Two weeks ago my boyfriend D took me to Amsterdam for my birthday – a really lovely present
We spent four days in The Netherlands’ capital, and I fell in love with the place!
As with our trip to Paris, we were on a bit of a budget – but it didn’t stop us having fun
Apart from one rainy day, we were really lucky with the weather – especially on my birthday, which was super sunny!
Definitely in consideration for the ‘places I could live’ list!
Ontbijt, lunch en diner
We rented a room in an apartment we found on airBnB – which turned out to be great for cutting costs as we were able to use our hosts’ kitchen
Every morning we made breakfast to eat in our rooms (D introduced me to the naughty, but nice hagelslag – chocolate sprinkles on toast!)
And then we made a little picnic up for our lunch (Dutch cheese and ham sandwiches, a piece of fruit, stroopwafels and a big bottle of water)
And for two of our three evenings we made simply, but tasty pasta to eat in the apartment – on my birthday evening we ate pasta again, but posher…
(This is ham, lemon and what seemed like pretty much a whole block of butter!)
And then there were the holiday snacks D couldn’t wait to get his raw herring fix (I think it’s his Dutch heritage)
While I was more than happy with a big slice of the AMAZING apple cake they serve up at Winkel 43 on Noordermarkt – a must visit
Which would you prefer?
I loved the casual alfresco dining we saw around the city – with locals literally dragging little tables and chairs out to the canal banks, drinking wine and serving up dinner from massive saucepans
Let’s go ride a bike
The transport system in Amsterdam is amazing – there’s really little excuse for a car when you can choose from train, tram, bus, moped, canal boat or – of course – bike!
Cyclists rule the roads/paths – and with everything being so flat it’s much easier than my usual cycle to work
I’d definitely recommend renting bikes if you visit – it’s a great way to experience the city and a practical way to get from place to place
Better than a bouquet
Of all the attractions we visited, my favourite was the trip we took to the Keukenhof tulip gardens on my birthday
The gardens lie just outside the city, and during the Spring months are filled with seven million colourful tulips, daffodils and hyacinths
We couldn’t have wished for nicer weather to wander through the grounds, eating ice-cream, and trying to decide on our favourite flower
Oh, and taking lots of photos…
A few notes…
- Buy tickets for Anne Frank’s House online well before you arrive – or expect to queue for a while
- Learn the difference between a coffee shop and a cafe (you may be interested in both)
- So many Dutch people speak perfect English, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try a bit of Dutch (unlike me!)
- Be aware that trying to take a bike lock home to the UK in your hand language may interest airport security… (oops!)
- It can take as little as 45 minutes to fly from Birmingham to Amsterdam – quicker than Leicester to Birmingham!