On a recent trip to Prague, my friend and I found ourselves with a few hours to kill on a layover in Amsterdam. Now as much as I love Schiphol airport my friend who had never visited Amsterdam was eager to explore. Downtown being only a mere 20 minute train ride from the airport we quickly dashed off.

With only 5 hours we knew that we would only scratch the surface, I also knew that the cool area of The Jordaan would offer my friend a good taste of the city.
after a quick coffee and pastry at one of the many great cafes we were off...

First we popped into a favorite antique store called Nostalgia. They offer a great variety from all over Europe. What I love is the fact that they offer a large variety of smaller pieces which you can easily tuck into you bag...many make memorable and affordable souvenirs or gifts.

Speaking of bags, just down the street is a wonderful shop called Property of... This Singapore based men's bag company decided on Amsterdam for their European outpost. The shop is in a handsome old canal house. Many of the bags and wallets will also appeal to women with their polished utilitarian/ military twist. I may have been guilty of buying one for a larger carry-on!

With being on a long trans-Atlantic flight our skin could do with some TLC. C. cosmetics was just the place! All the items available here are natural and organic. Many of the cosmetics are from smaller quality "boutique" lines from areas across Europe. If more time allowed we would have been tempted to try one of their treatments!

Before dashing back to the airport we made a quick stop at 't Goede Soet Chocolate shop . Here you can choose from a large variety of homemade bon-bon's made with callebaut chocolate. Your selection of homemade (please try the earl gray!) is packaged in your choice of a beautiful gift box. This beats a bar of airport duty-free chocolate any day!

Daniel MacKinnon