Travel Inspiration – Amsterdam

WHERE: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

WHY: Amsterdam. Pretty much the most delightful city ever. With its lopsided buildings and endless canals, these charming streets will enchant you.

The country’s capital is also known for some wilder types of freedom and giants. Actually, giants. The Netherlands has the tallest population in the world.

Also biking. Cyclists were omnipresent and I narrowly avoided death a handful of times. Even at the end of my sojourn, I was still thrown off-guard by their speed and widespread existence.

There are loads of street markets selling treats and treasures, from medieval texts to krokets, and basically everybody speaks English for those without “groot” Dutch skills.


Hop on a flight to Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest and nicest airports, and get down to this dreamy pedestrian friendly city with a plethora of canals and bicycles that you may find yourself dodging more than a handful of times.

FOOD: Bar Spek

Located outside of the city centre, towards Erasmus Park and the neighborhood Bos en Lommer, Bar Spek is a hip restaurant with subway tiles, pretty pendants, and fresh food.

Bar Spek’s menu includes crafty cocktails, pizza, meat platters, and vegetarian sandwiches.

I went with the Breakfast of Champs, which consisted of a well-balanced portion of huevos rancheros, yogurt topped with granola and fruit, and a thick green smoothie.

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Bar Spek makes for brunch perfection: it is bright and spacious, yet cozy. The service is as wonderful as the food. Although Bar Spek is outside of the main canal rings, it is well worth the wander out here.

They also do dinner and have a takeaway available. For warmer days, there is outdoor seating perfect for people watching and vitamin D intake. 

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Brunch hard at Bar Spek with a menu to satisfy all five of your basic tastes for an affordable price.

ARTS: Van Gogh Museum 

You have likely head of Vincent Van Gogh, the deeply passionate 19th century painter who had an incident with an ear and a knife. 

The Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to this Dutch genius and features his and many other artists’ spectacular works.

Now unfortunately you can not take photos in the museum, but there is always some awesome art being curated outside.

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I found that one of the most interesting aspects of the museum were the audio features: narrations of letters between Van Gogh and his family and friends. Hearing profound perspectives shared between close friends through a now ancient mean of communication was super refreshing in this tech driven world.

Definitely book your tickets in advance as you have to choose a time and they generally sellout quickly.

The paintings are phenomenal, particularly the ones depicting rural farm life, which was Van Gogh’s favorite theme to focus on.

In addition to Van Gogh’s many iconic works, the museum was also showcasing an incredible exhibition called “Easy Virtue” featuring the theme of French women through the roles of courtesans, etc. across various mediums in 19th century art and writing.

The fascinating works included a beautiful bed installation, controversial magazine excerpts, photographs, and film footage.

Entrance to the Van Gogh Museum is a pricey €17, but you’ll end up spending a solid three hours immersed in legendary art.

RELAX: Cycling

Asides from Copenhagen, Amsterdam is the most bike friendly city in the world. Explore the city on wheels as locals do.

Cycling here is done leisurely and you can obviously cover a lot of ground this way.

There are quite a few options for rentals you can pick from. Not only will you take in all the pleasant sights, but you’ll be working your muscles for a good calorie burn.

Cycling is very much a way of life in Amsterdam. At all hours, there are bikes whipping around corners, many a times with multiple people on one apparatus with limbs flying everywhere.

Head over to Vondelpark for some additional tranquility, Amsterdam’s most highly regarded green space.

Rentals are go as low as €8.50 for 24 hours. Cycle your way through culture!


CoX is a club right near the tourist hub of Leidseplein.

The night I went featured a DJ spinning 90s hip-hop and R&B vinyls which was so prime. CoX was the ideal dimly lit environment to shimmy around to some throwbacks. I may or may have not requested “Bossy” by Kelis and Too $hort.

Interestingly enough my friends and I got in when it seemed highly unlikely as everybody on the significant line was speaking Dutch.

Be casual yet confident, and maybe talk at a low-level so the bouncers do not realize you are not a local and you will be sure to get in!

There are two levels of fun at CoX and their drinks are not overpriced like many of the bars and clubs in this area of Leidseplein.

Club the right way: blend in with the residents of Amsterdam and sip on a vodka soda (with lime) at CoX.

Introducing Lauren

Hello everyone! I’m Lauren, the newest member of KLD.

Delighted and excited to be here and a part of this wonderful team!

So, a little bit about myself. I am a final year student in Dublin University of Technology studying Interior & Furniture Design, hopefully if everything goes well I will graduate this year to go on and develop my career in all things design.

My passion (apart from design of course) is traveling- I love to explore new and interesting places. Anything from staying in a trendy hotel and trying unique cuisines, to taking strolls through lush gardens and parks.

I adore absorbing new and exciting inspiration from places I have never been before.

I recently visited Sydney, Australia and this has always been one of my top places to visit.

Although it was not my first time being there, by no means did that take away from my awe and admiration for this city.

The view of the Sydney Bridge when  driving into the city is just as breathtaking each and every time.

The architecture and engineering of this bridge is amazing and you really feel this as you drive across the bridge.  To think that this landmark was built by manual labour amazes me. And don’t forget to look up!

I was lucky enough to actually climb the bridge and get an in-depth history of the bridge and how it was built, the fascinating story thankfully distracted me from being 134meters above sea level.

Not particularly a fan of heights but definitely a top of the list thing to do if you ever get to Sydney. The views of the city are absolutely sensational.


My inspiration comes from the everyday, I tend to not turn off my interior design eye. At the weekends I love to check out pop-up restaurants/bars that come through the area.

Not only am I obviously a sucker for the interiors but also sampling food and the occasional cocktail or two!

One of my favourite pop-ups is the Super Miss Sue restaurant in Dublin.


The food divine and the basement interiors are fabulous; leather booth seating ideal for a wine and dine night with a group of friends. Although the toilets caught me off guard at first as both male & female lead to the same room! Above is an image from the SMS Facebook.

Another restaurant that has caught my attention recently is Angelina’s just off Baggot street, a sister restaurant of Sophie’s in the Dean. The interiors are stunning and draw you in through the amazing LED panelled glass front. The photos below are from their Facebook as well.


A step in the door onto the decorative tiles leads your eye through a wonderful mixture of deep rustic tones, a mix of red leather and mustard yellow velvet booth seating, metallic gold framed windows and a beautiful mix of herringbone parquet flooring and decorative tiles.


There is so much going on yet it all cohesive; you truly feel as though you are somewhere in New York City.

Another pop-up on the top of my list would have to be 777 South Great George’s St. Where do I begin. You would walk past this gem unless you knew it was there, only for the pumping music penetrating through the black font door I would of walked straight past.


From the outside its nothing but a blacked out shopfront but when you walk through the door your hit with a complete visual overload.

The electric orange bar counter along with the neon lights runs your eye right through the restaurant with interesting sights of tattooed lovers embracing and Cadillacs in feature panels on the tiled walls along the way, as seen in the above image by Dine in Dublin.

The double height distressed tile ceiling is a key feature as the restaurant is quite small, it really does open up the space completely.

The ambiance in the restaurant is busy and the interiors absolutely reflect this, you would be lucky to get a table here any night of the week.

Dublin city and its surroundings are booming with new restaurants, bars and cafes, it is a wonderful sight to see the city centre following in London’s footsteps with new and exciting places to go.

It can often be quite easy to miss whats right under our nose, but I encourage people to go out and try these exciting new places. You most certainly will not be disappointed.

On that note I will leave you with this Jonathan Swift quote:

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others”

That’s all from me – Bye for now.