5am Friday morning…. I gave my sleeping babies a kiss on their gorgeous smelling heads and then dashed for the door where my cab awaited.
Upfront Nana and I were heading to Amsterdam for a few nights. Before the kids arrived we used to try and do something special together every year but recently things have been a little crazy to say the least and this was out first trip away together for more than three years. I had mixed emotions…..sadness about leaving my little family for three whole nights, fear because I hate flying and excitement because I knew that we would have the most incredible time together.
I picked Mum up in the cab and we headed to the airport. After the most thorough security checks I have ever experienced, we were soon on EasyJet (which I must say is the most amazing airline if you are a nervous flyer) and 45 minutes later had arrived in what has now become one of my favourite all time cities.
Just in case you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam then can I make a few recommendations:
We stayed at the Radisson Blu which was perfectly placed in the centre. It was down a cute little side road near the canals and whilst it wasn’t what I’d call a traditional/character hotel it had everything you need for the perfect stay….modern, clean, comfortable rooms, a great restaurant with extensive breakfast options, a lovely concierge who is always eager to help…it really was the perfect base for us.
My dinner recommendation if you are a steak fan is Toro Dorado. We had the best steaks we had ever eaten….better even than London’s famous Hawksmoor. The staff were lovely and it was just a great experience.
Culture wise, Anne Frank House is a must. (Buy tickets before you get to Amsterdam). You’ll leave feeling like someone has punched you in the stomach. It is incredibly emotional. I recommend sitting down in the cafe afterwards and reflecting on what you have just experienced. We also loved Rembrandt’s House and The Van Gogh Museum. A boat trip on the canals is lovely and if you end up paying the Red Light District a visit, the Red Light Secrets Museum is deinitely worth a visit…absolutely fascinating and it will give you a great insight into the world of prostitution. One of the most powerful moments was sitting on a stool in front of a large TV screen. As we sat, people started walking past, laughing, staring and perving on us. It was a shocking insight into how incredibly hard it must be to stand behind one of those windows. People so often walk past Amsterdam’s prostitutes, staring at them like they are caged animals. It’s so important to remember that these women are mothers, wives, people like you and me. In certain cases they have been forced into it. They deserve respect.
UFN also insisted on a visit to the Ice bar. We laughed so much that we cried and I got so drunk on 2 shots of Sambuka that I was nearly sick, much to my mother’s (and my) horror. I honestly can’t handle alcohol these days.
Amsterdam is a beautiful, laid back, friendly city. The kind of place that you’ll want to revisit again and again. It was so lovely to share it with one of my best friends in the world.
Have you been? Any recommendations?