I recently wrote about what I hoped to do in Amsterdam whilst I was there on a works trip. As it turned out I didn’t get to do any of the things on my list, due to the amount of free time that was available, but I did manage to see an awful lot of Amsterdam and its Architecture.
We arrived at the Raddison Blu Hotel which is located in a prime spot, walking distance to lots of bars and points of interest, at around 4pm on the Friday. I was very impressed with the hotel. It was clean and comfortable.
After dropping off our bags and freshening up I intended to go and rent a bike with a few of my friends. Unfortunately the bike shop was closing shortly so it wasn’t worth renting the bikes. Instead we strolled along the small paths, constantly hearing bike bells ringing, next to the canals. I quickly realised that Amsterdam was a lovely city despite its sordid reputation.
After a few hours of walking we all headed to the De Schreierstoren bar that sold local draft beer. It was a small and lively room filled with everyone from work. A great atmosphere.
Later that evening people started to branch off for their own dinner reservations. A couple of us ended up heading to a restaurant called Moes that my friend (Kevin) had found as a recommendation in the Lonely Planet guidebook.
Moes did not disappoint. We were greeted by an Argentinian waiter who had a vibrant personality. Everything we asked about was replied with ‘not possible’ – a joke I only assume he tells everyone as a way to get through his shift. He was harmless, fun and friendly so the ‘not possible’ became the joke of the evening.
To share with the table we ordered some dried wild geese sausage which actually turned out to be very tasty. As a main course I opted for hanger steak, a cut of the cow I had never tried before. It was definitely not a patch on fillet but was very edible. The chips that accompanied the meat were hand cut and cooked to perfection.
One of my friends had a burger that, if you are a fan of burgers, looked amazing. My other friend had pork neck which he said was very nice.
After the main we were all feeling very full but were all tempted by the sticky toffee cake with hazelnut ice cream. I am so glad we decided to share it because it was delicious!
We ended up spending the rest of the evening sat in the restaurant chatting. We lost track of time which resulted in the waiter, kindly asking us to leave as they were closing. It was a great evening and I couldn’t have asked for better company.
By the time we left the restaurant it was 12:30am and I was eager to steer the rest of the group back to the hotel in order to go to bed, knowing we all had an early start the following day. The rest of the group ‘my work Dad’s’ were all eager to show me the Red Light District in all its glory so we made our way through the crowds of men that stood watching the women wave, sway and pout in their windows. It was an experience.
The following morning my alarm woke me up suddenly and with tired eyes I made my way down to the dining room for breakfast. The breakfast selection was vast and to a good quality. There were a selection of breads, fruit juices, smoothies and croissants. A hot full english, a continental breakfast of hams and cheeses, cereals, fruit and yoghurt. You were bound to find something you liked.
Promptly at 9am we all congregated in the reception area and were split into tour groups that were accompanied by a guide. I believe the company that we booked the tours through was called Architour and they provided an in depth tour of Amsterdam’s architecture and its history.
The tour I was assigned to took us to a number of different areas in Amsterdam.
The first was the Eastern Docklands where a once-flourishing port was turned into a prominent residential area in the 1900’s.
We then walked to Funenpark which demonstrated a great living and working environment built up in a city-centre that contained sufficient green space.
Feeling rather cold and hungry we all piled into a restaurant for hot soup and cheese bap. I was rather fond of dipping my bap into the tomoato soup so that the cheese melted – delicious.
After lunch we were shown some other various high density residential areas near the harbour area and caught a ferry over to Amsterdam’s youngest icon, the EYE Film Institute.
The EYE was very unusually shaped and could be seen from various points around Amsterdam. Inside there were cinema screens where you could view the latest blockbuster and independent films and exhibitions taking place.
All the walking resulted in tiredness levels reaching an all time high for everyone involved and despite the informative and lengthy tour of Amsterdam, we were all relieved to make it back to the hotel for a nap.
That evening, work had organised a dinner for everyone. We played games around the tables and I tried pumpkin soup for the first time.
The following morning I got up early and enjoyed the delicious breakfast at the hotel. I then wrapped up warm and headed for a stroll around the streets. I managed to buy a magnet of some clogs for my Mum.
Amsterdam in the early morning looks very different to at night. It was peaceful.
I really enjoyed my short but sweet trip to ‘the Dam’ and I will definitely be returning to tick off a few things from my previous list. The Anne Frank Museum being of top priority.
Photo series to follow.