Sunday, 2 September 2018

28 Hours in Amsterdam

Less than a week after arriving home from Paris, Alex and I realised we had caught the travel bug and decided to book another trip. Fast forward to 29th August and we were back on the Eurostar, this time to Amsterdam. I've always wanted to go to Amsterdam, and being a fan of Eurostar and decidedly not a fan of planes, I was very happy when they finally opened up a London to Amsterdam route in May.

We originally booked to stay from 29th-31st, but something important came up for Alex on the 31st and then I got a GP appointment, so - not wanting to cancel the whole thing, hell no - we just cancelled the last day and got our money back for that. It ended up being fine, and I feel like I saw everything I wanted to see.

After an eight hour shift at work, four hours of sleep, and then eight hours of travelling, we made it to the AirBnB which was about 45 minutes from the centre of Amsterdam. Here it is if you want to have a nosy. It's a private room in a large house, with private access and a terrace. We didn't actually meet our hosts (which I don't care about to be honest because ew, socialising) but we couldn't fault the place at all. I mean, the bed was four-and-a-half Ambers in width. I measured.

Literally the comfiest bed I have ever slept in. I tried to sneak it into my rucksack but surprisingly it didn't fit.

After we got settled, we went straight to the Vondelpark. We had a wander, and took all of the speeding cyclists as an opportunity to get used to walking on the right...

Next we went to the Damrak, a main street leading off Centraal Station, in search of food. Instead, we hit distraction after distraction after distraction. I was on a mission to secure 1) a postcard, 2) a magnet, and 3) a novelty pen for my step-dad (which ended up being a pen with a massive pink tulip on the end. You're welcome for the quality gift.) In true British fashion I was also amused to see all of the weed. We're so sheltered. Bless us.

Then we popped into McDonald's (don't worry, we popped into an actual restaurant later) for a bite to eat, before spontaneously going to... the Sex Museum. OMG. Guys. WTF? Most hilarious €5 I've ever spent. Walking in, we were treated to, um, certain noises coming from two mannequins in a cupboard. And then we discovered all of the motion activated animatronics, such as a bum on the wall that made a noise giving multiple people almost-heart attacks, and a man who would appear from the shadows and open his trench coat...

Need I say more? I'll spare you the pictures (and video, which I hilariously sent to all of my friends. And my parents. Again, you're welcome for the quality gift, guys.) In addition to those fun parts of the museum was an entire room of nudes from the 1800s, and a selection of cakes that said things like 'Have the breast birthday, Rob!' Not forgetting the two six-foot penises that I made Alex stand next to for a photo. I'll spare you that as well.

It was great. Genuinely. A wacky, creepy, hilarious gem.

After that, we went for crêpes at Pancake Corner. I have actual heart eyes just looking at this.

By that point, it was 10pm and pouring it down, so we made our way back to the apartment and I got in the four-and-a-half-Ambers bed. Sleep, beautiful sleep.

The next day, we packed, had breakfast in the garden, and then left at 11am as it was our check-out time. And so, duh, we went to the Red Light District. Isn't that what everyone decides to do over breakfast? Anyway, I was facing the canal, innocently looking at my camera settings, when I heard a tap on a window behind me. Reader, all I saw was a woman's naked knee poking out by a red velvet curtain, and that's all I needed to see.

I kind of loved it, just because we're not open about that kind of thing here at all. I guess it was a novelty. But what I loved even more was the Anne Frank museum, where we went next. Having read her diary as a child, I've wanted to visit her house for over a decade, and actually going into the house where she hid for those years was so surreal. Seriously, it was incredible, the best museum I have ever been to. Unfortunately (but understandably) photos weren't allowed in any part of the building, so I don't have anything to show for it, but it really was amazingly and sensitively done. I devoured every single piece of information they gave. Anne Frank is one of my heroes.

I bought a book and some postcards in the gift shop, and then we had lunch in their cafe. We had a fair amount of time before our train home, but not quite enough to do anything substantial, so we wandered around and I got distracted by the American Book Centre, an amazing bookshop where I wanted everything. I also got some chocolate ice cream. Obvs.

The journey home was loooong. I forgot to buy train snacks. Not one but two people walked in on me on the toilet (damn you, faulty locks!!!) Trains were cancelling here and there so we were slightly concerned that we would miss our connection in Brussels. But I felt satisfied with the trip and I'm now trying to persuade my parents and, like, all of my colleagues to go to the Anne Frank museum. Plus, I got actual Belgian chocolate in actual Belgium. Um, yes??? Thank you @ the universe?

It was such a wonderful trip, and also quite a big thing considering my anxiety has been absolutely awful recently. Bring on my next trip, which is NYC in just six weeks! If you have any New York recommendations, please comment below or tweet me @MileLongBookS.

Have you been to Amsterdam?

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