Friday, August 29, 2014

Packing for Paris, again!

Yes, there are lots more Four by Four Wardrobes on the way, but I like to mix things up a bit!

I don't leave for Paris and Amsterdam for 20 days, but I'm already starting to think this one through.  This is a particularly interesting packing adventure, because I'm currently living in hot summer weather (well, hot, cool, stormy, and just plain strange...), but I know that it's going to be more comfortable in Europe.  Unless it's not.  Sigh...

As usual, I'm planning to dress in layers, so worst case cold weather means more layers, and worst case warm weather means just a shirt rather than a shirt and sweater.  If it gets too extreme, I go shopping, or I stay in the hotel.  One can't pack for every eventuality, unless your entire wardrobe goes along.  Not an option!

So I'm flying to Paris with a couple of photographer friends. and Belovedest is joining me a few days later. I've debated the merits of wearing a white tee shirt, or even a striped tee shirt, on the plane, but I know perfectly well that if I spill something I'm going to kick myself, so solid black with accessories is how we're going to roll. Slouch pants are comfortable, and have a certain insouciant charm that I really like; they flatter my very muscular legs too, which is nice!  And please note - these pants aren't NEARLY as short on me as they show on the website; on me, they have a clear "break" in the front of the pants when I'm standing.  I have no idea why they are shown as ankle pants - they just look stubby that way!

I'm one of those people who always are wearing matching jewelry, because much of my jewelry is pearls, and they all go together!  I know that it's pretty "matchy matchy" for a lot of people, but I'm really comfortable with it, and that's the most important thing to me.
brooch - Tiffany (no longer available), earrings - Majorica, necklace - Max and Chloe, tee shirt - Lands' End, bag - L.L.Bean, slouch pants - Eileen Fisher, scarf - Julie Egli, cardigan - Eileen Fisher, loafers - Stuart Weitzman
You might notice that I've got quite a bit of J Jill clothing.  It's sort of become the go-to gift card to give me in my family, and I have a lot of luck finding basic clothes in petite sizes there.  No, I get no commission whatsoever from them, more's the pity!
marled sweater - J Jill (no longer available), black shirt - J Jill, striped tee - Muji (no longer available), black sweater - J Jill, blue scarf - Nordstrom, grey shirt - J Jill (no longer available), white tee - Lands' End, square scarf - Hermes, pearl bracelet - Majorica, sequined sweater - J Jill, pearl earrings - Majorica, pearl necklace - Majorica, white shirt - J Jill, waxed jeans - Eileen Fisher, hoop earrings - Katherine Seaman, black and pearl necklace - Majorica, pink scarf - Christian Dior (no longer available), paisley pants - J Jill, black knit dress - Eileen Fisher (no longer available), woven flats - Cole Haan/Nike (no longer available), silver bracelet - Spring Street, athletic shoes - Cole Haan/Nike
Our first few hours will of course be spent wearing the same clothes in which we flew - you can't just walk into your hotel room the second you arrive!  But when we do finally get in, I will change tee shirts, grab a different scarf, and then SPRINT to catch up the the photographers as they take off down the street.

Second day I have to be prepared, again, to keep up with these two.  We might well be climbing on things, or hanging upside down trying to get the perfect photograph - one never knows!  I imagine that we're going to be eating somewhere savory but relatively relaxed - otherwise, I'll change into my dress.

We've negotiated that I'm going to have some time alone during the day on Saturday; I might not do anything more strenuous than park myself at a cafe and take notes about Chic Sightings!  Although I may very well buy a pair of shoes - I'm not packing a mountain of footwear, and I might want another pair of loafers before it's all said and done.  These tasseled loafers are YEARS old, and might need to be retired and replaced...

Then Sunday, Belovedest arrives!  The photographers head off for their tour, and B and I are going to Amsterdam!  Of all of the places I've been in Europe, Amsterdam is a new one for me - I'm very excited.

Much sightseeing and museum-going...  Simple clothes, but THIS black sweater has sequins woven into it.  Sort of a fun little touch...  And the paisley pants will be quite enough activity in this outfit - a brooch to hold my cardigan shut, and some earrings.

I'm looking for restaurant recommendations in Amsterdam - any suggestions?  What was the very BEST meal you've had there?

After a couple of days of hard-core walking about, I imagine that we'll have a more relaxed day now.  This would be an ideal time for that "best meal" restaurant...

And then the train back to Paris - my original travel outfit, with a change of tee shirts!

 B has a lengthy shopping list... and then we're going out to dinner!  When we're shopping I actually spend quite a bit of time sitting in stores, so I can probably get by the entire day in my dress and flats - they're built for comfort in addition to being very pretty.

 And the last day?  I don't know what we'll do.  Walk, and walk, and walk, and walk, I'm sure!

I'm eager to hear any suggestions you have about Amsterdam - everything that I've read and seen about it seems wonderful!


                        
                        NORDSTROM.com

42 comments:

  1. In Amsterdam, be careful when crossing the street. There are bikes, trams and cars coming from all directions, stopping for nothing, and in the middle of everything there are canals with no fences to stop you from falling in. Other than that, it's a very nice city.

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    1. Beware the cyclists! They take no prisoners!

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  2. Don't miss brown cafes (Google Amsterdam brown cafes for a list of recommendations). Anne Frank museum, river trip on a canal boat (include dinner if you want to treat yourselves), Nieuw Kirk. Have never had a particularly good meal there but nothing poor either (average food, I would say).Don't order ribs unless you have a preference for eating horse meat (rather sweet and LARGE!). Have a wonderful time :)

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  3. My husband and I have been living in The Hague for five years now, but for a variety of reasons didn't get to visit Amsterdam as much as we would have liked. Are now in the middle of a move back to the U.S., but we'll be spending about one week/month in Amsterdam, since he still has to visit the European office in the Netherlands. I'm looking forward to finally getting some quality time in that very lovely city.

    But have to comment on your travel wardrobe: my packing lists are refined after every trip (can't pack the same things for Florida as for Paris!), but I'm pleasantly surprised how very similar our outfits are. I don't do dresses, but other than that, pretty much spot on. And I agree about the all black on the plane: the couple of times I tried a lighter color, I invariably spill something. Sometimes a pretty colored shawl/scarf, but that's about it, color-wise. I'll add colored tops or scarves for the rest of the trip, though; all black all the time can get very old...

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  4. This will be so much fun, Amsterdam is a beautiful city, and the Dutch people are very charming. Love your clothing choices. I learned the hard way the wear nothing but dark on the plane after I had a carafe of coffee spilled on me during a sudden turbulence. I was dry by the time we landed in AMS but my confidence level would have been way down, if those pants and silk tee had been in tan. ;)

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  5. Forgot to say - if you're going to the Rijksmuseum, be sure to see Rembrant's Night Watch (badly damaged several years ago but brilliantly restored).

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  6. Oh, I adore Amsterdam! The Reiksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, and Rembrandthuis are not to be missed. Best meal: Pier 10. Make a dinner reservation and ask for a table with a view of the harbor. The flower market and the art market are loads of fun. A concert at the concertgebouw is lovely.

    Be hyper-aware as you walk through the streets, particularly downtown. There are car lanes, bike lanes, and trams all sharing a very narrow space. Tourists do get killed by the trams.

    Overall, I have found the Dutch to be very welcoming and friendly. You'll have a GREAT time!

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  7. to amsterdam take a rainproof jacket. here we see the rain from two weeks every day. Mornings and evenings are already quite cold

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    1. I was going to say that too! Unless warm weather comes back, we are definitely into Autumn wear.

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  8. Great suitcase plan, Janice! The most memorable restaurants in Amsterdam are, I think, Indonesian. Blauw, for example, in the museum district (where I know you'll want to be spending a lot of time!).

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  9. You will love Amsterdam! We had a couple days there on our way to Germany and it is charming. The museums are great, it's very interesting to see the Ann Frank Museum, and we had fun at the Heineken beer experience, too. The canal tour was good - we always enjoy some kind of city tour to get some historical background on things. Everyone told us to rent bikes - bikes are everywhere!- but we just walked. And yes, the bikes do have the right of way, they will remind you if you are in their lane by ringing their little bells! Enjoy Amsterdam and Paris!!! Loved the shapes of your wardrobe plan - I am remaking it in my mind in warm colors :)

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  10. I have the Eileen Fisher slouchy pants and love them. But, they ARE ankle pants on me. I'm 5'8" tall--and Eileen does not make "tall" pants. Even so, I don't think they look stubby. My legs are so long that I don't think stubby would apply! I'll take a look at the EF cardigan. Thank you for including the slouchy pants in these combinations.

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  11. The one thing I've noticed is that you have neither a rain coat/jacket or umbrella listed - Paris has had a terrible summer, a total washout this year! Of course it would be easy to find one while you're over...
    Amsterdam is a beautiful city, but there's a lot of walking and stairs so flats are the best. OK, on with the tips.
    My first Amsterdam tip would be to reserve your museum tickets online, wait times can be long and a booked ticket helps to skip the queue. If you do get stuck in the Van Gogh queue and get fed up, look right and you will see the Bols Experience. Bols make liqueurs and genever, entrance costs 14€ including a cocktail and tastings. On the subject of genever (the mother of all gins), Wynand Fockink would be the place to go to try some. As for food, Rijstafel (Indonesian table buffet) is a must, look for restaurants with lots of Dutch speakers, not tourists. Other main things to eat are indeed the pancakes and the bar foods. Bittergarnituur (stuff to go with booze) are amazing stodge: Bitterballen = deep fried battered meatballs (always puncture them first to let the heat out!), cheese with mustard, saté with peanut sauce, Kroket (can be a long Bitterballen, can be cheese, always nuclear hot)...
    Consider having a herring if they are still in season.
    But drink Belgian beer. Sorry, Dutch beers aren't great, just famous.
    And LET OP (look out!) for the traffic, especially bikes, that is indeed true. Also be aware that sizing on Dutch clothes can differ as the locals are tall. And watch your valuables in crowds, as anywhere.
    Have a fantastic trip, the Dutch are warm hosts!

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  12. we lived in Brussels and so had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam a number of times. it's beautiful no matter the weather. every time we went, we absolutely had to have one meal at Kantjil & de Tijger - get the rijsttafel (rice table) for two. It's quite a feast but I don't think there is a more classic Amsterdam meal than going for Indonesian food. :) http://www.kantjil.nl/en/ have a great trip!

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  13. I have been contemplating the EF slouch pants as a fall purchase. I have a grey waterfall cardigan and I think that this will always be a comfortable travel day look. I have never visited Amsterdam but it is on my list!

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  14. Photographers...are you working on something?? So exciting to contemplate.
    I've been meaning to try those slouchy pants also...someday.
    Ditto on the raincoat. And--if you have a packable puffer vest or jacket--that would take care of any cold weather and could be worn under the raincoat.

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    1. No, I'm just tagging along. One of my closest friends is a photographer, and she's never been to Paris and wondered if I wanted to come along as a translator/tour guide/general nifty companion. What a SILLY question, eh?

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  15. I lived and worked in The Netherlands in the late 80s/early 90s and I will second everyone who recommends rain gear and Rijstaffel. Both are a must. Rent bikes - you haven't been there unless you've toured the city on bikes. Stop at any stand for frites met mayonnaise or curry ketchup, definitely have both a sweet and a savory pannekoeken, and eat Turkish food (the shawarma in particular is great). The coffee is also very good and if you luck out with the weather, sitting at a sidewalk café drinking coffee and people watching is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. I wouldn't recommend spending a lot of time in the museums unless you are a die-hard Flemish art fan. It's more fun to get out and see the country side, plan a day trip to Delft (a must if you have time, Delft is fantastic), go biking on the dykes, see the windmills, go to the flower market especially. Because Holland is so small its fast and easy to get to other parts of the country for quick trips, so see more than just Amsterdam.

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  16. You must have Dutch Pancakes while you are there. Upstairs Pannenkoeken Huis restaurant is one of the most charming (and hard to find) that I have ever been to: http://www.upstairspannenkoeken.nl/ It seats maybe 12 people at a time and they have all varieties of both sweet and savory pancakes. One of my favorites is the bacon and apple.

    It's out in one of the neighborhoods, but the Arendsnest bar is quite lovely and full of locals. http://www.arendsnest.nl/

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  17. My husband is an avid home brewer and when we visited Amsterdam a couple of years ago, we rented an apartment on the canal just down from this fabulous restaurant and had a tasting menu with beer (Belgian) pairing. (I spent a year in university in Belgium - between the two of us, I'm not sure who was more excited by the drinking that trip ;-) Have a wonderful time! http://www.restaurantlieve.nl/en

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  18. Ooh, we had happy hour at Arendenest too! Also just down the road from our apartment. Full menu of draft beer (and I have to disagree- Dutch beer is not all bad - and it's NOT all Heineken either ;-) http://www.arendsnest.nl/

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  19. I'm so excited for you! How wonderful! ITA with others: you need a raincoat and/or umbrella, very important, and you must have pannekuchen and have a stroop waffleln from a street vendor. And if you have time, get on the train and pop down to Brugges -- if you haven't been there, it's truly medieval and after you have mussels and frites do visit Madame Dumon in her amazing chocolate shop. She's a fabulous conversationalist and you'll never find a better chocolate palette -- classic but a little edgy at the same time and the quality is unsurpassed. She'll love you, so I hope you can meet her. Have fun fun fun!

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    1. I agree on Brugges. Haven't been there in a VERY long time, but it still one of my fondest travel memories.

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    2. Next trip to Europe, you need to focus on Brussels (for food), Bruges (for the medieval town that time forgot and the van Eycks and Petrus Christis), and Ghent (for St. Bavo cathedral and the Ghent Altarpiece; shall I say it? Nothing greater was ever painted.)

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  20. Hi Janice, I'm from Belgium (not so far from Amsterdam) and yes you have to try Belgian beers (the different trappist beers, duvel, hoegaerden,...). Amsterdam: teh Anne frank house: visit it close to closing time, for avoiding long cues, when it is a bit dark outside it 's also nicer to visit it. The "negen straatjes" is a nice shopping area with all sorts of little "different" shops than the high streets. The flower market is lovely too. Avoid places like the Kalverstraat :-) Shopping:I like COS a lot for basic simple clothes and in Amsterdam are a few COS stores. And ofcourse Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum! But just walking around near the canals is nice or a boat trip perhaps. And yes, Belgium is even lovelier than the Netherlands, Bruges, Gent, Leuven, Antwerp, ...)

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  21. They have free lunch concerts at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam once a week or so, sometimes those are rehearsals of the royal concertgebouw orchestra whose chief conductor is Mariss Jansons. It's not far from the museums, maybe check their concert schedule.

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  22. I'm so excited for you! I'm so jealous!
    Would you believe I don't own one single white garment? It's because I always always always spill something on myself no matter what I am wearing. I did have a white tee, but it got in the wash with some darker stuff and it's a funny shade of gray now.
    I got a string of real pearls for my 50th birthday last month! Something I have wanted for 20+ years.

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  23. Definitely have one meal which is Rijstafel! This is a former Dutch colonial buffet style meal comprising Indonesian dishes. Also the Dutch were founders of the spice trade, so cinammon and lots of other spices feature in cookies and cakes. Almond biscuits, coffee...

    Another post mentioned COS, the big sister of H&M. I think you'd love it. The pieces have to be tried on to see how they drape and fall and there are also classics, like very good cardigans.

    Have fun!

    Kate

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  24. I have enjoyed the comments as much as I enjoyed your post, what a lovely group of world wide women read your posts. I always wear a patterned top on the plane, Sydney is such a long journey to anywhere, I never trust myself with a plain top. Enjoy your holiday.

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  25. We rented an apartment in Amsterdam in April 2013. It was right over Tiffany's on P.C. Hoofstraat, supposedly the most expensive street in Amsterdam. However, it was the best and cheapest apartment I could find. The closer to the train station, the more raucous and expensive it seems to be. The apartment we rented is just a few blocks from the Museumplein.

    Good food in the area includes Sama Sebo, Indonesian of course, at the corner of PC Hoofstraat and Hobbemastraat, almost across the street from a major trolley stop for the Museumplein. We also had a very good meal at the Brasserie Van Baerle at Van Baerlestraat 158, about four blocks the other direction from the Museumplein.

    We got day tickets for the boats that go on the canals. There's a major stop right behind the Rijksmuseum. They do play a recorded message in several languages, but it is not a "canal cruise" boat. We hit all the canals except one. The houses and buildings look very different from the water.

    Two of the places we visited have not been mentioned here and they both were wonderful to see. The first is Our Lord in the Attic -- a Catholic church built in a couple of canal houses during the mid-17th century when Catholics were not allowed to worship in public. Audio is available in English. The second is the Dutch Resistance Museum. It's good to see the short film before touring this excellent museum which depicts life during the Nazi occupation. The film and the museum challenge visitors by asking whether they would have been collaborators, resisters or simply adjusted their lives to the occupation. The museum's exhibits include real life stories of people who took these three different paths.

    It may be available in other locations, but we had Sparkling Lipton Iced Tea, actually served with ice, in Bruges and Amsterdam. After the first taste we made sure to have some in the fridge at home. Delicious! It may have been due to the festivities (our last day there was the day the Netherlands got a King for the first time in over 100 years), but we also saw bagged ice for sale in the grocery store closest to where we stayed.

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  26. The food at the Kneipe, near Concertgebouw, was excellent. Near the Van Gogh museum is a diamond cutting factory. We also took a day trip to Aalsmeer, Delft, Den Hagen and Rotterdam. The flower market is awesome.

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  27. I love the outfits you created with the grey waxed jeans. Combining jeans with a quality top and smart flat shoes is a 'uniform' for me, even for work (the shoes must be pristine, or they drag the whole outfit down to scruffy). I'd love more suggestions on this theme.
    best wishes
    Alice

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  28. I like your packing lists SO much. I use a similar palette and clothing selection but I take fewer clothes. I'd wear a "dressy" pair of pants or a pair of knit "jeans" on the plane (both comfy) and pack a black skirt as the third "bottom" (although I must say I like your paisley pants). I'd take 2-3 fewer tops too but add in a rain jacket/coat (almost knee-length), beret, light-weight gloves, warm socks, and silk base layer (top only just in case the temperature dropped). I generally don't take a dress on a trip -- I find a black skirt much more versatile. I take one 13x21x9" lightweight carry-on bag and a small cross-body bag -- and that's it. I generally limit my carry-on weight to 12 lbs. plus the 1 lb. weight of the suitcase. I find that 13 lbs. is what I can carry most comfortably -- and my bag has hidden back-pack straps -- so handy when running across O'Hare or across cobbled European streets. Thanks for showing the Cole Haan shoes -- ordering them today!!

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  29. Go try the apple cake at Winkel 43. I have very fond memories of eating it early one grey morning, sitting outside, hot tea at hand and a blanket on my lap, while the Saturday farmer's market set up acros the street. Highly recommend!

    The Rijksmuseum is also

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  30. Sorry, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum are also well worth your time.

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  31. This is just so timely. We leave in 2 weeks for a northern Europe cruise followed by some time in Amsterdam to see family. (I think we will be there when you are.) I will have a few more pieces to accommodate the need to dress for dinner and like Suzieq25 I will wear a print tunic on the plane

    I agree with others that Belgium is wonderful.

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  32. HI! I am Dutch, at the moment living in Istanbul. Whenever I visit my home country, i visit Amsterdam.
    If you visit Amsterdam, try to make reservations for a high tea at Gartine. (www.gartine.nl). Metropolitan for best ice cream. Rent a bicycle and explore the centre. Shop at Bijenkorf department store. Fred de la Bretoniere for shoes & bags.....Enjoy!

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  33. Amsterdam is such a favorite - we're there as often as possible! Don't miss foodie experiences:
    Pancakes from the pancake house near the Anne Frank House, and like a previous poster, apple and bacon is my favorite. Caution - don't expect them for breakfast - they don't open til around noon
    Indonesian Rijstavel - we, too, like Kantjil and Tiger, and usually order their one-plate rice table, since we don't feel up to the full multiplate extravaganza, but enjoy getting a taste of nearly all of the delicious things on one plate.
    Apple cake, smothered with the richest whipped cream ever, and Kaffee verkehrt (Dutch café au lait, best I've ever tasted) at Winkel beside the Noorderkirk.
    These three stops are musts for us every time we're in AMS.
    For a special experience, De Kas is always a winner - a tramride out of the center, fresh creative cuisine in a former greenhouse!
    AMS is shopping heaven for me, a just-shy-of-6 ft lady... I can easily find everything I need and it FITS! My husband always comments that most of the shop attendants are taller than I am ;)
    Have a wonderful time!

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  34. If you are in the market for fun loafers, look for 'jan janssen' shoes. They are basic yet unique. 'Smaak' makes beautiful Leather bags. Both should be available at the afore mentioned bijenkorf. Many people list awesome places to visit, and this county is indeed beautiful, but please don't rush your visit to amsterdam!

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    1. Oh, and the 9 straatjes ( 9 streets http://www.de9straatjes.nl/en/home) is an waesome place to just walk around.

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  35. Hmm... I went to Amsterdam years ago and didn't really rate it - all these comments are making me think I should give it another go.

    Also, I just love your travel wardrobe - really cool and obviously comfortable and practical.

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  36. What a beautiful set, I love the outfits you have put together :)

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