After eating a year’s supply of Stroopwafels in approximately 24 hours, and doing a good, well rounded, educational tour of Amsterdam’s finest coffee shops, I have returned to the UK. Somewhat sadly, it must be said. However, both my first and now second visits to Amsterdam have just heightened my wish to spend more time out there, and cheap/local flights have got my back to put this into practice. It does also help that Barcelona (where I am moving to in approximately 53 days) has direct flights to Amsterdam 9 times a day – no excuse really, is there?
It has already been nearly a week since I got back, and the Sheffield rain is not helping me adjust properly. Well, adjust as much as is really necessary after spending a grand total of three days abroad. But still. We managed to cram more into three days in Amsterdam than I have realistically done in a fortnight in the UK. Now, what’s that for productivity? If I could devote as much time and energy into my media law exams as I did into sight seeing I would almost definitely be top of the class by exam period.
After spending approximately nine hours walking round the streets of Amsterdam each day, I feel I can say I vaguely know my way around now. I have experienced the trams (second time round, equally as friendly staff), the trains (first time illegally as we had no idea how to buy tickets) but not yet the bikes. The idea of cycling round an unknown city, on the other side of the road, without brakes, is on an equal level as my most hated nightmares. I can barely walk around Amsterdam without sidestepping cyclists every few minutes, let alone trying one out. Sometimes, if you can’t beat them, it’s far safer to ignore them than join them. Lesson number one.
Amsterdam coffee shops are a perfect way to spend time and feel productive without really doing much. I highly recommend Dampkring, purely for their amazing hot chocolates and because they have a resident cat. I dread to think the fumes this cat has inhaled over years of chilling out there, but a few ‘adult’ brownies never really hurt anyone too badly I guess. Bulldog (pick one of four in the city) is always a good choice, and although stupidly busy, has an atmosphere to make sure you come back. Either that, or they add a little something extra to their supplies. Other good options, if you want to feel more (faux) cultural than touristy, are The Jolly Joker or Wonder Bar Two. Wonder Bar One is an actual bar, so despite the deceitful name, bar two lets you smoke there.
Desperate to experience at least one more museum, we fruitlessly tried to get tickets for Amsterdam Museum Night – only to realise they had sold out absolutely everywhere. The most culture we got in terms of art was wandering around a side street part clothes part photography shop. The photos I took of the surrounding streets were excellent, but not particularly a Van Gogh standard. Maybe next time?
I would need an extra pair of hands (and a bigger size of jeans) to fully put across how much I ate over the weekend. Crepes, chips (oh, so many chips), pasta, muffins, the list could go on for an embarrassingly long time. Dutch fries (what I previously thought was an Aldi equivalent to French fries) are amazing. There is no other way of putting it. Dutch fries would possibly be my meal of choice on Death Row (and believe me, I have put a lot of thought into this). I have absolutely no regrets, on this basis that this was a Holiday and a Holiday is the rare opportunity to stuff your face and no one can suggest otherwise.
Telling my friends I would come home with arms filled with postcards, gifts and fun things for the house, I returned back to England with a new, tulip tipped umbrella and a new tube of toothpaste. Not especially what they were after, but I’m hoping my endless, repetitive stories will do as a ‘gift’ instead.