So I have told you about my run in Amsterdam, which was great. However, let’s get real – I was in Amsterdam for a hen (bachelorette) party, so the fun definitely outweighed the run.
Here’s what I saw on my travels.
Amsterdam is famous for its cycling culture, but it really has to be seen to be believed. Everyone cycles everywhere. Most people rode old and clunky bikes with big crates on the front in lieu of a basket. The women often look impossibly chic, with handbags in their baskets and their hair perfectly coiffed (with no helmets in sight). Whole families cycle on the roads, with the smallest (or laziest) in trailers. This isn’t a hobby, it’s just getting around.
The Ice Bar
This was my first visit to an Ice Bar. You arrive, and have a drink in the regular bar before donning your coat and heading through to the ice bar itself. At -9.5°C (-14.9°F) it isn’t actually that cold. I had sensibly worn my Converse trainers, but those people wearing sandals did suffer a bit. The music was loud, and we were all dancing to keep warm. The drinks inside the ice bar are served in cups actually made of ice! We only stayed in there for about 15 minutes before heading back to the main bar, where I had an enormous gin and tonic, which helped me to recover. I’m a bloody hero.
The canals in Amsterdam are everywhere, so it seemed only right to see the city on a canal cruise. In an hour, we saw loads from our glass boat, and when the sun came out we sat outside. Most pleasant, despite the lack of booze (an anomaly for this holiday). I have since heard of pancake cruises, which sound very relevant to my interests. I bet they serve wine on one somewhere too. Maybe next time.
Like all good European cities, Amsterdam isn’t short of large squares full of cafes where you can have a coffee and watch the world go by.
The Red Light District
Sorry, no photos from this excursion, despite Matthew’s requests. This really did feel like the party district with huge crowds walking along the canals and pubs and clubs blaring out music. It was fun to visit, but I think we were all happy our hotel was in a calmer area.
Clogs, windmills, tulips and cheese
Okay, so mostly tourist trinkets in the markets. I bought Matthew a Gouda with truffles (yes, “for Matthew”) and a small windmill to go in our garden.
Lots of ladies in fancy dress
Oh, hold on – that was us. As we were there for a hen party, we were all set with the outfits. On Friday night we donned our t-shirts and cone hats, and on Saturday we were crayons! As crayons, we were actually stopped by two young Amsterdam women on bikes, who wanted their photo taken with us. They just stopped in their bike lane (a move that would see your bike thrown under the nearest bus in London – no one cared in Amsterdam) and took a selfie with us all.
I already have visions of Matthew and me returning for a romantic weekend, gliding through the streets on a tandem bicycle….(or some sort of side car, so he can lug me home after a few too many wines…)