I arrived in Amsterdam late on Saturday night. I checked in to my room and went to sleep to get rested for seven days of Amsterdam touring!

On Sunday morning, I woke up and met up with a local! He showed me around the city and gave me an overview of the history of the city, and we went to a few of the main tourist attractions (Dam square, Red Light district, Central Station). Amsterdam is beautiful!

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After walking around with my backpack, I was ready to settle in to my next place. I met my host at a cafe, then we dropped my stuff off and headed to dinner at Coffee and Coconuts.

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Just my kind of place!

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We had a vegan feast! We ordered a vegetable and hummus plate, a fresh Lebanese salad, and a sweet potato masala. We could barely eat it all!

The next day, I did some touring on my own. I headed toward the museum square, and detoured toward the market.

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Passed by a promise of baskets of steamy goodness… I’ll have to go back there.

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I met all my tourist friends at the museum square.

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Then just wandered through the city.

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I stopped at Starbucks to get directions home from Googlemaps, and by the time I left, the sun had set and I got to experience Amsterdam by night.

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Amazing!

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It’s been a great time in Amsterdam so far!

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After a short, two-hour bus ride from Frankfurt, I arrived in Cologne. By the time I got here, it was dark, so I headed to my adorable Airbnb and settled in for the night.

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Super cute, ja?

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The next day, I woke up, looked out the window, and saw… rain. I’m only in Cologne for a couple of days, so I had to make the best of it. I put on my rain jacket, and headed out toward the Schokoladenmusem. Yes, the CHOCOLATE MUSEUM.

my favourite fountain...

It was so fun to see the history of chocolate. They had the machines actually making the chocolate, which was really cool to watch. My favorite part – the chocolate fountain pictured above. (Image not mine, taken from here.)  I took quite a few pictures, but it was pretty packed in there. Apparently there were a few schools that were on field trips to the museum, and kids were running around everywhere, screaming and yelling. It was nice to look through everything, but I can’t handle crowds, so I took my leave.

Since it was pouring down rain, I decided it might be nice to get a cup of coffee somewhere. I’ve been trying to go to more local coffee shops, but the only ones I found on my way here were bakeries, which usually have terrible coffee. So I found a Starbucks. Is there any possible way that I could get more touristy than a selfie with a Starbucks cup in front of the Christmas tree? I’m embarrassed.

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I plowed my way through the rain back to the Airbnb, admiring the architecture on the way. The buildings here are so cute.

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I found the biggest Christmas tree in town. It’s all wrapped up!

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It was a short but fun day. It definitely improved after coffee. 🙂

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Things went a little south in Southern Germany – the home that I was supposed to stay in for a week was WAY too eccentric for me. I’m talking about open nudity (of a 60+ year old man that I had just met) and being spoken to mostly in German (I am trying to learn but so far I only know “hello” and “I’d like to order a coffee”). So I took a train up to Frankfurt for a few days! I am excited to see more of Germany than I originally intended. I booked an Airbnb for three nights, and spent some time wandering through a very foggy Frankfurt. The first day started off a little chilly, about 1 degree celsius. I wandered through the neighborhoods toward the city center.

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I stopped in at a bakery for a cup of coffee. The young man working behind the counter asked me a few times if I wanted anything else, but I’d already eaten, so I just got the coffee. He was telling me about how they make the breads and how great they are, and then gave me a little sample of some pizza bites to try out. They were fantastic!

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Next, I strolled past the University of Frankfurt. I only saw the main building, but it was pretty impressive!

PC080054.jpgWhen I got closer to the city center, I came across the stunning opera house. The architecture in Germany just blows my mind. The detailing is incredible.

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I wandered through yet another Christmas market; this one was selling vegan food!

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Through the park and toward the river we go!

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Finally, I arrived at the river. I spotted another swan, and it spotted me, too. He actually seemed to really like me, and he started making his way toward me.

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He got real close! Just call me the animal whisperer.

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After that bought of excitement, it was off to find the tower that I could climb up for panoramic views. The tower is super tall, so it was easy to find, as I could see the top of it from almost anywhere.

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I climbed all 328 steps to get to the top. And then the fog rolled in. Yay! Perfect timing. :/

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I spent the rest of the day looking around the shops, where it was nice and warm. I also stopped in a Starbucks – the Starbucks’ in Europe have vegan options for breakfast and lunch! No wimpy salads either – I got a falafel wrap which was amazing. It is super exciting for me to know of a place that I can find anywhere and get vegan food. 🙂 All in all, a great day in Frankfurt!

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My last day in Hamburg was perfect. I slept in, then Svenja and I had brunch before hitting the town. I had been eating vegan sausages for breakfast every day (weird?), and today was no exception. Vegan sausage + coffee + tangerine = one happy Amanda.

Anyway, we got ready, put on matching hats, took a selfie, then hit the town. Still a little learning to do with the camera.

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Before going into the city, we stopped by the local farmers market. This one vendor was selling apples with little designs on them! She put a sticker on each one, and the sun didn’t brighten the spot where the sticker was. Before she put them out for sale, she took the stickers off. Genius!

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So cool. And, as always, I am obsessed with the flower carts.

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After our walk through, we hopped on the next bus and took off toward the warehouse district. I get most excited about the weirdest things in each city, and in Hamburg I really wanted to find the one building that stands alone in the water. I’d seen it in pictures but I hadn’t been able to find it on my own. Luckily I had my tour guide, Svenja, for the day. Which means we (she) found it, of course.

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Hallelujah!

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I got a nice touristy picture. And then we attempted the selfie mode on the camera again. If anyone knows how to take a selfie using a digital camera without it being blurry, please enlighten me.

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Following the epic stand alone building, we wandered around downtown. We got some coffee, hit up the ice skating park (to watch the kids, not to skate ourselves!), and then wandered down to the touristy shop so I could get a postcard for Jeppe. We walked past a mini castle, and I asked Svenja what it was. I thought it must be some really fancy government thing?

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I was kind of right. It was the police station. A pretty fancy police station, if you ask me. I snapped a quick pic and then we took off, because we were on a mission. One of the things I was most excited to do, go to my first European brewery!

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I got a taster tray, which comes with five little tasters. Luckily I got a couple pictures, because my camera battery died immediately after this picture. I think it was a signal to enjoy the moment!

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The beers were all very good, the IPA was my favorite (no surprise).

It was a great ending to my time in Hamburg!

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On my third day in Hamburg, I decided it would be nice to have a more relaxed day. I woke up late, made breakfast and coffee, and took a long shower. I wanted to explore the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day; it had rained in the morning and the sun was slowly trying to come out from behind the clouds. I got ready and headed outside.

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There is an adorable park down the street from where I’m staying.

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I love the little orange play toys.

I headed down to the main street to do some window shopping.

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I am amazed at the flower shops they have here.

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The roses were delectable.

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They even had Christmas bouquets all made up.

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And mini Christmas trees!

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I love the greenery.

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Next, it was off to lunch. I passed the gluwein stand, and was a little tempted to grab a glass.

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But I stayed focused. I had found a raw food restaurant a couple days before that I wanted to try out.

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That’s what I’m talking about!

I got the raw burger with a side of kale salad. It was delicious.

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Next up, kaffe?

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I headed to the grocery store to pick up some vegetables, and miraculously left with a beer.

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How odd! I’m not sure how that ended up in my cart.

I was super excited to find an IPA in Germany. It reminded me a little bit of home.

All in all, a happy ending to a good day! Here I am, being happy.

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