For my 21st present, my best friend very generously took me to Amsterdam for a long getaway weekend. It has always been the top city on my ‘places to visit’ list and she knew how badly I wanted to see the canals, go bike riding through the parks and visit Anne Frank House. And that’s exactly what we did.
We went the weekend before Christmas, so everywhere was decked out to celebrate the holiday.
It was a little damp, but we powered through! In all honesty, I was expecting it to be freezing cold considering it was late December, and had even packed my thermals! But it wasn’t that cold, we walked around the city for hours in just our coats and a thin jumper and were fine!
Our first stop was the Rijkmuseum as we knew that it was where the famed ‘I Amsterdam’ sign was and wanted to get some typical tourist snaps. But to our surprise there was also a lovely little christmas market and ice skating rink. Of course, we had to give it a go!
To reboost our energy we had to stop for some food. We ended up having burgers and soup from one of the winter market vendors and it was absolutely delicious – I wish I had bought two! Oh and of course a cheeky hot chocolate with a whipped cream mountain on top!
The next day we hired our bikes and joined the locals cycling around the city and Vondelpark. I thought I was a decent cyclist, turns out I’m not compared to the Dutch! They literally whizz by you, like there Roadrunner or something. I could not keep up!
We also went on a beautiful nighttime canal cruise to explore the Festival of Light. The festival was a specially commissioned project across Europe, whom’s art works were friendship themed to highlight the friendship and kindness between nations. The lights were stunning and a fantastic visual. However due to the fluorescent lights, the pictures unfortunately came out extremely blurry! ):
On our final day, we went on an exploration of the city. We walked for miles and miles just taking in the beautiful sites of Amsterdam. We found a lovely little bar, Elsa’s, and had a yummy dinner before we carried on our exploration.
We also went to Anne Frank House, one of the highlights of our trip. We had booked our tickets in advance as we were advised to by friends whom had to queue nearly three hours to get in! We presented our e-ticket at the door and was let in straight away, no queuing necessary.
We toured the neighbouring house which told the well known story of the Frank family and there friends, including those on the outside who risked everything in order to keep there friends alive. It was not until we went through the infamous bookcase to the Annex that everything was put into perspective. The Annex was empty, the walls stricken and bare with recreation mockups in the centre of the room displaying how the family had the space organised and a detailed explanation of who slept where and the relationships between them. The space was so eerie and haunting and equally emotional. There was about 20 people in each room as we moved along and yet it still felt incredibly cold, I could not imagine how lonely, cold and isolated it must of been for the family to live in. Especially the young children.
No photography was allowed in the museum or Annex to respect the history and the families’ memory but also to make sure the artefacts such as Anne’s Diary was not damaged by the flash and remained in tact for others to see. The museum was extremely emotive and I would recommend it to anyone to intends on heading to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam really is a beautiful city and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys culture, history and just general fun. There is something for everyone to do that, we could of done so much more but only had so much time – maybe another trip is in order…
I had one of the best trips ever, so MAJOR thank you goes to my bestie ❤