It’s definitely a return. I haven’t written about Amsterdam on the blog before but I used to spend a lot of time here; almost semi lived here. It’s great to come back with my daughter who, since we were here as a family, has returned many times for work and to see friends. She was here last summer and it was that visit that was the seed for this weekend’s visit. We’re even staying in the lovely hotel she found then: ‘T Hotel in the Jordaan district.
It’s the most perfect weather for a spring visit: a bit of a breeze but beautifully sunny. We flew in with BA and it’s only a 20 minute train journey from Schiphol. Then we walked – about 10 minutes – to the hotel. We were here by midday. After checking in we went off in search of a snack. You pass lovely cafes, restaurants and bars all the way but we settled on a pancake cafe – Roem in Prinsengracht – and got a table right by the water, overlooking the Anne Frank house and Westerkerk, a Protestant church built in 1631.
That’s my lovely daughter Nicola in the photo. We chose a pancake with goat’s cheese, thyme and honey and another with cheese and mushrooms – and shared. They were wonderful. They looked really simple but tasted fantastic. With a small glass of draft Heineken it was a perfect lunch.
We had a lovely afternoon wandering around. Even with familiarity one can’t but be awed by how beautiful Amsterdam is. It is just so pretty. Everywhere people race past on bikes; bikes are chained to railings and anything going – it’s a biker paradise. There are lots of churches too and bells sound on hour or even quarter and half hours. They are distinctly Dutch bells; no English church bells sound like this.
For supper we went to an old haunt. I wanted to have some Indonesian food as Amsterdam is one of the best places to eat it. I asked the guy in reception about one in our guide book, thinking we’d try somewhere new. Why go there when the best Indonesian restaurant in the city is just round the corner, he asked. So we returned to Long Pura – once a regular haunt – and had a really delicious meal.
There was such a buzz. A range of ages from old to young and everyone having a great time. The Dutch as so laid back and friendly; it’s part of the pleasure of being in the city. And, we noticed, smoking! Normal cigarettes, I should add. We didn’t mind. Everyone was so friendly. The barman teased me about whether I’d drunk Genever – old Dutch gin – before. Many times I told him. I rarely drink gin but I love this.
They pour until the glass is so full it’s almost overflowing. You have to bend across the bar and sip before you can pick up the glass. That only adds to the fun. We loved the bar. We’ll be back. We were in there for almost an hour. Then a relaxed happy walk back to the hotel – just five minutes or so – enjoying the beauty of Amsterdam at night. I’m so pleased to be back.