Sunday, 18 August 2013

Amsterdam, Finale.

Losers on a tandem.
Last day of Amsterdam! The Dutch really do love their cycling and it was time to get a taste of living the Dutch life. This involved hiring a tandem (a bicycle for two people) due to my awful bike riding skills; I didn't really want to suffer the same fate as Emma from One Day and I pretty much feared for my life at the thought of going solo. And rightfully so, I really am that terrible. 
It was so so so fun! We looked like a right pair, especially with Amrit the idiot, ringing the bell every second to get poor passers-by out of our way whilst I cackled my way around. Despite the bike being way too high for me and giving me constant bum ache, we managed to get the hang of taking off at the same time (such a challenge). Meanwhile, brave Paige had her own bicycle and we cycled around Amsterdam, not really with a direction in mind and constantly losing her. 
Surprisingly, we made it back to the shop in one piece and in time for the Appelsaap Fresh Music Festival where the line up consisted of various hip hop artists. I didn't personally know anyone in the line up but I just love experiencing a festival atmosphere and that's what we got. We hadn't purchased our ticket beforehand, but when we got there, a random girl gave us a free ticket. 

Paige isn't a fan of the hip hop scene and we pretty much laughed our way through the festival at her clear distaste to the genre. So that marks the end of our Amsterdam trip and it's really weird reliving it right now, seeing as I'm sat at home, being unproductive. How things change. I would definitely visit Amsterdam again in the future, and a long weekend is definitely the right amount of time to visit.  I'm still so gutted that I didn't get to go inside the Anne Frank museum. Until next time. Adios, Amsterdam- you've been entertaining.
OOTD/ Long top, George Asda; Belt, New look;  Bag, River Island.
It just got too much for Paige. 
On another note, my film disposable finally developed and they were pretty successful, compared to my last unfortunate batch. In no particular order,
Hard Rock Cafe, yeah yeah. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Amsterdam #3

The next day, we set out to visit the Anne Frank House, where her family and four other people went into hiding from Nazi persecution. Unfortunately, the queue was excruciatingly long and we didn't really want to queue up all day. Such a shame, however; we got a brief look outside of the house and I'm now determined to finish reading the book that is sitting on my book shelf collecting dust. I'm not even sure how I haven't gotten round to complete the diary yet, considering how interested I am in the subject.

Not all was lost though, as we came across The Cheese Museum where I tried a range of rather unusual cheeses such as the Wasabi flavoured cheese. Not sure I'm the biggest fan of that unusual collation but it was pretty fun dressing up like a cheese farmer, as you do. Feeling peckish from all the cheese testers, we decided to visit the Hard Rock Cafe and we settled on a light combo to share, whilst admiring the Mick Jagger t-shirt and Pink Floyd merchandise framed amongst the walls. 

If I said I wasn't completely exhausted by then, I would be lying and after a lovely English cuppa (Europeans don't like milk with their tea, say what) sitting outside near Centraal admiring the river like old ladies, a much needed nap was called for. For Paige and I, anyway. Amrit seems to be invincible and doesn't need any sleep whatsoever. 

Feeling refreshed, we headed out for a bit of Wonton soup and to experience the Amsterdam night life once more as well as a quick detour to the Red Light once again just to witness the horrors at night time. We somehow managed to end up in a pretty horrific looking place which screamed out crack den more than nightclub and unbelievably, we asked for a refund and actually got one, which was pretty hilarious. Our Amsterdam trip was coming to an end and I didn't want to leave! 
ootd, asos, river island

Monday, 12 August 2013

Amsterdam #2

After a surprisingly pleasant continental breakfast (fry-ups? Fat chance) included with our hotel, our first stop was at the Botanical Gardens to look at a funky looking Photosynthesis exhibition. This year, I've been admittedly lacklustre when it came to organising and finding activities for the three of us to do but no fear, Amrit to the rescue. When we first ventured into the place I was thinking, 'Why am I in Amsterdam looking at plants?' But after eventually discovering the exhibition itself amongst the Crystal Maze of plants which included creative- looking photograms and x-rays of animals/ plants- it turned out to be very interesting, if not slightly phallic looking. 

Next stop, lunch of course to prepare ourselves for the infamous Red Light District. I discovered Vapiano, an Italian restaurant which I think I'm a little bit in love with. It had a 'Tepanyaki' format where the chef cooks your dish in front of you and it was just just so damn delicious. The Red Light on the other hand, was not so much. It actually really saddened me to see girls standing provocatively by their window displays and I felt slightly strange, experiencing this absurd imagery during the day time whilst surrounded by other tourists as if this concept was completely normal. By chance, we came across China Town which happened to be right next to the Red Light. Not quite sure how to feel about that one.
A visit to the Chinese Buddhist temple was called for, as my friend Amrit is very interested in Buddhism. It was an uplifting experience to witness people lighting candles to make a wish and part of me wishes that I was a slightly more 'religious' person as it was just so nice to see. There was a cute little Chinese woman there who kept talking to me in Cantonese and asking me if my friend was Indian and how beautiful her eyes were. Aw. Bless her. 

Amsterdam's very own Pizza King. Can't beat Leicester's one though, surely. 
Bubble Tea happened, a curry happened and a night in Leidesplein again, where we went to 'The Bulldog' a very famous 'Coffee Shop'. The atmosphere around this nightlife area really does come alive at night. I love it. More tomorrow! Goedenacht/ Good night :)

Amster- dayum.

Decrepit old school iPod to make the 11 hr coach journey less painful.  
Amsterdam's over! Merp. I've had an amazing time and now I'm completely drained from energy. 
Early Wednesday morning, having previously crashed at my friend's cousins for the night in London, I lead us into the Mcdonald's headquarters ignoring the ever so valid' 'isn't this a bit posh for Maccy D's?' mystery only to confirm that it was indeed the office with its Mcdonald's University (I wasn't aware that there was such a thing) we left red faced and hungry towards Victoria Coach Station. Somewhere along the lines of our rather spontaneous holiday planning, we assured ourselves that an 11 hour coach to Amsterdam would be bouts of endless fun.

London- Folkestone- Calais- Brussels- Amsterdam.  If that's not long, I don't know what is. 

We wasn't entirely aware either, that we were supposed to check in an hour before and my double sausage egg muffin was my number one priority. Cue the running around the station like a headless chicken and sweating it out but thankfully, with one minute spare to check in- we made it.  So here we were, sat next to strangers and enduring the 'sweet' children, where one toddler in particular had taken a liking to the Gangnam Style. The whole coach went from uttering sweet awws to instant eurghs when he turned into a crying mess for the majority of the journey. Not to mention, he water fountained his drink all over my friend's face.

Other than that, the journey was not entirely unbearable and we arrived safe and sound late Wednesday, ready to tackle the trams. Amazingly throughout our journey, we had hardly any troubles with the trams and everything was pretty easy to find. Not to mention that the Dutch are very friendly and helpful when it comes to particular tram number lines/ directions. Luckily enough, 'Hotel Abba' is placed in the perfection location, next to Leidseplein, known for its nightlife area so we didn't have far to go to look for food and some drinks with extra friendly waiter, Paolo who decided it would be a spiffing idea to follow us around Leidseplein. Let Amsterdam's first proper day commence.