So you already know that I love love loved Amsterdam and had a great time there, but what did I do that was so great? Here are some photos and notes to elaborate.
We walked around soaking in the beauty, by which I mean the friendliness, the architecture and canals, the attitude, the love for design and all those bikes! (I overheard an American tourist claiming that he’d seen loads of parked bikes but hardly anyone cycling. He had clearly not ventured beyond the central street because pretty much everywhere else in the city was solid with cyclists, even when it was raining.)
We went to some world-class museums – the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, FOAM and Anne Frank House – to absorb art and history. You know that photo of Obama speechifying in front of The Night Watch last Monday? Yeah, we were right there in that spot two days before him.
We ate tasty food, both typically Dutch and international fare, including my first ever oysters. (Conclusion: I like them but don’t love them, though I did feel classy tipping that shell!)
Also, Tim surprised me at the start of the holiday with tickets to see Cirque du Soleil, which is something I have always wanted to do and it totally lived up to expectations. There were bendy ladies! And terrifying stunts! And fancy clever acrobatics! In a tent in a car park! They rock and so does Tim.
Back to that love for design, there is clearly a real respect in Amsterdam for design in all quarters and this means there are lots of shops selling the most gorgeous stuff. I mean, I’m not much of a shopper and I would never go somewhere on holiday just for the shops but this was a rare case where they added something for me.
But mostly, let’s face it, it was all about the canals and bicycles, the near lack of cars in the older areas, and the chilled atmosphere.