I have lost count of the number of times that we have visited Amsterdam but it must be six at the very least. Yet we keep coming back and each time we do it still seems as fresh and as vibrant as the first time we visited.
We are back again this weekend and had a wonderfully smooth trip getting here this morning but in the weeks leading up to coming we wondered if we would be making it.
The threat of a BA pilots strike was looming large and the bank holiday weekend seemed to be an obvious time to wreak some havoc but talks averted that possibility. As it happened one of the first news articles I read on the way here this morning was announcing the dates for the strike but we, it seem, have dodged that bullet.
So after landing early and then stepping straight on to a train we found ourselves in the heart of Amsterdam before mid-morning coffee.
That sentence encompasses two reasons why Amsterdam is such a great place to visit from the UK: it is so quick to get here (the flight is under an hour) and when you exit the station you really are in the thick of the action.
We walked to our hotel in Dam Square and dumped our bags before setting off out into the sun (it’s a bank holiday weekend and the temperature’s nudging 30 degrees!).
We had decided to try a guided walk we’d found in the DK guidebook. Despite thinking we knew Amsterdam this walk took us to places that we had never seen before including areas with wide canals lined with converted warehouses. What’s more the areas we went were quiet unlike the centre which was absolutely heaving.
By the time we were finished we were a good 20 minutes away from the centre and, more importantly, lunch. I am on this peculiar diet at the moment which is incredibly restrictive (more of that another day) but it meant trying to find something that I could eat which can be challenging at the best of times and even more so in foreign lands. As this isn’t a diet to help me lose weight I can eat somewhat untraditional dietary items such as chips and so we were heading for a chippy we’d spotted earlier when we came across Jacketz. As the name suggest it specialises in jacket potatoes and really hit the spot.
In the evening we got very touristy and joined a canal cruise boat for an hours trip around the highlights of the town. We decided not to bother with those horrible earphones they provide with the tinny running commentary and just soak up the view instead. It was a good way to end the day.