THE BEST OF CROATIA: PLITVICE LAKES

Veliki Slap or the Great Waterfall - the highest waterfall in the Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatian: Nacionalni park Plitvička jezera or shorter Plitvice) is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia.

It’s perhaps the most beautiful place you will see in Croatia. I left a piece of my heart in Plitvice. Somehow, it always seems different there and much more gorgeous than the previous time.

But why is that?

In this article, I will explain you why and how Plitvice Lakes are changing and how come they are so delightful to many people as well as some practical information about location, working hours and all the useful tips that can make your visit much better and easier. Hopefully, I will inspire you to visit Plitvice as soon as possible or to remind you of their uniqueness to visit them again.

 

Visitors walking along the boardwalk next to waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice are collection of turquoise-coloured lakes

 

 

WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT PLITVICE LAKES?

I assume we all love places that look like fairytales. Well, Plitvice Lakes are exactly one of those spots where you have to pinch yourself to make sure everything around you is actually true and not a dream.

 

Vibrant blue and green contrast in the lakes of Plitvice

This national park is a blend of the unspoiled nature and harmony of wildlife where you can rest all of your senses. Both flora and fauna are very rich and diverse yet still not fully discovered so you might even end up declared as one of the discoverers of something new. Besides, all the lakes are clear as glass and unreal turquoise colour.

 

Plitvice are known for being composed of karst – limestone rocks called Dinarides

The best of all: incredible vibrant array of colours are constantly changing due to the slant of the sunlight alters and amount of minerals or organisms. Then, the nature goes from green to bluey-grey again.

 

Exceptional biological diversity and turquoise colour in one of the lakes with ducks and fish


Do you believe me now that Plitvice are without a doubt one of the nicest places you will see in Croatia?

If you still don’t believe me, check out what some of the world famous magazines and sites wrote about this natural beauty:

 

The Plitvice Lakes National Park lies at the south end of the slopes of Mala Kapela chain at the height between 369 and 1279 a.s.l.


WHERE EXACTLY?

Plitvice are located halfway between capital city Zagreb (140km – around 2h and 15 min ) and Zadar on the coast (135km – around 1h and 45min). Of course you can reach them from other bigger Croatian cities, but you will need much more time. For example, from Split, you will need to drive 260 km for cca 3h. They are situated in the mountainous region of Croatia, between the Mala Kapela mountain range and the Lička Plješivica mountain range. The air is extremely clean to breathe.

 

Plitvice are located halfway between capital city Zagreb and Adriatic city Zadar which is shown in a Google Maps photo screenshot of Croatia

 

The Great waterfall or Croatian: Veliki slap and Dinarides karst landscape

 

HOW TO GET THERE?

The best and the easiest option is to rent a car. Beware that in the summer time, rental prices can go very high plus you have to book your car in advance.

 

One of the Plitvice lakes shown from a Upper lakes hiking trails

You can easily reach Plitvice from Zagreb, Split and Zadar as well as from other surrounding places. If you travel from Zagreb to the Adriatic coast, you can do a nice stopover in Plitvice.

There are organised day tours and you can book one of those if you don’t like to explore them by yourself or you can take a bus. There are no trains or flights to get you to Plitvice.  The only public transport from any of the cities from Croatia to Plitvice is – a bus.

 

Bordwalk in Plitvice with small waterfalls and tufa formations together with moss and other organisms


WHEN TO VISIT?

The national park is open all year-round, literally 365 days. Nonetheless, be cautious that the working hours of the park vary depending on the season. 

You can check out the national park’s hours of operation by season on the following LINK.

This time we visited Plitvice in July, in the middle of the summer season. And even though in high season Plitvice are much more crowded than spring or autumn for example, we really enjoyed our time there.

 

Beautiful waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes

Equally important is to mention that water level during the summer tend to be lower so the waterfalls might not be as huge as they are during the rest of the year. However, we are talking in slight differences here: don’t worry, they are majestic always. And if there’s some rain few days before your visit, waterfalls will be even more majestic!

 

One of the many caves in Plitvice Lakes



On the other hand, winters are offering you icy wonderland and maybe even layers of snow! Please be aware of possibly icy and slippery trail conditions and do keep in mind that there are much less amenities during the winter.

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park when they change their colour into green

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to check the website before you go, to get updates on the latest weather conditions and all the other necessary informations.

A boardwalk and small waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes Croatia

 

THE INCREDIBLE SCIENCE BEHIND PLITVICE LAKES

1. KARST LANDSCAPE

Plitvice Lakes is a series of 16 lakes and little rivers and waterfalls that run over a few levels. The first recording lake dates back even to 1777 but it is believed it exists already from ice age!

 

Few amazing waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes from the Lower Lakes

The natural phenomena that created all those lakes and pools involves a lot of slow shifting and dissolving of rock, resulting in what is known as ”karst topography”. This region is called Dinarides and it is one of the most impressive karst landscapes in the world, marked by specific geological, geomorphological and hydrological properties.

 

Amazing colours of incredible Plitvice Lakes National park
Me walking towards one of the caves of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

This kind of relief is primarily tied to carbonate rock (limestone and dolomite rock) due to its strong sensitivity to chemical and mechanical wear, and the influence of tectonics. The whole area is dominated by limestone rock of Mesozoic age, with inserts of dolomite rock, and areas of pure dolomite rock which means they are heaven for every geologist in this world.

 

One of the caves in Plitvice Lakes together with the rest of the visitors and tourists

Today, 114 speleological structures have been recorded in the park. In terms of structure, pits are more common than caves.

One of the caves from Plitvice Lakes National Park as best of Croatia
The view from a cave in Plitvice Lakes
An amazing organisms inside of the cave of Plitvice Lakes
Inside of one cave in Plitvice Lakes National Park

2. TUFA

Tufa is a hollow, porous rock created from the deposition of dissolved calcium carbonate in the water by plants, algae and mosses.”

 

The process of tufa formation, which in turn forms tufa barriers and creates the lakes in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Already on 8 April 1949, Plitvice were proclaimed Croatia’s first national park. Thanks to the process of tufa formation, which resulted in the creation of the lakes, Plitvice are part of the outstanding universal value for which they were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

An impressive tufa formation as outstanding universal value of Plitvice Lakes

The 16 larger named lakes, and many other smaller unnamed lakes are separated by these tufa barriers, but are connected in this unique water system via a series of waterfalls between the lakes. They are cascading lakes and they vary in size. As the tufa barriers grow, the water levels rise, increasing the volume of water in the lakes. Very important to this specific and complex process of forming tufa are the blue-green algae, the diatomaceous algae, various bacteria, multicellular microscopic organisms etc and of course they are not visible.

 

Beautiful waterfall and amazing long roots of flora in Plitvice Lakes area

Even today, the tufa barriers are actively growing, and this biodynamic structure is constantly changing the appearance of the whole national park, its lakes and the waterfalls.

 

Amazing waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes National Park together with moss and other organisms and plants
Impressive waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes

 

FAUNA

The biological diversity of fauna has not been fully researched in Plitvice. There are many species of animals who share Plitvice Lakes National Park as their home and I will number out only few:

321 species of butterflies, two out of three Croatian venomous snake species, 50 species of mammals, 22 species of bats, 14 species of reptiles, more than 800 species of fungi, 168 species of birds with 37 endangered species of nesting birds and so on.

 

Damselfly with impressive colours in Plitvice Lakes National Park
The grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) the species of fish with the largest reported production in aquaculture globally

If you are lucky, you can see even The Eurasian lynx, brown bear Ursus arctos or grey wolf Canis lupus.

 

Underwater life of diverse fish in turquoise lakes of Plitvice
Fish inside of one of the lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park

 

Beautiful fish in Plitvice Lakes
Beautiful ducks in Plitvice Lakes National Park
The common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) is a common and widespread small passerine bird found in Plitvice Lakes
Metallic blue-green damselfly found in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Many fish swimming in the clear waters of Plitvice
Polyporus fomentarius a kind of mushroom that grows on a tree and it's not edible but medicinal - cures even cancer!
Ducks and fish in beautiful turquoise lake of Plitvice
Mother duck and little duck in the shallow waters of Plitvice Lakes

FLORA

So far, studies have confirmed more than 1,400 plants (species and subspecies) in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Believe it or not, that’s even 30% of the entire Croatian flora!

 

Chimney bellflower growing in Plitvice Lakes and National Park Krka too

Plitvice have a relatively low number of endemic species (approx. 1.7%), but a large number of endangered subspecies (4.64%)

 

Named after the Macedonian King of Thrace, Lysimacha punctata (Yellow Loosestrife) is a perennial plant with great ornamental value

For al the flower lovers, the park’s flora is characterized by more than 60 species of orchids.

 

Some of 1,400 plant species and subspecies in Plitvice Lakes
Flora of Plitvice Lakes and its vibrant green color as the best of Croatia
Large roots in Plitvice Lakes forest in the Republic of Croatia

So far, several forest communities have been described within the Park boundaries.

 

The view from frogs perspective in Plitvice Lakes forest in the Republic of Croatia


GENERAL INFORMATION

Today, national parks covers an area just under 300 km2, primarily covered in forest vegetation and grasslands. Lakes are covering just under 1% of the total park area.

 

Stunning view on Sastavci waterfalls and the Great Waterfall (Veliki slap) in Croatia

The lake system, as already mentioned, is comprised of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, cascading one into the next. The lake system has been divided into the 12 Upper and 4 Lower lakes. The upper lakes were formed on impermeable dolomite rock, and are larger, with more indented and gentler shores than the Lower Lakes. The two largest lakes in the Plitvice system are Prošćansko and Kozjak. The highest waterfall in Croatia can be found in the Lower Lakes area: The Great Waterfall (Veliki Slap).

 

The view from different angle on Great Waterfall (Veliki slap) in Plitvice Lakes National Park

The Lower Lakes were formed in permeable limestone substrate, cut into a deep canyon with steep cliffs. The lakes end in the impressive waterfalls Sastavci, with the Korana River springing under the base of the falls.

 

The view on amazing waterfalls from one of the boardwalk in Plitvice Lakes


HIKING TRAILS

The Plitvice Lakes National Park offers visitors seven different routes to tour the lake system, and four hiking trails. There are so many because they all depend on your energy level, starting point and the amount of the time you have. That’s why it is recommended to come as early as possible to see as much as possible and both Upper and Lower lakes. For more information about hiking trails, their duration etc. check here.

 

Thew view along boardwalk in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Amazing greenish colour in one of the lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Wonderful and vibrant view on the waterfall and a turquoise lake in Plitvice

FACILITIES

With the presented purchased & valid ticket, you can ride on the electric boats (Kozjak Lake) and the visitor trains too. Make sure to not miss it!

 

The view on shallow lake waters in Plitvice and boat facility transport


You can buy and check ticket prices HERE.

 

Electric boat ride in Kozjak Lake in Plitvice

TIP:
If you decide to spend a longer stay in one of hotels in Plitvice (Bellevue, Jezero, Plitvice, Grabovac), one-day tickets may be extended at the hotel reception desk for even more days!

 

Kozjak Lake and electric boats in Plitvice Lakes National Park

WORKING HOURS

WINTER: (from last Sunday in October)
8.00 – 16.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 14.00 h)

SPRING: summer time calculation (from last Sunday in March) – 31.05.
8.00 – 19.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 17.00 h)

SUMMER: 01.06. – 20.08. (until last Saturday in March)
7.00 – 20.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 18.00 h)

AUTUMN: 21.08. – 30.09.: 7.00 – 19.00 h (until last Saturday in October)(entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 17.00 h)

01.10. – winter time calculation: 8.00 – 18.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 16.00 h)

Make sure to always double check out the national park’s hours of operation by season on the following LINK.

 

Small waterfalls and green flora in Plitvice Lakes

 

Amazing green colour of the lakes in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Moss and waterfalls in Plitvice

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

You are required to follow the instructions listed on the information panels, to keep on the marked trails, and to leave no traces of their visit, such as litter, or marking or devastating nature in any form.

 

Lively green and blue colour of lake in Plitvice Lakes National Park


The following is strictly prohibited in the National Park:

  • Collection of plant materials, or taking any “souvenirs” of natural origin
  • Feeding the animals
  • Swimming in the lakes
  • Disposal of litter along the trails or elsewhere, except in the garbage bins installed throughout the park
  • Straying off the marked trails
Captivating green nature in Plitvice Lakes
One of the boardwalks and reflection in the lake of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

MY 10 RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Bring adequate rain and sun protection (umbrella, raincoat; sunglasses, hat, sunscreen – depending on the season)

2. Wear the appropriate clothing and footwear

3. Check the weather forecast before coming to the park as well as the official website

4. Bring some food with you and plenty of water

5. Get to Plitvice at the opening time so you can enjoy the whole day there

6. Start at the beginning (at the Entrance 1)

7. Stay overnight in one of the nearest accomodations so you can explore Plitvice in peace for two or more days (check on Booking.com)

8. Take it easy. Be patient along boardwalks especially if it’s crowded. Take some photos and let others take photos.

9. Safety first. Don’t try to do some crazy and dangerous stuff just to make the best selfie. There were people who died because of those kind of situations.

10. Check THIS awesome blog for great recommendations about hiking trails and much more details

 

One of the boardwalks in greenery of Plitvice Lakes
One of the waterfalls which is being poured in one of the lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Flora and fauna in one photo of Plitvice Lakes
Smaller waterfalls and turquoise lake in Plitvice Lakes National Park

 

If you have already visited Plitvice Lakes National Park, let me know how did your experience went. 🙂

If you are yet planning to visit Plitvice and you still have some questions, you can feel free to comment below! 🙂

And if you want to offer any suggestion, you are more than welcome to let me know in the comments below too! 🙂

Kooky and the Great Waterfall (Veliki Slap) in Plitvice Lakes National Park of Croatia

 

The view on Hvar town and Pakleni islands in Adriatic Sea, Croatia

TOP 6 PLACES TO VISIT IN CROATIA

Croatian-flag

 

As you all may already know, I’m Croatian.
So…it wouldn’t be nice from me if I don’t give you a few tips from local point of view, right? 🙂

 

ABOUT CROATIA

When I mention Croatia to someone today, people usually start to scream: football or Dubrovnik. And trust me, I’m so happy about that, because few years ago, I had a group of Chinese people totally confused about my origin. After a while, they started to imitate shooting guns.

Nope folks, Yugoslavia is dead long time ago.

Today, it’s Republic of Croatia.

A magical, sunny country with over one thousand two hundred islands, rich in natural and cultural heritage, wrapped in a centuries-old tradition.

It’s location is in Southeastern Europe and as a Mediterranean country it boasts the highest cultural and historical heritage under UNESCO protection (with Spain being the first).

Croatia proudly has the highest number of intangible protected assets from all of all European countries: 10 percent of the whole country is protected: 11 nature parks, 8 national parks and 2 strict reserves. Believe it or not, even the Klapa singing is protected by UNESCO and characterizes Dalmatia.

In addition, thank you for still sticking by! 🙂

Here’s a lucky number six list with the short descriptions about each location and of course all followed by my photos.

Enjoy!

1. PLITVICE LAKES

Plitvice-Lakes-from-above

If you’re a nature lover, Plitvice are definitely a must. Not only for nature lovers, but for anyone. Seriously, the views here are outstanding and vegetation so alive – you’ll totally rest your mind and soul.

Plitvice are the largest and the oldest national park in Croatia already from 1949.
On the other hand, they were part of UNESCO World Heritage List from 1979.

Huge-roots-of-the-tree-in-Plitvice-Lakes

The lake system is comprised of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, cascading one into the next which are making stunning scenes for observation.

I’ve been here three times and I always like to come back. This national park is situated in the mountain range and you can hike up and down for the whole day around.

Waterfalls-in-Plitvice-Lakes

It is highly recommended to go there as early as possible and to have some comfortable clothes on. However, you don’t have to hike all the time. There’s a boat and a bus transfer inside the area which are making your exploring lot easier and faster. Plus, there’s a place to eat too and to buy all from souvenirs to drinks. Unfortunately, vegetarians and vegans, you won’t find much to eat here so prepare in advance!

You’ll definitely need one whole day for Plitvice Lakes.

UNESCO World Heritage List Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

2. DUBROVNIK

Believe it or not, I’ve been fist time to this extraordinary city when I was 25 years old. Okay, I still have that much.
Pretty late, don’t you think?
Well, it’s never too late for anything!

As soon as I entered Dubrovnik, I fell in love with it. Honestly, now it’s my favourite city in Croatia.

Dubrovnik Old Town is known as one of the world’s finest and most perfectly preserved medieval cities. ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is truly enriching destination.

The-view-from-Dubrovnik-walls-over-Adriatic-coast
Lovrijenac-Fortress-Dubrovnik

The historic centre is enclosed by huge sturdy and stone walls from 11th and 17th century. It’s possible to walk along those walls and to enjoy the striking, panoramic views of the surrounding charming green islands.

It’s truly unbelievable how all of history remained unchanged for centuries:
Plenty of churches, palaces, paved squares, steep cobbled streets, monasteries, fountains & facades all in Baroque and Renaissance.

Charming-red-roofs-of-old-town-houses-in-Dubrovnik

Ooh, not to forget. Game of Thrones was filmed here!

Beware that you need to pay the entrance to walk along the historical walls plus prepare to dedicate the whole day just for it at least one whole (extremely active) morning!

And don’t miss the sunset – it’s one of the nicest I have seen in my life!

City-walls-in-Dubrovnik

3. SPLIT

Split is the second largest city in Croatia located in the Central Dalmatia. It’s my hometown too!
It has charming vibe and its streets are very lively, something very different and fastly contagious to dive into!

The development of the city was slow, around 17 centuries ago and it started when the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to build his Palace right on the peninsula near the Salona – Roman city, where he wanted to spend the last years of his life.

Today, Diocletian Palace and the whole historical core of Split are on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979.

Bell-tower-Split-Croatia

Extraordinary preservation of the palace and full life inside the walls, are making Split interesting to explore. You will be amazed with all those stone walls, narrow streets, charming stores and cafes inside of the palace.

Diocletian's-palace-Split

Don’t miss to walk over the Riva (promenade) and to climb the Marjan hill (park/forest). Climbing on the St. Domnius bell tower is also a must because the views are unforgettable. And the Cathedral as well. Be prepare to pay a fee for the last two!

For exploring all, you’ll need a day. Maybe two if you are in bad condition.

The-view-from-bell-tower-in-Split-to-prominade-and-Adriatic-sea

4. SALONA

Salona-Manastirine-ancient-ruins-Solin-Croatia

Ancient Salona is the largest archeological park in Croatia and the former capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

When you walk across all of the remains, you’ll immediately feel like you were set in a time machine. According to legend, the birthplace of Emperor Diocletian, who built the already mentioned palace from which the city of Split developed.

The-view-from-Salona-to-Mosor-mountain

If you love historical sites and architecture, definitely don’t miss Solin and Split ( they’re just 5 km away from each other).

In Salona you can visit the imposing walls with towers and numerous gates, a forum with temples, the remains of an amphitheater and cemeteries with martyrs of Solin.

Salona is located in Solin, the city where I grew up. It is the cradle of ancient Croatian history, situated on the river Jadro. It’s the youngest town in the Republic of Croatia and has a great cultural and natural heritage, which makes it an extremely interesting destination to explore.

Tusculum-museum-Salona-Solin-Croatia

Admittedly, there are not even half visitors as in Split, which makes it an ideal destination for all those who prefer quieter places.

Here, you’ll definitely need two days if you really want to explore all the historical locations.

Two-angels-a-piece-of-ancient-art-in-Salona-Croatia

5. HVAR ISLAND

The-view-on-Hvar-town-and-Pakleni-islands-and-Adriatic-sea

Hvar is the longest island in Croatia and one of the sunniest places in the country. I was actually blessed to live here for few months and I was totally enjoying its vibe. Islands are without a doubt my favourite spot to enjoy in Croatia.

Hvar-prominade-and-harbour

The remnants of material culture found in the islands caves speak of settlements in the Prehistoric period. For many, one of the most beautiful Dalmatian island, known since ancient times for its important strategic and nautical position, richness of mentioned historical periods, cultural and natural monuments.

Streets-in-Hvar-town-Kiva-bar

No matter what you are looking for on your vacation – you will find in Hvar; rich nightlife and architecture of the old town, daily boat trips to Pakleni islands, sandy beaches, pine forests, exotics of the southern slopes, village and gastronomic ambience, driving through the lavender fields, quiet hidden coves…

To explore this island, I recommend at least five days. If you are short with time, then enjoy only in Hvar town and Pakleni Islands – the rest – next time.

Hvarska-Pjaca-Square of St. Stephen

 

6. OMIŠ

Omiš is a small town and port 26 km southeast of Split. It lays on the Cetina River and its canyon with bustling stunning views.

The air in Omiš is different: clear and fresh. If you’re adrenaline enthusiast, you can enjoy in one of many activities in this area like: rafting, zipline, canyoning, paragliding etc. In the 13th and 14th century Omiš was home of pirates.

Omis-Croatia-Adriatic-coast-Dalmatia

A short climb up to the Fortica fortress is something you shouldn’t miss. Once you get there, you’ll be much rewarded for your efforts with one of the most magnificent views in the whole Dalmatia. To get up to Fortica, you have to start from the city centre and follow the well-marked path. In less than 45 minutes, you’ll be on the top.

There’s one more fortress too as well as church and few smaller historical monuments. And the whole nature side….oooh my!

Prepare to dedicate one day in Omiš and if you want to enjoy one of the areas activities – definitely two or three!

The-view-on-beautiful-Biokovo-mountain-and-Adriatic-coast

However, there are many more amazing places to see in Croatia, but I’m keeping them for some future posts. These are my top 6 which you shouldn’t miss! Besides, I will write more in future about each place in particular so don’t forget to follow!

Thank you. 🙂

What are your favourite places in Croatia?

Aerial-photo-airplane-view-snowy-mountains

7 TIPS ON HOW TO SAVE MONEY FOR TRAVELLING IN 2020!

Nowdays, travelling is easier than ever. Infrastructures are better than ever before and so are the prices.

You really don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find a cheap flight tickets or affordable transport connections.

Websites such as: Skyscanner and Exepedia can help you in finding great travel deals!

Airplane-view-clouds-and-mountains
Transavia flight towards Crete, Greece

 

I’m not rich but I do travel often. I believe that money spent on teeth and travel is the best money spent. And food too! 🙂

Exploring is free but you have to pay attention on some details. In this post I will sum up my ways of saving money for travels.

 

1. SET YOUR PRIORITIES

 

You will never be able to travel a lot if you keep spending money on stuff. Forget about consumerism. Forget about bunch of clothes, make up, home decor details, luxury items – you don’t need all that.

If travelling is your priority, make sure you always keep repeating it to yourself so you don’t end up spending printed numbers on something else.

I have to admit that I save bunch of money by keeping myself away from buying unnecessary things. Yes, I am a woman and yes I do have plenty of wishes, but my main wish is to travel. It will probably be hard in the beginning, but you will get on track fast! 🙂

I advise you to use, for instance, reminders or visual board to constantly have those goals in your mind as a daily push forward.

large-number-of-coins

 

2. START COOKING

 

Yes, that’s right! By cooking at home, you are saving huge amount of money too. So try as much as you can eat at home. Prepare the food in advance for those days when you are extremely busy. Besides, you can always freeze it. Moreover, it’s much better and healthier to eat at home.

If you don’t have any dish inspiration, there’s a super cool site called: Supercook , where you can add ingredients from your kitchen and see all the receipts that contain them!

I know cooking can be totally tiring, but hey – you need money for travelling, right!?

 

creamy-homemade-pumpkin-ginger-soup
Creamy homemade pumpkin-ginger soup

 

Homemade fruit salad

 

3. GET A PIGGY BANK

Not only you should get a piggy bank for yourself, but piggy bank for your family and friends too.

Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s day, Anniversaries…instead of buying presents, let everyone be part of your travel funds.

 

Valentine's-day-present-flowers
Piggy bank for travel funds vs. Valentine’s day presents, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

4. GIVE UP YOUR BAD HABITS

We all have at least one, don’t we?

So the New Year’s goal can be exactly that — giving up one of your bad habits. Whether it’s a shopping, smoking, beauty treatments, drinking, gym, video games, gambling, overeating, sweets…just try to quit one costly (or non costly but any) habit for a few months, see how it goes and in the end calculate how much money did you saved.

You’ll be amazed how much you can save there – one plane ticket at least!

Heineken-beer-Amsterdam
Heineken beer, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

5. REUSE – LESS IS MORE

Reusing is such a huge act!

Basically, it means that a certain product is used again in the same form and for the same purpose. It’s not only the best way to save the money, but to stop waste too. Plus, it saves bunch of resources! Single-use items are permanent products that become trash after only minutes of use. Try to do your best to choose reusable.

In fact, the choice is huge and I can give you few examples: repair clothes or buy at second hand stores, use washable cloths, napkins and rechargeable batteries, take your cloth-made-bag to groceries store and reusable mug for a coffee as well, insulated-steel-water-bottle instead of buying plastic bottles of water, reuse containers and other materials for storage food etc.

 

6. SHARE, RENT OR SELL

We all probably have at least one tool, machine or even few items that we don’t use on a regular basis or most likely ever.

Think about it for a second.

Next step: consider sharing them with people you know: friends, neighbors or simply advert it online. It will definitely help someone plus it’s some extra money for your travels!

For instance, it can be even your scooter or tripod!

tripod-and-Nikon-camera-Salona-Croatia
Tripod & Nikon Coolpix L110, Salona, Croatia

 

Cespa-in-Valencia-Spain
Vespa, Valencia, Spain

 

7. CHOOSE AFFORDABLE & MONEY WISE

Have you ever actually calculated all of your incomes and your costs?
After putting numbers on paper, you will be able to compute your pluses and minuses.

See where are your biggest costs & how you can cut or replace them.

For example: if you are women – you can cut menstrual costs by getting a menstrual cup.

If you are man – you can cut drinking costs by lowering numbers of beers. (just kidding!)
Sorry, but currently I can’t think of any example related to man savings.
But I believe you get the point. 🙂

In the end, it’s all about saving money and spending it exclusively on stuff that will actually bring your money back.

Again, you don’t have to be rich – but smart!

I hope these advices will help you so you can cross at least one more country from your travel goals map this year.

Let me know in the comment section below what are your ways of saving money for travelling, so I can get some inspiration too! 🙂

Driving across Crete island, Greece

 

Valencia-street-art-wings

VALENCIA – STREET ART

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain on a southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea.

It is just an hour and a half from Madrid by train, three hours from Barcelona by car, and 30 to 50 minutes to Balearic Islands, operating on a daily basis. Rich culture and perfect geographical position makes Valencia totally worth a visit. 


Did you know that Valencia has the largest inner city urban park in the whole of Europe? However, that’s not only urban in this Mediterranean city.
When walking through Valencia’s Old Town, one of the first things you’ll notice is vibrant and lively street art. From huge murals to tiny artistic details, whether you are artist lover or not, Valencia will definitely blow your mind!

For years, underground artists have been making Valencia into an open-air gallery, painting fences, covering walls and even entire buildings with colorful works of beauty and messages with some sort of deeper meaning, if you can puzzle out what the artists are trying to say!

In this post I will share with you the best street art pieces that I run into by many international and local artists which left their mark.

 

 

WHERE IN THE CITY?

The most murals and street artworks can be found in El Carmen, neighbourhood at the northern end of Valencia’s Old Town.

As you stroll through this neighborhood, you will come across a pile of dilapidated and ruined walls covered in multicolored graffiti with contrasting tall buildings and charming, little cafes. I have to admit that all those street artworks have created a truly unusual atmosphere.

I got hooked up immediately!

TRAVEL TIP!

If you don’t want to loose your time – don’t follow the street art locations marked on Google. Not even official city pages, famous blogs, magazines…none!
The main reason is because street art is very changing kind of art.

New pieces of art can be found almost every single day.
New buildings are constantly being built and old ones are being painted again. Buildings around the city are often damaged due to the behaviour of the concrete itself (e.g. shrinkage and early age thermal cracking), due to the presence of damp or where origin can be traced even back to the construction phase. I came across workers and new buildings even three times while searching for popular street artworks and I walked all three times around 20 minutes!

Learn from others’ mistakes, not your own!

Examples of damaged walls of buildings & how it effects on street art.

 

SELF GUIDED TOUR OR?

I would really advise you to embark on your own exploration of the city, starting from the artistically mentioned El Carmen neighborhood across the main Market, the city center and surrounding neighborhoods.

And yes, sunrise time and approx two hours before sunset are the best times for photos, and possible avoidance of the hustle and bustle.

However, if you are kind of person who likes to be guided, one of the cool things to do in the city is Street Art Tour. Of all of the Tours in Valencia, the urban art tour is the best for exploring murals and graffiti of the city.

POPULAR ARTISTS

The most famous artists are Hyuro and Escif. You can find their work around Central Market(Mercado Central) . Hyuro is an Argentinian-born artist who is lives in Valencia and Escif is one of the biggest names in Valencian street art scene – known as the Spanish Banksy.

CONCLUSION

The street art of Valencia really jumped out at me, I haven’t expected to encounter this much art! Besides, you can go sightseeing in the night too!
Street artists have done their best to tidy up the shops and you can only see their art when the stores close.
Seriously, it’s the best street art city that I have ever seen.
Street art lovers and art lovers in general – don’t hesitate about planning your trip to Valencia. About four days at least!

Now sit back and enjoy in some art!
🙂

Ps: don’t forget to like, comment or share – it would mean a lot to me! 🙂

 

 

LET ME GUIDE YOU AROUND AMSTERDAM

 

”Amsterdam lives and breathes creativity. One moment you walk into a building from the 17th century, and the next you find yourself in a hub of creative start-up companies.”

— Marcel Wanders

 

HOW DID IT ALL STARTED?

I was dreaming of Amsterdam already as a little girl. I not only wanted to visit it, but to be a part of this remarkable city – to actually live in it.

About 4 years ago, my wish came true.

Staying in Croatia didn’t give me a bright perspective, so I simply packed my suitcase and went away. Moreover, finally I realized I’m not a tree.
I remember the first thing I thought when I came to downtown Amsterdam was: Wow! This city is so symmetrical! Every building and house looked the same to me. It took me even three months to actually stop looking for hours every night my apartment where I was staying.

In this article, I will share with you some interesting & general informations about Amsterdam from a local point of view. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

 

You see, it makes a big difference to visit Amsterdam and to actually live in it. First and foremost, if you live in Amsterdam, you will not find yourself crushing into bikes all the time while walking and you will less likely be a part of traffic accidents – several times a day. 🙂

These unfortunate situations are happening to tourists and visitors very often. The reason is that after a certain period of living here, you acquire a culture of cycling. The once long and somber strapping of a bicycle with heavy and thick iron chains, you replace with the ease of same strapping, feeling like Lara Croft. Lara Croft sumo – dressed in layers! 🙂

 

Yep, Amsterdam is a really cold city. For one person from Croatia, especially Dalmatia, getting used to the weather really took a while. In fact, I never even got used to it. In brief, always wear extra clothes, because at some point you will definitely need it. Raincoat or umbrella too. It rains very often.

 The climate is sub-oceanic, humid and rainy, influenced by the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, so the winters are cold but also quite cold summers. The wind blows frequently and is extremely intense, especially from November to March. Nonetheless, it’s not perfect anywhere, is it !? There are good and bad sides everywhere.

 

I fell in love with Amsterdam primarily because it is very vibrant, alive and extremely liberal. It has almost perfect urbanization too and 180 imperfect and different nations of the world. How cool is that!?


Amsterdam is not as big or bustling as London or New York (unless you are slow-cycling, scared tourist that has just arrived), but it has a great and infectiously good vibe. Whether you are riding a bike and singing out loud or dressed in a Yoda costume, absolutely no one will mind you.

 

The special charm of Amsterdam is the freedom to interact people. There are not many places in the world where you will sit by one of the 1281 bridges, and at least three people will ask you how you are because they really care, wish you a good time, ask if you need help, just give you a compliment or try to make you laugh. I don’t allude to the fact that such situations are present only in Amsterdam, but my experience has shown that they are most common here. That’s why I love Amsterdam the most.

 

This exceptional city has more bridges than Paris, the most famous bridge being the Magere Brug or the Skinny Bridge. The “Venice of the North” as people call it, consists of 165 channels, even more than Venice! Seventeenth-century Amsterdam canals, located in the heart of the city, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in August 2010. They consist of the eponymous areas: Singelgracht, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, which I highly recommend for visit. Many of the homes in these canals date from the golden age – 17th century – and are one of the most beautiful and oldest – although many of them have been upgraded and restored.

There’s a good reason why Amsterdam’s houses are so tight – money. You see, back in the 17th century, locals were taxed by the breadth of their estates, which aroused great interest in narrow houses. Many of these houses are cleverly designed to be narrow and not so wide at the front but wider and longer at the back, giving the false impression of being small.

 

 

The history of Amsterdam dates back to around 1250, when Amsterdam was a fishing village. Today it bears the title of the world’s most important center for finance and trade, called a global or alpha city. The name Amsterdam comes from Amstelredamma, which indicates the origin of the city around the dam in the Amstel River. Since 1983 it has officially been the capital of the Netherlands, nicknamed Mokum, which is derived from the Hebrew word ‘makan’, meaning the city. The history of the first canals in Amsterdam were excavated for water management and defense. The store exploded – guess when – in the 17th century, in the aforementioned golden age, and was completed around 1660. By then it had grown up to 4 times larger, and today it is considered to be the most agile and efficient waterway system in the world, built on as many as eleven million columns.

It’s the most watery city in the world and it’s located about 2 meters below sea level, just like one third of the Netherlands. The lowest point is 6.7 meters below sea level while the highest point is about one thousand meters above sea level. Perhaps this can give you a better idea of ​​what the landscape in the Netherlands looks like – totally flat!

There’s one more thing that’s very much Amsterdam like – bikes! There are more than 881,000 bikes in this city that rarely sleeps. Believe it or not, that’s four times the number of cars in it. According to 2015 statistics, there are more bikes than people, which are making the number of only 821,752. However, Amsterdam has more inhabitants at the end of this year than ever before! It is estimated that there are now 873, 200 inhabitants – still less than number of bikes! The reason of so many bikes is probably the brutally expensive public transport, which is 32% more expensive here than the average cost of public transport across the whole Europe. It is also interesting to say that the city draws between 12,000 and 15,000 bikes each year from the canals.

 

Fortunately, today the water in the canal has been cleansed more than ever before. Twenty-four of the city’s 16 existing watercourses are closed three times a week, so that clean water can flow from the great lakes of IJsselmeer. Specialized cleaning boats with large shovels and nets often patrol to clear the surface dirt from the canals. Since 2005, all houseboats in the city have been connected to the sewer system. Pure water has also attracted many wildlife and birds such as ducks, herons, seagulls…Even 20 different species of fish and crustaceans live a healthy life under the water surfaces of the city!

Certainly it’s interesting to experience Amsterdam cruising across the canals or over night in one of the boats for rent. Funny fact is that back in the old days, when canals were still used to transport dresses, living on a boat in Amsterdam was a sign of poverty, while today living on boat is a sign of wealth. All of today’s ships you can see are pretty old. The oldest was built in 1840 as a fresh drinking water boat and is located at the Prinsengracht-Amstelveld site.

 

If you are an art seeker, Amsterdam is the right city for you! It’s a home to over 70 museums, many of which are well known around the world. The city has more than 7000 monumental buildings too, 40 parks, 38 markets and 55 theaters and concert halls, so there’s a plenty of activities and places to enjoy!

 

And although I call Amsterdam my home, I will always follow the motto: home is a feeling, not a place.

 


Let me know in the comments what would you like to know more about Amsterdam, as well as any suggestions if you have one.
I may include some of your questions in my next post.

Any feedback from you means a lot to me. 🙂

Thank you for reading!

Tot volgende ker!
(Until the next time)
🙂

13 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO AMSTERDAM

Windmills, tulips, clogs, canals, bicycles, narrow houses, Van Gogh…

All that is Amsterdam.

One of the reasons you can expect to encounter yourself with some problems getting around the city are large number of canals. Prepare to get lost because most of the canals will look similar to you and you will probably find yourself walking in circles. Besides, the city is very international too. Even in the off-season you can see many of the tourists wandering the streets.

However, if you read this simple guide with tips and tricks that I created as a local to make your time in Amsterdam as quality and easier as possible, you will be starting & ending your visit much more satisfied!

Feeling ready for Amsterdam?
Soo, let’s get started! 🙂

 

1. THE LANGUAGE

Ever heard how Dutch language sounds? Hard! But don’t worry because Dutch people are very helpful, and the vast majority speaks English more or less fluently. Sure it’s always nice to know some basic words like: ‘Dankjewel’ or ‘Dankje’ – ‘Thank you’ and ‘Dooi’ – ‘Goodbye’

But if you really end up asking someone for a direction, make sure it’s a person who drives taxi. Otherwise, you won’t be having much of a help. Amsterdam has many streets and even locals are not very oriented. Use GPS, that’s the safest and fastest way! Download offline Google Map of the city.

 

 

2. LEGAL (TRAVEL DOCUMENTS)

If you citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you don’t need a visa to enter the Netherlands. However, if you are staying more than three months, you might need one so check out the informations depending on your origin. If you are coming from South Africa, you’ll need both passport and a tourist visa. Good thing: like almost all the things in the Netherlands, you can sort your visa online. Croatian people – you are good to go!

 

 

3. WHEN TO VISIT

Astronomical figures show that around 14 million tourists visit Amsterdam every year, of which 4.5 million are Dutch tourists and more than 9.5 million are foreign visitors. How impressive is that? Months from June to August are the best – but this is the time when the city is especially crowded with tourists. (ups!)

The best time to visit I reckon is spring – May especially and autumn, about mid-September, when the crowd is diminished, the days are actually having some light and accommodation prices are bit cheaper! Winter and autumn in Amsterdam it’s very magical too with all those foggy, mystical clouds and atmosphere above the canals, but be prepared for very cold weather and lots of ‘brrr’ kind of winds!

Winter in Amsterdam


 

4. THE WEATHER & HOW TO DRESS

You know that feeling when it starts to rain while you’re on vacation – it’s really a bad thing, isn’t it?

Well, the rain really, really loves Amsterdam! I believe this is the main thing to keep in mind when coming here. It really rains often so make sure you have suitable and comfortable clothes. Be aware of the strong winds too especially from November to March. Dress in layers. Don’t dress to impress, it’s definitely not needed here. And ladies, forget about high heels. Amsterdam streets are made of those square bricks and sidewalks so you’ll most likely be struggling a lot to walk around plus they totally don’t match the spirit of the city. An umbrella is always a good idea. Or a rain suit. And definitely a waterproof backpack. I advise you to check the weather before coming here on of the weather applications.

  Warm and useful winter Amsterdam hats

 

 

5. THE CURRENCY

Currency in the Netherlands is the euro (€). The most useful notes are the €10 and €20, less often €50 euro notes. I advise you to brake as much possible all the notes you have before coming to Amsterdam because it can be hard to change them in the city and lot of places won’t except notes above €50. The country accepts both cash and card transactions and a wide range of international major debit and credit cards. Beware of pickpockets, there are many thieves especially in the city center.

 

 

6. GETTING AROUND

Amsterdam is not such a huge city. Many of attractions are squeezed into the city centre and it will take about 20 minutes to walk across all of them. It has a great public transport system with which you can reach into every corner of the city. However, I highly recommended to rent a bike in any of the bike shops. The Netherlands has the most expensive public transport in the whole Europe, so renting a bike will cut lot of your costs. Plus, with the bike you can properly explore the city – as a local! It will cost you about €14 a day for the most basic type of bicycle.

There is also a metro running from north to south. A single fare on any part costs €3.20. Besides, there’s unlimited travel ticket of €8 per day, €13.50 for two days, €19 for three days and €24.50 for four days or better get a OV chipcard via internet to get discounts up to 40% and free rides each weekend. However, this doesn’t include the price of the rail ticket between Amsterdam Schiphol airport and Centraal Station (around €5.00 each way) for a 20-minute journey. Don’t get stuck at the city centre. There are many places to explore in Amsterdam and the city is a lot more than just red light district and coffee shops.

 

 

7. DICOUNT CARD

There are GVB Card (only public transport) and OV chipcard (only publictransport) or I Amsterdam Card (Amsterdam public transport + museums)
The most popular city pass is: I amsterdam City Card, which provides numerous savings, including a free canal cruise, a city map, free access to most of the city’s museums and unlimited use of the public transport system. It costs €60 for 24 hours, €80 for 48 hours, €95 for 72 hours, €105 for 96 hours and €115 for 120 hours.

Regional, public transport ticket without discount cards are quite expensive.
    However, you have an usb charger! lol

 

 

8. WHERE TO STAY

Try to avoid staying in or near the red-light district and centre overall if you want to avoid the noise and high prices. Check the surrounding neighborhoods and Amsterdam North too over the IJ river. Advance reservations are strongly advised for any kind of accommodation.

 

 

9. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Like any other country, the Netherlands has some public holidays when many businesses close and even public transport operates less often. Those are: New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, Liberation Day (5 May), Ascension Day (mid-May to early June), White Monday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

On King’s Day, however, which is on 27th of April, or 26th of April if 27th of April is a Sunday and Gay Pride day (25 July till 2 August) don’t expect to get any sightseeing done or to have a ‘normal’ day. It gets crazy, even more crazy than on New Year’s. Perhaps you like crowded, then this is a place for you. Despite the fact that it’s overly crowded, King’s Day is a must to experience at least once.


                                                                                                    The streets during King’s Day

 

 

10. INTERNET CONNECTION

There is excellent coverage for mobile phones across the whole city, on the European GSM network. Some non-European phones may not be able to access the network, so make sure to check that before coming. On the other hand, phone cards are widely available, starting at around €5 and you can get them in shops or tobacco corners in the whole Amsterdam. My recommendation for a phone card is definitely Lebara.


    “Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth, it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.” ― John Green


11. CANNABIS AND COFFEE SHOPS

In order to avoid misunderstandings, you need to know at least something about cannabis. Cannabis is technically not legal in Amsterdam, but it’s tolerated as long as you buy very small amounts for personal use: coffee shops are allowed to sell each person up to five grams per day. You can smoke in the coffee shops, your place or outside in the streets but be careful not to do it near restaurants or cafes etc. because some places are strictly forbidding smoking weed in their area. You always have to have an ID when coming to the coffee shop. Behave. If you start to feel sick, drink some soda, juice or anything sugar like!
Tips for stoners – Don’t buy drugs on the road, actually don’t buy drugs in the shops too, not even herbal ones.
It doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause any damage to your body just because it’s herbal plus you can entirely ruin your visit by taking some. Please, but please research well in advance before you decide to experiment with anything here. Get smart before you get high!


Dutch are more strict about alcohol than cannabis




12. DRINKABLE WATER

The Netherlands is one of the countries where the quality of tap water is one of the safest in the Europe for drinking. However, the bottle of water can cost you around 2 to 3.5 euros! Make sure you bring your own bottle (insulated steel for example) so you can save some money by filling it with tap water – plus it’s environmental friendly. Why waste so much money on bottled water when you can safely drink tap water?

13. CYCLING IN AMSTERDAM

The main rules are:

– Always stay on the bicycle tracks.

– Always stick on the right side unless you are fast and in hurry to be on the left – Never forget to use your hands to gesture before you turn.

– Be careful of the tram tracks because bicycle tyre can get easily stuck in one especially when raining – make sure you always cross over them on 90 degrees angle.

– Bike paths are marked red/orange and there’s always white bicycle picture printed on it. If the picture of the bicycle is upside down, then you are on the wrong side of the road.

– Always lock your bicycle because there are many thefts and try to lock it always in busy and moving areas. (Bikes with two locks are much safer). Bikes in Amsterdam are usually on pedal breaks so in case you’re not used to pedal breaks, ask for a bicycle with normal breaks. You can rent one in any bike shop across the city or via apps. The traffic might seem confusing to you because there are cars, trams, buses, pedestrians and all kinds of two or three wheels vehicles. once again, I strongly advise you to download an offline version of Amsterdam’s Google maps so you can get around much easier.
However, don’t panic if you get lost. Trust me, it’s not such a bad thing to get lost in Amsterdam!


You can see plenty of unique and interesting vehicles in the traffic
of Amsterdam


Someone got really mad!
Be careful not to lock your bike with someone’s else bike!


 Another Flowerbikeman in Jordaan area


 

I hope this was or it will be helpful! 🙂

Any questions!?

Feel free to share your thoughts.




 

Bungee Jumping in Croatia, over Maslenica bridge and blue Adriatic sea

EXTREME: how to defeat your fear of heights !?

Fear is, a kind of a blocking feeling that stops individual from taking certain actions in life. In general, it takes a lot of courage to face the deepest fears. However, the outcome of defeating them, brings profound self rewarding feeling, but also freedom, joy, excitement, serenity, confidence…

In my previous blog post I was writing lot more about fear in general and you can read it HERE.
You see, I was once a totally different person. I had numerous fears and some of them were:

  • fear of heights
  • fear of bugs
  • fear of people
  • fear of public speaking
  • fear of dark

Fortunately, I was always aware of disabilities that my fears are causing me so I never stopped confronting them; furthermore I was always a dreamer too. In my biggest dreams, I was Sky Diving and Bungee Jumping. For the whole life, I was waiting for a moment to do both. Finally, the day came and I checked off at least Bungee from my bucket list. A day after, I did even Zipline. Those two activities that I’ve done in only 2 days, were the key factors that created a new person that I am today. In this article I will tell you more about Bungee Jumping and how exactly it helped me feel fearless as well the place where I’ve done it.

BUNGEE JUMPING

Bungee Jumping is one of the highest adrenaline pumped activities that someone can experience. It’s a way of free falling where a person jumps from something tall (usually a building, tower or a bridge) and then vertically falls down. Immediately after the jump, a person is pulled back with elastic bungee rope. The rope is designed to stretch (never to brake) and to bounce the person back up for a few times before it finally stops swinging.

Me doing Bunge Jumping from Maslenica bridge in Croatia surrounded with Adriatic
Bungee Jumping

Nomwdays, Bungee Jumping is lot more popular than ever before. Many tourist destinations are offering bungee as a fun activity while travelling. It is important to always choose the right, secure company that has many years of experience in that field.

I did my first, unforgettable Bungee Jump in Croatia over Maslenica bridge with a help of guys from Izazov Tours.

Maslenica bridge in Croatia with Adriatic sea around, cliffs and pine trees
Maslenica bridge in Croatia
Extraordinary view over Adriatic sea and mountains in Croatia from Maslenica bridge and Bungee Jumping platform
Extraordinary view from Maslenica bridge and Bungee Jumping platform

MY BUNGEE EXPERIENCE

Everyone, especially if it’s their first time, gets that slight hesitation before the jump and that is totally normal. But after looking up to those incredible views of the Adriatic with cliffs emerging from the crystal clear sea and mountains that feel pretty surreal, you imagine yourself as a bird that is fully ready to dive into the beautiful scene that seems painted.

The view opposite from Bungee Jumping platform looking on crystal clear Adriatic sea
The view opposite from Bungee Jumping platform looking on crystal clear Adriatic sea

When I finally jumped (and I did it faster than I expected I would), my body turned fully into exhilarating feeling and nothing else than that. It was a feeling of full weightlessness and freedom, euphoria, pride and awe with zillion other feelings and sensations. I believe that even if I write all the possible feelings, I could never be able to describe it well. An extreme activity such as Bungee is a must do action that can only be well experienced, not well described.

Bungee is unlike other sports because there’s no need to take certain classes and lessons before the real action. All you have to do is to carefully follow all the necessary instructions provided by your instructor. I have to say that instructor I was given was very professional and experienced man who was also extremely funny and that gave me more courage too. What can ease the fear more than a humor in scary situations?

I’ve seen there is another Bungee location in Croatia over Sibenik bridge too and that one is only 10 meters smaller than Maslenica. You can see their website HERE. Nevertheless, I advise you to choose guys from Izazov Tours because I already tested their service and I was more than happy with what I got. It is important to mention that you can only pay with cash, no cards.

Maslenica bridge in the distance from where I was doing Bungee Jumping
Maslenica bridge in the distance from where I was doing Bungee Jumping

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

Bungee Jumping is all about confronting the fears, testing your bravery and love for extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about lowering the risks and negative effects that can affect on your well-being. You shouldn’t do Bungee if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Heavy psychological problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnancy
  • Neurological issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Any heart diseases
  • Orthopedic problems
  • If you are a drug or alcohol addict and if you were taking any of those before planning to do Bungee

As long as you don’t have any of the above-mentioned facts, you are perfectly fine to go for a Bungee.

Preparing to bungee jump from Maslenica bridge in Croatia on a beautiful sunny day
Right before THE jump 🙂

HOW TO DO A BUNGEE AND HOW NOT TO? LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES…

There is one simple rule when it comes to Bungee Jumping: CAREFULLY AND STRICTLY FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED BY THE BUNGEE INSTRUCTOR.

Perhaps you were watching tons of Bungee accidents but the main characteristic to all of them is: not following the instructions and jumping with bad companies together with their not enough tested equipment.

I did listen to my instructor, but somehow during the jump, I forgot about half of what has been said. When you jump, you should jump as far as you can (pretty same like the cliff jumping into the sea) and you should keep your hands spreaded all the time without touching anything in any single point. I wasn’t following any of those instructions fully, so after jumping head down, the rope pulled me back up into itself and scratch me on the second fall. Of course, I got even more scared in already exciting and thrilling action like that so I started using my hands trying to somehow hold myself or who knows what my plan was but not following instructions, led me to a pretty solid bruise which frankly, could be even deadly if I was less lucky.

My red bruise on my biceps from bungee jumping rope

As has been noted, I was still enjoying fully my bungee experience and I would definitely do it again.

All things considered, pluck up your courage, follow the instructions and have the best experience of your lifetime doing Bungee Jumping!

Me in small boat on Adriatic sea still tied with a bungee rope
After you jump from Maslenica bridge, the guy from a Bungee Jumping company picks you up in a small boat, untie all and tells you to remain calm and to lay for few minutes. Did I mention that you have to climb all the way back up on foot? (56m)
But trust me, after doing Bungee, it’s a piece of cake!

CONCLUSION

I believe that confronting any kind of fear is the best way to overcome it. Actually, you should get more familiar with your fears and eventually with yourself.

On the contrary, fear is good to a certain point, but if it starts stopping you from life experiences and chances, you definitely should consider working on it on a slightly extremer way. See it like this: imagine it’s apocalypse and somehow you ended up on a high cliff. The only way to save yourself is to move slowly along the edge of the cliff to the end point. If you are much afraid of heights, you’d probably stay there and die, poop yourself in your pants or start having panic attack that will lead you falling in a pit down the cliff. Maybe my imagination is huge, but I rather choose to be a brave person in this life, than to be a coward. I am not saying that you should check every edge of this world and put yourself in extremely dangerous situations, but you definitely should free yourself while you are still here.

A freeing feeling that extreme experiences are providing, usually take you to a level of great confidence where you start to feel like nothing is impossible. It’s not far from the truth, I must say. Bungee Jumping convinced me that only sky is the limit and only feelings are real. And moments. Because, no one ever thought of that pink dress or shiny suit that he bought in their 30s. Statistically, most of the people in their time of dying, regret of not living fully. Don’t be one of them.

 

‟You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”

Aristotle

Bungee Jumping diploma from Maslenica bridge in Croatia
With Izazov Tours, you even get a proper Bungee Jumping diploma.

If you are adrenaline lover or if you liked this post, make sure to follow my blog because in the next article I will write more about another extreme activity: Zipline in Croatia.

Click HERE to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see a new video of my Bungee Jumping that is coming soon together with some more tips.:)

Stay safe and productive,

Lots of love,

Valentina.

 

 

 

FEAR: THE FEELING THAT KEEPS US ALIVE

Encouraged by current world events, I decided to write an inspirational post, which has little to do with travel, but has to do with adventures that I’m addicted to and our main emotion.

Fear.

Let’s be frank. Fear is good. Don’t you feel the same?

I mean, if we haven’t had a fear, we would have much higher chances of dying, right!?

Some of us would be unstoppable in extreme sports. Some of us would go much deeper into discovering dangerous hidden places and enormous, risky natural wonders. Some of us would maybe take much higher risks in our businesses and lives in general. We wouldn’t be able to resonate much dangerous environment from a safe one.

To put it another way, fear is an emotion that wakes up adrenaline flowing in our vessels and at the same time it leaves us feeling somehow uncomfortable in our own skin. Fear causes physiological and behaviour changes and it’s proven scientifically that every kind of fear we feel is closely connected to death.

In other words, we are all afraid of dying of some kind.

As I am a huge Michael Stevens fan, in his Mind Field series about fear, it is researched and revealed how humans actually share one fear which is:

“elevation of carbon dioxide in the blood caused by an uncontrollable external threat.”

To give you an example, that can be suffocating under extreme conditions such as drowning. To give an illustration of what I mean, have a look at his episode as well as all the other previous episodes especially if you are bit nerdy for facts and knowledge like I am.

Note: Some Michael’s sayings I included in this article.

But…why am I writing about this at all? Well…I guess you all know the answer: global pandemic situation that we are currently in. Corona virus successfully made the whole planet feel anxious, terrified, worried…which is in fact, expected.

“Fear is an innate aversion. Our ancestors have survived long enough and avoided danger to reproduce and to make creatures likes us. We are organisms that instinctively avoid and averse to potentially dangerous sensations. Sensations such as pain, or being sick….”

As I already mentioned, death is a center of all of our webs of fear. Survival. It’s why we are here.

“Our brain is kind of a prediction processor. We always try to predict what is going to happen next. So anything that comes and it doesn’t match our templates or sense categories, we start to be cognitively and emotionally aroused.” This leads to activation both of our amygdalas (“fear center” of the brain) and it makes us little suspicious or at least puts us on our toes again. Two Amygdalas are telling us what should we remember, what should we learn upon our survival.

That is why we are so much afraid of corona virus.

To put it differently, we are not afraid of corona virus or economic crisis; we are afraid of dying. We are afraid of suffocating.

However, even if things are not working out right now well for nobody, we shouldn’t be desperate.
“Remember, the world has been in much worse situations. Humanity was suffering lot more before than right now. Much of the horror the world went through. Find comfort and strength in a fact that you are the result of thousands years of struggle for the human race to build, sustain and, if need to be, to rebuild its civilization, its unstoppable quest to improve living conditions.

It is obvious that today we are living in the most prosperous and safest moment in history.
It’s not the end of the world.

It’s not the end of civilization either. This is the current realisation that we all need to understand.

As early as the Bronze Age, almost all civilizations were wiped out. Still, no one has any idea how. Droughts, revolutions, wars, diseases…..maybe all together.
When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, many thought that civilization had disappeared irreversibly. But it survived in the Eastern Empire and rebuilt very quickly in the west. The Middle Ages were not the stagnation of civilization.
China as a civilization also collapsed many times, rising again.
Troy burned at least six times and was rebuilt each time.


We all carry the strengths, strengths of the builders of Rome, Troy, Alexandria, Athens, the builders of the pyramids, the Colosseum, the Acropolis…


The results are brutal historical selection. Maybe in good time these self-preserving genes have made us inactive. But they are there.


We have more power in us than we think.


Civilization does not perish, it always survives. Everything else is just a reminder of our strength.
And this will pass. And then let’s go build again. Even better.
So don’t despair.”

Note: The last sentences under quotation marks are also taken from other person which is not Michael Stevens but my good friend, an economist and a writer: Branimir Perković. I am more than happy to often read positive thoughts around me as mine thoughts are always positive too.

Furthermore on fear topic, did you know that exposure therapy can help people overcome their fears!? Literally, it means confronting your fears in order to overcome them. Well, the same principles can be used to create fears.

So, be careful what you read and what are you watching. I am not saying that you should go outside and confront the virus because even if you want to – you can’t and you are forbidden to (unless you want to confront the police officer and a fine or even a prison).

But in general, confronting fear is nothing but a good thing. To be frank, I’ve had numerous fears until I started defeating them and owning them before they completely started to own me. Today, I even have a fearless woman T-shirt (lol).

To summarize, have some fears but also be fearless in the same time in order to take certain risks and chances that life and moments are giving you. I hope my article was enough inspiring and useful to at least calm you down a bit in these weird times.

Me wearing a hat and fearless woman T-shirt next to Es Pontàs arch in Mallorca, Balearic islands, Spain
Photo taken by my boyfriend in Es Pontàs, Mallorca, Spain

Write me in the comments below what is your opinion on this global situation.

Do you have any fears?

Have you ever tried to confront your fears?


I am looking forward to your comments! 🙂

 

 

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SPAIN MAP: CATALONIA, HIKING TO LA FORADADA

Spain Map Catalonia area the view from La Foradada to Delta Ebro
The view on Sant Carles de la Ràpita and Ebro Delta from La Foradada, Catalonia, Spain

Spain is an extraordinary beautiful country with around 50 provinces. Four provinces are being a part of an unique area called Catalonia. Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region located in north-east of Iberian Peninsula. Catalan rich history dates back to somewhere around 1,000 years ago which makes it a perfect place to dig into exploring and to wander around.

Sharp mountain tops along the spanish highway
Driving along the Catalan highway is nothing but a pure visual pleasure

A region full of natural beauty and charm with about 7.5 million people, own language, parliament, flag and anthem.

 

Extraordinary landscape along Catalonia highway
Tell me…who can resist this natural beauty?

I am a resident of Catalonia for about three months and I decided to explore as much natural beauty as my free time allows me. Besides, going to the nature is an excellent way to reset and rest your mind and soul. It’s always a plus if I can use a content of my own adventures for my business.

So, here it is. An article of first Catalan nature reserve I’ve explored since I’m a resident. Serra del Montisà mountain range and an amazing mountain top called La Foradada are today’s topic. In this post I will include some hiking tips and informations about the location as well some beautiful landscape photos that will eventually make you come to Catalonia, or at least to hike up to your closest mountain.

 

Looking over the Delta Ebro from La Foradada mountain top
I am the happiest person on this planet when I’m high between the clouds even if there are no any 🙂

SERRA DEL MONTSIÀ

Looking on to Serra de Montsià mountain range from the highway
Looking on to Serra de Montsià mountain range from the highway

First, let me tell you a bit more about the Montsià mountain range. This visually incredible soft mountainous complex is located on the south of Terras de l’Ebre. It extends from the diverse Ebro river to north and Sénia river to the south.

Montsià has a length of 20 km and a width of 6 km. The highest point is the Pic del Montsià at (764 m). However, the most beautiful and charismatic point is La Foradada, more than 500 above sea level. This magnificent natural viewpoint looks wide over the Ebro Delta (the largest wetland in Spain). The towns which you can see from the top are: Alcanar, Ulldecona, Freginals, Amposta and Sant Carles de la Ràpita.

Overlooking the Montsià mountain range from the top in Catalonia
Overlooking the Montsià from the top

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” – Greg Child

WHY DO WE HIKE OR CLIMB?

To be frank, I’ve always liked to climb. Whether were fig trees in question, high mountain tops or modern skyscrapers, I have always aimed for that rewarding but also overwhelmingly scary feeling when you reach the heights. Isn’t it the best perspective the one from above?

It’s the same with the last bench in school or the last seat in the bus. Somehow, you feel extremely pleased because your sight has a wide perspective of all the impulses from outside. In fact, there’s no danger, just an internal peace. Once you reach the mountain top, the sound of silence and the gentle voice of nature will fill your inner being with tranquility. All of the sudden, you totally surrender and imaginary, yet spiritually, start to fly as those birds you constantly see piloting around.

I was born right under the mountain called Kozjak and I’ve spent most of my childhood days exploring it. Probably my love towards mountains can relate to my early memories of the best days of my life but whatever the reason might be, I can honestly tell you that climbing to any mountain top once a month, can highly and positively affect on your well being. No to mention loads of inspiration you can get.

Sunset time colours little bit above the La Foradada in Spain, Catalonia
Sunset time little bit above the La Foradada

HIKING TO LA FORADADA

La Foradada is perhaps the most beautiful place, around 500 m above the sea level, from where you can enjoy some of the best panoramic views of the Ebro Delta and its surroundings. The route is one of the most interesting and diverse hikes that crosses: the Burgar Fountain, Mata-ronda and finally the top of La Foradada.

Spain map Catalonia hiking towards the La Foradada
Along the way, you have many signs and explanations so don’t worry about getting lost

WHERE TO START?

The beginning of this route is at the car parking Cocó de Jordi. Apparently, there are two parking places, but we concluded that Jordi is the closest one since we didn’t have much time before the sun goes down. In fact, that day, we decided to go hiking spontaneously, thinking between the museum of Deltebre or La Foradada mountain top. Not even a bit surprisingly, our adventure spirits decided about our plan that day lot before we did.

Sign in Catalonia from the mentioned parking to La Foradada, there is approx 3,6 km of hiking
From the mentioned parking to La Foradada, there is approx 3,6 km of hiking
A sign of the list of from all the actions that are forbidden in Serra de Montsià
The list of all the actions that are forbidden in Serra de Montsià
A little bit above the Cocó de Jordi parking between the rosemary and other bushes
A little bit above the Cocó de Jordi parking between the rosemary and other bushes

WHAT KIND OF A HIKE IS IT?

I would say it’s a moderate kind of hike that goes to harder kind of hike in some areas. But don’t worry, we’ve seen many elderly people on their way back, so if they can do it, you can do it too.

Make sure to have a good hiking shoes if you don’t want to have a muscle pain few days after. I mean, you will have muscle pain for sure if you are not regularly active person, but at least with the good shoes you can easier take the trail as well the upcoming days.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water (you will need it), some food (as healthier as you can and as much proteins as you can), navigation tool (mobile phone or something similar), a lamp (when it gets darker), first aid and repair tools (just in case), backpack and non sweaty clothing (don’t dress up fine like I did thinking we will go to the museum because you will smell like a skunk lol) and a signalling device (also just in case).

Before going hiking anywhere not just here, check the weather forecast and if you expect some rain, bring waterproof clothes and waterproof backpack too.

Montsia hiking sign on the way to La Foradada
Even though signs are on Catalan, there’s no chance you will get lost

It’s absolutely important to mention that you must inform at least one person about your hiking destination and approx time of coming back. I’ve learned this from a good friend that was a member of a Mountain rescue service and this part can undoubtedly save your life if, in the worst case scenario, something goes wrong.

Something of great importance and very useful in case of emergency toward the La Foradada
Something of great importance and very useful in case of emergency

But, let’s get back to beautiful things like the nature you will be passing through. The trail to La Foradada is over a beautiful Mediterranean forest full of huge oaks and various bushes and trees. You will come across rockery, forest, meadow, straight paths and slightly more difficult rocky climbs.

A sign with all types of greenery that you are passing by (almost everything is written on Catalan or Spanish)
A sign with all types of greenery that you are passing by
(almost everything is written on Catalan or Spanish)
List of animals in the area toward the La Foradada
List of animals in the area towards the La Foradada

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much animals only some cute singing birds and a fat black pheasant that was running from us like a maniac. I wish he was slower so I could record that moment of hilariousness. In Font del Burgar, you will encounter a fountain or a small creek with fresh water full of tadpoles.

Around half an hour before reaching La Foradada, we pass by the ruins of Mas de Mata-Redona (the Masía de Matarredona).

Spain map, the Masía de Matarredona ruins in Catalonia
the Masía de Matarredona ruins

The Matarredona ruins are remains of a farmhouse. It was an old livestock and agricultural operation, inhabited and in full swing a few decades ago, of which today remained only the walls, half demolished. By some, it is the best known excursion in the Ebro region. Today, the place is under the project for recovery but unfortunately, still without a financial endowment.

Spain map, the Masía de Matarredona ruins in Catalonia
Tripod is definitely the best piece of gear I’ve bought in the past few years

FOLLOW THE MARKINGS ALONG THE WAY!

Okay, this was pretty much confusing for us and we weren’t able to find our answer yet. So the thing is: there are two kind of markings: white/yellow and white/red. We started following the yellow ones, and a bit before Matarredona ruins we ended up on the red ones. Since we saw two paths, and somehow switched from one path to another, we assumed that yellow markings are pointing to the shorter path on which we started and the red markings are pointing to the longer path. Nonetheless, Matarredona ruins are on the red marked path (longer one). But that’s something we have to explore and conclude on our next hiking adventure to La Foradada.

The most important thing is that you see any kind of marking which indicated you are on the right, and already well checked trail.

Nature photo, a beautiful leafless tree on the background of the blue sky
Some nature photography that caught my eye 🙂

We (my boyfriend and I) even run in some parts like that terrified pheasant because we were bit scared of not making it to the top before the sun goes down and that additionally, we would need to go down in the night time which takes longer and it’s harder too.

Smooth surfaces of the Montsià mountains
Smooth surfaces of the Montsià mountains

BUT FINALLY after just one hour of hiking, we reached the top! The hike usually takes from an hour and half up to three hours (depending on your fit) but we, simply to say – nailed it! And we literally died a bit too haha.

However, it was all worth it. Our eyes were shining like the brightest stars of the night filled with pure and childish joy. As I said in the very beginning, the views from above are so impressive and they cover many kilometers around. It’s a perfect 360 degree view massive over the horizon. We weren’t so lucky with the clear sky, yet we still enjoyed in what nature on heights can give us.

Now, rest your brain from reading a bit and enjoy in photos.

La Foradada, Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia, Spain map
Spain map, the view from La Foradada, Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia
Spain map, the view from La Foradada, Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia
La Foradada mountain top, rock with the hole inside
Spain map, the view from La Foradada, Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia
Spain map, the view from La Foradada, Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia
 La Foradada mountain top, Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia
 Me from the La Foradada mountain top, Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia
The view from La Foradada mountain top, Serra del Montsià looking toward the Ebro Delta
 Serra del Montsià mountain range in Spain, Catalonia
 Sunset time colours in Serra del Montsià mountain range in Spain, Catalonia
 Sunset time colours in Serra del Montsià mountain range in Spain, Catalonia
 Sunset time colours in Serra del Montsià mountain range in Spain, Catalonia
 Sunset time colours in Serra del Montsià mountain range in Catalonia
On our way back…

BONUS TIP: We took the shorter path following the white/yellow markings on our way back (from La Foradada go down and stick to the right side). At that point, we literally started running because the night was falling rapidly. I don’t advise you to run because that path is full of rocks and it’s very dangerous. Leave the dangerous stuff to us lol.

Furthermore, in one point you will have option A (left crossing with white/yellow marking) and option B (right crossing with no marking at all). However, we’ve seen on Google Maps that if we go right, there was a shortcut, although it wasn’t marked. Later on our way, we realized it’s a very difficult way down but shorter for at least 10 minutes. So, if you are an experienced hiker, take that adventure and save some time.

HERE is an official website where you can find more information about Serra del Montsià and the rest of Catalonia. HERE is another website too.

Me from the Serra del Montsia mountain range looking over the Ebro Delta and surrounding little cities

 

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Feel free to drop me a comment below so I can see your opinion and improve or answer to any doubts you might have.

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SELIDBA U NIZOZEMSKU I ŽIVOT U AMSTERDAMU (CROATIAN VERSION-HRVATSKA VERZIJA)

Ulice Amsterdamskog kvarta zapad za vrijeme izlaska sunca u Nizozemskoj
Ulice Amsterdamskog kvarta Zapad, vrijeme izlaska sunca

Mnogi su me pitali o mom životu u Amsterdamu. Zbog toga ću u ovom članku podijeliti svoje iskustvo življenja u glavnom gradu Nizozemske. Također, mnogi su me ljudi na socijalnim mrežama pitali imam li prijevod ovog istog članka koji sam prvotno napisala na engleskom jeziku. Iako na dnu mog bloga možete pronaći Google Prevoditelj s kojim možete cijeli blog prevesti na svoj materinji jezik, ipak sam odlučila da izdvojim vrijeme i prevedem ovaj post kako bi olakšala svima.

U ovom članku ću uključiti sva znanja i savjete o papirologiji i svim ostalim aspektima koje je važno znati prije odlaska u inozemstvo u Nizozemsku.

Ja sam bila stanovnik Amsterdama 4 godine i otvoreno ću govoriti o prednostima i nedostacima života tamo. Nadam se da će moji savjeti biti korisni vama ili vašim prijateljima radi lakšeg odlučivanja o budućem životu.

PLANIRATE PRESELITI U INOZEMSTVO?

Niste zadovoljni trenutnom lokacijom? Potpuno u redu!

Još uvijek niste sigurni kamo se želite preseliti? To je također sasvim u redu!

PRVO, Postavite sami sebi pitanja!

1.Gdje želim živjeti? (toplije zemlje / hladniji krajevi)

2. Gdje želim raditi? (vaša profesija, vaše znanje u odnosu na vaše želje i mogućnosti + dostupni poslovi u željenoj zemlji)

DRUGO, ISTRAŽITE!

Ako već imate neke zemlje na umu, istražite koji su svi dokumenti potrebni za preseljenje tamo, njihov zdravstveni sustav, cijene života / javnog prijevoza, porez, mogućnosti zaposlenja itd.

Važno je da detaljnije pogledate kakav je svakodnevni život u zemlji.

ZAŠTO NIZOZEMSKA?

Nizozemska je popularna zemlja za iseljenike, posebno studente.

Nizozemsko je društvo poznato po svojoj toleranciji i zemlja ima visoki životni standard. Amsterdam je šarmantan kanalski grad koji privlači mnoge međunarodne radnike. Tehnička i financijska industrija u gradu brzo rastu. Ostali gradovi također su dom velikim iseljeničkim zajednicama, poput Haaga, Utrechta i Rotterdama. Čitava je zemlja dobro povezana, tako da ne morate brinuti o prijevozu.

Ako ste se odlučili za preseljenje u Nizozemsku (Amsterdam), morate biti svjesni nekih stvari prije nego što krenete:


PREDNOSTI ŽIVOTA U AMSTERDAMU:

  • Više od 180 nacionalnosti
  • Visoke plaće
  • Mogućnost otvaranja vlastite tvrtke za samo 50 eura
  • Potpuna sloboda & tolerancija
  • Odlična infrastruktura (lako se putuje)
  • Zabava 24/7
  • Mnogo životnih prilika

NEDOSTACI ŽIVOTA U AMSTERDAMU:

  • Kiša, kiša, kiša i još kiše
  • Sivi, oblačni i magloviti dani
  • Nedostatak sunca
  • Hidroponska hrana (uzgoj na vodi plus nedostatka sunca – hrana ima drugačiji okus)
  • Visoke cijene
  • Nizozemski jezik

5 BITNIH STVARI PRIJE SELIDBE

1. Imajte mjesto / opciju gdje se uvijek možete vratiti

2. Ponesite što višse novca možete

3. Imajte neku vrstu osiguranja

4. Ponesite sve svoje osobne dokumente

5. Obavijestite nekoga gdje ćete boraviti

Nastavljamo na popis što sve trebate učiniti čim se preselite u Amsterdam:

1. LEGALNI STATUS

Nizozemska je jedna od 26 zemalja koje čine “Schengen”. Država je članica EU, što znači da stanovnici EU / EFTA mogu ući i ostati u zemlji bez zahtjeva za vizu. Svi stanovnici EU / EFTA-e koji ostanu dulje od četiri mjeseca morat će se registrirati kod vlade. Obavezno sa sobom uvijek imajte osobnu iskaznicu ili putovnicu.

Stanovnicima koji nisu iz EU-a i EFTA-e trebaju vize za dozvole ulaska i boravka. Za više informacija o tome, pročitajte cijeli vodič – Nizozemske vize & dozvole. (na engleskom je)

2. SLUŽBENI BROJ GRAĐANA (BSN)

Da biste radili u Nizozemskoj, morate imati BSN broj. To je isto kao OIB u Hrvatskoj ili N.I.E u Španjolskoj.

KAKO DOĆI BSN? Prvo se morate registrirati u Gradskoj vijećnici (Gemeente). Kao rezultat prijave u općini dobit ćete; burgerservicenummer (BSN).

ZAŠTO trebam BSN? Svatko tko dolazi iz inozemstva na posao ili na studij i dalje zahtijeva BSN broj, čak i za kraći boravak. BSN je potreban kako bi mu bilo dopušteno raditi, otvoriti bankovni račun, koristiti zdravstveno osiguranje, glasati, pokrenuti posao, studirati, podnijeti zahtjev za beneficije ili dodatke itd.

KOJE DOKUMENTE TREBAM DONIJETI? građani EU morat će dostaviti valjan dokaz o identitetu (poput putovnice ili osobne iskaznice, a ne vozačke dozvole) i njihovu adresa za registraciju, dok za državljane koji nisu članovi EU-a moraju biti predočeni i drugi dokumenti (poput boravišta & ugovora o radu i sl.). Ako ste državljanin koji nije član EU, vašem poslodavcu će trebati radna dozvola (tewerkstellingsvergunning & ili TWV), a također morate imati i dozvolu boravka.

VAŽNO JE ZNATI: Ako trenutno nemate adresu u Nizozemskoj, dobit ćete privremeni BSN (RNI), a u naredna 4 mjeseca morat ćete donijeti neku adresu na koju ste se registrirali (ako želite imati stalni BSN.)

OPREZ Nisu svi dokumenti automatski valjani u Nizozemskoj. Državni registar prihvaća samo službene dokumente na nizozemskom, engleskom, francuskom ili njemačkom jeziku. Za druge jezike bit će potreban službeni prijevod. Obavezno pitajte sve unaprijed.

ALI PRVO … NAZOVITE! Morate nazvati da biste zakazali sastanak kako biste dobili BSN. (obično se čeka oko 3 tjedna do termina)

3. KUPITE LOKALNU SIM KARTICU

Ovaj je korak presudan prije nego što tražite posao ili nešto slično. Ja sam primijetila da me nitko nije zvao dok nisam kupila Lebara sim karticu. Valjda je vrlo jasno. Kad ljudi vide vaš inozemni telefonski broj, prvo misle da niste dovoljno ozbiljni, niste još uvijek rezident i prije svega, nisu sigurni koliko će novca trošiti na pozic sa vama. Lokalne sim kartice možete dobiti bilo gdje, a obično su besplatne (morate nadopuniti kredit). Savjetujem vam da odaberete Lebara jer je za mene savršeno funkcionirala čitave 4 godine.

4. SMJEŠTAJ

Najvažnije što trebate učiniti kada dođete u Nizozemsku je pronaći mjesto za registraciju. Čim prije! Dok ne pronađete mjesto za registraciju, zaista ne možete nastaviti sa bilo čim drugim.

KAKO NAĆI SMJEŠTAJ Najbolji način za pronalazak smještaja je putem prijatelja ili ljudi koje poznajete.

  • NA INTERNETU: Osim toga, prijavite se za sve što se pojavi na web stranici zvanoj Kamernet ( iznajmljivanje: Te huur). Košta oko 25 eura mjesečno, ali barem znate da svi ljudi koji postavljaju oglase stvarno postoje, i nisu prevara. Zapravo, i na Kamernetu postoje prevare i trebate biti oprezni, ali postoji najmanja šansa da ćete naići na prevarante putem ove web stranice. Savjetujem vam da budete oprezni kada tražite smještaj na društvenim mrežama poput Facebooka. Na Facebook grupama postoji puno prevara. Nikada, ponavljam, ali baš nikada ne dajite ili šaljite nekome novac prije nego što vidite mjesto i imate ključeve. Funda
  • PITAJTE sve ljude koje sretnete u vezi smještaja ili posla koji tražite. Čak i ako mogu dati samo savjet ili informacije, to je i dalje nevjerojatno vrijedno.
  • AGENCIJE ZA NEKTRETNINE I AGENTI ZA NEKRETNINE Osobno, znam gomilu ljudi koji su našli svoje mjesto za život preko agenta za nekretnine. Za njihovu uslugu morate platiti nekoliko stotina eura, ali općenito, to se potpuno isplati jer se oni bore da nađu smještaj, a ne vi. Sve što trebate učiniti je reći im koje su vaše želje i financijske mogućnosti. Savjetujem vam da potražite prave agente za nekretine koji imaju NVM znak koji upućuje na registraciju u Nizozemskoj zadružnoj udruzi agenta i procjenitelja nekretnina. (znači da su zakoniti!)

Pitate se gdje živjeti u Amsterdamu? Što dalje od centra grada idete, manje plaćate. Amsterdam Nord (sjever) je sjajno područje i vrlo dobro povezano. Amsterdam West i Oud West moji su omiljeni dijelovi grada. Ovo, još uvijek govorim o sobama ili studijima, jer su stanovi u ovim područjima i dalje skupi. Ali, nikad se ne zna. Tko neprestano traži nešto, na kraju i nađe.

Pripremite se za početak, živjeti u sobi u nekom zajedničkom stanu. Selidba s partnerom / prijateljem / obitelji uvijek je lakša jer možete podijeliti troškove i barem se dobro poznajete.

CIJENE SMJEŠTAJA: Pokušajte pronaći nešto za 500 eura ili manje. To je najjeftinije što ćete najvjerovatnije moći pronaći, a biti će vjerojatno soba. Čitav, mali stan, nećete naći ispod 1000 eura plus depozit, agencijsku naknadu i vjerojatno dokaz od posljednjih 6 do 12 mjeseci da primate plaću. Amsterdam ima jedan od najskupljih smještaja u cijeloj Europi, zato budite spremni. Mogu vam reći iz mog iskustva, stvarno mi je nedostajao “dom” kada sam živjela u Amsterdamu. Znate, svoj vlastiti madrac na kojem ste spavali samo, svoje WC sjedalo itd. 🙂 Ali, kao što sam već napomenula, ako nešto dugo potražite, naposlijetku ćete ga naći ili će vas pronaći.

5. POČNITE TRAŽITI POSAO

Mnogi ljudi koji se sele u Nizozemsku već će imati ponudu za posao, ali mnogi neće. Na svu sreću, Nizozemska ima puno mogućnosti zaposlenja za migrante, pogotovo u tehnološkom i financijskom sektoru. Zapravo, u cijeloj zemlji ima puno mogućnosti za zapošljavanje.

JE LI MORAM ZNATI NIZOZEMSKI JEZIK DA BI NAŠAO/LA POSAO? Za rad u Nizozemskoj ne morate govoriti nizozemski – u stvari, engleski je glavni poslovni jezik u mnogim tvrtkama. Iako morate zapamtiti da su vaše šanse za zaposlenje ograničene ako ne govorite nizozemski. Vjerojatno ćete krenuti raditi za neku veliku međunarodnu kompaniju ako ne govorite nizozemskim jezikom. Na primjer, pronalazak posla sa punim radnim vremenom gotovo je nemoguć, jer za mnoge od njih je potreban tečni nizozemski ili tečni jezik na bilo kojem drugom jeziku osim engleskog. Nizozemci obično rade skraćeno radno vrijeme, a najmanje 3 dana u tjednu odmaraju. Mnogi od njih su i sa vlastitim kompanijama tzv. freelanceri. (možete otvoriti svoju tvrtku za samo 50 eura u KVK .

Redovni nizozemski radni tjedan iznosi 38 sati. Većina (voltijd) poslova je između 36-40 sati. Ako radite manje od 36 sati tjedno, ali više od 12, smatra se da radite sa skraćenim radnim vremenom (deeltijd). Visok udio žena u Nizozemskoj, otprilike 74 posto, radi na pola radnog vremena. Za razliku od mnogih drugih zemalja, redoviti prekovremeni rad nije tako čest u Nizozemskoj. (osim u ugostiteljstvu, pa čak ni u ugostiteljstvu kao u nekim drugim zemljama)

U Nizozemskoj se toliko traže visoko kvalificirani radnici tako da postoji brz proces imigracije da bi ih Nizozemska mogla primiti. Drugim riječima, ako ste visoko kvalificirani za nešto čak i kao mesar, lako možete dobiti visoko plaćeni posao. Postoje i porezne olakšice ( 30% porezno rješenje) za neke međunarodne zaposlenike.

Ova grupa uključuje inženjere, one s tehničkim vještinama, IT stručnjake, one koji se bave financijama, kao i ljude s visokim iskustvom u radu na prodaji i marketingu.

KAKO DOĆI DO POSLA U AMSTERDAMU? Ja vam mogu reći kako sam ja to radila. Prvi put kad sam došla u Amsterdam, isprintala sam oko 30 životopisa (životopis bi trebao biti preveden na engleski i uvijek biste trebali priložiti fotografiju na prvoj stranici) i obišla sam grad birajući mjesta u kojima bih voljela raditi. Vidjela sam, a vidjet ćete i vi, mnoga mjesta s natpisom: “Tražimo radnike” i vidjet ćete ih i vi. U Amsterdamu se uvijek nešto može raditi, negdje se zaposliti. Uđite unutra i pristojno zatražite menadžera ili šefa. Nikada ne ostavljajte svoj životopis zaposleniku jer ga može baciti (često se događa). Ako nema upravitelja ili vlasnika mjesta, dođite drugi dan. U Amsterdamu je uvijek sezona, ali recimo mjeseci: studeni, siječanj, veljača su najtiši, a ožujak do rujan najprometniji. (u ugostiteljstvu ili ‘horeca’ na nizozemskom).


Svoj sam prvi posao našla na taj način: “od vrata do vrata”. Sljedeći put kad sam tražila posao, pomalo sam postala lijena hodati. Željela sam raditi u lijepom hotelu pa sam internetski pregledala sve postojeće hotele u Amsterdamu plus bliže područje i svima sam poslala e-poštu s uključenim životopisom i motivacijskim pismom. Dan poslije, već sam primila dva telefonska poziva. Čak i ako još nemate posao, savjetujem vam da se preselite i krenete tražiti posao u svojoj novoj državi, a ne iz svoje rodne zemlje ili zemlje u kojoj niste zadovoljni životom. Glavni razlog? Uspjeh pronalaska posla mnogo je veći.

ONLINE MJESTA GDJE MOŽETE PRONAĆI POSAO:

6. PRIJAVITE SE NA BESPLATNI TEČAJ NIZOZEMSKOG

Čim riješite registraciju (adresu), možete se prijaviti sa svojim dokumentima i svojim ugovorom (stan, kuća, studio) u Gementee za pohađanje besplatne nizozemske škole. Obično se održava u ROC van Amsterdam i pohađat ćete školu koja je najbliža adresi koju ste naveli.

Učenje jezika u ovoj zemlji otvorit će vam mnoga vrata. Uz to, sastojke hrane ćete moći čitati na proizvodima lol. (sve je na nizozemskom ili francuskom). Ovaj tečaj mi je puno pomogao. Biti ćete smješteni u grupi od 20 do 30 ljudi, a nastava će obično biti 2 puta tjedno u trajanju od 3 sata (ujutro ili navečer). Međutim, uvijek je bolje pohađati tečaj nizozemskog s manjom skupinom. Učit ćete više i brže. U ovom se besplatnom tečaju glavni fokus stavlja na grupni rad i škola je vrlo je ležerna. Pazite, jer vam je potrebno 80% dolazaka ako želite besplatni tečaj. Ako ne prisustvujete barem osamdeset posto, morat ćete platiti školarinu. (da, to je prava škola, samo u ovoj morate platiti ako ste odsutni, barem nam je tako rečeno)

KORISNE WEB STRANICE:

Vlada Nizozemske: government.nl

Informacije / savjeti lokalne uprave za migrante: iamsterdam.com

ŽIVOT U AMSTERDAMU

Moje osobno iskustvo? Bila sam vrlo zadovoljna svojim životom u nizozemskom glavnom gradu. Iako sam došla u Nizozemsku kad Hrvati još uvijek nisu mogli legalno raditi, i iako je bilo teško u tim vremenima, stekla sam ogromno životno iskustvo koje nisam mogao dobiti nigdje drugdje. Uspjela sam putovati puno više nego što bih ikada mogla putovati da sam ostala u Hrvatskoj.

Amsterdam je vrlo jedinstven europski grad. Ako dolazite sa područja Balkana ili bilo koje druge zemlje, primijetit ćete veliku razliku u načinu života stanovnika Amsterdama. Za razliku od bilo kojeg drugog grada s više od 180 nacionalnosti, što ga čini savršenim mjestom za pronalaženje poslovnog partnera, prijatelja ili ljubavnika. Ili upoznavanje neke zanimljive osobe koju ste samo mogli zamisliti ili vidjeti na TV ekranima.

ZAPAD VS. ISTOK:

Nizozemska je vrlo moderna zemlja, bogato kraljevstvo u kojem svaka osoba ima svoja snažna osobna prava. Mislim da je to najveća razlika s Istočnom Europom. Iznenadit će vas mnoge stvari kako glatko funkcioniraju, koliko brzo Nizozemci izrađuju i popravljaju stvari itd.

VRIJEME:

Jedno je sigurno: morat ćete se naviknuti na kišno vrijeme i jake vjetrove, kao i na vožnju bicikla u tim uvjetima. Da budem iskrena, plakala sam svakodnevno kad sam prvi put došla u Amsterdam. Kiša nije prestajala cijeli mjesec. Zapravo, shvatila sam da je kiša u Nizozemskoj poput sunca u Španjolskoj – česta i jaka. Najgora vrsta kiše koju možete doživjeti je “kiša u spreju”. Ne vidite je, ali nakon kraćeg vremena sasvim ste mokri. Nakon nekog vremena naviknete se i zapravo počnete voljeti kišu.

KULTURA BICIKLIRANJA Vjerovali ili ne, jedino što mi nedostaje u Amsterdamu je vožnja biciklom. Možda izgleda hektično na prvu, ali najsigurnije je na svijetu. (Samo izbjegavajte turističke grupe, najopasnije su na biciklističkim stazama). Ako se odlučite preseliti u Amsterdam, nakon nekog vremena uklopiti ćete se bolje u biciklističku kulturu. Ali obećavam, i zaljubit ćete se. Bicikl u Amsterdamu nije samo bicikl. To je poput automobila, kampera i kuće. AKO ŽELITE PROČITATI VIŠE O BICIKLISTIČKOJ KULTURI U AMSTERDAMU, MOŽETE TO UČINITI U JEDNOM OD MOJIH PRETHODNIH ČLANAKA: OVDJE (ovi članci nisu prevedni na Hrvatski, ali na dnu bloga imate Google Prevoditelj s kojim možete uključiti prijevod)

Toplo preporučujem preseljenje u Amsterdam barem 6 mjeseci. To je čarobni grad i potpuno vrijedi vašeg vremena!

Ako želite pročitati još jedan moj članak o Amsterdamu (opći podaci), to možete učiniti : OVDJE

i OVDJE (ako želite pročitati 15 stvari koje vjerojatno niste znali u vezi Amsterdama.)

Nadam se da će vam moj članak pomoći u odluci. Ako su vam potrebne dodatne informacije ili imate još nekih pitanja / nedoumica, ne oklijevajte pitati me u komentarima ispod, na bilo kojoj od društvenih mreža ili putem e-maila: kookylovestotravel@gmail.com

Rado ću vam pomoći! 🙂

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MOVING TO NETHERLANDS & LIVING IN AMSTERDAM

Streets of Amsterdam West neighborhood, sunrise time
Streets of Amsterdam West neighborhood, sunrise time

Many people asked me about my life in Amsterdam. That’s why I will share my experience of living in Dutch capital in this article.

I will include all the knowledge and tips about paperwork and all the other aspects that are important to know before moving abroad to The Netherlands.

I was a resident of Amsterdam for 4 years and I will speak openly about pros and cons of living there.
I hope my tips will be useful to you or to your friends for easier deciding on future life.

PLANNING TO MOVE ABROAD?

You are not satisfied with you current location for whatever reason? Totally fine!

You are still not sure where you want to move? That’s also totally fine!

FIRST, ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS!

1.Where do I want to live? (warmer countries/colder contries)

2. Where do I want to work? (your profession, your knowledge vs. your wishes and possibilities + available jobs in desired country)

SECOND, DO YOUR RESEARCH!

If you already have some countries in your mind, research about all the necessary documents for moving there, their health system, prices of living/public transport, tax, job opportunities etc.

It’s essential that you take a closer look at what everyday life is like in the country.

WHY THE NETHERLANDS?

The Netherlands is a popular country for expats especially students.

Dutch society is known for its tolerant vibe and the country has a high standard of living. Amsterdam is a charming canal city that keeps attracting many international workers. Tech and finance industries are growing there rapidly. Other cities are also home to large expat communities such as The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam. The whole country is well connected so you don’t have to worry about transport.

If you’ve decided on moving to the Netherlands (Amsterdam) there are certain things to be aware of before you make that move:

ADVANTAGES OF LIVING IN AMSTERDAM:

  • More than 180 nationalities
  • High paychecks
  • Ability of opening your own company for only €50
  • Full freedom & tolerance
  • Great infrastructure (easy travelling)
  • Entertainment 24/7
  • Plenty of life opportunities

DISADVANTAGES OF LIVING IN AMSTERDAM:

  • Rain, rain, rain and some more rain
  • Grey, cloudy and foggy days
  • Strong winds
  • Lack of sun
  • Hydroponic food (growing on water plus lack of sun – food has different taste)
  • High prices
  • Dutch language

5 IMPORTANT THINGS BEFORE MOVING

1.Have a place/option where you can always return

2.Bring as much money as you can

3.Have some kind of insurance

4.Bring all your personal documents

5.Notify somebody where you will be staying

Let’s move on to checklist of all you need to do as soon as you move to Amsterdam:

1. LEGAL STATUS

The Netherlands is one of 26 countries making up the ‘Schengen’. It’s an EU member state, meaning EU/EFTA residents can enter and remain in the country without requiring a visa. Any EU/EFTA residents staying longer than four months will need to register with the government. Make sure to have always your ID or passport with you.

Non EU/EFTA residents need visas for entry and residence permits. For more information on this, read the complete guide —> Dutch visas & permits.

2. CITIZEN SERVICE NUMBER (BSN)

To work in the Netherlands, you need to have a BSN number. It’s the same as OIB in Croatia or N.I.E in Spain.

HOW TO GET BSN? You need to first register with the Town Hall (Gemeente). As a result of registering with the municipality you will be assigned a burgerservicenummer (BSN).

WHY DO I NEED A BSN? Anyone coming from abroad to work or study still requires a BSN number, even for short stays. BSN is required in order to be permitted to work, open a bank account, make use of a health care institution, voting, starting a business, studying, apply for benefits or an allowance etc.

WHICH DOCUMENTS I NEED TO BRING? EU citizens will need to provide a valid proof of identity (such as a passport or ID, not a driving licence) and their address to be registered, while for non-EU citizens other documents (such as your residence permit and employment contract etc.) have to be presented too. If you’re non-EU citizen, your employer will typically need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV) for you, and you must also have a residence permit.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: If you currently don’t have an address in The Netherlands, you will receive a temporary BSN (RNI) and in the next 4 months, you will have to bring some address registration (if you want to have a permanent BSN.)

BEWARE Not all documents are automatically valid in the Netherlands. The civil registry will only accept official documents in Dutch, English, French or German. An official translation will be required for other languages. Make sure to ask all in advance.

BUT FIRST…MAKE A CALL! You have to call to make an appointment in order to get your BSN. (usually it takes up to 3 weeks)


3. BUY A LOCAL SIM CARD

This step is crucial before looking for a job or anything like that. I noticed that no one was calling me until I bought a Lebara sim card. I guess is very clear. When people see your foreign telephone number, first what they think is that you are not serious enough, you are not a resident yet and above all, they are not sure about how much money they will spend calling you. Local sim cards you can get anywhere and usually they are free (you have to top up the credit). I advise you to choose Lebara as it worked out perfectly for me for the whole 4 years.

4. ACCOMODATION

The most important thing to do when arriving to The Netherlands is to find a place to register. As soon as possible! Until you don’t find a place to register, you can’t really continue with anything else.

WAYS OF FINDING AN ACCOMODATION: The best way to find an accommodation is via friends or people you know.

  • ON INTERNET: In addition, apply for everything that comes up on website called Kamernet. (to rent: Te huur). It costs around €25 a month, but at least you know all the people who are putting adverts there are real, not scams. Actually, in Kamernet there are scams too and you need to be careful, but there’s the smallest chance you will run into one via this website. I advise you to be careful when looking for an accommodation on social medias like Facebook groups because there are plenty of scams. Never, I repeat, never give or send someone money before you see the place and have the keys. Funda
  • ASK anyone you meet about an accommodation or a job you are looking for. Even if they can only give advice or information, it is still incredibly valuable.
  • REAL ESTATE AGENCIES AND REAL ESTATE AGENTS personally, I know bunch of people that found their place to live via real estate agent. You have to pay few hundred of euros for their service, but in general, it’s totally worth it because they are struggling to find accommodation, not you. All you have to do is tell them what are your wishes and financial possibilities. I advise you to look for real estate agents that are having NVM sign which indicates registration in Dutch Cooperative Association of Real Estate Agents and Appraisers. (means they are legit!)

Wondering where to live in Amsterdam? As further from city center you go, less you pay. Amsterdam North is a great area and very well connected. Amsterdam West and Oud West are my favourite parts of the city. Here, I’m still speaking about rooms or studios because flats are expensive in these area. But, you never know. Who looks for something all the time, he/she eventually finds.

Prepare to live in a room in a sharing flat for beginning. Moving with your partner/friend/family is always easier because you can share the costs and at least you know each other well.

ACCOMODATION PRICES: Try finding something for 500 euros or less. That is the cheapest you will most likely be able to find and it will be a room. An entire, small flat, you won’t find under 1000 euros plus deposit, agency fee and probably 6 to 12 months proof of your salaries. Amsterdam has one of the most expensive accommodation in the whole Europe so be prepared. I can tell you from my experience, I was really missing a “home” when I was living in Amsterdam. You know, your own mattress where only you were sleeping, your own toilet seat etc. 🙂 But, as I already mentioned, if you look for something long enough, you will find it or it will find you.

5. START LOOKING FOR A JOB

Many people moving to the Netherlands will already have a job offer, but many won’t. Luckily, the Netherlands has plenty of job opportunities for expats, especially in the tech and finance sectors. Actually, there are loads of job opportunities in the whole country.

DO I HAVE TO SPEAK DUTCH IN ORDER TO FIND A JOB? You don’t have to speak Dutch to work in the Netherlands – in fact, English is the main business language in many companies. Although, remember that your employment chances will be limited if you don’t speak Dutch. You will probably end up working for a large international company if you don’t speak it. For example, finding a full time job is almost impossible because many of them require either fluent Dutch or fluency in any language other than English. 

Dutch people are usually working part time, leaving at least 3 days a week to rest. Many of them are freelancers too. (you are able to open your own company for only 50 euros in KVK). A regular Dutch working week is 38 hours. The majority of fulltime (voltijd) jobs are between 36-40 hours. If you work less than 36 hours a week, but more than 12, then you are considered as working part time (deeltijd). A high proportion of women in the Netherlands, approximately 74 percent, work part time. Unlike many other countries, regularly working long hours overtime is not so common in the Netherlands.

Highly-skilled workers are wanted in Netherlands so much so that there’s a fast-track immigration process to get them in. If you are highly skilled in something even as a butcher, you can easily get a high paid job. There are also tax benefits (the 30% tax ruling) for some international employees.

This group includes engineers, those with technical skills, IT specialists, those working in finance, as well as people with a great experience of working in sales and marketing.

HOW TO GET A JOB IN AMSTERDAM? I can tell you how I did it. First time when I came to Amsterdam, I printed around 30 CV’s (CV should be translated to English and you should always attach a photo on the first page) and I went around the city choosing the places I would love to work in. I was seeing many places with a sign: “Employees needed” and you will see them too. There’s always something to do in Amsterdam. Come inside and politely ask for a manager or a boss. Never leave your CV to an employee because he/she might throw it away (happens often). If there’s no manager or an owner of the place, come another day. It’s always a season in Amsterdam but let’s say months: November, January, February are the quiets and March to September are the busiest. (in hospitality or ‘horeca’ in Dutch).

I found my first job on that way: ‘from door to door’.
Next time when I was looking for a job, I got a bit lazy to walk around. I wanted to work in a nice hotel so I googled all the existing hotels in Amsterdam plus the closer area, and I’ve send to all of them an email with my CV and motivation letter included. Day after, I already received two phone calls. Even if you don’t have a job yet, I advise you to move and look for the job in your new country, not from your birth country or country where you are not satisfied living in. Main reason? Success of finding a job is much higher.

ONLINE SITES WHERE YOU CAN LOOK FOR A JOB:

6. APPLY FOR A FREE DUTCH COURSE

As soon as you solve your registration (address), you can apply with your documents and your contract (flat, house, studio) to Gementee for a free Dutch school. It is usually held in ROC van Amsterdam and you will be attending the school that is the closest to address you provided.

Learning a language in this country will open many doors for you. Plus, you will be able to read the ingredients on products lol. (everything is on Dutch or French). This course helped me a lot. You will be set in a group of 20 to 30 people and your classes will usually be 2 times a week lasting 3h (morning or evening). However, it’s always better to take a paid Dutch course with a smaller group. You will learn more and faster. In this free course, the main focus is on group work and it’s very laid back. Beware that you need to have 80% of attendance if you want to have a free course. If you are not attending, you will have to pay. (yes, it’s a real school, only in this one you have to pay if you are absent).

USEFUL SITES:

Government of the Netherlands: government.nl

Local government informations/tips for expats: iamsterdam.com

LIVING IN AMSTERDAM

My personal experience? I was very satisfied with my life in Dutch capital. Although I came to the Netherlands when Croatian people still didn’t have a right to work legally and although it was very hard in those times, I gained an enormous life experience I couldn’t gain nowhere else. I was able to travel much more than I could ever travel If I have stayed in Croatia.

Amsterdam is very unique European city. If you are coming from Balkan area, or any other further country, you will notice a great difference in the way of living as a resident of Amsterdam. It’s unlike any other city with more than 180 nationalities which makes it a perfect place for finding a business partner, a friend or a lover. Or meeting such an interesting person that you only could imagine or see on TV screens.

WEST VS. EAST: The Netherlands is a very modern country, rich kingdom where every person has its strong rights. I think that makes the biggest difference with Eastern Europe. You will be amazed by many things how smooth they function, how fast Dutch people are making and repairing things etc.

THE WEATHER: One thing is for sure: you will have to get used to rainy weather and strong winds as well cycling in these conditions. To be frank, I cried everyday when I first came to Amsterdam. Rain didn’t stop for the whole month. Actually, I realized rain in the Netherlands is like sun in Spain – often and strong. The worse kind of rain you can experience is a “spray rain”. You don’t even see it, but after a short time, you are completely wet. After a while, you get used to it and you actually start loving the rain.


CYCLING CULTURE Believe it or not, the only thing I miss about Amsterdam is cycling. It may look hectic, but it’s the safest in the world.(just avoid tourist groups, they are the most dangerous on the cycling paths). If you decide to move to Amsterdam, you will dig deeper into a cycling culture after a while. But I promise, you will fall in love with it. Bike in Amsterdam is not just a bike. It’s like a car, camper and a house. IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT CYCLING CULTURE IN AMSTERDAM YOU CAN DO IT IN ONE OF MY PREVIOUS POSTS HERE

I highly recommend moving to Amsterdam at least for 6 months. It’s a magical city and totally worth your time.

If you want to read another post of mine about Amsterdam (general info) you can do it here
You can click here if you want to read 15 things you probably didn’t know about Amsterdam.

I hope my article will help you with your decision. If you need more informations or you’re having some more questions/doubts, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments below, on any of the social media or via email: kookylovestotravel@gmail.com

I will be more than happy to help! 🙂

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WHERE TO EAT AND HAVE FUN IN AMSTERDAM

I got to be honest. The food is not a highlight in Amsterdam nor in the whole Netherlands. I don’t like comparing much because each destination is unique, but seriously, there’s not much to say about Dutch kitchen.
To be frank, I cannot compare it to some other national kitchen even if I want to.

Well, I could say it’s land of snacks. And sweets. (Probably because tourists are smoking much cannabis – it’s a joke 🙂 but not far from the truth!)

At the same time, you can always enjoy in diverse food aromas around the streets of Amsterdam. The city is a home to loads of international restaurants.

Also, you can have plenty of fun in the Dutch capital.
You may not have full stomach with €10, but for sure you will have enough fun with the same amount!
In this article I will mention some typical Dutch dishes and more importantly, the best places where you can eat properly & have a good time after it or perhaps 2 in 1.
Beware that even though I was living 4 years in Amsterdam, I don’t have many excellent photos of food. That’s because I’m a huge foodie and I like to eat food, not take photos of it.
So, I promise I will be a bit more patient in the future with my appetite, so I can decently present you how good my chosen dishes are. 🙂

I’ll try to steer you in the right direction and I hope my picks will help you to have the best time and a full stomach when in Amsterdam! 

 

TRADITIONAL FOOD

Although The Netherlands is not known for its cuisine, you should try at least some of the traditional snacks and dishes in the list below.

1. CHEESE

Hemp cheese on a shelf of a shop in Amsterdam The Netherlands
Hemp cheese in Walskaas shop, a real family business in Amsterdam

The Netherlands has a strong cheese culture, with recipes dating back generations. Most Dutch cheeses are hard or semi-hard and classified by age. ‘Jong’ or young is the creamiest and softest flavor. ‘Belegen’ is slightly harder and nuttier tasting, but still quite smooth. ‘Oud’ or old is the hardest from all.
There are many souvenir packages with traditional Dutch “cheese shaver” to perfectly cut any cheese into slices.
I got seriously hooked up on cheese called ‘Old Amsterdam’ (award winning matured Gouda taste).

WHERE TO FIND DUTCH CHEESE?

When it comes to Old Amsterdam, I would definitely suggest Old Amsterdam Cheese Store in the city center that even offers tastings.

Cheese shops are perfect places to get a true sense of the variety of Dutch cheese and they are basically everywhere around the city. Above, I’ve mentioned two. Street markets are full of traditional food culture, and cheese is definitely no exception to this: go early, when the market isn’t so busy. (Noordermarkt is a must!). To dig deeper into a cheese culture, visit Amsterdam Cheese Museum.

2. STROOPWAFEL

Stroopwafel eating on a rooftop in the Amsterdam city
Eating a waffle on the rooftop of the Volkshotel

It is undoubtedly the most famous pastry from The Netherlands. It’s a unique kind of cookie/waffle filled with special sweet and sticky syrup (the ‘stroop’) in between. You can buy them in every supermarket. However, for the best ‘stroopwafels’ in Amsterdam, you should go to ‘Landskroon’ bakery or to the Albert Cuyp Market. Many places in Amsterdam are offering a free cookie together with a coffee and almost every better bar/restaurant offers one ‘stroopwafel’ instead of a regular cookie.

Stroopwafel with the coffee in Canvas, Volkshotel

3. BITTERBALLEN

Biterballen eating in as a Dutch speciality
Photo by @trena, the sausage (Dutch ‘worst’) is an intruder lol

They are simply little deep-fried mini croquettes that are usually served with mustard and made from beef ragout. Beer is a perfect drink that pairs with bitterballen.

 

OTHER TRADITIONAL DISHES INCLUDE:

– KROKETS– deep-fried roll with meat ragout inside, covered in breadcrumbs. The meat is usually veal or beef.

– OLIEBOLLEN– again deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar being the traditional year-end treats, while in Croatia people eat these when they have nothing else to eat at home lol. They come plain or filled with raisins and the best is to eat them from roadside stands, fresh and warm.


– SNERT (PEA SOUP)- it’s usually chock full of smoked sausage and served alongside a slice of rye bread. There are many veggie versions around the city too. Amsterdam is very vegetarian and vegan friendly city.

-STAMPPOT- a dish with a base of potatoes, into which you mash any vegetable you want: carrots and onion (hutspot), kale…

-DROP-  Dutch version of licorice with impressively wide variety of flavor and texture combinations. Dutch drops are often laced with a rather puzzling ingredient called salmiak with almost umami flavour. 

-HARRING- maybe the most famous Dutch food, raw fish-herring that is served together with chopped raw onions and gherkins. The way of eating is a real Dutch tradition too. In the Netherlands, new herring is eaten by lifting up the herring by its tail into the air and then taking a bite upwards. If you have a sensitive stomach like I do, rather try harring sandwich called ‘broodje haring’.

-PATAT- Dutch version of french fries that are much thicker than the normal French Fries and are actually invented in Belgium. 
BEST PLACE TO EAT THEM: Vlaams Friteshuis Vlemminckx

-POFFERTJES- I would describe them as much fluffier and thicker baby pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour, typically served with a powdered sugar. Fresh ‘poffertjes’ are often made at an roadside stand during winter same as oliebollen.

-JENEVER- Not a food, but a spirit precursor to gin. The spirit is distilled from juniper berries and has a malty flavour similar to whisky. It was traditionally used for medicinal purposes and it became country’s signature drinks. And guess what? It is served in a tulip-shaped glass.

-APPLE PIE-  The Dutch version is infused with cinnamon, dotted with raisins and served with a whipped cream. Winkel 43 serves t he best homemade one!

 

PLACES TO EAT IN AMSTERDAM

1. BIERFABRIEK

This is a very unique place where you can feel like at your own home. It’s a brewery, cafe and restaurant in one. Bierfabriek literally means ‘beer fabric’ and it brews their own beer and serve rustic, tapas like dishes. 

You can draft your beer by yourself at self service tap tables, eat your chicken with your hands and throw the peanut shells on the floor. The place is full of peanuts and they are displayed in bags and on each table so you can feel free to take as many as you want. While entering and walking towards the toilet, you will hear cracking sounds of stepping onto peanut shells.

PRICES: The prices are kind of cheaper comparing to other places in Amsterdam that are serving their own beer.

WHAT TO TRY: I advise you to try ‘Rosso’ beer as it has a very distinctive taste.

Eating tapas and tortillas in Bierfabriek
Peanut shells on our table plus cheese croquettes and tortilla sandwiches
Eating tapas and tortillas in Bierfabriek in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is very vegetarian and vegan friendly city and if you don’t eat animal products, you can always ask for something else instead.

2. NOOCH

Nooch is an Asian cuisine restaurant that delicately fuses modern Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Thai kitchens.

Dadar gulung eating in Nooch Asian restaurant in Amsterdam
Kue or dadar gulung (Indonesian traditional and coconut pancake)

Nooch is a small and charming, Asian cuisine restaurant near the city center. Modern Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Thai dishes are served in this place. I fell in love with Asian cuisine due to this place and I can’t wait to travel across the Asian continent!

PS: They working times are limited so check the website before visiting. Reserving the table is a must because the restaurant is not very big.

PRICES: More or less is expensive. As closer you are to the city center, thr more you pay.

WHAT TO TRY: Dim Sum Platter, Dadar Gulung, Lapis Legit

 

3. THE SEA FOOD BAR

It’s not so easy to find a restaurant with a fresh fish in Amsterdam. However, Sea Food Bar is a perfect place to taste some. An award winning, modern seafood restaurant where most of the fish comes from the North sea – coldest in the world.  It is founded by the De Visscher family who are fishmongers since 1984.

PRICES: Quite expensive, but totally worth it. They have excellent wines too!

WHAT TO TRY: Catch of the day or King Prawns were my usual choice. On the other hand, once I ordered oysters, and I ended up with 8 loong hours of stomach spams. I never went there after that. Probably oysters weren’t so fresh that day. Despite that, I still recommend this restaurant because I had plenty more great dinners there and always a decent service. But, never eat oysters if they are not catched in front of your own eyes! 🙂

Oysters eating in the Sea Food Bar in Amsterdam
Oysters eating in The Sea Food Bar

4. ZA

ZA is a Mediterranean and modern designed restaurant near Central Station in Amsterdam. This place has a great choice of quality wines, sometimes live music, tapas and delicious, perfectly served food. They even serve Croatian/Istrian wine – Roxanich Milva.

This place has a concept of “shared dining” and “tapas” style cuisine with Italian influence.

PRICES: Quite expensive, but prices are following the quality. My boyfriend ate in ZA the best piece of meat ever in the whole Netherlands. Menu is changing from time to time.

WHAT TO TRY: Home made Foccacia

Nicely cooked meat in ZA restaurant in Amsterdam
The best place to eat meat – ZA
We were too hungry to make nice photos lol

5. NOVOTEL AMSTERDAM CITY

Novotel Amsterdam City is actually a 4-star hotel in the Amsterdam’s business district ‘de Zuidas’. You can reach the hotel via A10 highway and within walking distance from RAI station.

I recommend this place as I was working there and I saw how much effort chefs are putting into dishes. If you are in Amsterdam due to business and staying near RAI, it’s a nice place to relax. Avoid Mondays tho, as they are super busy.

PRICES: Expensive (4-star hotel prices)

WHAT TO TRY: Their local beer made with honey from the roof of the hotel (if they still have it). They have a great burgers too but try to order something traditional! Their menu is sometimes changing.

 

The restaurant has Dutch chefs and they always try to properly decorate food for a 4-star hotel
Fish cake as a starter

6. SUMO SUSHI EXPRESS AND MOJO JAPANESE RESTAURANT

Any sushi lovers here? Well, I am!
These are my top 2 sushi places in Amsterdam.
MOJO JAPANESE RESTAURANT – for eating in
SUMO SUSHI EXPRESS – for take away or order online

PRICES: Restaurant is a bit pricey, Sumo is less expensive

WHAT TO TRY: All? 🙂

 

Sushi is my huge addiction 🙂
Anyone for sushi!?

8. WATERKANT

Waterkant is a trendy and cosy bar/restaurant place with a terrace (self service if you sit outside). In this place you have many healthy food and beverage choices; vegan, vegetarian, meat, large number of beers…
If you want to be around local people, this is a perfect place for you as Dutch people love Waterkant and its vibe next to the canal.

The place has a home delivery too and great events every or every second weekend. It’s very magical in the night time!

PRICES: Expensive

WHAT TO TRY: Home made ginger beer, banana burger

Waterkant at night
Waterkant literally means ‘waterside’

9. BEACH CLUB 5

Beach Club 5 is open 365 days a year. It’s actually not in Amsterdam but the closest beach to the city – Zandvoort. They have a terrace with spectacular view and great steaks.

PRICES: Expensive

WHAT TO TRY: Steaks, mushrooms and bread

 

My dish at Beachclub 5

Beachclub 5

10. FLOOR 17

85 meters up in the sky, on the roof of Leonardo Hotel Amsterdam Rembrandtpark, you will find the spectacular Floor17 Rooftop Terrace. Fancy an amazing view over Amsterdam? Don’t miss this place even if it’s grey and cloudy!

Beautiful view from the restaurant and lounge of Floor 17, Leonardo Hotel Amsterdam

BONUS TIP:

Perhaps you are from Ex Yugoslavia and you can’t survive without Balkan products such as cevapcici, Yugoslavian beers, Prijatelji shop are definitely for you! The shop is located near the Anne Frank House and the owner is my Serbian friend so you can even have a nice chat with a proper person to find out more about the shop and all the goods inside.

 

I was serving cevapcici to Dutch people in the time of neighborhood festival
Prijatelji.nl main product: Ajvar !

BONUS TIP 2

Amsterdam can be a tricky place to find food and drinks in the late hours. Especially bread, cosmetics and other necessary stuff. Sterk shop is a late night shop again near Anne Frank House that has everything you need with extensive and exclusive range of champagnes, wines and beers from all over the world. I would definitely say that is a must visit shop. (They have a beer with 32% of alcohol!)

 

 

Croatian products in Sterk shop: Agroposta

Gonzo beer in Sterk shop

BONUS TIP 3

If you need some vitamins, the best place to get them are definitely markets!
I advise you to visit Nieuwmarkt market square where each day except sunday, you can find fresh veggies, fruits, squeezed juices etc.

If you eat exclusively healthy, Eko Plaza shop is a perfect place for you and you can find it in almost each neighborhood. However, Eko Plaza is a bit pricey but each day after 6pm you can find many discounts!

Fresh veggies in Eko Plaza

PLACES TO HAVE FUN IN AMSTERDAM

1.BOURBON STREET MUSIC CLUB

Bourbon Street music club – tiny and charming club with live music (entrance of minimum €5)

Live blues music with Afro-Croatian brothers

2. TON TON

TonTon Club is a super fun gaming place right next to Red Light District. Here you can find many video, arcade and multiplayer games with a large range of beers.

Two player table game in TonTon

3. GASHOUDER

Gashouder is the perfect location for extraordinary fairs, big presentations, parties and live shows. The ceiling is out of this world and inside you feel like you are thrown in Universe. With a surface area of 2500 m2 and a height of 14,5 meters it’s one of the most monumental locations of Amsterdam. Both Westergasfabriek and Gashouder were a former gasworks in Amsterdam.

Events that took place there include: Edisons (Dutch pop awards), KingPins (denim fair), Awakenings (dance event), The Next Web (tech fair), Unseen (contemporary photography fair) and the Holland Festival (for international performing arts).

My first time in Gashouder with an apple juice 🙂
photo by: @mario_keglevic

4. LAB 111

First time when my friend invited me here, I though something bad is happening because she had invited me to a hospital, laboratory. But Lab 111 is something totally opposite: a cosy bar and a cinema. But, it would be great to have a room where you can immediately detoxify after a heavy night out. 🙂

Great food and drinks are in the bar with a name: Strange Love Bar.

Entrance of Lab111

As has been noted, Amterdam is a really fun and internationally diverse place where you can find all you ever desired from food to entertainment.

I hope my article was helpful and if you want to read more about Amsterdam, check out some of my previous Amsterdam’s articles! 🙂

 

 

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CANAL CRUISE AMSTERDAM: WHY IS PEDAL BOAT THE BEST WAY TO EXPLORE CITY CANALS!?

Dutch people are truly geniuses when it comes to building and making.

Amsterdam is a proper example of a a city built on water in every sense of the word. There are 165 canals in the city and 10 of them from 17th century are placed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. On each canal there are interesting and historic sights, most of them you can only see and experience fully from the boat’s point of view. (For example Reguliersgracht-7 bridges)

The city is just something else; much more special from canal point of view. That’s why taking a canal cruise is really a must when in Amsterdam.

However, keep in mind that Amsterdam Canal Cruise is the most popular tourist attraction in the country with over 200 tour boats and 3 million passengers a year. You can find all kinds and varieties of canal cruises of almost every form of entertainment that this city offers. But, you will find much crowd too.

Regardless to a huge choice of canal tours, I would always choose a pedal boat.

WHY?

In this post, I will explain you all the good sides of pedal boats and all the bad sides in comparison to Amsterdam Canal Cruise. In the end, I hope you will have a clear imagine of what’s best for you.

Sooo, let’s get cruisin’! 🙂

Canal view under one of many bridges in Amsterdam
Canal view under one of many bridges in Amsterdam

1. THE MOST AFFORDABLE WAY

Amsterdam is the no. 1 cycling city in the world and you can even cycle through the canals. Since 1984 you can explore canals with mentioned pedal boats also known as pedalos, water bikes or even canal bikes. There are 100 of pedal boats around the city.

The cost of renting a pedalo for 1 hour is only €10 or €9 if you book it online. If you want to have it longer, you have to pay a bit more. Beware that upon arrival, a €20 deposit is required. You can even return your pedal boat to another location but in that case, but €10 will be deducted from your deposit or even €20 depending on the company.

When you compare the price to any other way of exploring canals, pedalo is the leading for being the cheapest.

Stromma pedal boat cruise around Amsterdam canals
Stromma boat renting company (photo by @dzo.da)


TRAVEL TIP: Last departure is at 16:00 hrs but depending on the weather operating times may vary so make sure to be there as early as possible. (opening at 09:00). Please check the official website for possible changes of working hours etc.

Canal cruising nexto to house boats in Amsterdam
There are around 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam
(photo by @dzo.da)

2. YOUR OWN PEACE

There’s nothing better than freedom, right? You can go exploring canals by pedalo with your friend, partner or even group of friends and family. Most pedalos are equipped to catty up to four passengers. That means, no unwanted passengers, noise or anything like that. Plus, you can choose your own tour and paths where you want to go.

Canal cruise in peace

TRAVEL TIP: As part of the rental you’ll be given advice on how to manoeuvre safely among canal traffic, a free guidebook including a map of the best routes through the city and the major attractions. I’ve read on the official website that stuff is giving you a rain hood if the weather turn unpleasant while you’re out on the water. We didn’t get it (it was a clear, summer sky), so make sure you ask for it if necessary because you’ve read it on their site.

You don't need a map, you have it on your pedal boat
You don’t need a city map, you have it on your pedal boat

3. IT’S HEALTHY FOR YOU

Okay, I know that many of you forget about healthy diets and way of living when you’re on vacation. But why not merging good with the useful?
Pedal boat is like free gym but also you don’t have to go fast. Pay a bit more, and cycle slower while enjoying the views.



TRAVEL TIP: It is true that pedal boat will be harder for people who are not in such a good shape, but if you go in group of three or four persons, you can always switch while others are resting.

I am resting here, while guys are cycling. :)
I am resting here, while guys are cycling. 🙂

4. YOU CAN TAKE NICE PHOTOS

Don’t get me wrong. You can take nice photos from any city, canal cruise but you will probably be bothered by the windows. I took once canal cruise with that long, red city boat for €14 accompanied with plenty of people. I got a seat next to a window but it was a window. A dirty window. The boat did had open roof but I couldn’t do much with it.
However, later I’ve seen other canal cruise options like semi-open boat cruise, dinner cruise, hop on-hop off bus + boat tour that are having less windows or none like private boat tour or electric, open boat tour, but they are all more expensive than pedal boat.

The views from boat in Amsterdam canals are amazing
The views from boat in Amsterdam canals are amazing

TRAVEL TIP: Get Amsterdam Pass if you want to see more attractions around the city because it will save you plenty of money!

Clog boat spotted in the canals of Amsterdam
It’s all about the clogs: clog boat


5. SUSTAINABLE AMSTERDAM CANAL TOUR

Personally, I think it’s very important to preserve the splendor of each city whether you are local or just visiting. That’s why almost all boats that are offering canal cruises are equipped with electric engines or are solar powered.

However, pedal boat doesn’t have an electric engine but it does have your legs that are ready to do some action! 🙂
Zero-emission!

The view from the boat on tram crossing over the bridge

The view from the boat on tram crossing over the bridge

TRAVEL TIP: Don’t get discouraged, you can do it! 🙂

BAD SIDES OF PEDAL BOAT

  1. NO COVER: In case of rain, you are most likely to get wet if you don’t have a rain hood, rain suit or at least an umbrella
  2. NO AUDIO GUIDE: While other city canal cruises are offering audio guides and headphones with up to 19 languages, in pedal boat you are your own guide. Unless you know a local person that will come with you or you can always rely on Google.
  3. FREE DRINKS: Some city canal cruises are offering free drinks, but usually those are much more expensive. On the other hand, if you choose pedal boat and departure between 9-12 am at Stromma Leidseplein (Leidsebosje 2) it does include a free coffee or tea! Other Stromma pedal bike locations:  Stromma Shop Rijksmuseum, Stadhouderskade 520 & Stromma Shop Westerkerk, Prinsengracht 279.

Mokum is another name for Amsterdam (Mokumboot-Amsterdam boat)
Mokum is another name for Amsterdam (Mokumboot-Amsterdam boat)

Another impressive view from boat while cruising via canals
Another impressive view from boat while cruising via canals

In summer time, canals can get bit busy so make sure to start your cruise early
In summer time, canals can get bit busy so make sure to start your cruise early
Kayak people and bird on canals of Amsterdam
Or…maybe a kayak in Amsterdam? 🙂



To conclude, I was cruising Amsterdam canals with city-cruise boats, private boats and pedal boats. I wrote this article based on my impressions and a bit of exploring. To be frank again, pedalo is definitely the best choice to cruise around Amsterdam canals.
I hope this article was helpful for you to decide what to choose when visiting Dutch capital.


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