On Tuesday we woke up pretty early and rushed round the house, packing last minute bits and bobs and preparing for the travel. The journey to Amsterdam was actually incredibly short, the flight taking us less than an hour in the end. When we arrived it was barely afternoon. Our hotel was lovely and just outside the City Centre, meaning it was cheaper but not miles away. We quickly unpacked and then headed out to explore the city more, as we wanted to desperately see Anne Frank's House before it closed. The queue was long but we managed it. I have to say it's a very emotional experience, and I completely understand why Hazel Grace from 'The Fault In Our Stars' struggled up those stairs! They are so steep! We weren't allowed to take pictures inside but I came out of it feeling very sad and with a burning desire to read her diary at some point soon. After that we had a look at the lovely canal views and had dinner before heading back to the hotel.
Wednesday was probably my favourite day of the three. In the morning, while we were eating breakfast, it snowed! Not for long of course and it barely had time to lay but I haven't seen snow in such a long time that it was still exciting to me. Our first stop was the Van Gogh museum! Museum entrance fees are very expensive in Amsterdam and this was one I really wanted to visit. I learnt so much here about Van Gogh's life and the aim behind a lot of his paintings. 'Starry Night' wasn't there which was a little disappointing, especially as they'd also taken down 'Sunflowers' to learn more about it. Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous collection and there were a great deal of paintings by other artists that related to or inspired Van Gogh's work which I enjoyed.
On Wednesday afternoon, after eating bagels for lunch, Mat and I caught the train to a small village outside of Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans. This was the absolute highlight of the entire trip and it really deserves so many more visits than it gets (though I enjoyed the peace and quiet). It's dubbed the Windmill Village for a reason: it's home to a ton of working mills, some of which are the last of their kind! The village itself is filled with some wonderful shops that sell souvenirs and food (particularly chocolate and cheese) that are made locally. I just found it such a quaint and charming place to explore and we easily filled half a day there. Upon our return to the hotel, after a small issue with the trams, we ordered some food to the hotel and had a lovely evening in.
Thursday was our last full day and we spent a good portion of the morning relaxing and planning what to to in the City Centre with our afternoon. In the end, we decided to walk through Rembrandtpark first (which was right next to the hotel) and quickly pop into the adorable petting farm they have there before going further in. Mat and I opted to go on a Canal Cruise and in the process learnt more about Amsterdam's history, before walking back towards a Pancake restaurant I wanted to eat at! All in all it was a more laid back day in our holiday which came at a bit of a relief, and ended our wonderful trip.
Friday was spent travelling so we actually arrived back in England late Friday morning and spent the day catching up with things that needed doing. It was such an enjoyable few days off that I was a little sad to have to go back to work on Saturday but the shift itself was pretty quick and I had another lovely day off to relax on Sunday! What a wonderful week!
- 'Radio Silence' by Alice Oseman: Approved by Netgalley (26/02)
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed In The Last Year That Weren't My Usual Reads