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De Pijp, hip neighborhood of Amsterdam. Halloween travels & speaking at Experience Bucharest tourism conference!

whitby abbey dracula castle uk

Get your fangs out… Halloween 2017 is going to be bloody fabulous!

This year, I’ll be in three European countries famous for Vampires, Alien, and Jack the Ripper. (Any guesses? The reveal is below.)

vampire steampunk victorian fashion

First, I’m excited to officially announce: I’m off to the land of vampires, Transylvania! I was invited to attend and speak at Experience Bucharest, the largest project ever to promote tourism in Romania’s capital and beyond. For several days, worldwide travel influencers will be gathering to see the capital through the eyes of its passionate residents.

It’s been my long-time dream to visit the ultimate Goth destination, and experience the dark underground culture. I’m honored to be speaking on at Travel Massive’s “Future of Tourism in Romania” conference, on a panel about travel and social media.

Follow along my social media @LaCarmina and hashtag #experiencebucharest to join the fun, including a visit to the castle of Count Dracula. (Above, photographer Joey Wong captured me in front of UK’s Whitby Abbey, an inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel.)

giger alien bar gruyeres interior

While in Europe, I’m also teaming up with Switzerland Tourism and La Gruyère Tourisme… to visit the H.R. Giger bar in Gruyeres! 

Fans of the Alien movies will immediately recognize these eerie bio-mechanical works, which form the backbone of the art design in the series. I’m fascinated with Giger’s imagination, and can’t wait to see his sci-fi bar and museum. (Images above by Kristin Thorogood Photography).

london camden market lolita store

Finally… I’ll be in London, England for the first time in ages! Time to reunite with spooky friends, and check out the many dark Halloween events in the city. If you have suggestions for what to see and do (around the end of October), please let me know in the comments.

(To get you in the mood, here is my friend John’s London Goth travel guide. His photo above shows a store in Camden Market.)

moroccan middle eastern bathroom tiles

Since I’m off to Europe again, I thought it was nigh time to release my final article about the Netherlands.

A while back, I shared my tour of Noord, the artistic district north of Centraal Station. Now, I’ll take you around De Pijp, another Amsterdam hipster neighborhood.

De Pijp translates to “the pipe,” for reasons that are unclear (perhaps it refers to the winding streets, or a former gas company with that name). In line with this spirit, the borough has a funky, good-humored vibe. Both travellers and locals come here for the bustling Albert Cuyp market, and to dine in ethnic restaurants.

Restaurant Bazar Amsterdam

My friends and I went for lunch at Bazar Restaurant, which was recommended by several people. The word “bazaar” aptly describes the tw0-level space filled with Middle Eastern decor and music to delight the senses.  When I walked in, I was transported back to the time I visited the markets of Morocco. 

(Address: Albert Cuypstraat 182, 1073 Amsterdam, Netherlands)

De Pijp District hip restaurants

The bathroom situation is straight out of 1001  Arabian Nights! Photographer Arina Dresviannikova had fun taking photos of Leyla (Dutch fashion / mommy blogger) and me, reflected in the many mirrors.

gypsy warrior alien sweater

– I love my alien sweater, which looks similar to the keyboard emoji. There’s a similar alien shirt here, and more sci-fi fashion below:

bazar restaurant Albert Cuyp market

I began with a cup of fresh Moroccan mint tea, while Leyla perused the gluten free menu. Bazar has options for everyone, including vegan and vegetarian plates.

As you can see, we ordered a bit of everything! Bazar’s dishes take inspiration from the cuisine of North Africa and the Middle East — everything is moderately priced, and perfect for sharing with a group. I particularly loved the grape leaves, garlic sauce and falafel that came in one of the mixed platters.

alien shirt top, gypsywarrior

A visit to Bazar feels like stepping into a Far Eastern fairy tale. I lounged under the high ceilings, next to these spectacular hand-painted tiled walls.

cool morocco bathrooms, mirrors

The vibrant spirit continues right outside Bazaar, at Albert Cuypmarkt. Six days a week, this street is packed with vendors selling everything from hippie skirts to stroopwafels.

alien shirts, sweaters clothing

I think we fit in rather well with the creative spirit of De Pijp! (My alien top is similar to this one; browse more styles below:)

hipster neighborhood amsterdam netherlands

De Pijp was once a working class quarter, and home to residents of many nationalities. Today, the neighborhood remains filled with color. Leyla spreads her wings on Gerard Doustraat, a street lined with indie shops. 

De Kinderfeestwinkel party store

These rainbow flags beckoned us into De Kinderfeestwinkel, a store for kid’s party goods.

toy shop amsterdam kids

Doesn’t this feel like a Wes Anderson dreamscape? Masks and gadgets and hats everywhere!

stuffed uniforn plush toy

Arina couldn’t resist taking home this magical stuffed unicorn. My attention went to the rack of Miffy books, of course.

cute ghost lamp, 3d printed octopus

The smiling ghost light stole my heart. We wandered past a 3D printing shop, and saw these “octo-pussycat” designs.

hip clothing fashion stores amsterdam

The other “hipster district,” Noord, is more for experimental art and murals. If you’re looking for indie fashion and cafes, De Pijp is the place to be.

anna + nina amsterdam boutique

Case in point: Anna + Nina, a shop with eclectic jewellery and old-world home accessories that reflect their love of travel.

silk floral white kimono gown

The boutique is filled with textures: a floral silk dressing gown, golden leaves, fresh blossoms.

curved mid century modern lamp

If I had more space in my apartment, I’d set up a curving mid-century modern floor lamp like this one. Many of the stores in De Pijp sell both clothing and interior decor, mostly by local designers.

michael jackson face mask costume

Pick up a cactus, or Michael Jackson’s glittery mask… that’s the humorous spirit of De Pijp!

supperclub amsterdam restaurant

In the evening, my friends and I had dinner at Supperclub. The restaurant is designed like a nightclub, with flamboyant light projections and quirky performances throughout the evening.

dining on beds supper club

All of the diners get to lounge on beds while eating dinner! Between the courses of the set menu, we watched dance and art performances right in front of us. My favorite was a woman with a giant eyeball for a head — she came up to each bed and interacted with guests, in funny ways.

(Watch Leyla’s travel vlog about Supperclub for footage of this unique dining experience. All our Amsterdam videos are in this playlist that she created on her LeylaFashion YouTube.)

supperclub menu food amsterdam meal

Later in the evening, the venue turned into a dance club. Cheers to the fantastic staff, for keeping our wine-glasses filled and making this night a delight.

amsterdam rows of bicycles

I leave you with some snaps from our walks around Amsterdam. I was drawn to the city’s modern architecture, and never-ending rows of bikes. 

nunc home interiors shop

Amsterdam is great for wandering around and popping into stores. Arina is peering into Nunc, which carries handmade, fair-trade and recycled products.

sugar skull cats

We saw cute skeleton cats and robots in one window…

miffy toys collection

… and posse of Miffies in another. (Psst: I wrote this guide to Miffy stores in Amsterdam, which includes De Winkel Van Nijntje, Mr. Maria studio and a chocolaterie).

amsterdam red light district graffiti

We couldn’t leave without a stroll through the Red Light district, home to brothels and marijuana cafes. Note: it’s forbidden to take photos of the girls in the glass windows. If you attempt to take an image, you’ll get shooed off by their security.

casa rosso red elephant club

Tourists can see live erotic entertainment at venues like Casa Rosso, which has a cheeky red elephant mascot.

i amsterdam iamsterdam card pass

Dank je to Hotel The Exchange and Lloyd for hosting us, and to iAmsterdam for the City Card (which provides unlimited public transportation, and access to the top museums).

If you’re planning a visit to Amsterdam, here are all my Netherlands offbeat travel tips on a single page. I hope you find them helpful.

amsterdam canals friends tourists

I had such a great time with my friends in Amsterdam, and I’m sure we will be back soon.

And now, time to prepare for London, Bucharest and Gruyeres! If you have travel advice for me, or know of events happening in these cities at the end of October, please let me know in the comments. Here’s to the bloodiest Halloween yet.

  • Leyla Ummels Cavusoglu

    It was so much fun!

    • :x can’t wait to travel with you again soon!

  • Aless

    That’s freakin sweet! How fun!

  • Renny

    great work!

  • Kai

    Congratulations on this Halloween trip.
    Kai

  • varall east

    loves the first photo!

    • The photographer Joey will be on this trip too!

  • Deran

    Bucharest! Im really interseted in seeing what you do there.

    • I’m glad! Excited to finally visit.

  • El

    #hot

  • Lara Style Blog

    That alien sweater!
    Lara Style Blog

    • I will definitely wear it to the Giger bar in Switzerland.

  • ee ee

    always off to crazy places!
    hehe

  • JOhanne

    Beautiful <3

  • zilda

    enjoy and happy halloween you spooky thing.

  • Bertu

    welcome to Romania.

  • QI Qi

    Saw yer nails art on Insta, eeek Dracula!

  • Emanuele P.

    It’s very interesting for me. As I would like to travel but I haven’t enough money, this is a very good opportunity. I hope you will make a travel to Italy. Thank you very much. Emanuele