February 19, 2017

teapot in Amsterdam / part 2

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I’m sitting here, in front of my PC, staring at my photos wandering why I left this city and my best friend Martha, and although I have a couple of good reasons to react so, I still can’t figure out how on earth i got into the plane and came back to Athens. So this post, suggesting a trip to Amsterdam can be a hell of a risk if you are anything like me and fall for cities and places and small cafes around the world. Well, here are some of my “lovers” in case you decide to cheat on your homeland too.

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1.) De Bakkerswinkel (Amsterdam West)

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You can’t miss De Bakkerswinkel (The Bakery) on the grounds of Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek (Western Gas Factory). De Bakkerswinkel is situated in the old Regulateurshuis (Regulator’s House) at the entrance to the grounds of the Westergasterrein, near the drawbridge. Decorated by Piet Hein Eek, the unique atmosphere of De Bakkerswinkel is immediately recognisable. With extensive premises, a large reading table in the centre and cheerfully coloured sofas all around, is the perfect spot to enjoy a weekend brunch or high tea with friends in the middle of the afternoon. When the weather is fine, you can sit out in the sun on the large patio.”

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We had a delicious breakfast with eggs, bacon, great coffee and brownies, but the highlight was their killer scones paired with homemade jams and clotted cream. Don’t leave this place before you try them!

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If you prefer to go on a picnic you can visit the small kiosk in the front and buy sweet or savoury pastries and ‘robust sandwiches’, thick slices of traditional bread filled with delicious meats, cheese and homemade dressings. This place is a gem!

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De Bakkerswinkel: Regulateurshuis 1, Polonceaukade 11014 DA Amsterdam ,Tel.: 020- 6880632 Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 08.30-17.00, Friday: 08.30-18.00, Saturday-Sunday: 10.00-18.00 hours

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2.) Rijksmusum

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Yes this museum is huge and it’s quite easy to be daunted by cultural overload but for no reason should you skip a visit here. Be provident and book your tickets online cause during spring and summer Rijksmueum promises to be very busy.

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Housing more than 8,000 works of art inside, it’s very likely that visiting just once, won’t seem enough. Here is our top twelve from the masterpieces!

amsterdam2_15 amsterdam2_161. The Night Watch, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, 1642 

2. The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, c1660

 3.Self-portrait, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887 

4.Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster, Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648

5.The Cuypers Library

6.‘The Syndics’, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1662

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7.Rembrandt: Early Self Portrait 

8.The Singel Bridge at the Paleisstraat in Amsterdam, George Hendrik Breitner, c.1896

9. Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters, Hendrick Avercamp, c.1608

10.Woman Reading a Letter, Johannes Vermeer, c.1663

11.Portrait of Alida Christina Assink, Jan Adam Kruseman, 1833

12.The Battle of Waterloo, Jan Willem Pieneman, 1824 

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 Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 11071 XX Amsterdam Open: 9:00 to 17:00 daily, all days of the year including Christmas day and New Year’s day.

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3.)Voldaan

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 Voldaan means “satisfied” or “content” and its the perfect word to describe our feelings after visiting this small and cosy place every morning. Their cappuccino is delicious and the staff very friendly and helpful.

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Martha who lives across the street pops in for lunch, dinner or takeaway really loves their Leek and Porccini Soup and their Sandwich with Goat Cheese and Lamb Meat. Trust her and try it soon!

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Voldaan-Amsterdam: Jan Pieter Heije Straat 121 Amsterdam, Netherlands. Tel.: +31 6 57897902 Open Tuesday to Sunday 12:00- 20:30

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(photos by Gertrude Gary Milk, post created especially for teapot.gr)

Want more travel posts? Find your inspiration here !

December 23, 2016

Planning our 2017 adventures with Truevoyagers!

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Truevoyagers is a website created for all travel addicts. Pascal and Efthimis (aka Tim Kragfrom our guest travel section), based on Athens, Greece, decided to make their traveling experience available to the public though photos of magnificent places, tips for effortless traveling, uniquely organised tours around the globe for small groups and personalised trip planning.

We visited them at their beautiful home in Marousi, Athens, had some authentic Singaporean tea, brought from their last trip, and chatted about their aspirations for the future.

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What’s the story behind Truevoyagers and how did you come up with the name of your website?

During the last few years we have been traveling a lot, gathering experiences and having fun while taking photos for our personal archive. At some point, we thought that we ought to share our experiences with all those who want to travel anywhere any time but find it either expensive or complicated and overwhelming as an action. We wanted to project that you can travel on a budget while keeping your 9-5 work to destinations that you thought that do exist only in pictures. The name of the website is a reference to Charles’ Baudelaire quote in Les Fleurs du Mal: “But the true voyagers are only those who leave just to be leaving; hearts light, like balloons, they never turn aside from their fatality and without knowing why they always say: “Let’s go!”

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How do you choose the destinations you are heading at?

 Our picks surely depend on our personal preferences but on the budget as well. We first decide about the period we want to travel in and search for suggestions for this season. The cost of the flights is crucial, as it constitutes a major expense. We look for relatively cheap flights without too many stops or long stop-overs. For example, traveling to Asian countries has become really feasible in the last few years and you may combine many countries in one trip for a small budget. In our last trip we combined Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia on a price you usually find for a single flight in the Caribbean or South America. 

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How many countries have you visited so far?
We count 41 countries that we have visited either together or separately. Solely in 2016, we visited 8 countries!

Which have been your favorite destinations?
This is a question that we do get a lot and is so difficult to answer. During our journeys as Truevoyagers, we dived in amazing waterfalls in Bali, hung out with cosplayers in Tokyo and explored ancient temples in the Cambodian jungle. We do have a preference for Asia, as there are so many mesmerising places that you can visit on a budget. Tokyo, Bali and Singapore are our top picks for Asia. In Europe, we loved the Romanian countryside, the Dalmatian coast, the strolls along Danube in Budapest and the stunning sunsets at the Greek islands. As for Australia and America, Sydney and New York are cities that you must visit at least once in your life!

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What do you usually choose to bring back with you returning from a trip?

We certainly bring back memories, useful information for our readers, lots of photos and videos and of course, souvenirs! Our home is filled with items that we have bought in our trips. We love stationery and cute handmade objects for home décor. When we visited Tokyo, we were so excited about the unique items we found there, that we blew out our budget!

How did you decide to develop this traveling idea into business?

We hope that traveling, besides passion, can also be our dream job. We really want to “initiate” people into trips. Our friends usually ask our advice about the destinations they should pick, the flights and hotels, as well as the restaurants or points of interest they should choose. As a result, we thought that more people should benefit from our experience and either let us become their concierge or come with us in the tours we will exclusively prepare for 2017.

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What can readers find in your website?

Truevoyagers.com has a “Stories” section with tips and photos from our own trips. There is also the “Plan your trip” tab which will address the readers who want help with organising their journey either because they do not have the time to do so or they lack experience and knowledge on the field. We will provide them with a detailed questionnaire about their preferences and then based on that, we can plan their trip, suggest where to stay, places to visit, restaurants, cafés, bars, museums and attractions we believe that can fit their needs. This is actually our travel consultancy service which will have a flat fee based on the days of the trip we will plan for the customer. Last but not least, there is a “Tours” section, where we will soon announce our tour packages for next year.

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What will these tours include and to whom they address?

We plan to organise tours in selected destination within 2017 for only small groups of people (up to 10 persons). Each tour will take place on specific dates and its price will include expenses for the hotel reservation, airport transfer, guided visits to attractions, meals and various activities. The activities depend on the destination and vary from culinary lessons to yoga sessions and surfing. We have already handpicked the hotels that correspond to our high standards at the most favourable rates for our customers. The packages will be affordable to everyone and address the travellers who want something different from their trip and the personalised touch of an experienced consultant. 

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What do you think that separate you from the traditional travel agents?

The truth is that even though Pascal holds a degree in tourism management, we do not consider Truevoyagers as a travel agency. This is because we will not offer the typical and conventional packages a travel professional usually promotes; instead we provide an once-in-a-lifetime experience. We will accompany the clients in the tours, be their guides, blend with the locals, get to know the customs and traditions of the places we visit and get the most of each destination. For the travellers  that will choose our concierge service, we can reassure them that our suggestions will be based on their personal preferences and style.

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What are the first destinations you have prepared tour packages for?

We have selected what we think will fit the preferences of the major part of travellers. We have picked Bali which is ideal for almost everybody: active travellers who are interested in surfing and scuba diving, nature lovers, culture enthusiasts or those with a layback lifestyle who like an affordable luxurious feel during their vacations. From Europe, we will concentrate on the Greek islands which attract lots of tourists outside Greece, and Barcelona, the city that ranks on top for almost any taste and style. There will be more destinations available as we continue our research on the ideal places to visit. 

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What are your new year’s resolutions? 

We really want to develop our travel blogging among other activities within 2017. We will try to explore new destinations and establish new collaborations with flight carriers and hotels all over the world in order to promote our work but also their services. Thanks to these new collaborations, we will manage to expand our destinations list and prepare even more interesting trips for our customers. We will also try to get in touch with other bloggers, exchange guest posts and travel experiences. Another goal is to reinforce our social media presence. We have such a great pool of photos to feast your eyes on in our Instagram feed!

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To wrap it up, do you have any plans for a new journey of your own?

Myanmar, Philippines, Argentina, Canada and Iceland are on Truevoyagers bucket list. You should check our website and social media regularly for announcements of our upcoming trips!

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For daily updates and travel inspiration be sure to follow Truevoyagers on Instagram and Facebook. Their website is also a gem so don’t miss a post! Check the newest Truevoyagers’ post and their 48-hour Must See Guide for Singapore.

(photos by Gertrude, post created especially for teapot.gr. Thank you Pascal and Efthimis for your kind and sweet hospitality!)