ADVENTURE IN JORDAN | AND WHY YOU SHOULD GO

The enchanting country of Jordan offers many adventures. From the ancient sites that sit amongst modern day life in to marvelling at the cultural hustle and bustle found in Amman. But it’s the wonder outside of the capital that sparks the most joy.

Millions of years ago, Wadi Rum was once a vast ocean but fast forward to 2020 and it’s now a desert with the most fascinating rock formations. Famed for being a back drop for Star Wars, Aladdin, The Martian and Laurence of Arabia, it is little wonder that Wadi Rum, Jordan attracts the crowds. Fear not though, there’s plenty adventure for everyone.

Plan your trip to Jordan

Before you go, book your accommodation so that you can sleep under the stars. There’s a plethora of budget chic to luxe campsites to meet a range of budgets all offering private rooms. Most sites offer a range of activities you can get involved in as well including traditional desert meals cooked in the ground as evening entertainment. Star gazing at night time and camel riding to watch the sun rise. You can also arrange for a jeep safari through the desert which will include stops at sand dunes the height of sky scrapers as well as ancient wall drawings. Most travellers start in Jordan’s capital, Amman. Read our tips about Amman!

Jordan Desert

The almighty Petra

Possibly the most famous destination in Jordan is Petra, one of the wonders in the world. It’s a 16km ancient city which was built by hand between 6,000-1,000 BC. There are few words to describe the scale and beauty of Petra. Most might know it for the Treasury which featured in Indiana Jones, but so much to see. Upon entering you’l have a 1km walk through canyons which were formed during an earthquake thousands of years ago. Some parts of the path are only 2m wide which meander downwards until you see the Treasury peaking out at a small gap.

Petra, Jordan

If you’ve got the chance to go early, do so. Gates open at 6am and theres only a handful of tourists at this time. Anytime after 11am and you’ll be amongst the thousands. Beyond the Treasury you can trek to the other side of the city, climbing 850 steps through rock face to see the Monastery. There is a cafe for those needing a refreshment upon arrival. At nighttime, 2,000 visitors are permitted to see Petra by Night. A guided tour walk through the canyons and arriving at the Treasury – all of which is lit up by candlelight. While entry is included within your Jordan Pass for daytime sightseeing, you’ll need to buy an additional ticket for the night pass.

Camels at Petra, Jordan

Dead Sea – a must see

Next stop on your trip itinerary must be the Dead Sea. There are many resorts which offer accommodation should you wish to stay over, but for anyone wanting a day visit the Jordan Pass will once again step up to the task. Picture this: most seas have a salt content of around 3% whereas the Dead Sea has 37%. This means that anything which enters will float which is quite a novelty sensation. The tranquility is also appealing – a chance to lie back and read a book in the sea while the sun sets is like nothing else. For 3JD you can cover yourself in mineral-rich mud which will leave you with baby soft, nourished skin.

Dead sea Jordan

Best time to visit Jordan

Jordan attracts visitors the world over and peak times are from October – March, in part due to the temperatures. Even during this period it can peak at 30 degrees during the day time. Plus temperatures can drop in the desert at night time. With so much political instability from their surrounding neighbours, Jordan is hard placed within the Middle East. But with wonders as appealing as Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and the delights of Amman their profile is rising fast.

Our lasting advice? Don’t miss out.

Love,

Stephanie

Our top 10 favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam

To be fair, there are too many great lunch and brunch possibilities in Amsterdam, but a few standout! 

We’ve handpicked our favourite 10 lunch spots in Amsterdam because they have that extra little thing. More importantly, we have also selected our choices by these important pillars:

  • They serve topnotch food
  • Provide excellent and friendly service
  • Good quality at reasonable prices
  • Great vibe
  • Inspirational or unique design

1. COTTONCAKE, 1e van der Helstraat 76-hs

This Concept store in the Pijp has it all! No need to travel to Paris,  Berlin, Melbourne or New York – Cottoncake brings all influences together in their store and café. They put all their love in fine organic food & smoothies. Besides food & drinks you will find a mix of fashion, design & lifestyle. From lovely handmade jewelries of Mimi et Toi & Monocraft, organic creams of La Bruket, to lovely basic shirts of Samsoe & Samoe and beautiful knits of Sita Murt.. I really fell in love with this concept store; you can sit down and relax, enjoy their organic healthy food and find that special item that you have to try on and you will keep for ever. cottoncake.nl

CottonCake
source: www.cottoncake.nl

2. BAKERS & ROASTERS, Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54

Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland are known for their great coffee shops and these two friendly owners of New Zealand & Brasil brought the caffé culture to Amsterdam. This New Zealand style café is a very nice place where they serve fresh fruit salads, healthy juices, hot pies fresh from the oven, eggs, granola and is packed every day and we totally understand why! They do not except reservations, but it’s worth to wait.
Don’t forget to take a coffee, since their crafted coffee is a selection of Roasts from Ozone Coffee. They establish relationships with all their growers, batch roast & dispatch daily to ensure maximum taste & freshness. http://bakersandroasters.com

Lunch spots Amsterdam

3. VINNIES DELI, Haarlemmerstraat 46 | Nieuwezijds Kolk 33

Are you looking for tasty & healthy lunch where they use organic, fair-trade and sustainable products? Then Vinnies Deli is definitely the place to be for you! It’s no surprise this is one of our favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam. It’s a small cozy lunch/coffee room where you can eat your hart out! I have two favorites on the menu: eggplant with buttermilk sauce and pomegranate, and smoked mackerel with grapefruit chutney. But they also serve delicious cakes & coffees. Vinnies Deli is open from 7.30m in the morning and does take a killer take away and delivery. Do you like what you see inside? All the designer furniture is for sale! vinnieshomepage.com

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4. GARTINE, Taksteeg 7

In the hectic city you will find this secret’ place in Amsterdam, Gartine, a cute, cozy and lovely restaurant that is known for it’s high tea! From the garden to your plate: The special thing about Gartine is that they produce vegetables, fruits and herbs from its own garden. Almost all products are produced locally and everything is organic. They serve high quality breakfast, lunch & high tea dishes on flower-printed china plates. You need to make a reservation upfront since they only have 7 tables in total. gartine.nl

gartinesource: www.gartine.nl

5. CANTINA, Joris van Den Berghweg 107

In case you were looking to escape the city, Café Cantina is one of our favourite all time spots in Amsterdam. It’s not close to the city center and you can only reach it by car and bicycle. Therefore it’s never crowded and popular with locals. The organic café is also part of “Het Rijk van de Keizer” which is a location that can be used for weddings, parties and special dinners. You chill in the sundeck on a fatboy, hammock or even sit in an old car wreck. Find a spot in the shade under umbrella’s tucked away in between the trees. Don’t be surprised if you see chickens walking around, this is normal! Read more about this amazing spot.

Favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam, Cantina

6. SLA

If you want to eat something healthy and nutritious and organic, SLA is the place to do it. Currently, they own x locations in Amsterdam and they are still growing. Our favourite location is the one on the Amstelveenseweg because it’s large and next to the famous Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Every season they change their salad options, so you won’t get bored and they have more than 12 choices! It’s also one of our favourite workspots in Amsterdam, and furthermore, they offer free tea refills! ilovesla.com

Lunch spots in Amsterdam, SLA
Source: SLA

7. KARAVAAN, Kwakersplein 2h

To begin with, this place is brand new. It’s large, warm and the staff is extremely friendly which can be rare these days. In terms of people, you will find it all here. Couples, friends, freelancers, you name it. Find out more about this favourite lunch spot in Amsterdam.

Karavaan, lunch spot Amsterdam

8. BENJI’S

One of us has Indonesian roots, so we especially love Benji’s Toko. That being said, all of their locations are magnificent!  Best of all, all locations are full of plants and greenery, making you feel like you are in a tropical location.

Benji's

9. DROVERS DOG, Heemstedestraat 25 | Eerste Atjehstraat 62

This Australian café/restaurant has been around for many years now, but is still popular with locals and visitors till this day. To be fair, their service is excellent and the kitchen produces delicious comfort Aussi style food. In fact, two Australians and a Dutchman set up this great spot. In addition to the fact that a Drover is a well-known dog breed, the name has more to do with what these dogs do. They bring large herds of cattle together in Australia and bringing them together is what is important at  Drovers Dog. It is always cozy and full of friends, couples and families. Everyone who works there speaks English fluently and often with a strong Australian accent. (Oh, how we love it). 

10. BAR LELY, Cornelis Lelyplein 4

It’s one of Elke’s favorite workspots in Amsterdam at the moment, and situated at a brilliant location in Amsterdam West. Bar Restaurant Lely is so much more than just a restaurant next to Lelylaan train station. The restaurant opens at 8am, so early birds can drink a quick coffee and have some simple breakfast such as granola & yoghurt or a croissant. For lunch they serve simple but very tasty options and I must say that the avo on toast with a poached egg. 

Bar Restaurant Lely Amsterdam

Happy eating!

Wander-Lust

14 x Valentine’s Day idea’s in Amsterdam

Whether you’re in love, in a romantic relationship, or still wondering where your big love is wandering around, Valentine’s Day should or could be for everyone! We’ve selected 10 romantic things you can do on Valentines Day!

Some for singles, some for lovers, some for all! These are our top things to do on Valentine’s Day in Amsterdam.

1. Get Married for 1 Day!

At Wed and Walk you can get married for one day! Ok, it’s just for fun but you get a dress, suit and a picture to prove it! Maybe this is a good try out with your love to hence the feeling before the real big deal.. Prices start from €75,- which includes a wedding picture and rings to remember the big day! www.wed-and-walk.com

Wed and walk Valentine's Day Ideas in Amsterdam

2. Valentines Movie Classics at the Concert Hall

You don’t need to be a huge fan of classical music to go here because everybody loves a good romantic movie soundtrack! On This special night, the Concert Hall in Amsterdam will play the film music such as Romeo & Westside story, Carmen and more. Tickets are available from €35,-.

3. Valentine diner at Rijk van de Keizer

Imagine. While enjoying love flowing through the heart, Het Rijk van de Keizer brings you love flowing through the mouth. On this beautiful day of love the pop-restaurant located in Amsterdam New (find our where the best lunch spots are!) West serves a special Valentine’s Dinner dinner in Amsterdam for you and your love. They were fully booked last year so make sure to reserve your table! The menu will be organic, fresh and local and cost €37,50 per head.

Mr & mrs Watson

4. Fly over Holland

Forget all of the old-fashioned Valentine’s Day stuff and fly over the Netherlands with your lover! Okok, not in a place but in front of a massive screen with stunning images that will make you feel like you are actually in the air due to all the technology. Receive 2 glasses of bubbles and a flight over the Dutch landscape for 17,50 per person. For tickets and more info check www.thisisholland.com

5. Jazzy Valentine’s dinner at In-Stock

Save a dinner for two! At In-Stock they only use ingredients that would otherwise be wasted. They want to break the food waste cycle by turning food surplus into an appetising breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think of fruits and veggies with some beauty flaws, one-day old bread, and fish and meat leftovers. They are planning to turn their restaurant into a lovers cave with candles and live music while you enjoy a 4-course dinner for two. Reserve your spot at www.instock.nl/restaurant/restaurant-amsterdam 

6. Valentines Day underneath the stars at Artis

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with you love under the stars. Come with your loved one or invite your Valentine at ARTIS Zoo. In the Planetarium you are introduced to cosmic couples, such as tight double stars and clashing galaxies and you explore the attraction between earth and moon. Once back on earth, you look up at the galaxy. Listen to mythical stories about the male and female hunt of Jupiter and the sneaky relationship between Mars and Venus. It starts at 7:30 pm and ends at 9pm. Regular tickets cost €25 for 2 persons, €20 with a membership and include a drink.

Starts at Artis

7. Valentine’s Boat Cruise

Imagine the romantic canals of Amsterdam, twinkling lights everywhere, in the background a romantic music is on, in your hand you have a glass of cold prosecco and outside the romantic views of Amsterdam pass you by. Can it be more romantic?? Enjoy a 90 minutes boat cruise while enjoying a drink on the heated blue boat during valentine. Book it here from just 19,50.

8. Eat in the Dark at CTaste

Test your taste buds and eat in the dark! Upon arrival, diners are instructed to leave any light sources in lockers, so they can feel and taste their way through a three-course menu served by highly-trained blind (or partially-sighted) servers. We think this is an extra nice touch! The chef will offer foods that will make you talk about it so no need to worry about those awkward silence moments if it’s your first date! For more info visit www.ctaste.nl

9. Enjoy a Luxury High Tea

For all the best high tea spots, you’re good in Amsterdam. We’ve selected 6 of our favourite places that you can visit with your loved one, your family or friends!

high tea in Amsterdam

10. Valentine’s Movie Screening

Valentine’s day is not just for romantic lovers, it’s for all your pretty faces. Calling all lonely hearts, hopeless romantics and lovesick souls. Join Cinema of the Dam’d, a non-profit foundation that curates and presents unconventional film programs in Amsterdam, on Valentine’s Day for a special screening of Wong Kar-wai’s ravishing, bittersweet classic: IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Bring a date (or don’t). There will be chocolate for all! Tickets cost €6,50 and the bar opens at 7pm.

11.VSPA Gala at Pllek

If we need to believe the hype, it will be an evening full of love and dreamy gardens. This year the prom will take place on valentine’s day. How romantic! Take a chance and ask your crush to the gala. The party ‪starts at 22:00‬, so make sure to be there on time! So, don’t forget to buy a beautiful dress or suit, get a fresh haircut, buy the perfect heels, and we’ll see you at the Prom! Ticket sales will start on the 27th of January. www.pllek.nl/pllek-agenda

12. Ice-Skating 

There is nothing more romantic than holding each others hand and skate in front of the Rijksmuseum. With the lights and hot chocolate on tap, you are in for some romance on skates! Amsterdam also offers ice-skating rings at Rembrantsplein and Jaap Edenbaan (the largest ice-ring), but the ice-skating ring at museum square has the be the most romantic one. They are open till 9pm until the 3rd of February.

13. Cuddle With Cats at Kopjes

Single and not ready to mingle but do you have enough cuddles to give? Then head down to the cat café in Amsterdam West. Kopjes is the first cat café in Amsterdam and was funded by a crowdfunding started on the internet. It has cats in all shapes and sizes that are rescued and looking for some love. Order a ‘catuccino’ or enjoy some of the sweet delights that they are serving. Valentine’s Day in Amsterdam has never been so cute. www.kattencafekopjes.nl

kattencafe Amsterdam

14. Talk at Lab 111; is Monogamy still a thing?

If we believe Hollywood, we should live happily ever after and preferably as romantic and monogamous as possible. In the new film program The More The Merrier: Moving Beyond Monogamy, we challenge this ideal through stimulating films, talks and art. On Valentine’s Day Lab 111 starts the program with a conversation about the self-evidence of monogamy and the stigmas surrounding non-monogamy. Is monogamous still normal if 40 percent of marriages fail? Moderator: Dorien van Linge, writer of Feminist Fataal (2019), journalist at de Volkskrant and known as DJ Dorien.

We wish you a year full of (self)love this Valentines Day!

Wander-Lust

KARAVAAN AMSTERDAM | The All Day Food & Drink Spot

They secretly opened last week, but it didn’t happen unnoticed. Karavaan is open for business and we think this one is here to stay.

Situated in Amsterdam West, Karavaan – translated from the Dutch word Caravan, is located on the perfect corner on Kwakersplein. The building – previously occupied by Bar LouLou, was empty for months on end and people wondered what was coming. Ultimately, three experience entrepreneurs (the guys behind Panache, Waterkant and Ebeling) decided to turn it into the ideal place for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails.

Karavaan Amsterdam interior

Karavaan can be anything you want it to be – the all day hangout, your morning coffee spot, the place for Friday night drinks, a neighbourhood cafe, city oasis, or breakfast club.

Karavaan lounge area

The Menu at Karavaan

For one thing, Karavaan doesn’t want to stick with the same menu. However, you can describe the current menu as a journey across the globe with Mediterranean style food for dinner, European breakfast and a mix between no-nonsense Dutch and International lunch. In other words, the menu is ever changing with boundaries. We tried the pumpkin salad and the bagel with beet and feta cheese, which was fresh and tasty! Additionally, we are especially curious about the dinner menu to say the least.

Karavaan Menu

At Karavaan the evenings are all about food, speciality beers, cocktails and tasty wines!

The Interior

With 3 bars, the total space unfolds into different directions indicated by changes in colours, interior finishes and light objects. The morning breakfast/coffee bar is located at the entrance and has a structure of mirrored light panels hanging above the bar, which can be flipped, changing from ‘Caffeine’ to ‘Cocktail’ Karavaan. This way the venue is suitable for all occasions and Studio Modijefsky designed the interior with this intention. Using earthy colours and patterns, the space feels warm and inviting. Parents, freelancers, friends and couples, Karavaan attracts a wide audience. If you need a located for a party or presentation, you can also do it here.

Karavaan Amsterdam Chairs, table

Drinks & Hangout

To enumerate their all-day-night concept, Karavaan is open until 1AM during weekdays and 3AM in the weekends. Additionally, DJ’s will be playing tunes on Fri, Sat and Sun from 10PM, making it the perfect spot for dinner and drinks with friends or colleagues. And let’s not forget about their massive outside terrace! From this coming March you will be able to soak up that sunshine and we cannot wait.

All in all, we are happy Karavaan has struck down in the city. We think this will be one of Amsterdam’s finest places to be, for a long while at least.

Karavaan
Kwakersplein 2h, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Elke

Find out what’s new in our Amsterdam Guide!

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the Best Spa’s in Amsterdam

Time for some YOU-time. Luckily, Amsterdam has a wide variety in Spa’s where you can pamper yourself.

These are some of the best spa’s in Amsterdam that are worth your while.

Akasha Spa, Conservatorium Hotel

This one is considered as one of the best spa’s in Amsterdam. located in the middle of the museum district inside the Conservatorium Hotel. Complete with a swimming pool, sauna and amazing treatments, this is a place where you walk out as a new you. I enjoyed an aromatherapy massage for 75 minutes and it was heaven. Prices are what you expect of a top notch hotel like this but let’s be real, everybody deserves a treatment like this once in a while!

Akasha Spa
Van Baerlestraat 27
www.conservatoriumhotel.com

Akasha-Moderne-Hippies-winactie2
Total zen at the Akasha Spa

Skins Institute at Hotel De L’Europe

This amazing Spa is located at the 5 star Hotel De L’Europe in the heart of Amsterdam. They used to have 2 locations, but they’ve now put everything under one roof. They do body, face, waxing, beauty and even hair treatments. I tried and tested one of their signature facial treatments and wow…heaven! Seriously, I should do this more often! You can even create your own exclusive oil base by getting your skin analyzed. A full day at the spa will cost you 30 euro’s and you can use the swimming pool (pictured), sauna’s, steam room and relax area where you can read. They serve lunch from the hotel and during spring and summer, you can enjoy the patio outside overlooking the Amstel.

Skins Institute
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14
www.skinsinstitute.nl

PicMonkey Collage
Also on top of our list as one of the best spa’s in Amsterdam 

Sauna Deco

This Sauna and wellness Spa has been settled in Amsterdam  for 30 years already! The art decor is what you call, somewhat special. Sauna Deco is a household name in Amsterdam and many of our friends love going here. Their massages are reasonably priced and the sauna wellness area is available from 19 euro’s per person.

Sauna Deco

Herengracht 115
www.saunadeco.nl

Sauna Deco Spa
Source: Sauna Deco Spa

Spa Sport Hotel Zuiver (Spa Zuiver)

It’s where you will find mothers & daughters, couples, friends and business people. Spa Zuiver is for everyone. Sarah loves this place and returns here a couple of times a year.

Spa Sport Hotel Zuiver
Koenenkade 8

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The pool area in Spa Zuiver. Photo by Karen Steenwinkel

These are without doubt the best spa’s in Amsterdam

The City Street Spa

Lucky for us, this Spa has 2 locations in Amsterdam! One flagship and one smaller which is called “Le Petit Spa”. From facials, pedicures, killer eyebrow and body treatments to Acupuncture and reflexology, you can find it all in one place. This popular spa also offers special face, hand and feet treatments for men so if you ever want to surprise your boyfriend, this is the place! 

The City Street Spa
Prinsengracht 764bg
Centre neuf Utrechtsestraat 120
www.thecitystreetspa.com

one of the best spa's in Amsterdam
Source: hethaartheater.nl

Cowshed at the Soho House

Cowshed
Spuistraat 210, Amsterdam
www.sohohouseamsterdam.com/en/spa

Cowshed is located on the ground floor of the relatively new Soho House Amsterdam. The Soho House is a members club but the spa is open to everyone. The Spa has six treatment rooms and four mani-pedi chairs which are divine. Men can also enjoy a traditional barber and hair treatment here, but we tested the massage. The Cowshed relaxing moody massage is wonderful and you can choose between different oils. After the treatment you can enjoy a free herbal tea and on Thursdays they serve bubbles and chocolate! Good to know: All skin products are free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates, and artificial fragrances. 

Cowshed spa in Amsterdam

Human Beauty

This spa is not huge but smaller and cozy than the above mentioned. This makes your spa experience more personal and customers keep returning. The interior is light and bright with a small boutique where you can buy ceramics and Jewellery from the like of Mimi et Toi.

Human Beauty
Eerste Tuindwarsstraat 1
www.humanbeauty.nl

Best spas in Amsterdam
Photographs by Lisan Timp  &  Marijn Wijs

Floatcenter Amsterdam

Floating is one of the most relaxing things you can experience. It’s weightless, silent and you and your mind is all there is. A little difficult for some of us as doing “nothing” is somewhat out of the ordinary when you have a busy schedule like us but nevertheless, very needed. This spa also offers massages, a hamam (scrub),spa capsules, beauty treatments and sauna.

Floatcenter Amsterdam
Nieuwe Kerkstraat 5k
www.floatcenteramsterdam.com

PicMonkey Collage
Me floating at the float center Amsterdam. 

Spa 1001

Most hotspots are in the city centre of Amsterdam, at least that’s what most people think. I live outside the centre so I know better. Spa 1001 is located in Amsterdam New West in Osdorp and close to the upcoming Tuinen van West area. The spa is also popular with Dutch celebrities like actrice Victoria Koblenko, footballer Justin Kluivert, vlogger Sisi Bolatini and other top sporters and well known vloggers. You can either book 2,5 or 5 hours and enjoy your private sauna, steam room with a optic star-ceiling, spacious jacuzzi or unwind in the luxurious (and large) lounge area that includes a fireplace. 

Spa 1001
Meer en Vaart 4, Amsterdam

WebsiteFacebookInstagram

Spa 1001, best spas in Amsterdam

Love,

Elke

ELLIS GOURMET BURGER AMSTERDAM

It is years ago now, but when I lived in London and I found out that an Ellis Gourmet Burger restaurant was opening near my place, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life, so why do I dig this burger place you ask?

In comparison, Ellis Gourmet Burger is a little different to other burger joints. And in recent years, they’ve made an even bigger transition when it comes to their menu. Surprisingly, vegan and vegetarian dishes are well established on the menu so when Wander-Lust was asked to test the new latest venue in central Amsterdam, we said yes in a heartbeat.

Ellis Gourmet Burger

With restaurants in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Breda, Ellis Gourmet Burger is doing something right in the Netherlands. It has been a while since I ate at a burger restaurant, so I invited Sarah to join at their location on the Gravenstraat so we could pick and mix. 

Wander-Lust at Ellis Gourmet Burger

The Menu at Ellis Gourmet Burger

Honestly, everyone can eat here. But oh boy, those sticky flower wings. Basically, these are deliciously disguised cauliflower parts, glazed with sweet sriracha and panko-crumbed. Still licking my fingers as we speak. They are the latest edition on the menu plus they’re 100% vegan!

Vegetarian Burger Ellis Gourmet Burger

For mains you have plenty of choice between 11 burgers, sides and salads. Sarah tried the Quinoa & goat cheese salad (it was January, so healthy orders were made), and I opted for the vegetarian burger. By the way, the buns at Ellis Gourmet Burger are crunchy and not to be compared with the soft dry burger buns you get at Mac D’s. We all have our preferences, but I prefer this. If you still like the taste of meat but you want to save the planet, you can order the revolutionary and sustainable plant-based Beyond burger!

The Interior

It has to be said, this wasn’t my favourite location I’ve seen. However, the location is perfect for visitors, as it’s located right in the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s shopping district, near the Dam Square. If you are looking for a more local experience, try their other locations the Prinsengracht or Singel.

All in all, I filled my tummy with some good comfort food!  Vegetarian or not, I can assure you, Ellis surely knows how to serve a tasty burger!

Ellis Gourmet Burger
Gravenstraat 20, Amsterdam
Website

Elke

 

Discover Vilnius, the underrated gem of Europe!

Vilnius is a place with lots of amazing architecture and delicious local cuisine. This guide will tell you about the best hotspots and foods that Vilnius has to offer!

Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about Vilnius or Lithuania in general. It is quite an unknown city in Europe, but it turned out to be a great place for a city trip with a variety of hotspots, historical buildings, culture, history and especially loads of foods. 

How to get there

Lithuania is situated in the north of Europe and is part of the Baltic states. There are several flights to Vilnius from Amsterdam, however only with Air Baltic you can fly directly from Amsterdam to Vilnius in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Other airlines like Lufthansa and LOT offer flights with one transfer. The airport of Vilnius is very close to the city centre and you can easily reach the centre by bus or train for less than €2.

Lithuania – a place just a 2-hours flight away from Amsterdam– is still fairly unknown as a tourist destination.

Where to stay

Vilnius is not that big so the city’s highlights are relatively close. There are many hostels for the budget traveller and hotels are available for as little as 30 euros per night for two persons. We stayed at the Amberton hotel which had the perfect location on Cathedral Square right in the middle of the city centre. If you want to have a really luxurious stay, I would recommend design hotel Pacai, which is modern and unique with authentic details like frescoes.

Pink Building Vilnius

What to see in the city centre

Not surprisingly, Vilnius Old Town is full of historical buildings with impressive architectural styles. I was amazed by all the architecture; around every corner you will find a building that takes your breath away. The streets of Vilnius are not very crowded and you can enjoy the beauty of the city without being disturbed by many tourists. Furthermore, everything is walkable! Here are some of the top spots of the city.

  • Cathedral Square
    This square is the heart of the city. You can spot the Cathedral Bell Tower, where you can climb to the top to have a perfect panoramic view of the city. You can also visit the Vilnius Cathedral and right next to it you’ll find the Grand Dukes Palace. In December there’s a Christmas market with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the middle.
  • The Uzupis area
    Uzupis is the oldest suburb of Vilnius and has been declared as the Republic of Uzupis by Lithuanian artists. Just walk around and take a look at the street art and beautiful buildings. Make sure you go to Paupio Street where you can find special plaques with 41 rules of the Republic in various languages. Close to Uzupis you can visit the Gothic St. Anne and St. Bernardine churches from the 15th century which are very impressive and statuesque. The beautiful St. Michael the Archangel Church is also nearby.
  • The Church of St. Casimir
    This building was one of my faves, mainly because of the beautiful pink exterior with baroque architecture. Since many of the houses surrounding the churches and historical buildings are quite small, you can spot the church from many different places in town. It’s easily recognizable with a golden crown on top of one of the towers.
  • Turgus Hales
    Many locals come to this market hall to do their shopping and you’ll occasionally spot a tourist. Roots is a particularly interesting little store, because it has the largest selection of Lithuanian handcrafted cheese in the country. The lovely ladies there are happy to let you try some of the cheeses.

Street Lithuania

Vilnius Church

Things do in and around Vilnius

  • Go by bike or step or make a trip with a hot air balloon
    You can easily get bikes in the city or rent an electric step to discover the Old Town. During spring and summer, you can even take a balloon ride over the historical city centre. Breath-taking views guaranteed!
  • Visit a museum
    Vilnius has various museums. The National Museum portrays the history and culture of Lithuania, but if you are particularly interested in the Soviet period of the country, you should visit the Museum of Genocide (KGB museum). The exhibition tells more about the terror of the Soviet Union in Lithuania and you can visit the prison complex.
  • Visit historical town Trakai
    Trakai is a small town with a rich and interesting history. It’s only a half-hour drive away from Vilnius. The Trakai castle is based on an island in the middle of the lake. You can visit the museum and find out more about the medieval history of Trakai and its inhabitants. If the weather is good you can also take a boat ride across the lake to see the castle from various viewpoints.

Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle

The city of great food

If you are a food lover, Vilnius will not disappoint. The locals really value their local produce and everywhere in the city you can find shops that sell unique local products. Cheese, fruit wine, rye bread, kvass (a soft-drink) and tree cake are popular amongst locals. Going on a food tour is a must-do if you’re a foodie! Vilnius has various restaurants with local cuisine, the ones below are definitely worth a visit!

  • Queensberry
    A special product of Lithuania is wine made of fruits like rhubarb, raspberry, and cherry. Queensberry is a good place to go if you want to try the different types of wines in combination with modern Lithuanian food. Do try the fried rye bread with cheese dip, it is so yummy!
  • Ertlio Namas
    Ertlio Namas is a very special restaurant where authentic Lithuanian cuisine is mixed with modern cuisine. You can choose a 4-course or 6-course tasting menu and the enthusiastic waiters will tell you a historical background story with each course.
  • Augustas ir Barbora
    If you want to visit a cafe which is Instagram worthy, then you should go here. The interior is filled with pink chairs and flowers on the ceiling. Grab a coffee here, have breakfast or enjoy various pies and tasty pastries.

Terrace Vilnius

Vilnius is the hidden gem of Northern Europe, so go there in 2020 (find out which destinations we recommend for this year) before everyone else knows about it!

Love,

Merel

*Merel is one of our guest editors in Rotterdam. She describes herself as a daydreaming student who loves to travel. Last year she made a 5-month backpacking trip through Asia and she can’t wait to see more of the world. Check her out on Instagram: @merel_d94.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHOW AMSTERDAM RAI IS OPEN

After a 3 year period of intensive construction, the highly anticipated nhow Amsterdam has finally opened its doors on the 10th of January for guests.

The new hotel is a unique location for meetings and events, with nine different rooms on the 23rd floor that offer an amazing view of Amsterdam. A few important facts about the brand new nhow Amsterdam RAI:

Facts nhow Amsterdam RAI

  • The already iconic building between the RAI and the A10 was designed by the renowned architectural firm OMA. (fun fact, the architect used to be my father in law)
  • The interior contains colours and patterns from all over the world; the design stimulates inspiration and creativity.
  • nhow Amsterdam RAI has 650 hotel rooms and nine multifunctional event spaces on the 23rd floor.
  • Luckily, the hotel is only a ten-minute drive from Schiphol Airport.

bedroom nhow Amsterdam RAI

Food & Drink

Both international guests and locals can work and network in the lounge on the first floor. THE ENTOURAGE GROUP is launching a Kitchen & Bar and Lounge & Bar on the top floor at a height of 91 meters with a panoramic view of the city. The hotel is directly located on the RAI complex. Between the Europa Boulevard, the A10 ring road and RAI Amsterdam. Schiphol Airport is only ten minutes by car or train and the tram will take you to Dam Square within six minutes.

Restaurant nhow Amsterdam

RAI Amsterdam headquarter hotel

Needless to say that hotel is perfect for organizers, exhibitors and visitors to national and international events at RAI Amsterdam. Maurits, COO of RAI Amsterdam, adds: “As a multicultural hotspot, the hotel will be the home base for organizers, exhibitors and visitors to national and international events. With this RAI Amsterdam strengthens its competitive position on the international stock exchange and congress market and adds something special to the city of Amsterdam. “

Pink room nhow hotel

Future plans for nhow lifestyle brand hotels will be opened in the coming three years. Nhow Brussels, nhow Frankfurt, nhow Hamburg and nhow Lima are on the planning.

Book your stay here!

Love,

Elke

Find out which hotels in Amsterdam are the most sustainable!

Most sustainable hotels Amsterdam

These are the best High Tea spots in Amsterdam

When it’s cold outside, it’s no surprise we start to crave more warmth. What better then to enjoy a hot infusion with a bunch of delicious snacks & bites! We’re talking about High Tea.

You can enjoy it all year round but it’s even more satisfying on a rainy Sunday afternoon with your friends surrounded by sweet pastries and sandwiches. Therefore, Wander-Lust has selected the best high tea spots in Amsterdam.

High Tea Amsterdam

Wanna feel like Alice in Wonderland?

The Duchess

Everything is just wow about this place. Sarah and I enjoyed the opening last year and had not been back until my high tea experience. The beautiful elegant room of velvet interior makes it look like a scene from Alice in Wonderland. Sit warm near the fireplace and enjoy the excellent and well informed staff at the Duchess. Now then, the high tea. They offer a selection of the Coco Chanel of tea’s from French tea house Mariage Frères. This tea is only available at an interior store in Amsterdam on appointment (yes, it’s that exclusive!) Make sure you haven’t had lunch because what you will get is enough for the day! Homemade scones, crab croquettes, french cheese mini quiches and freshly bakes cookies. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the macaroons! Wanna feel like Alice? Check out the Tea Room in the Duchess this winter. www.the-duchess.com/the-tea-room

Feeling like Alice at tea room of The Duchess
Feeling like Alice..

Afternoon Tea at Okura Hotel

One of Amsterdam’s finest and most luxurious hotels is finally offering an afternoon tea with a Japanese twist! Honestly, you can’t compare this high tea with any other. Firstly, the different tea’s are served by a Japanese lady dressed in a traditional kimono. The tea selection depends on the season but we were served Green, Jasmine and Darjeeling tea.

High tea served in kimono

For starters, you get a small bowl with a fruity amuse to neutralise your taste buds. If you are vegetarian, no problem! We enjoyed a hot falafel, sushi-no-sushi Temari style and a traditional Japanese egg royale “chawanmushi” with Dutch asparagus. After that, it was time for the sweetness, a whole lot of it! At Okura they bring out a big box filled with coffee macarons, yuzu-thyme Madeleine, chocolate and cookies. The details on the cakes are impressive that you almost don’t want to eat them (spoiler; we did and brought home a doggy bag). Okura’s Afternoon Tea is served every Saturday or Sunday between 3 – 5pm in the lobby from €48,- per person.

Best high tea in Amsterdam. Okura Hotel

Gartine

This tiny but cozy lunchroom is a hidden treasure in Amsterdam. It’s tucked away in between Amsterdam’s busiest shopping districts, the Kalverstraat. If you want to enjoy high tea, you must book in advance because they are always full. (the same applies for lunch!). Everything is homemade and they’ve done it with love. They also support the foundation Adopt a chicken, so all their eggs are organic and they work with products of the Ark van de Smaak/SlowFood. Gartine’s high tea prices vary between €17,50 and €24,74 and is available between 2pm and 5pm.  www.gartine.nl

Café Americain

This café dates back from the 50’s where it used to be a place to meet each other, read newspapers and enjoy the hustle of the Leidsesquare in the center of Amsterdam. Now, many years later, this iconic spot is still used as a meeting place and chitchat, but they have evolved in so much more over the years. For instance, you can enjoy a wonderful High Tea here, complete with veggie soup, sandwiches (try the cheese with truffle mayonaise), and sweets that include mouthwatering macaroons. Their tea is carefully selected Dammann Tea and you can order a warm Tea Cocktail that I can highly recommend! You pay €26,50 per person and you can add bubbles for a €12,50 supplement. Café Americain’s interior will pleasantly surprise you, we love their art deco retro style. (The lights are original Tiffany lamps). www.cafeamericain.nl

Café Americain
Café Americain

Hotel de L’Europe

The So Dutch Afternoon Tea is inspired by the traditional afternoon snacks and Hotel de L’Europe have worked their magic on this 4-course menu. From a beef of almond veggie broth with a simple toasty (that tasted so good!), to croquettes, salmon, eel, and a plateau full of Dutch sweetness. They also include 2 larg gingerbread cookies inspired by the Amsterdam’s traditional architecture. And the view.. priceless! Nice to know; they also accommodate vegetarians, just let them know when you book. I’m vegetarian and I loved it all! This makes Hotel de L’Europe one of the best high tea spots in Amsterdam. You can book this afternoon high tea from Thu – Sun from 1 till 5pm. You can enjoy this high tea from €39,- p.p, or include champagne for €49,- p.p. www.deleurope.com

So Afternoon Tea at Hotel de L'Europe

Conservatorium hotel

Enjoy their Royal Afternoon Tea from 3pm until 5.30pm in the hotel’s brasserie. You can feast on sandwiches, scones and sweets for €42,- per person and if you add a  glass of Veuve Cliquot Brut Champagne you pay €57,-.  If you really want to complete the rest of your day, you can opt for a visit to their amazing Akasha Spa which I enjoyed several times. (they have the best massages evur!) www.conservatoriumhotel.com/brasserielounge

conservatorium-afternoon-high-tea
For royalty

De Bakkerswinkel

Very Dutch and very good! With several locations in Amsterdam and the rest of The Netherlands, De Bakkerswinkel is kind of famous for their high Tea and popular with groups. You have a choice between 4 high tea’s. If you ask me, you should go for the The Late Afternoon Royal with “home made” cakes, pieces of quiche, small sandwiches, fresh fruit a large pot of tea, 3 drinks  (Wine, Orange Juice or soda), cookies and the list goes on. For this one you will only pay €27,50,-! You can also order a tea box that you can enjoy at home. www.debakkerswinkel.nl

De Bakkerswinkel High Tea
Source: facebook

Mozo

Now this is a bit different but worth trying! This Moroccan High Tea is so tasty and brings you to another world. Restaurant Mozo is located in Amsterdam East and serves their high tea in a Moroccan style room where you can enjoy pastries, rgajef kefta pancakes and sweets. This for only €19,50,-!  www.restaurantmozo.nl/hightea

Hight Tea at Mazo Amsterdam
Moroccan high tea

Sofitel Legend Le Grand

This afternoon tea is being served inside the cozy Library ‘Or’ of Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. The hotel where all the foreign stars sleep, de crème de la crème. This high tea is very traditional and stays true to the English roots where high tea originated from. You can choose between 3 options starting from €37,- that include a glass of champagne. During spring and summer you can enjoy it outside in the courtyard, which is a unique spot in Amsterdam. Check their website for more info. www.bridgesrestaurant.nl/afternoon-tea

Happy Happy Joy Joy

This newcomer is serving a daily Asian High Tea from mid-February. The snacks are served in a bamboo basket, filled with small peking duck bao’s, gyoza, spring rolls, lucky bags and sweets, such as sticky rice, sesame balls, mantao and traditional spekkoek. In addition to the snacks, a pot of  jasmine tea is served for sharing. This Asian High Tea will cost €19,95,- per person and reservations need to be made at least one day in advance. www.happyhappyjoyjoy.asia

Asian High Tea
High Tea at Happy Happy Joy Joy

Love,

Elke

 

THE AMMAN GUIDE 2020 | JORDAN

“Welcome to Jordan”, is a phrase you will hear time and time again in this majestic land from the locals who are delighted to have visitors in their country.

From the moment you step off your flight and arrive in Jordan’s capital Amman, you’ll be impressed with the best of the Middle East this 2020.

Where to stay in Amman

There’s only one place to head to as soon as you arrive in frantic Amman and that’s the city’s 4th tallest building, otherwise known as the W Hotel. At a striking 150m high, it is a towering spectacle within Amman’s skyline. When you enter you are immediately blown away at the interior. It features a canyon – designed in homage to the country’s most famous archaeological site, Petra. The W Hotel is somewhere you want to wake up again and again. The 240 rooms are contemporary in look and feel, yet bring local characteristics through colours and textures.

W Hotel Entrance, Amman
Entrance of W Hotel Amman

Hotel bedroom Amman

Take time to explore the hotel in full: you’ll have a luxury spa to visit (we recommend the reflexology and full body massages). Aswell as a gym and not to mention the picturesque roof top poor which delivers quite a luxe experience. The rest of the hotel offers a Living Room area for guests to chill and read many of their impressive coffee table books while enjoying a cocktail. After dark the area becomes one of the best bars in the city with a who’s who of Amman flocking to be seen alongside an international array of guests. Book your stay here.

W Hotel Rooftop Pool

Jordan is one of the most progressive and modern countries in the Middle East and it’s also one of the safest. Woman have equal rights to men and the royal family have a huge influence on their people by championing education.

What to do in Amman

If you can tear yourself away from the W Hotel to marvel at the sights of Amman there’s plenty to do! (Though don’t get us wrong – the best of Jordan lies outside of the capital). Amman was built on seven hills so be sure to wear your most comfortable walking shoes as they’ll be putting in the hard work. The hustle and bustle of the capital city is sure to inspire and delight..

City of Amman, Jordan

Plan a morning exploring the Citadel which sits on the highest mountain in the city so provides the best point for getting your bearings. Built during the Bronze Age, the site was destroyed by an earthquake in 749AD and never rebuilt yet it’ll leave you with a sense of a time gone by. The scale of the columns still standing provide insight into how magnificent the site once was. From here you’ll be able to see the Roman Theatre which provides a 7,000 seater stadium. You can buy tickets to music and theatre performances.

Amman Citadel
The city’s Citadel

Theatre Amman, Jordan

Rainbow Street acts as a central hub of restaurants, bars and coffee shops which cater for tourists and locals alike. If you want to eat like a king you’re best to set off for Hashems which has hosted royalty here since it opened in 1953. This legendary eatery is famed for its falafel and hummus! You can order a classic lunch meal for around 3JD and be sure to sip their mint tea too. 

Amman City, Jordan

Culture

After you’ve refuelled with falafel, the Jordan Museum is not to be missed. Built in 2014, this is a modern building in the centre of the city. Its home to some of the most incredible ancient treasure in the land. The experience here is entertaining, informative and like no other. You’ll first be guided around the Jordan exhibition which tells the rich history of this nation. Illustrating the countries impact and evolution within the surrounding Middle East. The space also holds the oldest-known human statues. But it’s what lies at the very end which is why this stop is firmly on our must-do list: the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed here. These biblical manuscripts are one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century! When in 1946 a Shepard stubbed across them in a cave near to the Dead Sea. They give great historical, religious significance from the era when they were written from around 300BC.

Roman Theatre, Amman

The last cultural stop on your Amman to-see list should be the vast King Abdullah Mosque. This blue-domed landmark is open to worshipers as well as non-Muslin visitors. (But only during certain hours and if you’re a female you’ll be asked to wear a abayas. Standing as a some-what timeless looking building, over 7,000 people come on a daily basis to pay their respects. It’s a peaceful and reflective experience – while the outside is covered in decorative mosaic tiles.

King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

Where to Eat in Amman:

  • Wild Jordan Cafe (good for a a healthy lunch)
  • Shams el Balad (an outdoor hipster hangout with the most delicious beetroot hummus)
  • Levant (great for dinner – order everything on the menu, nothing will disappoint)
  • Primal (for anyone following a Paleo diet)
  • Sufra (a Rainbow Street must-visit)

Good to know ahead of visiting Jordan:

  • Buy the Jordan Pass for £75. This includes your tourist visa as well as entry fees for the likes of the Citadel in Amman as well as Petra and the Dead Sea.
  • There are 9 million people who live in the country, while only 8 years ago there were 6 million. The sudden rise of inhabitants is due to the influx of refugees coming in from their neighbouring countries. 4.5 million people live in the capital city Amman.
  • Weekends in Jordan fall on a Friday and Saturday, so it’s likely that shops, some attractions and restaurants may be shut on a Saturday.
  • Smoking is allowed indoors, so don’t be surprised when people light up in hotels, restaurants and shops.
  • All hotels have their own airport-like security in the entrance meaning that your suitcase and day bag will need to go through the x-ray scanners every time you enter the building.
  • Uber is currently available in Jordan, however they can’t pick up from the airport. If you’ve not arranged airport transfers via your hotel, you’re best to use a licensed cab when you land and be sure to tip the porter.

In short, before you head into the rest of Jordan, Amman is a worthy stop for a few days!

Love,

Stephanie