Amsterdam

Amsterdam
​Luckily for me I was fortunate enough to be invited by Eurolines to do exactly that! Even better was the fact that I was able to bring along 3 friends for the adventure, and were even given tickets for one of Amsterdam’s house music festivals, 18 Hours. 

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As Eurolines is a coach company with international routes spanning all over Europe our travel was included in the trip. Now, for some an 11-hour coach journey could seem quite daunting. Yet after spending 24 hours on a coach to Salou 2 years running this didn’t phase me.

​We arrived at Victoria Coach Station where we had a super quick check in and were on the coach in no time. (Almost leaving Jaz behind on a bus going to Brussels).

Our driver was quite moody and scary, constantly threatening to drive off  without people, not exactly what you’re looking for when going on a weekend escape. But as soon as ABBA came on the radio he was as happy as could be and sang the whole way.

Overall the bus ran almost 2 hours late, not ideal but I doubt there was any way to avoid this problem (although we did have to detour hugely to drop some people off in Brussels.) We then had to get a tube from the coach station and ended up arriving in Amsterdam at 11pm. We then attempted to navigate our way to the apartment, which was pretty hard in the dark and led to us getting lost twice along the way.

10 minutes later we reached the apartment and were greeted by the most friendly and welcoming lady at the Teatro Apartments. She took us upstairs to our apartment and showed us around before giving us all of her useful information and tips for a great stay – BE WARNED: a lot of stairs in Amsterdam are very steep as the houses are so tall and thin. It was so lovely, with 4 cute single beds all in a row it was perfect for a girlie weekend away. There was also a bathroom and a kitchen/living room area complete with a dining table, which we obviously used as a make up station and pretended we were in Love Island.


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Our awesome Apartment

​We attempted to find the lively area of Amsterdam as it was a Friday night, however,  we clearly spent far too long getting dolled up, and then lost (again) and so things were starting to die down by the time we reached what we thought was the main area for bars. With that we decided just to call it a night and so headed back, stopping off at an irish pub near the apartment for a nightcap where we were fed some weird crisp things. I still have the strange taste in my mouth even now. Ew.

The next morning we woke up nice an early on Saturday and were feeling fresh. We headed to an amazing pancake house for breakfast called ‘Pancakes Amsterdam’ – Inventive. They were absolutely incredible, melt in the mouth. I’m still dreaming about them, 2 of us opted for the Salmon and cream cheese crepe and the other 2 of us chose the Brie, bacon and raspberry. Just Wow. Check it out here: @pancakesamsterdam 

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The most wonderful pancake breakfast at Pancakes Amsterdam
​We then travelled down the road along all of the beautiful canals, (think I got a bit snap happy) and then foind our way to the sex museum – which was only €3! It was an incredibly weird but interesting hour or so, although it may not be suitable for a family trip to the city… I did enjoy sitting on a giant willy though. Highlight of the trip for sure.

​After this we went for a few drinks before returning to the apartment to primp ourselves ready for the festival. 18 Hours is a short train journey away from Amsterdam… BUT, it was via a double decker train, which I found rather exciting – I clearly need to get out more.

We weren’t too sure what to expect from 18 Hours festival but were pleasantly surprised at the number of different warehouses/barns all playing different music, from 80s and 90s to full on techno! We spend the majority of our time sitting by the riverside, which had been nicely lined with beanbags and had a lovely social feel to it. The rest of the night was a slight blur, although I’ve been told it was a lot of fun and we danced the night away – despite some of our group having certain belongings stolen.

The next morning was a struggle to say the least. We woke up to a smell of bacon only to find that it was coming from the café below our apartment. This completely helped our hangovers.
** HANDY TIP: Go to the Bakers and Roasters brunch café and you won’t be disappointed. Serving up traditional brunches alongside New Zealand style foods. It was the best thing ever. (the milkshake sorted me right out). Check it out here: www.bakersandroasters.com or here @bakersandroasters
​Our plan for the day was then to go to the Heineken tour via the flower market and of course the Amsterdam sign, which I have to admit I was pretty disappointed by. I’d imagined thousands of pretty flowers absolutely everywhere but all we were confronted with were bulbs – not particularly fun or pretty to look at. But it could just be that we didn’t walk down far enough?
The Heineken experience was definitely the highlight of this trip. I learnt a lot about the brand and the beer but also had a lot of fun rather than just walking through a museum. There was a lot of interaction throughout, including a simulated sing-along bike ride through Amsterdam, photobooths, virtual pint pulling and tasting sessions. Not to mention the free beer at the end of the experience, it was so fresh that it tasted better than it ever has before. This was swiftly followed by a trip to the Hard Rock Café to fill our bellies – Their fajitas have always been a firm favourite in my eyes.
​That evening we embarked on an adventure to the Red Light District (RLD). We had a few drinks in an average English looking pub (and were joined by a boystrous stag do.) Before we knew it (and barely midnight) the bell rang for last orders and we left in search of a sex show – When in Amsterdam, Right?
Sadly not right. But sadly, as it was a Sunday the whole area was shutting at this time and so we missed out on seeing this L. Instead we went along to Rembrandt Square for a few more drinks and to look around some bars before heading home. A little disappointed by our evening.

​Overall I loved our little trip to Amsterdam. It really is a beautiful city (with lots of beautiful people) and everyone we met was really friendly and helpful. I felt as though three days was a perfect length of time to stay even though I’d have loved to have seen the Anne Frank Museum and take a bike tour of the city.
In hindsight I realise that we should’ve arrived at the RLD earlier in the evening to fit it all in and see more of the buzzing atmosphere. I would definitely recommend Amsterdam to anyone, just make sure you take comfortable shoes with you as you’ll be doing a LOT of walking – especially as the trams are so confusing!

P.s. Also be careful not to get run over by the millions of bicycles (Terrifying)

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