When we went to Amsterdam: Day 1

First of all, I have to say that I have been ill recently and I’m still not very well at the moment, so I am writing this blog as an when I feel able to. I’ve had some tests done and I’m going for more next week, so I apologise if this is not a great quality blog post.

 

Earlier this month, me and my boyfriend went on a trip to Amsterdam for a few days. 5 days to be precise. We had a lovely time, and I thought it would be nice to share some of those experiences via this blog. We did so much during this time that I don’t feel that I could fit it all into one blog post. Not without it becoming a bit long winded anyway. So I’m going to do a post devoted to each day that we spent there. Basically like a travel log. I’ll try to keep it nice and straight to the point. So here we go…

Amsterdam Photo - Train Station
Amsterdam Central Station

Day 1

Dad kindly dropped us off at East Midlands Airport (one that I’d not been to in a long time) in the early afternoon. The airport is lot smaller than I remember, but I haven’t been to this one since I was very young. It always seems that when you revisit childhood places, they seem smaller somehow. I guess everything seems enormous in your childhood. I checked in my bag, and somehow Luke managed to fit everything he needed for the trip into his rucksack, which he then used as hand luggage. We girls couldn’t do it if we tried!

The plane was tiny in comparison to the ones I usually go on. Seeing just two seats either side of the plane felt quite bizarre. We departed at 15:20 and arrived just shy of an hour later. On the plane, it cost me £2.00 for a cup of tea! I can’t believe they would charge so much just for that, but I suppose could be to do with the fact that Flybe is a low cost airline. It’s a good job I was thirsty! On the way in, we could see wind turbines just off the coast. Luke said to me that once he came to Amsterdam in the spring, and it was just like a wall of colour thanks to the tulips. Unfortunately, this being November, there was no chance of that!

Amsterdam Photo - Central Outside Hotel
Haarlemmerbuurt, Amsterdam

We landed at Schiphol Airport at around 4pm. Strangely, my luggage was the first one on the belt! Never had that before! We made our way out of departures and caught a train which was supposed to take us to Amsterdam Central. Unfortunately, we got on the wrong one and the train we were on took us somewhere near Utrecht! The trains were so badly signposted that we had no idea which train was the right one. That, I have to say is one of my few criticisms of the Netherlands. Anyway, I was just so happy to be on holiday that it didn’t really bother me that much that we were lost and we found a train that took us to Amsterdam. Then, once again, we fell victim to poor signposting and ended up in first class seats when we paid for standard. The ticket officer let us off but warned us that we would be fined if it happened again, despite the fact that we pointed out the lack of signposting. When we got to second class, we saw that there was virtually no difference between where we were and first class, apart from the colour of the seats and the fact that the standard seats were about 5cm less wide! Jeez…

Anyway, this made us late for meeting up with one of Luke’s old friends (I’ve not named her as I am not sure if she would like to be a part of this blog). She met us at Amsterdam Central Train Station and was happy for me to drop off my bag in our hotel which was luckily, only next door. Afterwards we headed out for some food and she knew of this place called The Grasshopper. It’s a beautiful place all illuminated in green and was quite literally on the canal. Don’t ask me how it works it’s just…. there! We went up to one of the upper floors right by a window which looked out over the canal and the neighbouring buildings. The place was stunning to look at, inside and out. The interior had an old pub/bar feel which reminded me a lot of pubs around where I live. She and Luke had ribs, I had a burger as I’ve not quite warmed to ribs yet, I did have a taste though. It was delicious, the meat was nicely done and was just about the right size so that I didn’t feel over filled. Oversizing has become a bit of an issue with some of our pubs/restaurants at home these days. We didn’t have long to be with Luke’s friend as she had to get up early the following morning to go to Berlin on business. So we said our goodbyes and our pleased to meet you’s, and then headed on our way.

Amsterdam Photo - The Grasshopper
The Grasshopper, Amsterdam

As we had some time before going to bed, me & Luke went for a wander down town and found the Red Light District! I know what you’re thinking and neither of us went in any of those places, we just went past it! It was so bizarre to be walking along the canal side and to your left seeing a provocatively dressed woman in a window, with of course a red light on in the room she was in. I think Luke may have thought that I would be uncomfortable with it all, but oddly, I wasn’t. The sheer amount of tourists that were there wondering up and down the canal side made you feel a little less like you were doing something wrong by observing the place. Ourselves and the tourists didn’t take pictures as we obviously didn’t want to and I’m pretty sure it’s not allowed anyway. However, I did take a photo of the canal. On the way back, we nipped into a Café for a drink before going back to the hotel.

Amsterdam Photo - Canal Side for blog
Canal Side, Amsterdam

Me and Luke are both two pillow people, but in the hotel room there were only three between us. We asked the hotel for another one, but when it got to 45mins later and I was struggling to stay awake, I asked Luke if he could go and ask reception again. Eventually, we got an extra one and we got some sleep. That was until we got a wake up call from the hotel at 4:10 am!! We informed the hotel in the morning and it turned out that the call was for some people who transferred to another room, but they had forgotten to transfer the wake up call. Hope those poor people used their own alarm clock otherwise they’d be screwed by the next morning!

Overall as a tourist, I would recommend that you ask for extra help at train stations in the Netherlands, as they are not very clear and you could end up like us getting on the wrong one! The Grasshopper was a lovely restaurant and I would really recommend it to anyone. I will review the hotel later on, when I’ve finished the travel logs.

Anyway that’s day one of our trip to Amsterdam, hope you enjoyed this post! I’ll be doing another one soon!

Ali

 

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