I have no idea why it's taken me 29 years to visit Amsterdam. It might have taken me a while to get there but It took me about 45 minutes after checking in for me to decide that it's easily one of my new absolute favourite places in the whole world. The best part of this realisation is that it's SO easy to get to. Joel and I hopped on our City Jet flight from London City Airport, which incidentally have now both become hands down my new favourite airport and airline. It's just so convenient and SO QUICK to get through that you feel so much more relaxed than any other airport i've been to and as flying can make me quite anxious, for me that's a really big plus. Neither of us had flown City Jet before but i literally couldn't recommend it more. The flights are really reasonable, they fly to loads of places (take a look here) and you get looked after really well (free drinks and nibbles on a 45 minute flight thank you very much!).
If only i had any more holiday left for this year i would be booking flights back in a heartbeat.
Anyway, after a really seamless flight we took the train to the centre of Amsterdam. Rather bizzarely a stranger decided to buy our train tickets for us which was kind of him albeit a little bit odd! Once we arrived we took the short walk to our hotel, the Hoxton. Incidentally one of the most gorgeous hotels i've ever stayed in.
Once we checked in we headed straight to dinner at the hotel, since it was late we didn't want to go too far from home on our first night. The hotel restaurant was exactly what we wanted with delicious food and superb cocktails, even if we weren't staying it would have been well worth a visit. After dinner we went out to explore the neighbourhood. Nose in my google maps i directed us straight to the red light district (when in Rome and all that). We strolled for a few hours in the drizzle before calling it a night.
Over the course of the weekend our plans were mainly shaped around various watering holes as usual (will do separate post all on the food) but we managed to fit in a few other things in between. Like cycling through beautiful Vondel Park and all around the city.
One of the best things we did in Amsterdam was visit the Anne Frank house. We booked months in advance and it's the best piece of advice i could give you as the queue on the day is ridiculous. I hadn't ever read Anne Franks diary so went in with relatively little knowledge about what really happened other than what i'd learnt at school. To say it was shocking is an understatement. Not just hearing about the Franks but about the treatment of Jews at that time is truly unimaginable, yet it really happened. It was incredibly moving and i highly recommend it to anyone. Joel bought me the diary for my birthday and i haven't been able to put it down.
The weather was incredibly unpredictable while we were there. One minute it was glorious, the next it was the worst rain you could imagine but it would last maybe 20 minutes before calm was restored and it's as if it never came at all. One of those flash floods unfortunately happened while we were on a canal tour! It was absolutely hilarious, our poor driver had to stay in the rain and direct us under a bridge to take shelter until it passed.
If you're not sold on how incredibly beautiful Amsterdam is by now then i'm not sure what will but here are a few shots we took on our last night which i think capture just how magical a place it really is.
I would go back tomorrow if i could.