Alex’s Surprise Birthday Present – Amsterdam BABY!

I had been keeping Alex’s birthday present a secret for a while, getting really excited myself without being able to share what I was getting excited about.

This year we decided to do experiences rather than buying presents, and I wanted to go all out. He spoilt me for my birthday and aswell as doing the same for him, I wanted us to have an amazing time…

…so I booked a 3 day trip to Amseterdam!

Am I crazy?! Perhaps a little. I know this is quite an over the top gift, but as we weren’t going away this year for a proper holiday this seemed the perfect time to make the most of the time off and go for a city break together.

I had told him I would meet him at his Tuesday (last week) to discuss the day plans so he could pack properly for mine. So tuesday night I turned up at his, and told him him I had organised the following plans for across the three days:

  •  London Bus Tour (He doesn’t like doing tourist-y things!)
  • Afternoon Tea
  • Dirty Dancing Theatre Trip
  • More Sightseeing
  • Day in Brighton

Alex looked at me and said “Ok babe, sounds like a nice few days”. But I can read him so well! He obviously wasn’t overly impressed.

I then gave him his envelope with a message on, and all our documents inside for travelling. I loved his reaction, I don’t think he quite believed it at first, and he was so happy!

So Wednesday Morning we got up very early and headed to Gatwick by train to catch our plane to Amsterdam. Clapham Junction station was pretty quiet and the sun was rising – beautiful view:

Sunrise at Clapham Junction Station

We had already checked in (thanks EasyJet for making everything so reasonably priced and simple!) so we just headed through security and relaxed drinking a milkshake for breakfast before boarding.

We were in Amsterdam at about 11, and got the train to Sloterdijk which was the closest to our hotel, The Golden Tulip Amsterdam West. We found our hotel pretty easy from the map I printed and waited outside in the sun until check in time.

I wasn’t overly sure about the hotel when I booked it, I mean it looked really nice, but wasn’t an OTT price so naturally thought perhaps the photos were of the better or more deluxe rooms. Our hotel room was AMAZING!

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Heated bathroom floor (if we needed it, obviously not in summer), air con, rain shower, comfy beds, lovely decor, flat screen TV with english channels too, Nespresso machine… The hotel staff were so friendly and helpful too, even explaining how to travel to central amsterdam and other hotel amenities! I highly recommend where we stayed if ever travelling to Amsterdam!

Wednesday afternoon we got the tram to dam square and went exploring. So many lovely places, we started making note of the things we really wanted to do.

One thing we noticed – SO MANY BIKES! everyone cycles. Next time we’re definitely renting bikes!

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Dam Square.

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A view from one of the places we stopped for a quick drink.

We stayed out for dinner at a lovely steak house (the steak was amazing!) and decided we’d try to walk back. It was actually a little far, but was funny trying to find our way. We did have to look at the maps on the bus stops at times to check we weren’t lost.

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The steak house we ate in – delicious steak! 

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We saw the memorial parade for the Malaysian Airlines plane as we were walking back.

Thursday we got up really early and queued for the Anne Frank House – we got there at 8.30 and it only took 1.5 hours to get in, which is not a bad queuing time. It really was worth it – the whole tour is surreal, it’s outstanding the way things have been preserved. I was a little gutted I couldn’t take any photos, but completely understood why – They don’t want to ruin people’s experiences as it is an intense and emotional rollercoaster being inside the annexe.

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The Anne Frank House.

We then went to the Albert Heijn (Supermarket) and grabbed some picnic food before searching for a canal cruise. Alex wanted a private one, but these were so difficult to find so he eventually settled for a group one. We ate our picnic on board and then stood on the back of the boat, in the open air to experience things better. It was absolutely beautiful, truly stunning! The canals are so pretty, and going on the cruise we passed some of the prettiest canal stretches, the smallest house in Amsterdam, bikes being pulled from the canal (25,000 a year!), the anne frank house and many other key parts of the city. I was so pleased to have been able to do this!

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We spent the afternoon exploring again and went for a drink before going to find somewhere for dinner. This time an Italian which was really good! We took the tram back to the hotel and made sure we got lots of sleep for the final day, and to prepare for the weekend (more birthday plans back in London!).

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The bar we drank in. The seating was pretty cool, sat on a raised section, with the cushions pretty much on the floor. Watching the tvs and refreshing ourselves.

Friday morning we got up and slowly got ready and packed before checking out. We then ventured back to Dam Square for our last afternoon before flying home – we didn’t really want to go! We started with breakfast at Koee – Waffles and frozen yoghurt, now that’s what I call a balanced breakfast 😛

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My waffle – frozen yoghurt and warm berries. Yes I didn’t think this through…it all started melting!

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Alex eating his waffle – nutella, frozen yoghurt and fresh strawberries. Yummmm!

We did some shopping, Alex bought a really cool t-shirt and snapback, and we did some more window shopping before grabbing some food at FEBO – a big dutch takeaway outlet.

At FEBO the food is in vending machine type things in the walls and once you put your money in you open the door to take your freshly cooked dutch treat, but some shops have a person attending a counter for you to order too! We tried a few different ones sharing so we could have a variety – they were pretty good! We had enough food to keep us going for our flight and journey home before catching a train back to Schipol Airport.

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Bitterballen – traditional dutch snack

I had the best three days in Amsterdam with Alex. I’m already thinking about when we go next time! I would love to stay in the same hotel again and perhaps see a slightly different part of central maybe going to a couple different attractions, like the Zoo, the Van Gogh, etc. Definitely got holiday blues!

 

Chloe xx

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