I may have been on another holiday - not that this year abroad isn't about working hard or anything - and this one was mine and Kirsty's joint 21st in Amsterdam titled Salli & Kirsty's Amazing Amsterdam Adventure. Apparently I came up with the idea several months ago...
So, we all trundled to Amsterdam, some of us by 4 hour trains, what fun, and the rest by a 45 minute flight, slightly jealous. Aaron, Ella, Ben and Tom came over from the Shire as well so that was good to see them :)
We stayed in a hostel that looked nothing like the pictures but lived up to its reviews in that yes, the towels did smell funny... But the rest of the stay was really good, and it wasn't entirely that cold either thankfully.
We spent a lot of time eating, or finding somewhere to eat that did vegetarian and the conclusion to this is that most places do, but most places are also steak houses and pizzerias. There's not really very much else. So we had Italian the first evening and then called it a night. The next day we were deterred from the Anne Frank museum by the extraordinary queue that had accummulated before we'd even eaten, so we had pancakes instead. Best breakfast ever. They were the size of pizzas, no joke.
That afternoon we had a wander round the city and a few historical culture museums and visited a few places selling beverages. Our facourite became the Grasshopper where we stuck to the bar upstairs. In the evening we gave in and went to a steak house that had sofas at the tables. Win.
For the rest of the evening we went to the Euro bar in the town centre - a really friendly pub that served half litres of everything and played epic tunes which everyone sang along to in true Brit style.
On the Sunday Kirsty, Ben and I went to the Van Gogh Museum while the others decided they wanted to go to the Heineken Brewery. On the way, we managed to not follow the map and stumble across the BlumenMarkt, which is a floating market along a canal full of flower stalls. Very pretty. And we just had to have an Full English Breakfast along the way :)
The Van Gogh Museum was tricky to find as it was behind another, larger and probably more profitable museum but it was worth the trek across town. I saw a lot of famous art works, which we duely critiqued. Got to admit, the one Sunflower painting we saw wasn't all that impressive, but there were others such as the Potato Eaters and Van Gogh's Bedroom, which I didn't realise had been restored recently.
Afterwards we had a snack in one of the parks, which was a really nice surprise to come across - parks and ponds and gentle busking music, really nice :) On our way back to meet the others our way was blocked by their Sint parade. Essentially children with bags line the streets and greet their Father Christmas or Sint Nick, who is a man on a white horse with a hat like the Pope. Following him are his minstrels, who were throwing sweets into the crowds and who were also defintely wearing face paint... The sweets were nice though.
This took a while and we followed it, after more sweets, before heading back.
That evening consisted of hot chocolates followed by a tapas meal, cheese tasting without buying and wonky photos of wonky houses...
All in all, a Dam good holiday