I only expected to be making one reunion this year…
And I’m not talking about my high school one – dear God no! – but rather my upcoming standard stop in BCN as usual.
But with my September getaway seeming a LONG way away I couldn’t help but trawl the holiday calendar at work looking for any possible chink of light in July and August… The thought of spending every single Monday – Friday of the (official) summer months shut away in the design studio sending me into a cold sweat!
However it was looking pretty desperate until, on probably my third browse through, I finally saw a Thursday and Friday free that blissfully gave me one long summer weekend to make the most of… I promptly snapped it up, and after a few minutes of scanning the EasyJet website I made a prompt choice:
I’m heading to Amsterdam again!
Yes I’m heading back for a few days of fun in the place that officially inflicted me with the travel bug.
Now granted it wasn’t my first choice, as really I wanted to head somewhere new and add another country to the list. But with flights to the Dutch capital being an absolute bargain – especially in comparison to pretty much any other destination I could head to from Bristol – and it coming up on 5 years since the first Amsterdam adventure the time felt right to make a return.
And I’ll be returning as a relatively experienced traveller this time, rather than the wide-eyed, naive tourist who was making his first trip abroad for 14 years. So it’s safe to say that the liberal nature of the ‘Dam won’t come as such an awakening to me…
But what makes this trip particularly exciting is that I’ve actually been able to round up a small crew to join me on the short hop over the water, including a couple of the crew from my original Amsterdam trip. So for the first time in four years, I’ll be heading abroad with friends!
See as much as I absolutely love travelling solo or with my girlfriend, I have been looking forward to this moment a lot, especially as it gets harder and harder to organise adventures like this with most people’s growing commitments. So for the three short days we have I’m definitely going to make the most of having a European excursion with some amigos. Now we just need to sort some damn accommodation…
So what am I hoping to see and do in and amongst the canals of the ‘Dam this time around?
Well for a start I’ll be getting my photography boots on, as the last time around I made absolutely no effort to take photos (except for at the Amsterdam ArenA) as I was too busy taking in the experience of being abroad myself. Probably a good thing mind, as I might have made the faux-pas of wandering around de Wallen with my camera out or something daft… But I’ll be hoping for the summer weather to be kind so I can get some scenic street shots.
We never got round to checking out any of the city’s main parks last time either, so again assuming the weather doesn’t let us down I’ll be keen to head for the Vondelpark and Museumplein to sample the summer atmosphere in the city’s green spaces. And hey, as I’m with friends maybe we’ll even be complete tourists and get some snaps at the “I Amsterdam” letters!
It’ll also be good to sample some big city nightlife again for the first time in a while too. Whilst living in this secluded, coastal part of the world has it’s perks, weekend nights are definitely not one of them. So, if only for the change of scene and faces, bring on the bright city lights and über expensive drinks… Actually, good thing I don’t really drink!
Of course, you must be thinking that I can’t go to Amsterdam and completely avoid some of the more, shall we say, liberal aspects that it’s renowned for? And it’s true, I’m actually really looking forward to checking out the coffeeshop scene again!
Even though I personally refrain from that activity, I’m sure some of the rest of the crew will be keen to enjoy the local “products”. And last time I really enjoyed the – unsurprisingly – mellow vibe of several coffeeshops we visited. I’m particularly keen to check out if the awesome De Kroon is still about on one of the streets off Damrak… Maybe the cool coffeehouse cat will still be chilling in there too!
As far as a certain red decor draped area goes, I think one short evening wander – simply for the Amsterdam first-timers’ benefit – will be more than enough. There’ll definitely be no Bananabar action for me this time, that’s for sure! And come to think of it, hasn’t it closed down anyways…? But yeah, this aspect of the city definitely isn’t to my taste!
But away from my brief brainstorming who knows what else we’ll discover during our short trip to the ‘Dam. With only 72 hours to play with it’s safe to say we’ll be making it pretty jam packed, and I have no doubt that there’ll be several new funny stories to come from this one!
It’s the Amsterdam return. And I for one cannot wait! I’ve managed to squeeze in a brief taste of 2013 European summer, now roll on Thursday 8th August…
Are you heading to Amsterdam this summer? What are you looking forward to seeing and doing there?