Road Trip - First Stop Amsterdam



Sometimes the first line of a blog post comes easily. Other times your mind is clogged with croissants, waffles and day time drinks, and in these cases the first line is harder to find. You see I've had my head blissfully in the clouds while on a road trip, concentrating only on which turning did iPhone Maps mean, that last one? and/or where shall we eat next then?

Without a clear plastic bag or weight restriction in sight, my liquids mingled nicely with my non liquid toiletries as we took the 35 minute crossing on the euro tunnel (blink and you're there) before driving on to our first stop. The land that maintains a satisfactory turnover for manufacturers of red neon lights. Amsterdam.



Having been to Amsterdam before we'd already visited some of the sites that tend to be up there on your places to see list; 

Anne Franks house
Van Gogh Museum
Heineken Experience
Sex Museum (only 4 euros)
Canal boat tour (I still get annoyed about the group of girls who chatted so loudly I couldn't hear my tour headset properly - "I'm trying to tourist over here shut the f*ck up" is what I should've said but didn't. Mad and wearing a headset? Nah!) 

This time we ate and drank our way round the city without the rush of trying to cram everything you possibly can in, which you can feel pressured to do the first time you visit somewhere. At the risk of sounding too wanky I love the ambience of Amsterdam. If you want to take in a gallery or a museum you can, if you want to relax canal side with a glass of fizz you can, if you want to pay 50 euros for 15 - 20 minutes with a lass in the red light district you can. Basically whatever floats your boat barge and I love it.

We stayed at the Ramada Apollo Hotel which appealed initially for its on-site parking although the roof top bar with panoramic city views turned out to be a huge plus point. 

The hotel is a 15 minute tram ride to the City centre although we walked in each day. I know this might put some off but we stumbled across some gorgeous places to eat completely by chance while we walked, which worked out well for our munchies by proxy which is totally a thing.








We stumbled upon Koala Republic during the walk from our hotel to the City centre and it is completely up my street. 
Healthful and balanced plant based foods in the nicest minimal surroundings. Give me a freshly prepared smoothie and I'm yours, especially while travelling when the temptation to eat sluggish foods is huge.

As I write that last paragraph I'm choosing to repress the memory of the end of the day and a cone of chips.

As I write that last sentence I'm choosing to repress the end of the trip and an unquantifiable amount of freshly baked baguettes and tarte au citrons that broke both my will power and my waistline. 

I started out with the best intentions anyway with a dreamy acai bowl that was every bit as good as it looks.






I found my spiritual home in the shape of T's Tea Bar with an entire wall of loose leaf tea to choose from. The iced ginger and lemon tea was a lovely and light, refreshing lift.

Continuing in the vein of stumbling upon, unbeknown to us Amsterdam Gay Pride had returned to the city to celebrate LGBTQ equality. The streets were paved with rainbow ticker tape during a canal parade as nine days of parties, exhibitions, concerts and other events drew to a close. 

Hundreds of people lined the canals to watch the parade as the party atmosphere spread throughout the narrow streets. Even the busker outside a pub who sang Purple Rain badly, had people up dancing.

So we didn't take the romantic stroll I'd imagined we would but then again maybe a few beers and a sing along with a Prince impersonator is better for the soul anyway. It's "IN the purple rain" though pal not "TO the purple rain."





 




Purple Rain aside we visited the Amsterdam Conference Centre to see media entrepreneur Lex Harding's collection of PopArt which included work by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring.  
I have a particular soft spot for Roy Lichtenstein ever since I went to see an exhibition of his at the Tate London and left laden with posters from the gift shop after a few pre-exhibition drinks.  Never drink before entering a gift shop.





We rounded off our weekend with a ten minute free ferry ride from Amsterdam Central Station across the river to the NDSM area for a food festival that was taking place. The area which was once one of the biggest ship yards in the world is now an industrial setting that hosts various pop up events and performances. "A city within a city" and worth keeping an eye on what's on if you're in that neck of the woods.

We whiled away most of the day sampling from food trucks, listening to local bands and being tempted by a few items from the vintage stalls. 'Tempted' only that is. I'm anti-drinking and shopping  these days kids. 






There's always so much going on in Amsterdam. Whether you've been before or not there's always something new to try and in the prettiest of settings. It's not all ladies in windows and space cakes, unless of course you want it to be.


Thanks so much for reading the first leg of our road trip. I'm currently drowning in holiday snaps while I put together our second leg. Antwerp.

I must not get distracted ... Did someone say Stroopwafel?

Elaine x

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2 comments

  1. What a great place ! Amsterdam is on my list of places to see. Thanks for sharing .

    http://allornothing-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Ah thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment too :))

      I'd definitely recommend Amsterdam, so much fun stuff to do there! xx

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