Around Utrecht

Our third and final day trip from Amsterdam was to the city of Utrecht. Neither of us had any preconceptions about Utrecht and it ended up being a wonderful surprise only 20 minutes away. Utrecht is home to over a million people, but the beautiful historic center feels more like a small town than a city.

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Amsterdam Noord

Following a friendly tip for places to visit in Amsterdam away from the tourist core we found ourselves in Amsterdam Noord, heading to a small pizza place called the Kebec Micro Bakery in a former warehouse canteen near the NDSM Wharf.

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Delft Oude & Nieuwe Kerks

Delft is home to two major churches commonly referred to as the Oude Kerk (Old Church ) and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). From our perspective they are both quite old, however, with the old church built between 1246 and 1350 and the new church built between 1396 and 1496.

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We visited the city of Haarlem, a former port town with a pleasant medieval character, beautiful canals, and a fully-restored traditional windmill located less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam.

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We’ve explored the Jordaan neighbourhood of Amsterdam on a few different occasions. There we’ve found classic canal views, small crooked buildings, and cozy restaurants and shops.

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Lunch in Overhoeks

Ferry to Buiksloterweg

We took a free ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to the new Overhoeks district on the Noord side. With multiple ferries in constant motion, we didn’t have wait more than 5 minutes to travel in each direction.

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Arrival in Amsterdam

We’ve arrived in Amsterdam, where we’ll be staying for about a week as we explore the city and some surrounding towns.

Zuider Amstelkanaal

Our hotel is in the Amsterdam Zuid (South) area, a little ways out of the city core, and it feels much more sane than the overcrowded areas near Dam Square. The immediate surroundings are a mix of upscale residential and modern office parks.

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Layover in Madrid

At the tail end of our trip to Valencia and Malta we enjoyed a brief layover in Madrid. Although we were tired from our flight and sad to be on our way home, we took full advantage of our two days to see some great art and get a small taste of the huge city.

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We took a bus to the town of Mdina, located about 30 minutes from Valletta in the Northern Region of Malta. A picturesque fortified city on a hill, Mdina served as Malta’s capital until 1530. When government business moved elsewhere Mdina earned the nickname of “Silent City,” a description that remains accurate today.

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Around Valletta

Valletta from the Sliema ferry

We’re staying in the heart of Valletta and it’s easy to walk to any point in the old city without too much exertion. Valletta holds the distinction of being both the smallest European capital (at 0.8 km2) and the southernmost European capital. The entire city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 and historic treasures are crammed together more densely than anywhere we’ve visited.

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