travel from various cities and countries. Plus, you will more than likely wear your clothing items more than once. Pack clothing items you can wear over again.

Here are a couple bags that I purchased and highly recommend. I wanted to make sure I had a nice travel cosmetics bag and also a shoulder purse of some sort.

Lesportsac Cosmetics Bag-
Value between $48 and $78 US dollars.
You can visit the following websites or check your nearest department stores. They are water proof, pack really well in your suite case and you can wash them in the washing machine and they look good as new!
Nordstroms Rack

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you buy some sort of a shoulder bag and use as a purse to store your money, camera, cell phone, etc. This way all of your items are locked to your body and there are no pockets for people to take from you. It's always good to be alert when you are traveling and make sure you're items are secure! Here is the nice bag I purchased. It's not too big and not too small...perfect size for traveling.

Lacoste Handbag
You can visit the website above or again, find at a local retail store near you. Price can vary from $60-$100 US dollars.
You can also visit 

The PERFECT CAMERA for your trip!

I purchased the Nikon Coolpix 12.1 Digital Camera from Best Buy. I LOVE IT! I'm not an expert when it comes to photography, and really have no clue what I'm doing. This is a great camera to learn from and also takes amazing pictures! I'll have so many memories when I return home. :-)
I believe they are on sale right now, but they usually cost around $399 US dollar.

Smart Wool Socks: REI

The socks I purchased at REI are thin and great for longer boots. If you purchase and wear with a longer boot I would suggest to just wear a regular cotton sock, you might be over dressed and too hot! It all depends on how cold it is outside.
Value is $21.95 US dollar.

Smart Wool Latte Stripeuccino Socks

- SmartWool process ensures excellent moisture wicking, breathability and insulation with no-itch softness; plus, they're shrink free!

- Merino wool provides excellent temperature control and moisture management

Can't forget a nice scarf: Anthropologie is the place

One of my favorite clothing stores to shop is Anthropologie....I highly recommend.
Check it out:

Here is the scarf I purchased and it matches perfectly with all of my winter clothes and really warm.
Value is $26.33 US dollar.

Winter Jacket: The North Face

I purchased this jacket, and with all of the rain in Holland it is the perfect rain coat and wind breaker jacket all in one. I can layer the jacket with a nice North Face fleece and I'm good to go!

The North Face Lightspeed Jacket
$349.00 US dollars.

The perfect gloves!

Preferred gloves of my choice...

The North Face Apex Gloves- very warm and perfect for travel. I would use these gloves for an EXTRA cold, windy day.
Value of $40.00 US dollars.

Fox River Fingerless Ragg Gloves
I purchased a longer pair that act as long sleeves. I'm not finding them on the REI website for some reason. You'll have to walk into an REI store to find the longer pair. I really like these gloves because you can still use your fingers to access your purse, take pictures with your camera and travel around Holland without taking your gloves on and off.
Here is a link to give you an idea.
Value : $9.00 US dollars. 

Must have BOOTS for the Winter months...

I spent well deserved money at the REI location in Seattle before I left for my trip.
Here is what I purchased and what I recommend for anyone traveling to the Netherlands during the winter.

All UGG products are great, I purchased the UGG Classic Cardy Boot. Price is $140.00 US dollar.
Direct link:
I wouldn't recommend this boot for walking long distances, but it's perfect for a house slipper and trips to the market.
You can also visit the following url for all UGG products at


Another really great boot for traveling and staying warm is:
All of the Polartech boots:
Click on the link below to find out what I purchased. They range in price and start at $185.00 US dollar. Well worth the money. I chose the longer brown boot. Great for walking long distances, EXTREMELY WARM and comfortable..also perfect for riding with your bike around Holland. Although the dutch woman ride around holland in high heels. Not me! :-)