Tagged: Dutch

A Weekend in Amsterdam

amsterdam vintage shops

This weekend I managed to go a little further afield than usual – what began as a joke led to me meeting two friends at Schipol Airport for a weekend of exploring, shopping, and seeing Gerard Way.

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Layers were necessary

Leaving work at 3pm, I caught a flight to Amsterdam from the Euroairport (thankfully only 30 mins away from my lab) and made it into Schipol for about 8pm. I met Rosie there, who informed me that the current weather outside was “freezing rain” (apparently distinct from snow or hail). We got a train followed by a tram to our hostel, Hotel Van Gogh, finding out on the way that it was indeed extremely cold. Charlotte, who arrived earlier that afternoon, met us there having already acquainted herself with all the other guests in the common room and made full use of the hot drinks machine.

After a reasonable nights sleep, we woke up to snow!

If you read my post last week you’ll know that I will never not find this exciting. With less than 48 hours in the city, we headed off to do some exploring.

Chinese District Amsterdam

Amsterdam has some great vintage shops, which we wasted no time in finding. Purchases included a jumper embroidered with ducks and a bucket hat with unicorns on. (I was disappointed to later discover that the “unicorns” in question were in fact just flamboyantly coloured horses, although this didn’t stop me proudly wearing it all evening.)

Outside Time Warp, Amsterdam

Outside Time Warp, Amsterdam

Candy Freaks

Candy Freaks

We also came across a great little sweetshop which had a huge range of vegetarian and vegan pick n mix. The staff were fantastic; one guy just could not give us enough free samples. This place is well worth a look if you’re in the area, vegan or not!

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Literally in a world of pure imagination.

Literally in a world of pure imagination.

With a satisfyingly weighty bag of pick n mix each, we headed back to the hostel the pick up our tickets for the show that night.

So this is why we ended up in Amsterdam, really. Rosie and I both recently rekindled our teenage obsession with Thank You For The Venom (if you don’t love that album, fight me) which led to us joking that we should go and see Gerard Way live. Which led to me finding out that he was on tour, and playing in Birmingham (where Rosie lives). Unfortunately the Birmingham show was midweek, so I couldn’t really fly back without using up what’s left of my holiday allowance at work. Fortunately, his show in Amsterdam was on a Saturday night. Before we knew it we’d booked out flights..

We missed the support (sorry Nothing But Thieves!) as it turns out that it’s entirely possible to get lost in Amsterdam in the dark with only some hastily scribbled directions from google maps to help you find the venue. Despite my stubbornness (“I’m sure it’s just down here..”), Rosie asked a nearby restaurant owner who showed us the way.

Melkweg

Melkweg

The venue was housed in a former dairy, and the name (“Melkweg”) translates literally as “milky way”.

By this point my inner thirteen-year-old had taken over and I was inappropriately excited. I am now the proud owner of a 25€ t shirt, which Rosie kindly pointed out was more than the price of my ticket. I’m just going to put that down to gigs being waaay cheaper on the continent. At this point it should be clear to you that I won’t (nay, can’t) give you a unbiased review of the gig. Instead, a few observations:

  1. They served draught Leffe behind the bar at a reasonable price – this is infinitely superior to the Carlsberg you pay upwards of £4 a pint for at most of the mid-sized venues in the UK.
  2. I don’t think I have ever been to a gig with more women in the audience than men. This was most definitely the case here. It was chill.
  3. Gerard Way’s showmanship was predictably fantastic. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny he knows how to please a crowd. He played every track off his solo album, and threw in an impromptu cover of “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” from Frozen for good measure. This was admittedly a little lost on me, having not seen Frozen, but I think I was the only one.
  4. Gerard Way is now a certified silver fox.
gerard way melkweg amsterdam

It’s not a gig if you didn’t annoy everyone behind you by taking a grainy mobile phone pic.

We left the show to meet Charlotte, who for some reason opted not to spend her evening wading through a crowd of sweaty emo fangirls. Each to their own I guess. She was at Roest, a warehouse bar just a short tram ride out of the city centre. It was situated in an industrial estate, so we were greeted with a slightly post-apocalyptic vibe, despite the liberal amounts of fairy lights.

Hardly a wethers is it.

Hardly a wethers is it.

Thankfully on the inside it was really cosy!

Das hipsters

A post shared by Rosie Drummond (@ro_drum) on

Good music, old friends, and a few beers – a great (if cliché) end to a super fun weekend.

Of course, given more time I would have loved to have seen more of Amsterdam – any suggestions for what I missed out would be gratefully received in the comments!

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I made it to Amsterdam!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately (this apology is becoming a habit I fear…)
BUT! I’m writing this from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam – true dedication in my opinion! I’m glad I’ve made it this far.

I flew out of London Heathrow this morning, and my flight made it into Schipol at midday (half and hour early – yey!), which meant I had plenty of time to explore Amsterdam itself before coming back to the airport for my night flight to Shanghai. This was a really great way to break up the journey – I’ve never been to Holland before, so I was glad of the chance to visit.

Double decker train in Schipol Station

Double decker train in Schipol Station

Schipol airport has it’s own train station, so after getting off my flight, I left my baggage in a locker and went down to the platform. They have DOUBLE DECKER TRAINS HERE – but disappointingly the one I got was a boring old single decker one. The trains are really frequent (seven an hour, I think?) so I didn’t have to wait too long for it, and by 1pm I was in the center of Amsterdam. I think I’ve been lucky with the weather today, it’s well over twenty degrees; luckily, I thought to apply suncream this morning, or I would have some impressive sunburn to sport on my next flight.

Amsterdam from the canals

Amsterdam from the canals

Despite it being a pretty touristy thing to do, I’d had numerous recommendations for the canal tours that run from outside Amsterdam Centraal Station, so I went for it. It was great fun! People are right when they say that Amsterdam, like Venice, is best seen by boat. The tour took an hour, during which we got to see plenty of the city’s distinctive architecture. Before the tour, I never even knew what a gable was – I definitely do now! The tour guide managed to be super sassy in three different languages: as we were going through the rainbow district, he announced in Dutch, English and German that “This happens to be where the gay people like to go out. The locals tell me that even the houses aren’t straight round here.”

After the boat tour I still had a few hours to wander round Amsterdam. I grabbed a cone of “frites and fritesausse” – when I have a better internet connection I’ll upload photos of some of the joys I came across!

The narrowest house in Amsterdam - it's five or six stories high, but less than 2 metres wide

The narrowest house in Amsterdam – it’s five or six stories high, but less than 2 metres wide

Hard to see here, but this is a huge bike park

Hard to see here, but this is a huge bike park

Brilliantly arbitrary marketing

Brilliantly arbitrary marketing

A giant (about 2m tall?) six pack of Heineken that I came across on the terrace of Schipol Airport.

A giant (about 2m tall?) six pack of Heineken that I came across on the terrace of Schipol Airport.

Blue waffle?

Blue waffle?

Just what I needed before my next flight!

Just what I needed before my next flight!

I saw a few of these - it's like a vending machine for burgers.

I saw a few of these – it’s like a vending machine for burgers.

Of COURSE Amsterdam has an Irish bar

Of COURSE Amsterdam has an Irish bar

Charming I'm sure

Charming I’m sure

So, after a super fun afternoon, I’m hanging round in Schipol Airport (which is the coolest airport ever, by the way) until my eleven hour flight to Shanghai at 9:30pm. I’ve made it this far – next time you hear from me, I should be at my hotel!

Did I miss out on anything exciting in my afternoon in Holland? Let me know in the comments!