Sunday 24 September 2017

48 hours in Amsterdam

My lovely dad turned 60 at the start of September, so as a surprise me, my mum and sister booked him a family trip to Amsterdam for the weekend. It is a city I have always wanted to visit, many of my friends have been and have always come back with positive reviews. 

We flew out at 5pm on the Friday night and the flight was surprisingly very quick. We only took hand luggage so it was very easy on the other side once we had left the plane. The airport is huge, probably the biggest I have been in. They have fantastic public transport at the airport - trains, trams and buses. We took a train (which was double decker and I was super excited!) to our hotel which we a very simple journey. The station which we were staying near was called Zuid. Once we had vacated the train, it was a short three minute walk to our hotel. We was staying in the Crowne Plaza, which was a beautiful hotel. It was all bright and white, and the rooms were lovely.

On the first evening, once in our hotel we went for a few drinks in the hotel lobby and then settled down for an early night. On the Saturday morning we got up bright and early, headed down for breakfast in the hotel which was offered a great selection of food. We headed on the tram to the Anne Frank Museum, which we had booked online before we set off on the trip. Heads up, that if you want to visit this museum unless you have booked a head online, you can only visit after 3.30pm. This is a must see for me, me and my family all have a huge interest in history and this was a real eye opening and spine tingling experience. As you would expect the place was packed with tourists, however at some times as some of the rooms are very small and there is thin ladders into different sections of the house and it was quite claustrophobic. This was my favourite museum of the trip hands down. 

We then headed into the main section of the town and ended up at the Cheese Museum. It is no hidden fact that my family eat a lot of cheese. This shop had every cheese under the sun that you could think of, we you go in you have a taster stick and you can try every cheese available in the shop. It was fabulous there were so many different varieties. By the end of it we didn't need our dinner! We did come out with two different types of cheese after a big family discussion which took place in the middle of the shop. A must visit if you are a cheese lover!

We decided to eat that night at Pancakes at Amsterdam Centraal. You can't go to The Netherlands and not have dutch pancakes. As well as my love for cheese, I also share a lot of love for pancakes, I should just move to Amsterdam it is meant to be! We had to queue for quite a while to get a seat in here, but it was worth it. The pancakes were incredibly tasty, and they had a huge amount of variety of the menu. They had lots of different pancakes already made up on the menu, but you also had the option of building your own which is what I did. I optioned for the traditional pancakes over the american version. I added strawberries and cream to mine, nothing too spectacular but boy did it taste like heaven.  

On the Sunday we decided to go on the Amsterdam hop on hop off tours. We were in Amsterdam for just 48 hours meaning we did not have a lot time to explore the entire city. We have used the hop on hop off buses in other cities and we always enjoy using time. I think they are great way to get a snap shot of a city. We saw the main central places within the city on the bus, but we also saw the outer parts of the city. I learnt a lot regarding when the city was built, we saw the only surviving windmill, and I learnt the fact that a lot of the buildings are wonky due to the sinking of the land over the centuries. With the ticket we also got to go on a river cruise which was great and once again educational. I loved going down all the smaller canals as well as the grand canal. We got to see the ballet and opera house, and I loved seeing the city from an outside view looking in over the city. 

Our flights on the way home were at 8pm meaning we really did get a full day on the Sunday. We spent the rest of the day doing a spot of shopping around the city. I did not realise how big the city really was, and the bus tour really opened our eyes to it as once we had eaten some dinner we ventured out into the depths of the city to the streets we had seen on the tour. Me and my sister are huge shopaholics and it definitely did not disappoint. There was a 5 floor Primark, Abercrombie and Fitch and lots of our other favourites stores. Our cases were definitely full to the brim and needed assistance closing on the way home. Before heading back to the airport, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for our final dinner. The burger I had was amazing, and it finished the break off perfectly.

Overall, I had a fabulous time in Amsterdam and it was the perfect destination for a quick city break. The flight on the way home only took an hour which was great as when we landed back in Manchester it was not too late. There are lots of other aspects of the city we could definitely explore if we were to ever return. The most surprising part of the trip was realising just how beautiful the city is. There is over 250 canals and they are all lined with flowers and blooming trees. The houses and buildings are all still in the traditional dutch style with the wooden outskirts and are so beautiful to look at. One of the best city breaks I have ever been on.

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