Tag Archives: Viator

Travel – Amsterdam, Netherlands Part I

Back at the end of October, G was traveling to Amsterdam for a work conference. Since I’ve never visited Netherlands (or most of Europe with the exception of Paris and London, really), I happily tagged along on his trip. We extended our stay for the weekend as well, since G for the most part hadn’t really seen much of Amsterdam or Netherlands outside of work.

I have to say Amsterdam reminds me a lot of Paris, the historical buildings and the canals/rivers, but it’s the hip, cooler sister to Paris. Since we were going to be in Amsterdam for almost a week, I decided to purchase a visitor pass, much like I did when I was in Paris. The Holland Pass is available in a choice of 2, 5, or 7 free tickets to over 60 attractions and museums. It also comes with a pass for limited hours to free public transportation. I opted to purchase the 5 free tickets which includes a pass for 24 hours of free public transportation from Viator. The tickets come in a combination of Tulips and WIndmills. The Tulip tickets holds more value than the Windmill tickets, as a Tulip ticket enables one to access major museums (e.g., Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum). (WARNING: Picture heavy post!)

Holland Pass Amsterdam Netherlands

The first attraction I visited on my first day was the Amsterdam Museum. I had read reviews online that it would be a good place to start, giving one a history of the city. I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with that review. The Amsterdam Museum was an insightful and interactive museum. The displays incorporating touch screen videos and scanner for QR codes were ingenious. Upon purchasing or redeeming tickets to the museum, one would be asked language of preference for the exhibits. You would then be given a pamphlet in your language of choice. On the pamphlet, there’s a QR code for the language which prompts videos to be played in your language of choice at various sections of the DNA exhibit. As a tech-savvy person, I absolutely loved it!

Tickets to Amsterdam Museum

Entrance to Amsterdam Museum

Walk on Art Amsterdam Museum

Art carpet

Infamous I amsterdam miniature version Amsterdam Museum

Museum Cafe Mokum

Arch to Amsterdam Museum

My next stop was the Museum of Handbags and Purses (Tassenmuseum) but not without getting lost in the streets of Amsterdam! Here’s some snaps from me wandering around, stumbling upon Remblandtplein in the process.

Siebel

Rembrantplein

Rembrandtplein

Rembrandtplein

Vijzel Straat Centrum

Bridge Canal in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canal

Tassenmuseum Sign Post

Finally, I found my way to the Museum of Bags and Purses! As a bag aficionado, this was a must-visit for me. The exhibits gave a detailed history on why bags were created. Little did I know that bags were actually worn by men before it became a fashionable item for women!  There was also a cozy room that serves as the cafe.

Museum of Bags and Purses

Purse in Museum of Bags and Purses

Suitcases in Museum of Bags and Purses

Chanel 2.55 Coco Chanel Purse Bag

Hermes Kelly worn by Grace Kelly in Museum of Bags and Purses

Peacock Clutch

Cafe Museum of Bags and Purses

Pastries in cafe

My last stop for the day was Rijksmuseum and by the time I got there, I was exhausted! I should have known better than to be walking all across the city and being ambitious, hitting up 3 museums in one day! All was well after I took a short rest and I got to see the famous Nightwatch painting by Rembrandt in all its glory. Rijksmuseum Rijksmuseum

Arches of Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum Exterior

Rijksmuseum

Stained glass in Rijksmuseum

Stained glass in Rijksmuseum

Nightwatch Rembrant

Nightwatch RembrantRembrandt’s famous painting, Nightwatch

Miffy in Rijksmuseum ShopMiffy memorabilia sold at the Rijksmuseum shop

 With that ends the first day of my exploration in Amsterdam! Stay tuned for the next part where I explore Amsterdam and the outskirts on a bike!

Travel: Fall Vacation – Paris Part I

I’m finally done sorting and editing my pics from Paris, so here it goes! For our 5-day stay, we rented an apt from AirBnB that has a loft in Le Marais. It was a great location (thanks to my sis’ suggestion as she had previously visited Paris) and we enjoyed our stay in the apt as the owner was flexible and easygoing. (WARNING: Picture heavy post!)

View from apt in Le MaraisView from our apt in Le Marais

As mentioned here, we arrived in Paris early in the morning, so we went to get some drinks to warm ourselves up as it was rainy and cold upon our arrival.

Hot chocolate in Paris!My hot chocolate

After our shopping, we headed to Hard Rock Cafe to pick up our Paris Pass that we had purchased from Viator. I had previously bought the Visit Oslo Pass from them for G and my trip to Oslo, and I decided to use them again as it was cheaper and hassle-free to use.
Paris Pass Paris Pass

We bought the 2-day Paris Pass that enabled us access to over 60 tourist attractions in Paris which included the use of the hop-on hop-off bus and public transportation within zone 1 to 3. In my opinion, it was well worth it as we were able to skip lines (and we did!) to the attractions that we visited. We only had to stand in line for Musee d’Orsay as there was a line even for fast-tracked!

Paris Guided Tour Opera House Eiffel Tower Metro ticketParis Attraction and Metro Ticket stubs

Unfortunately the Eiffel Tower was not covered by the Paris Pass, thus we bought tickets for that but the guided tour for the Palais Garnier (Opera House) was included. On the days that we didn’t use the Paris Pass, we bought bulk tickets in 10 for the Metro as it was much more economical – it worked out to €1,27 per ticket vs €1,70 per ticket one-way.

We started our second day by stopping by for breakfast at a cafe nearby as we were walking towards the St Paul Metro. (Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the cafe!)

Fish Soup ParisFish soup (to share)

Roast Duck Paris MaraisRoast Chicken (my mum’s)

Roast Duck Marais ParisRoast Duck (my dad’s)

Pasta with Breaded Chicken Paris MaraisPasta with breaded chicken (mine – the chicken was too dry)

Leg of lamb Marais ParisLeg of lamb (sis’)

After we stuffed ourselves, we headed to Saint Chapelle, nicknamed the “jewel box.” A classmate from my dance class highly recommended it and after seeing pics online, I knew we had to visit!

Saint Chapelle Paris

Paris Saint Chapelle

Paris Saint Chapelle

Paris Saint Chapelle

Paris Saint Chapelle

Paris Saint Chapelle

Paris Saint Chapelle

Paris Saint ChapelleSaint Chapelle

Each window panel in the Saint Chapelle represents a story in the Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament. I highly recommend this little gem as one can still admire the beauty and the fine artwork even if one is not Christian.

From there, we headed to the famous Notre Dame, which was only a short walking distance from Saint Chapelle.

Notre Dame ParisNotre Dame of Paris

Alas, unbeknownst to me, entry to the Notre Dame was free and there was a super long line in spite of the rain and I was hoping that we could skip the line with our Paris Pass! Instead of standing in the rain moving at a snail’s pace to enter the Notre Dame, I decided that we should instead visit other attractions, so as not to waste our precious time. Thus, we hop-on the Les Cars Rouges and headed to Musee d’Orsay.

Musee d'Orsay ParisMain facade of Musee d’Orsay

Pics are not allowed in the museum but I sneakily took some anyways! The former train station has gorgeous architecture inside and out, so I couldn’t resist! (Besides, I saw many others who were not-so-secretly snapping pics!)

Musee d'Orsay Paris

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d'OrsayThe gorgeous interior of Musee d’Orsay

While we were there, we went to the Fashion in Impressionism exhibit (which The Londoner posted here) aside from viewing the general exhibit as it was covered with under our museum pass. (I was good this time and didn’t snap any pics but it was also WAY too crowded!) As we exit the museum, the skies had cleared up and I was able to snap a pic of a boat cruise on the Seine River (which we ended up taking the next day).

Seine River BoatSeine River Boat Cruise

We took the Les Cars Rouges again and then switched to the Metro to return to Marais near our apt for dinner. We picked Cafe La Favorite for dinner as there was a good crowd but it wasn’t too busy either.

La Favorite Paris MaraisCoaster

Cafe La Favorite Light Decor Paris MaraisLight decor

Food turned out to be pretty good. My sister and I ordered a fungi pizza to share but it wasn’t filling enough so we ordered a Nutella pizza as well once we were done. My parents both had different variations of salmon – burger and fillet. For dessert it was a fruit salad to share amongst us.

Cafe La Favorite Paris Marais Funghi PizzaFungi Pizza (to share with my sis)

Cafe La Favourite Le Marais Cheeseburger

Salmon Burger (my dad’s)

Smoked Salmon Cafe La Favorite Le Marais ParisSalmon Fillet (my mum’s)

Pizza with Nutella Cafe La Favorite Paris Le MaraisNutella Pizza

Fruit Salad Cafe La Favourite Paris MaraisFruit salad (to share)

And with that concludes the first part of my Paris posts as we adjourned back to the apt to call it a night. More to come soon!

Travel Nostalgia – Oslo Part III

On the last day in Oslo, I planned on visiting the Akershus Fortress and taking pictures of the Oslo Operahuset in daylight. But on my way to the latter, I got distracted by various museums! But before I forget, I started each day during my stay at the Rica Victoria Hotel in Oslo with a healthy, hearty breakfast spread. Here’s what I had…

Rica Hotel Oslo breakfast spread

Baked eggs with scallion & cheese, sausages, fishcakes, fried egg, bacon, & mini chocolate croissant

Rica Hotel Oslo breakfast spread

Cheese, cucumber sticks, orange wedges, kiwi fruits, and diced melons

I also washed down the breakfast with a glass of yoghurt drink and smoothie each day! Heh. The first stop for the last day in Oslo was the Akershus Fortress. The construction of the fortress first began back in 1290s!

Akershus Fortress Oslo

One of the many arches in the Fortress

Canons protecting the Akershus Fortress Oslo

Canons surrounding the fortress

View from the Akershus Fortress OsloView from the Fortress

Akershus Fortress Oslo Visitor Center

The Visitor Center that was housing the Prisoner Exhibit back in March

While walking to the Operahuset, I came across the National Architecture Museum and decided to stop by. (I have recently began a fascination with architecture, more on the aesthetics than anything.)

National Architecture Museum Oslo

Entrance to the National Architecture Museum

Architecture exhibit in National Architecture Museum Oslo

One of the exhibits, Architecture of Consequence in the museum

As I continue to head toward the direction of the Operahuset, I came across another museum, the Contemporary Art Museum, Museet Samtidskunst.

Oslo Contemporary Art Museum Museet Samtidskunst

The Contemporary Art Museum

Life Strands 2004 charcoal & graphite on paper Zhang Chun Hong

Life Strands 2004 by Zhang Chun Hong, drawn using charcoal and graphite on paper

By the time I was done exploring the Contemporary Art Museum, it was starting to get late. However, I decided to continue walking towards the Operahuset regardless, but by the time it was in sight, I no longer had any will to walk as my feet were starting to ache, so I turned back to the hotel instead. I met up with G at the hotel as he left work earlier in order to catch our flight to Stockholm for the weekend.We then headed picked up our luggage at the hotel and headed to the closest T-bana. On the way to the T-bana, I snapped one last pic in Norway, the Parliament Building.

Norway Parliament Building Oslo

National Parliament Building in Oslo

Overall, I had a great time in Oslo and I highly recommend buying the Visit Oslo Pass as that enabled me to visit all the museums and utilized public transportation more cost efficiently. (We bought ours through Viator, which was slightly cheaper.) I look forward to going back for another visit or two to explore the beautiful fjords especially Bergen and hiking in Bessagen!

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I’ll try to post our weekend (more like a day) in Stockholm soon!