Monday, 31 July 2017

Amsterdam: What I Did

Buildings in Amsterdam

It's been two weeks since I went on holiday to Amsterdam with Max. It was such a great trip so I decided to document it and write a blog post in the style of a diary to remember what I did, and share the great places we went to.
I have been avoiding flying in a plane for as long as I can remember. I couldn't comprehend the idea of being stuck in a metal tube, far from civilisation and access to medical help. The idea of it freaked me out and for a while I thought that I could live my life without ever flying again.
But that would be miserable, wouldn't it? 
In the last few years I've pretty much toured the entire UK on various short breaks, and if I'm honest, I'm very bored of it. Every city seems to blend into the next with the same shops, same variation of museums and same hotels. I know it's closed-minded of me, as the UK has a lot to offer, but there's so much out there to see that is vastly different from this little island that I call home.

So, somehow I managed to pluck up the courage to book flights to Amsterdam which was a very kind and generous Christmas present from Max's mum and dad. It was a January evening and we were probably bogged down with uni work and the idea of escaping to a different country was very desirable. This is what we got up to...

Monday 17th July

I woke up filled with a weird mixture of nerves and excitement. It felt surreal that we were *actually* going to be in a plane within a matter of hours! I barely ate breakfast and before I knew it we were arriving at Heathrow.
We flew with British Airways, and I have to make a point of saying that they were absolutely amazing. There was a lovely lady called Tina who was part of the cabin crew and she sat and chatted with me and made me feel a billion times better about the flight. She was so nice that I actually got in touch with BA just to let them know how great she was! As well as that, I got invited into the cockpit! I got to sit in the pilot's seat and had a good old chat about how the plane works and what to expect. It was so fun and I felt like a big kid staring at all of the buttons.
I timed the flight from the minute we took off until the minute we landed and it was only 40 minutes! It felt like even less than that and I really enjoyed the experience. Everything felt so peaceful and serene, and being unable to contact anybody was actually kind of nice!
View from the plane
Once we got out of the airport on the other side, we headed to our hotel, citizenM. We were on the very top floor so there were a LOT of stairs! Our room was so nice though. It's a really bizarre, modern design with pods for the shower and toilet rather than a separate bathroom. The bed was absolutely gigantic (big enough for three people), and everything was controlled via an iPad. This included the blinds, mood lighting, TV, and even the temperature. It was all very gimmicky but in a fun way - it definitely wasn't tacky.
citizenM Amsterdam
We then began our first (half day) in Amsterdam. As we stayed in the Zuid area, we had to walk into the centre of the city. This took us around an hour but we stopped off to look at many things on the way. One of which was the Rijksmuseum. Behind the amazing building was the famous I Amsterdam sign and then a big pool of water which was so refreshing to paddle in given that it was around 30 degrees at the time.
The area was buzzing with happy tourists and it felt so nice to just walk around and absorb the newness of it all.
We spent hours walking up and down the little streets and canal walkways. Everything is so pretty there. I definitely fell in love with the architecture and took way over 200 pictures of the buildings (I've had to delete the majority of them!). After doing some exploring we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

Tuesday 18th July

Our first full day in Amsterdam was very exciting! We had booked tickets for the Anne Frank House so we were up early so we wouldn't miss our slot. I first learned about Anne Frank when I was in year 7 and became so interested in her life and the war. I remember watching a series about her on TV and then I went out to buy her diary that same weekend.
Walking in the rooms that her and her family hid in for so long was surreal. I don't think there's any other way to describe it. It's almost hard to believe that it ever happened. The rooms were so small and I can only begin to imagine how claustrophobic it must have felt, to be isolated and confined to such a small amount of space.
The museum was so fascinating as there was an audio guide that told Anne's story from the start, and the tour included some artefacts that related to Anne's struggle which bought her story to life. It was a great experience, however there is so much demand for day tickets that you should definitely pre-book if you're thinking of going. I booked my tickets two months beforehand to make sure we could definitely visit.
Anne Frank House
We then visited Red Light Secrets which is a museum of prostitution in the Red Light District. To be honest, neither of us enjoyed it that much. It was boiling inside and everywhere stank of weed so it was hard to fully enjoy the experience.
The best part was the confession wall at the end though. It's pretty self-explanatory - the walls were plastered with sexual confessions from people all around the world and some of them were GRAPHIC! We bought a book of the confessions as a souvenir and some of them are just hilarious.
After the museums we decided to go shopping. The shops that we came across in central Amsterdam were so good! They were huge - the H&M had 5 or 6 floors! We both bought a few bits and pieces and we found a couple of shops we don't get here in the UK that were SO cheap!

When we finally got back to the hotel after miles and hours of walking, we put the hotel's free movies to good use and watched Split. We wanted to watch it when it came out in the cinema but didn't get round to it, and it definitely lived up to expectations (minus the ending).

Wednesday 19th July

Our last full day began at the Van Gogh Museum. We pre-booked tickets for this too as we had a feeling it would get pretty busy. Neither of us are massive Van Gogh lovers but the museum turned out better than we expected. It was so interesting to learn more about who he was as a person, and just how troubled he was. We found out some fascinating facts - like how Van Gogh did a painting every single day for a chunk of time before he killed himself. It was much more than we expected.
Flowers in Amsterdam
We then took a very long walk over to the Dutch Resistance Museum. We hadn't initially planned on going here but we were so glad that we did. It only cost 10 euros to get in and it was filled to the brim with interesting facts and exhibits.
There were a few really chilling views - a real Star of David and somebody's clothes from Auschwitz with a little card explaining how the owner ended up being gassed to death.
It was somber but important, and I'd recommend anybody who is interested in history goes there.
Dutch Resistance Museum
To end our little visit to Amsterdam we decided to go on an impromptu canal cruise. We'd already been back to our hotel but decided there was still enough time in the day to do one last thing. If anything can be said about Max and I, it's that we definitely make the most of our holidays! We got the tram back to Centraal Station and hopped on the first available cruise.
It lasted one hour and took us through all the pretty canals and it was amazing. We picked the right time to go too, with the sun setting on the buildings and water, casting a warm orange glow everywhere you looked. It was incredibly peaceful and we managed to get the best seats on the boat!
Sunset in Amsterdam
Sunset in Amsterdam

That was everything we packed into our short time in Amsterdam. We loved it so much and we definitely want to return in the future as there's so much more we'd like to do there! I'll leave you with a few more photos of our lovely trip.

Cheese shop in Amsterdam
Bike in Amsterdam
Street in Amsterdam
Me in Amsterdam
The Dancing Houses in Amsterdam



  1. Great blog, glad you enjoyed it :)

    1. Thank you so much again, it was the best trip ever!! :D


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