Monday 3 July 2023

A Weekend In Amsterdam

 Just a casual 3 months? since my last blog post... I wanted to share our recent trip to Amsterdam. I mentioned in my last few posts, blogging has taken a backseat for me over the past year or so but every so often I still want to pop up when I actually have something worth sharing. This blog has been a big part of my life for a long time now and I still want to keep it going in some way. Our long-awaited trip to Amsterdam was something I knew I wanted to share so I hope you enjoy reading about it!Amsterdam had been on our travel list for quite some time and it was one of the places we were thinking of going for our honeymoon in 2018 but we settled on Paris eventually. Since then we got Bear which put a stop to trips abroad for a while then covid hit which delayed things even more and after that, we were just enjoying going on trips as a family and exploring more of the UK. We decided at the start of 2023 though, this was the year we really wanted to get abroad again though and Amsterdam was pretty much at the top of our list again. As always, I did so much research in the run up the trip, I just love finding out as much as I can and we settled on staying in Zaandam, a city just outside the centre of Amsterdam. It probably worked out a little bit cheaper staying there and getting the train into Amsterdam each day but to be honest the best thing about it was seeing another area of Amsterdam which we probably wouldn't have ventured out too in this trip otherwise and it was stunning! Zaandam genuinely doesn't even look real, it's like something from a movie set, a lot of buildings are very Wes Anderson like so if you're a fan of that, I'm sure you'll get what I mean by the photos. We spent our first evening just walking around exploring and taking photos and it was just a lovely start to the trip.Our next day was one of two full days where we could head into the centre of Amsterdam with no major plan aside from a few places dotted around I'd made note of and just explore. We got out nice & early and headed straight along through the centre until we found Melly's Cookies, a really cute little cafe which did a delicious mocha and the yummiest caramel filled cookie. I wish we'd had chance to go back as they had so much I wanted to try. We then did lots of walking around the canals, strolled upto Anne Frank's House and then spontaneously hopped on one of the canal cruises. I am SO glad we did this. I find a boat tour or bus tour in a new city is just such a great way to get some basic information about the place, see things you probably wouldn't have otherwise and also have some much needed chill time for an hour or so. We did so much walking that first day that by the time we got on the boat, I was so happy to just sit for a little bit and our tour guide was great.After that it was time for lunch and of course TikTok had me hooked me in with all of the Amsterdam food recommendations, one of the main ones being Fabel Friet. It was super busy but worth the wait. The fries were topped with parmesan cheese and we got mayo on one and spicy mayo on the other but they had such a huge range of sauce to choose from, I think they'd be something for everyone. We then headed to Van Stapele to pick up some of their amazing cookies. They only do one flavour and that's all they need as they do it so well, we very nearly went back to bring some home.After that it was just an afternoon walking around the city (some of it in mad rain) stopping for stroopwaffle, souvenirs and other bits and bobs and despite how tired we were at the end of it, I'm glad we saw how much we did on the first day.Our next day was a bit more chilled as we'd already seen so much but as we were blessed with really good weather that day, it was nice to just do some sightseeing with no real plan. We started with a trip to the Tony's Chocolonely store in Dam Square. It's only small but it's full of pretty much every flavour chocolate you could want and we definitely bought ourselves some to bring home. One of the main places I really wanted to visit whilst in Amsterdam was Winkel43 for their famous Apple Pie. I'm not kidding when I say this has been on my travel bucketlist for years. I absolutely love any kind of Apple Pie and this has the best reviews and has done for years. We expected it to be busy, especially with it being a weekend, and it was but so worth queuing. The apple pie exceeded all expectations, the pastry was incredible, the apple was soft but not mushy, the cinnamon flavour was lovely and the cream on top went with it perfectly. I'd go back in a heartbeat for another slice.With it being a Saturday, it turns out there was a market on nearby and this had some real hidden gems. Lovely bits of clothing, gorgeous souvenirs, baked goods, hot food. A must visit if you get chance.I didn't end up taking tons more photos that day as I was just enjoying walking around taking it all in but one place I still have to mention is Flo's Deli where we went for lunch. OMG the best bagel I have ever had in my life. I can't and probably won't stop thinking about it.After a bit more exploring we headed back to the hotel for the evening to get ready for our flight home the next day. The following morning we had one last look at Zaandam before getting the train to the airport and then before we knew it we were back in Manchester and driving home. 

I'm not a huge fan of flying and this was my first time on a plane in I don't even know how many years so I'm glad I managed to overcome my anxiety about it and go on a trip I'd wanted to go on for such a long time. I'm not sure I'll be wanting to fly everywhere all of a sudden but I'm definitely thinking about where we could go next as we have so many city breaks in mind for the future.If you're thinking about a trip to Amsterdam, I couldn't recommend it enough. There's definitely lots we still have to see that we just didn't prioritise this time so it's just an excuse to go back in a few years I think! I couldn't get over how beautiful the city was, the houses are just extraordinary and I keep thinking back to it, wishing it hadn't been over so quickly but that's always the way with holidays isn't it.

I'd love to know if you've been to Amsterdam and if you have any recommendations for our next visit?

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