A Weekend in Amsterdam

amsterdam

I have been traveling to Amsterdam for the last ten years and the city never fails to impress me.  The city is small enough to be manageable on foot for the weekend and large enough to be interesting.  If you are looking for culture, impressive art,  getting drunk, prostitution or smoking pot you can find it all.  As a conservative good English boy there are only some of the above that I enjoy.  That said, the wonderful spirit of Amsterdam is it’s liberal culture.  Being raised in a mainly Irish Catholic family where nothing is discussed and everything is brushed under the carpet it is refreshing to see such an open society.

So what to do, where to stay and of course where to eat!

Hotel:

traveling to amsterdam

The DE L’Europe hotel, owned by the Heineken family is always my go to hotel.  Set on the can all in the centre of town you have everything you need.  The rooms are individually designed and so delightfully Dutch.  The service is perfect and the cigar bar is a delightful retreat for the end of your day.  The spa is  quite excellent, so don’t forget to take some time to rest your feet after a day of getting lost in the canals in the city.

Culture:

rijks museum amsterdam
The city is full of interesting places to visit, the house of Anne Frank, the red and blue light district (red being ladies on offer and the blue being men dressed as ladies, whatever tickles your fancy), and the Van Gogh museum are some interesting choices.  This trip I chose the recently opened Rijks museum. After years of renovation and whoever knows what expense I have to say it is magnificent.  Not only one of the best collections of art but also a treasure trove of interesting objects, furniture and artifacts.  The building inside and out is breath taking.  A must visit in Amsterdam.
[ via ] [ via ][ via ]

A Weekend in Barcelona

visiting barcelona

Over the last decade I have spent a lot of time in Madrid for a mixture of business and pleasure, however I have rarely visited Barcelona.

My visit in early September was a rare treat to experience my normal Spanish delights and experience a few more on offer in Barcelona. My summary in one line would be, the delights of Spanish life with the benefit of a glorious coast line and Southern European fall weather.

Where to stay

The hotel Arts is part of the Ritz Carlton group  and a must stay. Located on the edge of the beach a short taxi ride from the very center of the city it is the perfect location. You can sip cocktails on the beach, explore the unique architecture by Antoni Gaudi and given the late nature of Spanish culture you can enjoy the Spanish fashion and cuisine during the evening / early morning.

The service, and style of the hotel is exquisite. The rooms are designed with special detail and elegance and the suites offer breath taking views of the ocean and the city.

visiting barcelona

visiting barcelona

[ via ] [ via ]