Oh man, I’ve really been struggling today and yesterday…
Hitting one of Europe’s best cities just for one flying weekender was always going to take it’s toll, and then add the “it’s Amsterdam” factor in!
I jest though really, as I don’t partake in any substances, and I’ve also decided that I’m pretty much teetotal after having the grand total of 4 drinks in 3 and a half days. That’s particularly impressive if you know the crew I travelled with! So this is just pure tiredness from one busy but brilliant weekend!
It’s a massive relief that I made the snap decision to head back to Amsterdam too, as this time I realised just how much I didn’t manage to see last time, due to being there purely for celebratory reasons. Indeed this time, every inch that I wanted to cover was well covered!
With a pretty late arrival on Thursday night we made a quick turnaround after dropping off our bags and got straight into the city centre. We managed to check out our favourite coffeeshop – De Kroon – from last time for the guys who wanted to get on with, er, sampling the local… “culture” (in their eyes).
A quick tour of De Wallen followed for our amigo Lee who hadn’t previously visited, before we ended up in a locals bar where one random woman decided to come over to us and belt out Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”. Repeatedly. Helped by the seemingly never ending mix of it. Which was brilliant as I got to see my freshly intoxicated friends squirm, whilst sober me and Lee decided to join in with her. What can I say? I have a beautiful falsetto!
Friday saw me and Lee venture off early to stroll the city and allow me to get my photography game on. We wandered around and down to Spui and the surrounding streets before rendezvous-ing back up with our amigos, as the birthday boy Alec’s contacts meant we had free tickets to the Heineken Experience. Not something I would have been interested in, but when it’s free…
After a boat back their need for food saw them eating on the Rembrandtplein, whilst I decided a tourist-trap Argentinian steakhouse was not for me and went off a for a solo stroll, somehow ending up with some amazing noodles! A trip back to the hotel followed before we ended the night on the mentally busy Leidseplein, where the ridiculous prices scared me off and I bolted about 2am back on the night-bus. Mostly because I – along with Lee – knew of a certain surprise headed our way in the morning…
That surprise happened to be our buddy from back home, who decided he fancied a weekend in Amsterdam on Friday night! And here he was at 10.30am on Saturday morning. Amazing! After Beery surprised our stoner amigos (that was one way to wake them up!) me, him and Lee headed down to Centraal and made the decision to rent some bikes from Mac Bike.
Best decision ever!
The rest of the day saw us cruising all over the city, covering Vondelpark, Museumplein, the Rijksmuseum, Albert Kuypmarkt, Oosterpark and the Nemo museum. And yes, we were uber tourists and posed in the mentally busy I Amsterdam letters!
It was one epic day that we were all loving, with us getting to spend the day cruising around in the Amsterdam sunshine. A good 25km must have been cycled by us, and we were shattered afterwards! Although everyone planned for a big night afterwards, only half the crew made it out, and I again decided to bolt before a nightclub – the one we went in 5 years ago actually – was hit by the remaining three!
Due to my lack of drinking I was awake before the rest of the crowd on Sunday, so decided to make use of my bike before I had to give it back and headed out for an early morning cruise in the breezy capital’s western streets. Once everyone was up and we were checked out we again ended up splitting out into two groups, with me, Beery and Lee heading off to wander the canals on the east side of Damrak, whilst the others again went off for their “fix”.
It was a bit of a grey day, so that made it a black and white photography day in the main. We were all pretty tired at this point though, especially with carrying our full bags about too, and it wasn’t long before it was 5pm and time to trek back to Schiphol Airport. As expected, the three days had flown by!
It was brilliant to get back to Amsterdam and finally see everything this time around, and even better that it was mostly in the awesome August sunshine. Renting bikes was an epic experience, as being a massively keen cyclist anyways I’m always happy when on two wheels. There’s no doubting that it’s easily the best way to see the city and it totally made my trip.
Experiencing the city properly this time around though made me quite frankly feel sorry for the large amounts of people that travel over simply to get baked and sit in the streets around Damrak and De Wallen. They honestly don’t realise just how much of an incredible city they’re missing in their little baked bubbles. I of course don’t have anything against smoking and that personally, but if that’s all you go there to do I think it’s a real shame. Still, I guess they’re happy at least…
And yes, that is directed at some of my crowd!
But for me the Amsterdam return was well worth the wait. It ticked every box that I wanted from it this time, and here’s to the next time I hit the amazing Dutch capital’s streets on two wheels!
Anything you guys think I missed whilst in Amsterdam?