After Bruges we drove straight to Amsterdam where Team Puglia (that’s the Italian’s family) waited for us. They had already been sightseeing, which was very convenient as they could tell us what to do and where to go.
Uncharacteristically, I had done zero research for this trip. I just jumped in the car and didn’t really mind what we got up to. Getting away from London and seeing something else was the main perk. Apart from one thing, I wanted to see Keukenhof.
Only open a few months of the year in spring, we had timed the tulip season perfectly. Although the Italian’s dad had an issue with his knee and was limping around, we managed to cover almost all of the park in just a few hours. It was so beautiful.
My favourite was the orchid house, which felt unreal. I’ve never seen so many orchid species, hanging, climbing and posing for the smattering cameras. They were by far the most photogenic plants in the park.
The sea of tulips were very impressive too and it was neigh on impossible to just walk past them without taking a photo. Hence we have an abundance of flower photos on the blog today, I hope you don’t mind.
After our little wander, we drove back to Amsterdam and hit the Van Gogh Museum. As usual with high profile museums, they tend to be packed during weekends and this was no exception. It was a compact museum however, so going through the collection didn’t take too long. The Sunflowers and The Bedroom were obvious highlights, but I regret not having an audio guide. You need to geek out properly if you want to learn something, otherwise you just stare, scratch your head and think ‘well, that was neat, but WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?’. Tired from a full day of walking, we went back to the our hotel and sat apathetically in the hotel lounge, trying to gather strength for dinner.
The hotel was a total hit. When I went to Amsterdam ten years ago I was less than impressed. Our canal ride was ok, I found the city centre rather ugly and I had a terrible flu that ruined the entire holiday. It’s safe to say that I was completely underwhelmed by Amsterdam. This time, I loved it. And it might be because our hotel was in such a nice location, away from the main hen and stag dos. It was quiet without being boring and the cyclists just kept swishing past us looking rather happy with life. The hotel, Sir Albert, excelled at being exactly what we wanted. A very nice boutique hotel with plush beds and a delicious breakfast buffet. The aforementioned living room/lounge was a plus, too. Why doesn’t all hotels have an open fire?
Team Puglia didn’t stay with us at Sir Albert, but they had found their own gem of a hotel in Jordaan, also a very nice area, where the Italian and I had magical coffee (not magical in that sense, maybe the right word would be quality) in a stripped industrial-styled cafe. In that same area we spotted Moooi,a very cool Dutch furniture and lighting company. Sadly it was closed when we came back the next day.
On our last day, Team Puglia had an early flight and we were left to stroll the streets of Amsterdam ourselves. We started with breakfast on a very cosy, leafy street, which made me immediately want to move to Amsterdam and buy a bike. It was 20 degrees, sunny and a Monday – there’s no better combo. Challenge me if you think there is.
We then ventured in to the main city centre and jumped on a canal boat. A city with water is always more interesting than a city without, and Amsterdam sure has lots of water to boast about. Not worth boasting about however, is the main square, Dam. It’s as riveting as Piccadilly Circus in rush hour. We quickly turned away from the tourist frenzy and continued along the canals instead.
The day was spent just walking around, admiring the wonky houses, stopping for a bite to eat and then doing some more walking. It’s amazing when you don’t rush around to see everything and you’re just happy to view the city casually strolling. I think we both felt a bit smug in the car on our way home, it couldn’t have been a more relaxing holiday.
Although we travel a lot, it’s not often we immediately say we want to go back, but with Amsterdam I could see ourselves getting in the car again, taking off to Tulip town.