Thursday, July 03, 2014

Jet Setter!!!

At the moment I seem to be on the go all the time!! I have been lucky enough to have had another weekend away . Last weekend I went back to my most favourite of Cities - Amsterdam!!

We had a very early start, a 6am flight from Luton. We had checked in on line, but we had to drop our bags off, so we arrived at the airport at 4.15am. The queue to drop bags was huge! They only had three desks open and the queue was out of the door. I was worried that we would not get through in time. In the end a member of staff called for passengers on the Amsterdam flight to go to another desk , so we eventually checked the bags in !
We then headed to security where I hit another problem. This was the first time that I had been through security since the arrival of my new hip, I have a metal hip, so all the alarms went off. I had the embarrassment of being 'patted' down by a member of staff. It was clear when they used the hand held metal detector over my hip that it was that which was setting the alarms off!! On the way back, it was a much better experience, Schiphol has a body scanner, so I told them about my hip, they asked me to step into the scanner and I was 'checked' in 3 seconds flat. Luton is really the poor neighbour airport. On arrival in Schiphol our bags were unloaded and we went through electronic passport control and were out of the airport in 30 minutes. Once back at Luton, we had a 45 minute flight, but it took over an hour and fifteen minutes to get out!! Passport control had two desks open and three planes worth of people to deal with! Madness. 

We dropped our bags off at our hotel - a beautiful hotel called 'The Neighbours Magnolia' check in time wasn't until 2pm, so we were hours early, they made us very welcome, stored our bags and made us a cup of tea. We then headed out into the city to do a bit of shopping. We came across a beautiful green oasis slap bang in the middle of the city, there was a church and all these beautiful houses.

The buildings are so distinctive, I love the Amsterdam skyline!

I am always amazed about the number of bikes in the city, there are thousands of them, they even have multi storey bike parks by the central station.

While we there Holland played a world cup footy match. Every bar had a TV showing the match, they were all packed out with well behaved fans.The city was swathed in orange decorations and everyone seemed to be wearing orange. It was all very good natured, but there were van loads of armed Police everywhere plus mounted police. Holland of course won. We really enjoyed the atmosphere, everyone was very happy!!! 

Its a bit of a standing joke that it ALWAYS rains when we visit Amsterdam, well we got to Sunday night before we got soaked, but when it started it was torrential and we got soaked walking from the city to the tram station !
We really crammed a lot into the long weekend. We took a tour on a small open boat, we were able to travel some of the smaller canals and we saw lots of things off the beaten track. While we were waiting for the boat to leave I saw a lady on a nearby bridge, I don't know what she was thinking, but she balanced her hand bag on the hand rail of the bridge and while she was trying to get something out of it, it slipped and fell into the canal. She was distraught, the bag sunk almost immediately and there was no easy access to the water for her to try and retrieve it, she was distraught, I can only imagine that she must have had everything in that bag, the boat man said that it happened on a regular basis.
We also decided to visit the Ice Bar, a strange place where we discovered Whipped Cream Vodka, an absolutely lovely drink, which didn't taste in the slightest bit alcoholic. It was an interesting experience, I was not keen on the sticky ponchos we had to wear along with thick gloves. We were supposed to keep a hold of three plastic tokens which was almost impossible with the gloves!

We only managed to stay in there for around 40 minutes, the ponchos didn't keep my bare legs very warm at all!
On the Sunday morning the heavens opened again and we had to wait around for it to stop before we could go anywhere, we did manage to get up to the Museum area and grab a shot by the famous I Amsterdam sign.

That was my second trip to Amsterdam in a month, we are planning to return in August, I really love the place, its so relaxed with a huge variety of people and loads going on, I LOVE Amsterdam!!!!

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