#CityLove: The Best Coffee Shops in Amsterdam

The best coffee shops in Amsterdam -- add them to your list! via http://www.dtravelsround.com/2015/06/20/citylove-the-best-coffee-shops-in-amsterdam/

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: LB

Amsterdam is known for a variety of things: it’s bike-friendly (OK, bike-heavy), the gorgeous canals and boat rides to take, the cultural attractions like the Anne Frank House, the festivals, and — let’s be real — the marijuana tourism.

There are a few things to know before visiting this city, mainly that it isn’t so weed-friendly. Yes, there are coffee shops to go and sample the local goods, but smoking in public isn’t legal (and you can get in big trouble if you do) and having anything more than five ounces can land you in serious hot water. In fact, the topic of drug tourism in Holland has been a hot one lately, as the country made coffee shop owners choose between selling booze or pot. It resulted in many shops opting for selling alcohol, instead. But, drug tourism is still alive and well in the city.

Featured

History and charm: Riomaggiore’s Alla Marina

riomaggiore_alla_marina
We stand outside the cafe, a gorgeous stone terrace with little tables, overlooking the tranquil blue water of the Ligurian Sea (a far cry from the tumultuous experience the day before when attempting to take Cinque Terre’s water ferry). Mom and I stand waiting, our suitcases at our sides, when the owner of Alla Marina comes up to us. We’re renting an apartment in Riomaggiore for our last night in the gorgeous region of Italy, and moved from our Flipkey rental in Vernazza to the most southern of the five towns to enjoy a the remaining moments of our mother-daughter Italian vacation.

“Hello, hello,” Sandro Pasini greets us. He’s one of the two brothers who run the Alla Marina, a small cluster of rooms and apartments in the village. Sandro is tall, his English perfect, and his willingness to help us is apparent immediately.

Blog Europe Hotel Italy Reviews

The world of vacation rentals

Flipkey vacation rentals
My mom and I arrive to Cinque Terre hours after we were supposed to, thanks to the Italian train strikes taking place on the day we hike it from photogenic Venice to Milan to La Spezia to Vernazza (whew).

Exhausted, moderately grumpy and ready to take in the beauty of the Ligurian region, we exit the train station and begin our search for our Flipkey vacation rental and the woman who owns it.

We wander past the rock archway leading to the beach and down the car-free lane lined with tiny shops and restaurants, craning our necks to find our host.

Reviews Travel

Photos of Venice, Italy

photos of Venice

Venice, Italy is quite a photographers dream.

With the sparkling lagoons, tiny car-free lanes, buildings in a state of beautiful erosion, colors, lights, the historic landmarks and buildings … it is hard not to simply see Venice through the lens of a camera versus simply experiencing the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Of course, during my visit to the city, when I wasn’t trying to dodge the tourists, I was snapping photos and making sure I didn’t trip and fall head first into one of the canals. ‘Cause I totally could have.

With hundreds of photos of Venice to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down. The city is that photogenic.

Blog Destinations Destinations Featured Europe Italy

Falling in love with Ljubljana: Part Two

Falling in love with Ljubljana 2
Ljubljana, nestled in Slovenia, is the capital of the small Central European country. Combining Mediterranean beauty with art nouveau and baroque styles, the city is a potpourri of worlds, all meshing together to create a picturesque and gorgeous place. With thousands of cultural events in town, plus no shortage of attractions, along with having the perfect location for day trips to the coastal cities like Piran, the Karst region and the Alps, Ljubljana is the perfect landing for those craving some nature, people and fabulous gastronomy.

Just in case the first edition about all the reasons why you should fall in love with Ljubljana and go! now!, here are more reasons you should plan to visit Ljubljana.

Blog Destinations Destinations Featured Europe Slovenia

The Medieval Škofja Loka

The medieval Skoja Loka in Slovenia
It’s hitting that magnificent Golden Hour when we arrive to Škofja Loka (Slovene for Bishop’s Meadow), a medieval city only 25 km from Ljubljana.

The day has been a long one, starting with exploring Bled Castle, then on to Vintgar Gorge, exploring Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled to soak up the storybook landscape it offers.

I barely can muster the energy to unbuckle my seatbelt, but when I see the tiny town and its castle a top the highest point, I channel what’s left of my energy to get out and look at the quaint surroundings.

Blog Destinations Europe

Daily Wanderlust: St. Mark’s Basilica

Just beyond the two pillars marking the entrance to Venezia, or Venice, is the glorious St. Mark’s Basilica. Containing the remains of St. Mark, this church is considered to be one of the most important places in both Venice’s past and present.

Located next to the Perisan-influenced Doje’s Palace along the lagoon of the city, the Basilica, also known as Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco stands very different, boasting Italo-Byzantine architecture and gold mosaics dating back to the 1200s.

I’ve been to Venice before, but this was my first look at the gorgeous and magnificent church during my Walks of Italy St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours.

Blog Destinations Europe Italy