The first thing anyone thinks of when you mention Amsterdam is probably not the food (other local "delicacies" might spring to mind), but it is really how a New Year family trip there started.
At Schiphol airport, men and women in traditional costume were handing out free oliebollen - doughnut-like treats that belie their translated name of oil balls. We scoffed the sugary snacks and casually approached another vendor for seconds, obviously.
Chugging into the city on a short train ride, I caught glimpses of the waterways that wend their way through Amsterdam, reflecting glistening Christmas lights and fairytale facades in their ripples.
At night we headed to - where else - the Red Light District to satisfy curiosity, passing the coffee shop fugs and the smell of Mary Jane. Amsterdam is a city that wears its heart on its sleeve, and while those plying their trade in the Red Light District don't wear much at all, the liberal attitude was refreshing -  that part of Amsterdam anyway is fairly small and really, not that shocking.
The next day started with a trip to Anne Frank's house. It began with an hour of queuing on what was a bitter winter morning, but then there are worse things to endure. The museum itself  was well-executed and thought-provoking and while I was irreverently disappointed the cafe didn't sell Anne Frankfurters, Anne Frankwiches or Anne Frankaccinos, the shop did have replica diaries and little models of the house. There's an Anne Frank app too, for the more technologically-minded.
The afternoon was spent perusing the tourist tat in shops - snaffling free samples of cheese, biscuits and chocolate on the way - and dodging trams and bikes (they really are everywhere).
At night we cruised along some of the canals in a glass-roofed boat while having a rather nice four-course dinner and lots of wine. We could peek into the boat houses floating on the water's edge and appreciated the buildings behind (some artistically illuminated as part of the light festival).
The next morning was spent, slightly fuzzy-headed, at the maritime museum, an elegant building which has a replica of  the Amsterdam, (a Dutch East India Company ship which sunk off the south coast of England on its maiden voyage) moored beside it and could be childishly explored and played in.
After the museum we walked across a bridge to the central train station to catch a tram down to the Van Gogh Museum. While I enjoyed looking at the way the artist's work developed over the years, the place was packed and I was ready to give people a swift elbowing by the end of it.
A stroll around the Vondelpark calmed things though, with parakeets darting overhead and perching serenely in the trees. A power nap then dinner and an early night rounded off the day.
We wandered around the city centre a bit more the following morning, taking one last look at Amsterdam and its clear blue skies, before catching a train back to the airport, where sadly no one was handing out oliebollen.
We were all pretty satiated by that point I think though, but I wouldn't rule out going back for seconds.


  1. Beautiful photos! I've never been to Amsterdam but would love to visit one day

    1. Thank you! Yes you should try and go some day, it's a lovely, quite charming city :)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts