It was Sean’s birthday in May and being the poor student (and bargain hunter) that I am, I decided around Christmas that I wanted to whisk him away which would give me plenty time to save. Around January I found return tickets from Belfast International Airport for around £80 using Easy Jet. We were booked to fly out Friday evening and return Monday evening. As the flight back on Monday was so late I decided to use the Park and Fly facilities which I used when we went to Edinburgh.
All in all it was around £100 which I thought was a bargain given I’d seen a hotel for 3 nights for what I thought was £100. Imagine my panic when I later found out (after booking the plane tickets) that it was actually £100 per night!!!! Luckily, I’d booked well enough in advance to shop around on various sites and had friends going who could also advise me.
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I first checked Airbnb which was decent. It gave me an idea of the areas I could stay in that didn’t necessarily have to be in Amsterdam. When people tell you how expensive the place is they’re really not lying!! I checked Hostel world, Lastminute.com, Secret Escapes, Expedia and Booking.com. Eventually, I found a lovely place on Booking.com called the Htl Serviced Apartments in Amstelveen for just over £200 which was about 20 minutes on the metro into Amsterdam.
We were delayed the first night by about 3 hours meaning we arrived after midnight and missed our first evening of exploring. The hotel were lovely about it though! Every time we were given an update I’d message them using the Booking.com app so I knew we’d still have our booking.
The room we got was a studio. We had a bed, a small kitchen, a mini living room with a tv and a bathroom with a bath and shower. The hotel offered complimentary hot and cold drinks 24/7 but my favourite part was the swimming pool, sauna and steam room. It was a 5 minute walk across to the metro station which cost about 7 euros each into town. We’d get off at the museums where the I Am Amsterdam sign is so we could wander into town.
What can I say about Amsterdam?! It really is the most picturesque place you’ll see. For some reason, I thought there was only one bridge where people take their pictures. There are actually sooo many bridges with lots of people trying to get the perfect picture.
We were so lucky the sun was out all weekend. There was a bit of culture shock when everywhere we turned people were walking around smoking weed like they were cigarettes. The red lightly district was another eye opener. I don’t know why I expected there to be a clear indication of where it begins but one minute we’re walking down what looked like abnormal street and next minute BAM, there’s a half naked woman waving!
In all honesty, we spent more time wondering around Amsterdam and eating (surprise surprise) than doing anything just because of how beautiful the place is but we did visit a museum of prostitution, we went on a canal ride and visited some museums. The Banksy one was my favourite.
The food in Amsterdam is amazing! We ate out in a place near the Heineken museum (it had a carousel on the inside but I can’t remember the name) that had some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had. They infused the eggs and bacon into the pancake itself and it was gorgeous! We even ended up spending hours walking around one day trying to find a bakery we’d seen loads of times before but because of how Amsterdam is laid out, all the roads look so similar that we spend hours walking in a semi circle looking for a place that was a couple of minutes walk away the whole time!
There’s so much to see outside of Amsterdam. I’d love to go again and explore the less touristy places like Amstelveen but for our first trip, I was pleasantly surprised!