I have always wanted to see Amsterdam; this mystical city everybody loves for its quirky nature and equally quirky buildings.
While we laid in bed on holiday in Langkawi discussing the house build and how the next year will be tough saving money Elliot sprung the news on me that he’d already booked our next trip! We were heading to Amsterdam, coincidently for valentines day.
Amsterdam is perfectly located; with just a 30-minute flight from Stansted it’s no trouble to get to; you’re also able to get the train from the airport to the centre of the city.
We were staying in a funky Aparthotel; it was like a hotel but with a kitchen etc in your flat. So you had a concierge and security on site all the time and other guests in apartments next door, but there was a cool, hipster vibe to it. When we arrived the receptionist gave us a map and highlighted a few places to check out and see; we then dumped our bags and headed around the corner to a bar we’d walked past on our way in. The bar was cute, small and super friendly, the owner had just taken it over and spent loads of time chatting with us; it’s something that struck me most about Amsterdam, the people are lovely! No matter where you stopped to have a drink or a nibble the people were so chatty and kind.
For the first day, we spent ages wandering around and seeing the city; I personally wanted a sneaky peak at the Red Light District. It’s talked about in so many places I thought I’d best see it for myself before casting judgement! I’ve never seen anything like it!
After our swift walk through the area around the church, we went to sit at a cafe by the river and have some beer and Bitterballen. They were a cheesy potato ball with small bits of meat in them accompanied by a mustard mayo; they sound disgusting but they were lovely.
When we’re away we’re often ones to eat throughout the day, nibbling on bits of local food rather than one big meal. Fortunately for us, there was a tapas style sausage restaurant behind our accommodation so we decided to have a few dishes there. The wine was so good, reasonably priced too and the food was amazing.
Anne Franks House
While many forget to book Anne Franks before they go, Elliot had booked it the day he booked the flights to ensure we’d get in. He booked the pre-tour talk, as well as they, give additional information about the city and the other families they know about helping the Franks.
Something I found really interesting was the fact I’d never actually seen the star the Jewish were forced to wear on their clothing during the war, in person. In the pre-talk, the historian showed us the star which Jews were forced to wear, and it struck me as something which was quite a significant symbol of the war, yet something we hadn’t seen during our travels to cities and war museums before.
The house itself was huge, and it’s surprising how they weren’t discovered or that nobody highlighted the hidden annexe. The way the homes are built in Amsterdam enabled them to be long and thin; they also have winches on the top to enable those moving in and out to hoist furniture up to the top floors.
The museum was fascinating though, and it’s amazing how this one story has spread right around the world; unfortunately, they weren’t the only family hiding out and living through this awful time, but her diary and her words have travelled through generation to generation.
Overview of Amsterdam
I have to say, despite the strong aroma (i don’t mind the smell of weed, but wow this was strong) I really liked Amsterdam, the people are possibly some of the friendliest people I’ve met on my travels. The food is delicious and so different and the architecture is stunning!