Instead of giving gifts for our anniversary, Darryl arranges a day out for us both so we have memories to look back on, which I absolutely love. Last week was our six year anniversary and true to form, he had a surprise up his sleeve. I love and hate surprises but he’s arranged some amazing days out in the past, so I had complete faith in him, but he’d dropped a few weird hints this year which I won’t like made me a little apprehensive as to what we were going to be doing. The day before he revealed the surprise I was convinced that we were going to be climbing a mountain. That says a lot about the kind of hints he gave me doesn’t it! Well all of those hints turned out to be lies, because the next morning he old me we were going to Amsterdam for the day! Definitely got myself a keeper here.
So the next morning, our alarms went off at 2am (ouch) and we headed to Luton Airport for our 5.55am flight. I’m literally obsessed with airports so the minute we set foot inside the departure lounge, I was already making a beeline for coffee and breakfast. What I didn’t think about is that if I eat breakfast at 5am, I’m definitely going to need at least another two breakfasts to get me through the morning. What’s the news you dread when you’re sat there on the plane ready to go, wary of how much you’ve got to cram into one single day? A delay. Because of a huge storm in Amsterdam we didn’t actually take off until 8.30am, and even when we eventually arrived at 10am their time, they then spent half an hour faffing around trying to find somewhere to park the plane. Classic EasyJet. One (seriously) delayed flight and a hugely inconvenient debit card situation at the train station later, we finally made it into central Amsterdam.
First stop, food. I wasn’t kidding when I said I needed more breakfast, and when in Amsterdam, you stroopwaffle. We bought a pack of ten to see us thought the day, and then straight after we stopped off to get one of these amazing puffy salami pizzas. I have no idea what the base was but it was literally the best pizza I’ve ever had. We sat eating our food in a town square, in 30 degree sunny weather. It doesn’t get better than that does it?
We spent the first couple of hours exploring the area around the center and then Jordaan, which is a stunning, quaint little neighborhood not too far from the train station. We went up to wear the Anne Frank house is but we didn’t go in because we were so short for time and still had plenty more to see. This area is canal central, full with beautiful boats and surrounded by gorgeous buildings.
Next up we visited the Flower Market, which is called Bloemenmarkt. This market was huge! It would have been good to venture out of the city to see the tulip fields if we’d had more time, but the Flower Market is definitely a must see on its own. The area was bustling and everywhere you looked, you saw bags and bags of flower bulbs and tulip souvenirs.
Next up, we visited the I Amsterdam sign, which is one of the main attractions. It was difficult to get good photos because it was so busy, but it was a good area to visit, and the reflection pool which sits opposite was amazing to paddle around in because it was so hot. The sun was definitely at its peak at this point so we ordered a couple of beers from the bar/restaurant nearby before setting off again. Any excuse.
We spent the next few hours wandering through gorgeous parks and little back streets before looping back around to the De Gooyer Windmill, which is the tallest wooden windmill in the country, and then the Artis Zoo, before finding ourselves back at the center almost six hours later. By this point we were absolutely shattered and massively dehydrated, so we stopped off to get a drink and eat more stroopwaffles before we carried on towards our final stop – De Wallen, otherwise known as The Red Light District. I knew this was an ‘interesting’ area, but I think I underestimated it. Turning into a little street to be surrounded by women in windows wasn’t what I expected, put it that way! I now realise how naive that was. Pretty area though, all things considered!
It was almost time to catch our train back the airport but not before grabbing a quite bite to eat and spending the last of our Euros on poffertjes, which are basically mini pancakes topped with icing sugar and chocolate sauce (yes they’re as good as they sound). Despite our flight delay in the morning we definitely made the best of the day, and to be honest I don’t think we could have handled any longer walking around in that heat! Eight hours was perfect. I hadn’t ever been to this part of the world before so I didn’t know what to expect, but the Dutch culture was amazing. Everywhere you looked you saw bikes, flowers, little streets, canals and cafes. It was honestly beautiful. It would have been nice to visit some of the museums but I’ll see that as an excuse to go back one day! It was ambitious to do what we did in a day, and our 30,000 step count proves that, but it was worth the blisters and the sweaty flight back home which – surprise surprise – was also delayed. 21 hours on the go having only had 2.5 hours sleep the night before almost killed me but that’s what makes a quick city break so special. Thank you for the best anniversary Darryl!