I’ve returned from Amsterdam, and I already miss it. However, I’ve been reunited with Danny & Chewie so it’s not all bad. For the most part it was cold, DAMn cold (get it). I went with my sister Lara for 4 days, our first holiday together, it was bound to be interesting. I’ve spent the few days since returning editing my action camera footage, which is available on my youtube channel HERE. I’ve also been resting because I managed to damage some muscles in my foot, and no it wasn’t because I fell over after a few too many space cakes. It was actually a result of my stubbornness. I prefer to walk everywhere (whenever possible) rather than pay for taxis or public transport. There are two reasons for this, the first is it saves money obviously, the second you see parts of the city that you would otherwise miss and it makes me feel more like a local.
Danny drove us to the airport but the morning wasn’t uneventful. We got stuck behind a seven vehicle accident and then got delayed for over an hour, it didn’t dampen our spirits though. On arrival the first challenge we faced was getting the train to our hotel. I work these things out before I travel, so I knew where we were going. The hotel was just a ten minute walk away from Sloterdijk station, and a 30 minute walk into the city. We stayed at the lovely XO Hotel Park West.
Ahead of this trip I used GetYourGuide.com to book a few activities, it was my first time using them and I downloaded the app so I could access my tickets electronically. They were excellent, I didn’t have any problems and it just made organising stuff so much easier.
Our first day I had booked us to do Europes Highest Swing on top of the A’DAM Lookout. Now I’m used to cold weather (I live in England, the North West to be exact) but it was chilly in Amsterdam with the average temperature being 0. We walked up towards the waterfront and from there took a ferry boat across towards the lookout. Up at the top the views were absolutely stunning, it had gone dark so the city was lit up like a christmas tree. I never get tired of this no matter what city I am in, climbing up to the top of a building and looking out is such a humbling experience. The swing now was quite daunting, we got strapped in and it began to lift us into the air. Then the mechanics kicked in and it swung out over the edge. It was a similar sensation to being on a rollercoaster, those sickening butterflies mixed in with adrenaline, although I think this was a little more terrifying. I would recommend giving it a go, as long as you’re not scared of heights.
We walked through the red light district, took in the peculiar sights, stopped for a couple of milkshakes at the popular Bulldog Palace before calling it a night. My phone died so the walk back was an interesting one, navigating a city I didn’t know in the middle of the night, we managed to make it back though.
Our second day started with crepes, banana and Nutella! A delicious breakfast for what was sure to be a long day. We had a couple more activities booked, so took a leisurely walk in their direction. Stopping to take plenty of photographs, both on my polaroid and film some action footage (although I’m investing in an exciting new piece of kit soon, watch this space). We found The Powerzone where we played a pirate themed, glow in the dark mini golf 12 hole course and ended up spending an hour bowling, we had a laugh particularly as neither of us were very skilled in these. In the evening we had booked the Ice Bar Amsterdam, so we found a cute little square filled with coffee shops and chilled out for a couple of hours.
The Ice Bar was ace, the experience is well put together. You get a selection of coins, to exchange for free drinks in the two bars. The first bar served cocktails which we didn’t resist, my Amsterdamned was juicy. Then a bell rings, a little pirate themed video plays and you’re whisked off to put on gloves and coats before the arctic adventure begins. Now, I thought the 0 degrees was cold outside but down in the bar it was -9.4 degrees! Here your drinks are limited to Heineken or a shot (rum was my choice) because it’s too cold to keep anything else. We posed, drank but once my fingers went numb it was time to leave. A hot shower back at the hotel and I began to thaw out nicely.
Day three was a little more artsy. The Moco Museum had a Banksy exhibit on and so being a graphic designer I couldn’t miss it. We stopped for bagels and hot chocolates before stepping out into the sunshine. In the few days of walking, I realised I’d seen more bikes than I had seen in my entire life, or would see outside of Amsterdam, it’s mad! We stopped by the tourist spots outside the Rijksmuseum, including the I AMSTERDAM sign for another photoshoot, some frites and a little bit of sun. The pictures from the Moco do it more justice than I can, I love galleries and the artwork was thought provoking and in some parts trippy. We spent the rest of the day eating, shopping and relaxing. Another evening of coffee shops (they’ve all got awesome signage) and milkshakes, before we knew it, it was time to head back and pack for our early flight home. I’d love to head back to Amsterdam and explore more of the museums, I also like cities I can walk around all day without getting bored. It just had a chilled, cool vibe (for more than one reason).
I picked up a couple of souvenirs this trip, I’ve gotten into patches and my sister pointed out this ace Amsterdam one (it’ll make a perfect addition to my denim jacket, I’ve ordered a few for places I’ve already been too). My mum only ever wants a magnet, so I got this pretty ace one from the A’DAM giftshop, then Danny my boyfriend (who doesn’t want anything) I got this beanie for, knowing I’d probably end up stealing it. I picked up some cute tees in this store called Coolcat and a few sweet treats (mostly because the chocolate packaging in Amsterdam was insane).
At this moment I am already looking at my next adventure, all going to play in six weeks I will be flying to Australia, then I am hoping to book a Trek America in for March of next year and I would love to fit in a trip somewhere later this year. A weekend in Italy or Croatia sounds ideal right now, I’ve paid my last months rent and so next month I have a lot of opportunities to consider with moving home. I want to start saving but I also know that I won’t get this chance to travel again so I want to make the most of it before I have any real responsibility in my life. You only get to experience your twenties once.
🍑 A B Y
Aby, 24. Northerner.