TRAVEL GUIDE :: SIX HOURS IN AMSTERDAM

six hour layover amsterdam guide

On our way to Italy, we had a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam and after reading a series of reviews, realized that we could easily head into the city instead of camping out at the airport for all that time. We were there after all, so we might as well see it!

HOW TO GET OUT OF THE AIRPORT :: Thankfully, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has an incredible train service that goes straight from the airport to Centraal Station. The trip itself takes about 20min and takes you directly to the central part of the city. Head to the main ticket counter or they also have yellow ticket machines you can use to purchase your tickets. Train tickets cost around 6.50 roundtrip and the trains depart every five to ten minutes from the tracks downstairs. If you have any questions - the main ticket counter attendees can assist.

layover guide to amsterdam six hours tour 

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LUGGAGE ::  Our large luggage was checked through to Florence, so we didn’t have to worry about claiming it and re-checking it. We had some larger carry-on’s that I had no intention of hauling around with us through the city - especially when you want to be able to move as quickly as possible to see everything! The airport is equipped with multiple luggage locker stations and we were able to fit both of our larger carry-on items easily in a locker. I planned ahead of time and had my crossbody purse packed in my larger carry-on. It had my credit card, passport, chapstick, cash and sunglasses so I was ready to go. For the love, do not forget your passport!

OUR TRAVEL ITINERARY ::  We got off the train, walked across the canal and headed straight down Martelaarsgracht, which turns into Nieuwezijds, and stopped at Vinnie’s for coffee - it was 9am in the morning, although we felt like it was 1am! We continued on down the street, but after a few blocks, began to meander through the side streets, which was actually a bit magical as the city was just waking up and was pretty empty. We explored the cutest little streets until we arrived at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

amsterdam layover travel guide

At this point we had mentioned taking an Uber to the Van Gogh Museum, but instead, saw how much time we still had and knew the best way to see the city, and keep ourselves awake and energized, was by foot! Walking to the museum also enabled us to swing by the famous ‘I Am Amsterdam’ art installation (which moves locations periodically) and cross a good number of the iconic canals that the city is known for. I just couldn’t stop taking pictures on every street!

We walked until we hit the Van Gogh Museum and thankfully booked our tickets ahead of time. Little tip: you buy tickets based on a time - we picked 10am - but really got there at like 10:45am and had no issue cutting the huge line and going straight in. If you don’t buy tickets ahead of time online - the wait is like at least two hours. Yikes. This was a major win for our little sightseeing excursion.

six hour layover in amsterdam city guide
amsterdam layover travel guide 

I will admit that I’m not a major art history nerd and appreciate seeing iconic and beautiful pieces, but both Eric and I acknowledged that we didn’t need to stop and see every.single.picture in the museum. Our objectives were to 1) see the museum -it’s beautiful and 2) see some of the notorious pieces of art that were showcased there. In the end, we were in and out of that museum in under 30 min and felt damn good about it!

We exited, checked our time, and called an Uber. We still had about 30 minutes before we needed to board the train back to the airport, so we had the driver drop us off at a cute little bakery and cheese shop by one of the canals that was just a 5min walk back to Centraal Station. We sat down overlooking a canal and enjoyed some pastries and cheese, took in our final views of the city and then walked back over to the train station. Seriously, this was the best whirlwind six hours we could've planned! 

six hour layover amsterdam city guide flight outfit

OUTFIT DECISIONS :: Flying from Dallas (where we dropped of Parker with her grandparents) to Amsterdam was an overnight flight, so I had two objectives - be comfy and be ready for a day out exploring the city.

I opted for a comfy dress that acted like a nightgown and my black pashmina that served as my blanket. My chambray button down was tied around my waist to wear for warmth on the plane and I had my leather jacket rolled up in my carry-on bag to wear when we landed. Obvious travel show of choice were my Birks - which ended up being the best pre-trip purchase.  

ITALY BOUND!

guide to florence rome italy

Since the beginning of 2015, Eric and I have been pondering over a big trip to take together. But where? We knew we wanted to do something European and for more than a few days. We wanted somewhere both distinctive and cultural. After great deliberation and procrastination..... we finally decided on Italy! Nothing beats the rush of buying plane tickets three weeks out from a trip. And if you've been on any social media channels the past 6 months, it's apparently the place where everyone else and their mom has been visiting this year. I mean, it's kind of funny at this point. Every other photo on my Instagram feed has been geotagged from somewhere in Italy. So maybe that subliminal marketing worked. 

I was really fortunate growing up and my high school took these like three week long trips to Europe every other summer. When I think back on it, it was actually incredibly unsupervised, but some of the most educational and formative weeks of my teenage years. I knew how to make Limoncello before I had a driver's license. Between the ages of 15-18, I covered a vast majority of hot spots and historical landmarks, most of which I can still recall like it was yesterday, but it was all with a wonderful guide and teachers who did all the hard work, ticket buying, hotel booking, etc for us. It was also what probably planted the travel bug in me. During college I moved to London and was basically a frequent flyer of Ryan Air every weekend. All this to say, I've always been a great explorer and the first to jump on a last minute plane overseas. But that also feels like a different lifetime and was also all without Eric and all without being a (fake it til you make it) adult who has to really plan and map out everything for the trip on their own! 

guide to florence italy

We are flying into Florence, than making our way down the Amalfi Coast and then onwards to Rome. A little bit of small town a little bit of beach and then ending with the big stuff! This trip is going to feel like a completely different experience, like I'm seeing it all for the first time again, and I love exploring with Eric. I'm also a bit nervous as it's the first time I'll be away from Parker for more than three or four days. We've taken some small trips here and there without her, but this one is by far the longest and farthest away we will be going. It gives me a minor panic attack if I think about it too much! 

Since everyone has been taking in the sights of Italy recently, we would love recommendations for must-see places, secret tips on skipping museum lines, best food/drink/coffee, secret hole in the wall places you stumbled upon and loved? We want to know it all! If you've visited any of those cities/areas recently and had a great Airbnb, hotel, wine tour, favorite shopping spot - share it! I'm all ears! 

Also, mama's... any tips on preparing myself to be separated by a large ocean from baby girl? I will desperately need those too! 

 

Photos via :: Darling Magazine

VISIT :: NASHVILLE

nashville city guide things to do in nashville airbnb

It’s always nice to travel places where you’re guaranteed to see familiar faces and have a welcoming home to rest your head. This is very true for us when we visit Nashville as a lot of our oldest and dearest friends call the city home. Eric and I have both been to Music City a few times before, but something about this trip felt like we were visiting for the first time. You could attribute this tourist feeling to the massive growth and economic boom the city has undergone the past couple of years. People are moving from all over the country to open specialty restaurants, boutique gift and clothing stores, coffee shops and to snatch up real estate. I think nearly every third person we met would mention..... “Yea, I used to live in Brooklyn too.”

Traveling with a toddler, and both working a couple of full days while we were there, we were surprised at how much we fit in, but also at how much more we wanted to see and do! Exploring and adventuring looks a bit different when you’re working with nap times, snack times and bedtimes. We don’t let that scare us off, but it does cut into plans here and there! I wanted to share some of our top favorite places for when you get a chance to visit. Some are the usual, some are new and some are for those of you traveling with wee ones. A little of something for everyone! 

Insider tip: the city is lacking in hotels, so Airbnb is the way to go. There are gorgeous properties all over the city. Our personal favorites are this one and this one.

nashville to do pinewood social travel guide 

TO EAT ::

Rolf & Daughters. Located in my favorite neighborhood, Germantown, this restaurant was built in a 100 year old factory. You can sit at communal tables or cozy up in a booth for a date night. But seriously, eat as much as you can and do family style…. it’s all so delicious!

City House. Might be the most beautiful restaurant building I’ve seen recently from the outside. Just a really cool place, serves pizza and homemade sausage.

Marche. The brunch spot of Nashville.

The Pharmacy. Burgers and a biergarten. Yes please.  

Burger Up. Seriously legit burgers. They source the meat from a nearby Tennessee farm, so you know that meat is delicious. Perfect place for any meal, with anyone.

Butchertown Hall. Beautiful outdoor space, huge tables and great for large groups. Lots of meat, local beers on tap and tacos…. cause why not?!

Pinewood Social. We like going for lunch when it’s chill and relaxing. Also open for bowling and shenanigans at night!

nashville travel guide pinewood social warby parker

TO DRINK ::

Patterson House. Craft cocktails, moody setting. You know the vibe!

Holland House. See ‘Patterson House’. #samesies

city guide nashville pinewood social parker etc
sisters of nature nashville city guide shopping 

TO SHOP ::

Imogene + Willie. Duh. Like this isn’t included on everyone’s list ever of things to do in Nashville. I mean, it makes me sick how much I want everything in this store.

Sisters of Nature. Kimberly has curated such a beautiful store over in East Nashville. From gifts to cards to jewelry to enviable outfits, her style and eye are on point!  

White’s Mercantile. Located in the trendy 12 South neighborhood, think of Holly (owner) to Nashville as Joanna Gaines is to Waco. She has that modern 'Nashville homebody vibe' perfected.

Hey Rooster. A fellow Brooklyn dweller, Courtney, recently moved back home to Nashville to pursue her dreams of opening a store just like this. For starters, the space she found is adorable (it literally looks like an old general store) and even has space upstairs, called the Hen House, for events and gatherings. It’s my dream space!

Tweed Baby Outfitters. Want to know the saddest thing? This adorable and perfect children’s store closed literally a few days after we were in town. Thankfully, I had a chance to swing in and check it out with Parker….. who picked out a few souvenirs!  

Nashville Flea Market. If there’s a flea market…. I will find it.

Wilder. More New York transplants have set up shop in Nashville. This shop has an eclectic mixture of contemporary design meets Santa Fe flare. I dig it.

hey rooster nashville city guide shops general store
hey rooster nashville city guide shops

TO SEE ::

Weld. An inspiring and gorgeous co-working space our friend Austin recently expanded from Dallas.  

Hatch Show Print. Historic letterpress shop.

Robert's Western World. It’s like coming to New York and needing to see Times Square. Get down to the main strip on Broadway and see the lights and meander around the cowboy boot stores. Robert’s is always the crowd pleaser and a local favorite.

Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. Ever fancy feeling like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? You’re in luck. This place does tours… and you get to sample chocolate along the way! (also a great activity with older kids)

Third Man Records. Founded by Jack White, music lovers will want to swing by this little shop to peruse the record collections for sale.

nashville weld city guide co working space kids spots

FOR KIDS ::

Sevier Park. Ask Parker what her favorite part of Nashville was and she’ll likely answer with this park.

Downtown Public Library. Really old libraries in any city are a gem for kids.

Shelby Street Pedistrian Bridge. Great photo ops of the city!

Country Music Hall of Fame. Start your wee one’s off on the right foot with some music history.

Nashville Farmer’s Market. Pretty much open every day of the year in some capacity.  

Grassy Knoll Movie Nights. Perfect for a picnic and relaxing!

 

Looking forward to going back and seeing all the new places that will have definitely popped up by then! I know we didn't hit every place in town, but if there are favorites you want to share that weren't mentioned, please do so in the comments below. Then I can make notes for our next trip!