Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Our trip to the Netherlands was unplanned and unexpected, as we were originally going to Germany for Oktoberfest. However a nasty stomach bug uprooted all of those plans, leaving us £400 out of pocket (no trip refunds), and with plenty of time off work and no place to go! With my stomach no longer trying to kill me, I started looking for a backup holiday. I’d been longing to go to Amsterdam, so I was ecstatic to see that there were cheap flights from our closest airport. I purchased our flights, jumped on Air BnB to find us a reasonably priced spot to rest our heads, and began my Pinterest research of Amsterdam’s hottest attractions.

We had an amazing time, and are now experiencing some serious post-Amsterdam depression! Allow me to share with you our favourite spots to eat, drink, get caffeinated and explore.

We’re in Amsterdam!

Bikes. Bikes everywhere! I struggled when we first got to London; always forgetting to check for bike lanes and cyclists before crossing roads. So I really had to make it my goal not to have a collision with any bikes in Amsterdam. Thankfully the riders have bells on their bikes and they don’t hesitate to use them and warn you of their approach/tell you to gtfo of their way.

You will smell marijuana constantly. We often joked about how breathing fresh air was a surprise, rather than smelling weed. Unlike our recent trip to Spain where coffeeshops are hidden behind doors and are smelt but hardly seen, Amsterdam’s coffeeshops are just like any other café on the street. If you’re looking for one, just let your nose guide you in the right direction.

Nutella! And other foods..

When doing my research about Amsterdam, I noted down a few things to do, and made a novel-like list of places to eat. Here’s the noteworthy places we dined at…

Breakfast

Omelegg – I’d never known a breakfast café to be dedicated to omelettes, but this place is renowned for theirs. Whilst they do serve other brekky options, the omelettes are what get people lining out the door. Literally; there was a line both days we went here (yes we went a second time it was that good). Don’t be deterred by the cue, as it moves quickly and is well worth it. I can recommend the Three Cheese omelette (with a side of bacon, the bacon is seriously good), the Gorgonzola and Bacon, and the Greek Wedding (Tom couldn’t go past this one, being the reason we returned). Omelegg do great juices, but we didn’t try their coffee, instead saving our caffeine fix for other places on my list.

Gorgonzola goodness!

Pancakes Amsterdam – I’m definitely more of a sweet breakfast person, so I absolutely had to try some Dutch pancakes. Here you can choose Dutch or American style pancakes, then choose as many toppings as you desire. I couldn’t resist strawberries and chocolate sauce, with bacon (duh).

Pancakes, Dutch pancakes.

Coffee 

Caffè Il Momento – Snag a seat out the front of the shop and enjoy a bit of sunshine with a Flat White.

Having a moment with myself and Il Momento’s coffee.

Lanksroon – Originally on my list for the best place to try Stroopwaffles, we stopped here for a caffeine fix also. Not the top of my list, but worth a mention.

THE Stroopwaffle!

Screaming Beans – Our favourite coffee of the trip. This one is a bit more hidden, with a small shop front. Head up the front steps to enter this cool little café with talented baristas who understand that a Flat White shouldn’t have an inch of foam. The barista was even kind enough to write us a list of her fav coffee shops (Toki, Back to Black, White Label, Lot Sixty One, Sweet Cup).

Would you just look at how beautiful this crema is!

Café Blond – This café has a quirky vibe, with large lit up letters spelling the café name across the wall, and plates with funny anecdotes along the apposing wall. The coffee was good but not quite strong enough for us. We had actually been aiming to go to CT Coffee & Coconuts, but it was closed, so let me know if you try it!

Mini stroopwaffles are always a nice touch.

Burgers & Other Foods

Burger Bar – Here you can choose what type of meat you want on your burger and even how many grams. Choose your cheese, your side and accompanying sauce! They also serve alcohol, score!

Get in ma belly!

Foodhallen – A food hall, obviously. But there’s no KFC here; there are lots of amazing food options, from Vietnamese to Mexican. We eventually gave into our burger obsession and chose The Butcher. I got The Ugly, which was actually served in a tortilla and was so delicious I am drooling right now. Still quite full from breakfast, I sadly couldn’t manage a bubble waffle and ice-cream, which I would have loved to had tried. Spanjer – A cosy restaurant where you can sit right down by the canals. We both got the burrito and salad which was homely and delicious.

Dessert!!

Ice Bakery by Nutella – Waffles, Nutella, ice cream… *drools*

Dessert goals.

Dolce & Gelato – Can definitely recommend the crepes with Nutella, and ice cream obviously.

Sweetness – They do some serious sweets here. And there is seating so you don’t have to run through the streets looking for somewhere to eat your dessert before it melts/goes cold!

Theres a Kinder Bueno hiding in there…

Things To Do

Wander the Canals – Did you really go to Amsterdam if you don’t take photos by the canals? Wandering the streets around the Jordaan area is truly beautiful. Stop for a drink at a cute little bar on the street corner and soak up the Amsterdam atmosphere! Café Tabac has a really cool vibe and is a great spot to chill and watch the boats go by.

It’s love!

Visit Dam Square – In the centre of town, Dam Square provides even more great photo ops. There are lots of entertainers here busking for spare change. There’s the young backpacker blowing giant bubbles, the pigeon man with his bag of grain, and several characters dressed up for tourist photos.

Bubbles!

Cruise the Canals – Taking a boat ride through the canals is a great way to see Amsterdam and learn a bit about the place! We went with Lovers cruises, choosing a semi-open boat for €16. The cruise is one hour and provides headphones and commentary. If you want to splash a bit more cash, go for a champagne cruise or even a pizza cruise!

Go to a Museum – We visited the Rijksmuseum, which cost us €17.50. While it was quite interesting, I wouldn’t rush back again. Perhaps the Van Gogh museum might have been more our style, but for the cost we could only chose one.

The Last Judgement.

Amsterdam Lookout – When we saw that the A’DAM lookout had a swing off the side of the building we had to go! The rooftop entry was €12.50, and then an extra €5 for the swing. We went to the inside bar about 6pm; before it got too busy, and soaked up the amazing view whilst enjoying our drinks.

Appreciating a good Sav and this gorgeous place!

The rooftop had an incredible view and big bean bags to relax in. There was also a giant red horse. Why? I have no idea. Did I climb aboard? Of course!

When in Amsterdam! Yee Har!

The best part of the evening was the swing. You’re not allowed to take any loose objects on the swing with you, but the staff will take photos for you whilst you ride. It only swings for about 2 minutes, but it is really so much fun, and a great view.

The highest!
Hyped up on Nutella waffles and swinging off the sides of buildings.

 

Amsterdam, we will be back!

Gabby xoxo

 

 

Malta


Malta

-with sister islands-

Comino & Gozo

Valletta Flying Flags

I honestly hadn’t heard much about Malta at all. A friend had mentioned it to me a while back and I hadn’t even known it existed. I thought Maltese was only a breed of dog. So when Tom suggested we add Malta to our Europe trip, I was like “Sure, wherever that is.” Hard to imagine I used to be top of my class in Geography right?? Nevertheless, Malta now has a place in my heart, let’s talk about why!

Accommodation

We stayed at Bugibba, near St Paul’s Bay, as this seemed to be a central home base to explore. We had only booked an Air BnB for one night as we were going to stay at a friends after that. Our hosts were super nice and picked us up from the airport for €15 (almost an hours drive) and then sat down with us in their home and drew a map of Malta with some of their favourite spots.

When our accommodation fell through last minute, we needed another Air BnB stat! Luckily enough we snagged a cheap place that was literally brand new, we were one of the first to stay there. The place was modern, beautiful and most importantly, IT HAD AIRCON! Yassss! Be sure to book somewhere with A/C, Malta is hawwt!

Transportation

The public transport in Malta is fantastic. There are bus stops everywhere, and they run frequently. We found using the public transport tab in our Google Maps app the most helpful. Just be warned that in the early evenings, these buses get full. If the bus is too full, it won’t stop for you, and you may have to wait a while for a less jam-packed one to stop and let you on board.

Explore

Mellieha Beach

Once we were settled into our accommodation, we decided it was imperative that we get some salt water on our skin, ASAP! So we chose a beach not too far from home, Mellieha. We jumped on the bus going towards Cirkewwa port, and hopped off when we saw sand and beach umbrellas. While the day beds were tempting, they came with a price, so we opted for a spot in the sand by the water’s edge. Unlike Australian beaches, the bay was shallow and waveless. Getting completely wet was made easier by dropping to your knees. Being five foot and an average swimmer, this beach was a nice change.

Paradise Bay – Mellieha

Day two and were we on the search for paradise! Just a few minutes longer on the same bus to port, brought us to the start of our walk to Paradise Bay. The road we walked along looked more like it was leading deeper into barren desert, rather than to a beautiful beach. Once we reached the top of the hill we wandered to the edge of a cliff and could see the little blue beach below. What a sight for sore eyes! While the water was blue, there was definitely no white sand here. Unless you want to fork out for a daybed, you will find yourself lying in the dirt like we did. Fed up with being pestered by bugs, I went to the bar and got myself a cheap and tasty Cosmo and simply admired the view.

Paradise Bay delivering the goods.

Valletta – Capital City

We took a bus to Valletta to spend a day strolling around the beautiful town. We wandered aimlessly through gardens and somehow found ourselves marching up a seemingly endless staircase (I didn’t want to waste one whole Euro on the lift!) We made it up and to the Saluting Battery right before the canon show. However our thirst won us over and we left our good viewpoint for the search of water instead (did I mention there was a LOT of stairs??).

Fire!! In my thighs… too many stairs…

Thankfully we found another way down from here, which was a nice…………..

So many beautiful streets.

Café Del Mar – St Paul’s Bay

Both of our Air BnB hosts recommended Café Del Mar to us. On certain days they have themed parties, but we decided to go on a regular day so that we could just chill. You have to purchase a daybed, you are not allowed to just come and swim or have a drink at the bar. Regular beds were €15, however these were all occupied so we had to upgrade to the padded beds at €20. Next step up was the VIP section at €30 a bed.

Those VIP beds by the pool were tempting.

Waiters will come around and take your drink or food order. The cocktail menu is extensive! All of the variations one could dream of. However, when compared to the smaller bars around town, these drinks were expensive. The luxury of the infinity style pool made it all worthwhile though. There’s enough room for you to sit on the outside edge of the pool by the sea, making for some epic Instagram shots!

Just your casual Tuesday…

Island Tour – Gozo

We made the call to do Gozo and Comino on separate days, rather than go on an all in one day tour. This allowed us to spend a full day going on and off the bus tour through Gozo. Tours can easily be bought from any of the tourist shops around town. Prices and inclusions vary slightly so check a few stores out before buying. We actually decided to buy when we got to Gozo, but in getting off our bus at the port, we were approached by people selling bus tour tickets. We got our tickets for a good price and then all we had to do was buy a return ferry ticket from the ticket office before departure. When in Gozo, we rode the bus to the Azure Window stop. While the window has fallen, there is still a really cool blue hole that’s very popular for divers. Getting to the hole isn’t the easiest, as the rocks are slippery and rough in spots. Having sea shoes would have made life easier! It also would have been great to have a snorkel and goggles, but we settled for playing around with the GoPro so we could watch the underwater footage later.

What mysteries live down there?

From here we took the bus back towards the town centre, listening to the interesting on-board commentary of Malta’s history. We stopped for lunch at the Red Café, where I tried a traditional Gozitian salad with local made cheese of sheep milk, salt and rennet (a hard but tasty cheese).

That presentation though!

Further down the road we stopped for a coffee fix at Captian Spriss. While Tom went for a sensible espresso,  I opted for the Baileys coffee, because it’s a vacation after all! With a nice coffee and alcohol combination buzz, we jumped back on the bus towards port to make it back to Buddina for happy hour.

Mmm Baileys with coffee!

Blue Lagoon – Comino

When I did my research of Malta, Blue Lagoon always popped up. I was dying to go here! We purchased a tour that included hotel transfers, lunch and free booze all day (beer or a delightful cask wine). Once we docked in Comino, we had our lunch of noodles, pasta and green beans. We were then free to frolick until later that afternoon. Blue Lagoon is gorgeous, but busy. Getting that perfect Instagram shot without a unintentionally terrible photobomb is tricky.

Could everyone please just move a lot to the left?

We chose not to venture back to the boat for our free alcohol, but rather invest in a yummy pineapple cocktail (buy the pineapple and drink for €10, then get €5 refills for as long as you can keep your pineapple alive). Now these bad boys are potent. There’s about four shots in each, so unless you’re tough, I wouldn’t recommend having 3 like I did. Oops, they were delicious! You will also make friends with lots of bees, who also think your drink is tasty. We named our bee friend Bonson. The water at Blue Lagoon is unarguably beautiful, so swim, drink and enjoy this gorgeous part of the world!

Queen of the bees.

And there you have it, our little trip to Malta! I definitely urge you to check it out, and feel free to write me a comment with any questions or recommendations!

Gabrielle xoxo

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Corfu

CORFU

Greek islands

There’s a cave underneath me…

Canal D’Amour

Legend has it, that couples who swim from one side of the canal to the other, will stay together forever. We did a couple laps just to be safe! There’s hope for the singles too, as another legend states that if you swim through the canal, you will lock eyes with your true love on the other side.

There are also a lot of great spots for jumping off the rocks into the water. Some tame heights (Gabby approved), or if you’re like Tom and want to find the highest possible jump, Canal D’Amour will tickle your fancy too. Or just chillax on the little beach!

Doin’ laps for love.

Porto-Timoni

I had about twenty-seven heart attacks on the drive to Porto-Timoni. Very winding, cliff side, single lane roads which apparently accommodate traffic in both directions. I was really hoping this place lived up to the pictures I had seen! We eventually made it (in one piece), and began the trek downhill, following signs to the beach. It’s not the smoothest track down (we wore thongs (flip flops), although more hiking appropriate shoes might have been an idea), but the views are great!

Views along the trail to Porto Timoni.

We made it to the last part of the track where we could see a good viewpoint. I knew then that this was all very worth it. There they were, two perfect beaches sitting back to back, surrounded by gorgeous green mountainside. The water was stunning. So clear, we could see all the rocks and coral of the seabed. We aimed for the bluer of the two beaches and joined the few others enjoying its serenity. We spent a long time in the water, with the rocks providing spots for us to catch our breath every few metres (even I could reach with my short legs), we were able to do a fair amount of exploring. We even found a starfish! This place is heaven. Legit.

Yep, this is real life.

Blue Grotta

When we saw this place had a diving board into the sea, we knew we had to go there. If a bar nestled in the cliff side by the sea doesn’t spell fun, then I must be a terrible speller and my mum would be quite upset. Blue Grotta is gorgeous; with its turquoise water and tall rock islands. It’s the perfect spot to spend the day. Jump in the water, or better yet, dive in! Once you’ve had a dip, it’ll be about time to wet your whistle. We grabbed a spot on the bar stools facing the water so we could watch all the action. A couple of locals were providing fantastic entertainment, finding the highest and most unusual spots to jump off. We couldn’t quite decide if they yelled out right before they jumped as a warning, or as more of a war cry, but it was quite funny seeing people duck in alarm as the men dived over their heads from the above balconies.

I was never any good at diving; luckily cannonballs were accepted.

Corfu Town

We went to Corfu Town on a mission. Find the beautiful staircase. A seemingly simple task, but I really didn’t have any idea where it was. Apparently neither did any of the locals that I asked, not even the man behind the tourist counter. My research had told me in was in Corfu Town, and further digging concluded it was near Saint Michael & Saint George Palace. So we found a park as close to there as we could and started booking over the sides of the high streets for the staircase. While the tourist desk attendant didn’t know where it was, he did give us a clue to its location. He deduced that in the background of the Internet picture I had shown him, there was the Old Fortress. Eventually we backtracked to a garden area we had overlooked, that gave us the same view of the Old Fortress. And that’s where we found it. So we put away our magnifying glasses and trench coats, and pulled out our cameras.

We found you!

Accommodation & Food

Our home base was Sidari. We stayed at Angelica’s Backpackers, which was a little walk from town. The beds were basic, but we paid about AU$20 a night (Hostelworld) and Angelica was really helpful, so overall a good stay. While Sidari wasn’t the most picturesque beach spot, you could hire sun beds for the day, or be a bit more adventurous and hire a boat or go parasailing. There were plenty of food options, with many places offering a €3 breakfast. We found the Palazzo Bar English breakfast to be extra yummy, it was just something about the bacon. We also ate at Kavvadias; where I had a decent Moussaka and Tom got the mixed grill, and went to Capriccio for the four cheese pasta. For a nicer dinner setting we drove to Roda and ate at several restaurants down a unamed road along the beach. We ate souvlaki at New Port, chicken enchiladas at Skouna Café and got Ben and Jerry’s cones from Yummies Sandwich Bar.

Sunsets and ice cream…

If you happen to be driving south along the highway to Corfu Town, do yourself a favour and stop at Di Post Street Café for a cappuccino. We were severely decaffeinated on our long drive from Sidari, so when we got a red light outside this coffee shop, we could hardly believe our eyes. Coffee shops with real espresso machines aren’t easy to come by in Corfu.

When you reach Corfu Town, you will have plenty of choices for lunch, however we were drawn to Movpajia by its €9.90 three course menu. The Greek salad, souvlaki and Mosaiko (chocolate and biscuit slice) were a great combo.

Corfu, we love you! xo

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A guide to the best spots on the Greek island of Corfu, by gabrielleglobal.com

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Let’s see the sights!

We woke up in London for the first time, in a brightly lit room in the early hours of the morning. We’d had the luck of arriving during a London summer heatwave. The sun rises about 4:30am, and it was a ripper of a day heating up. Where to first?! We braved the Underground, hoped off somewhere central and began walking. We simply wandered in the direction that most of the red buses were going, choosing to save our money and take it all in on foot. Before we knew it we were alongside the River Thames, with the London Eye in sight.

River Thames

We were fast approaching Big Ben, so we braced ourselves for the crowds, ready to fight tooth and nail for the perfect selfie!


We may not have nailed it, but our efforts were certainly top notch (the bottom of Big Ben is now covered in ugly construction, so thank you sightseeing bus!). I was proud of us. We joined the zombie shuffle in the direction of Buckingham Palace. While we had missed the changing of the guards today, we simply enjoyed the sunshine and additional photo opportunity.

Flags and Ferris Wheels

Hungry from our efforts, we were delighted to discover the three pound lunch deal. We ate our sandwiches in Parliament Square Garden, content in the discoveries of the day.

xo Gabby

Hello London!

Well hello there London, you’re looking mighty fine! Even at 9pm, through the tiny plane window, you didn’t allow me to miss the show you had put on that night. I didn’t expect to see such a wonderful sunset as we landed at Heathrow Airport. Where was the rain, the clouds, the cold?! Nowhere, that’s where. And this spectacular weather continued for the following week. I never thought I would be complaining about the heat in London, but I guess that serves me right for flying in during a heatwave. So much sunshine! All of the activities to be had!! Can’t wait to tell you all about them.
xo Gabby

We made it London really is trying to win us over with this weather ☀️ #itsworking #london #landed #blueskies #phonebooth #londoneye

Welcome to gabrielleglobal.com

Welcome to gabrielleglobal.com! I’m Gabby, a newbie blogger, aspiring to share my travels with the world (and most importantly you!). I’ve recently packed up my entire life. I quit my job, left my cozy apartment, sold my wardrobe and my beep beep Barina. With only a slight mental breakdown I squeezed my remaining belongings into a backpack and jumped on a couple of quick (jk) flights across the world. Goodbye Australia, hello Europe!