Amsterdam, The Netherlands

20 – 22 September 2018

The first part of this blog post is about our departure from Italy – which was a nightmare! Who would’ve known it would be so hard to get a ride to the airport! My advice to you – if you are travelling to Rome, order your transfers as early as you can. Before you leave home, if possible.

We searched for an Uber the night before we were due to leave which turned out to be quite expensive so we didn’t book it, thinking the price would go down instead of up. Big mistake. Huge.

As there are five of us with five large suitcases, 5 ports and 5 bags, we need a van to get places which turns out is not easy to find in Rome. After attempting to flag down a taxi – many of whom drove straight past us once they saw all our luggage – we finally managed to get a one-way 45-minute Uber ride to the airport for €186 ($300!) That price hurt deep!

Because of the delay in getting a transfer, we then missed our flight to Amsterdam, meaning we had to cancel our non-refundable flight, searching high and low across many airlines for a new flight which we finally booked at a cost of $2,500. Ouch!!

What a shit of a day.

But then … we arrived in Amsterdam. Beautiful Amsterdam. ❤🌷🇱🇺

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From the minute we got off the plane I knew I would love it here. Schiphol Airport is amazing – it’s like a city all it’s own. The train and bus terminal is connected to the airport and Schiphol Plaza Shopping Centre is attached also. Violet saw H&M straight away so she was happy. It’s impressive to say the least!

Because of the dramas early on in the day, we also had to cancel our non-refundable transfers; but managed to flag down a taxi to take us to our hotel.

We arrived at Hotel de Looier five hours later than originally scheduled. Hotel de Looier is located on Derde Looiersdwarsstraat 75, which is centrally located within the canal district.

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We dumped our bags in our rooms (again, we had a quadruple room and Kristi had her own across the hall) and headed out for a walk along the canals.

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The amount of bikes in Amsterdam is extraordinary. It can be quite daunting to cross the street as you not only have to look for cars but bikes also, plus they drive on the opposite side of the road to us.

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Coffee shops are everywhere and the smell of marijuana is overwhelming. We walked past many but didn’t go in.

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Dinner was at La Festa Pizzeria. The tortellini I ordered was amazing!

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We were grateful for an early night after the big day we had. My head hit the pillow at 8.15pm and I didn’t wake till morning. I needed that sleep!

Friday was our only full day in Amsterdam so again, we had to make the most of it.

Over an early morning breakfast in the hotel dining room, we searched through many pamphlets and brochures of things we wanted to do and came up with a list.

We bought a 24/hr ticket for the Hop On/Hop Off boat from our hotel reception. There are two separate boats that go in opposite directions through the canals. We bought a ticket for the blue line which has seven stops. We walked along the canals towards Stop No. 3 which is outside Anne Frank Huis. We were unable to get tickets for this tour as it was sold out so after a quick lunch at Pancakes Amsterdam – and FaceTime with Mum back home – we got on the Hop On/Hop Off boat for a trip through the canals. We were provided headphones for the journey to learn all about the history of Amsterdam. It’s a great way to see the city and the gorgeous homes, shops and buildings that line the canals.

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We disembarked the boat at Stop No. 2 as we had bought tickets for This is Holland, a simulated experience that has you flying over Holland. No joke, this was one of the best things we have done so far! It was really educational – for us and the kids – and so much fun! If you ever visit Amsterdam, you must do it.

By 4.45pm, we were back on the boat heading towards home. We made our way to Moco Museum for a Banksy exhibition. For those who don’t know who Banksy is, he is an English graffiti artist who is famous for his political satirical pieces which he graffities all over the world in complete anonymity.

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Then the wet weather set in. We ended the day with dinner at BurgerMeester before heading home for the night to rest our weary feet.

We started Saturday with breakfast at the hotel and then a walk to the Flower Market. The canal district is absolutely beautiful but it’s very easy to get disoriented. We took the “scenic route” past a chocolate shop because we’d be mad not to, right?

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The Flower Market was good but very busy. I would love to see it in Tulip Season.

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It was very cold today – it felt like Melbourne weather. We caught an Uber to Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest park. We only had a very short time before our transfer was picking us up for the airport.

We hired bikes from A-Bikes for a quick ride around the park. I’m so glad we did. It was such a great experience to be able to ride like the locals.

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We were back at the airport by 2.40pm, checked our baggage, then headed for lunch and shopping before our flight to Edinburgh.

Thanks Amsterdam, you were everything and more ❤

* Sorry folks, we didn’t visit the Red Light District so I have no saucy stories for you.

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