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Anniversary in Amsterdam

Two years ago on May 3rd I married Mr H-L, on the tenth anniversary of our first date.

After twelve years, I still get butterflies in my tummy when I see him:)


We decided there and then that we would celebrate every wedding anniversary in style and go away on our own – life after The Big C is very precious and each anniversary is a bonus.


Life before The Boys included the odd city break to Barcelona, Venice, Bruges and the like so, for our first anniversary we went to Geneva – this year we chose Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands, often mistakenly referred to as Holland. Watch this brilliantly amusing clip to find out why

We swear by the DK ‘Eyewitness’ Travel Guides – they’re perfect for us as we want to pack in as much culture as is humanly possible in three days!

DK book

Getting there couldn’t be simpler – trains leave from Schiphol airport and go direct to the centre of Amsterdam from where our hotel was just a short walk.

Amsterdam Centraal Station is a pretty fine piece of architecture itself and looks especially lovely lit up at night.


After checking in at 10pm, we went exploring…..

canal by night

….and sat outside a bar overlooking a canal with a pint of the local beer.


Saturday was spent doing the sights.

Anne Frank's Huis

canal view

Another beer and a spot of lunch in between sightseeing.


No prizes for guessing where we are in this photo – the completely wonderful Van Gogh museum in which we immersed ourselves for the entire afternoon.

Van Gogh

We discovered an amazing Tapas Bar down a side street, met a lovely Dutch couple and ended up staying until nearly midnight eating, drinking and chatting.


Sunday saw a turn in the weather, but it didn’t stop us walking the suggested canal route in the DK book, the pages of which were soaked through by the end.

The walk took us past many notable buildings and we also took a slight detour to a museum that the guide recommended.

The house in the centre of the photo below was left to the city in the will of it’s last owner in about 1890, on condition that it was opened to the public as a museum – the Willet-Holthuysen museum.


Two of the floors are left exactly as they were, the lower ground floor was reconstructed to the same period and the top floor displays all her art.

It’s well worth a visit as it shows how the Merchants typically lived at that time. It also gives you an idea of what all the other houses would have looked before over a hundred years of constant modernising took it’s toll and saw them chopped up into offices and flats.

merchant's house

More beer in a bid to shelter from the rain…..


….which led to emergency use of the (very) public facilities!


The same night was our actual anniversary and my lovely husband booked an evening canal cruise inclusive of five courses and as much prosecco and wine that you could drink!

Unfortunately, even a newly purchased dutch umbrella couldn’t stop the damp air making frizz out of my hair:(


The food was spectacular – have you ever heard of Broccoli Panna Cotta with Piccallilli?!

Cruise food

Amsterdam must be a romantic hot-spot because, aside from the usual Hen parties and Stag groups, we witnessed a proposal on our dinner cruise…..


….and a newly married couple being whisked away by tuk-tuk, complete with tins trailing along noisily behind.

wedding tuk tuk

Monday saw us taking the obligatory trip out to the bulb fields to see the tulips. Altogether now – “When it’s Spring again, I’ll bring again, Tulips from Amsterdam”.

tulip fields


Keukenhof was the destination though, a 70 acre wooded park about half an hour from the city, which only opens for eight weeks of the year whilst the tulips are in bloom. How lucky were we that it coincided with our trip!




These flower ‘beds’ made me smile.

flower beds


2015 marks 125 years since the death of Van Gogh and Keukenhof planted an incredible floral tribute.

Van Gogh floral

The blossom on the cherry trees was magnificent and reminded me of his painting “Almond Blossom”.

almond blossom

On the walk back from the tour bus to collect our suitcases we spotted those fatal words “Seafood Bar”, an unassuming place hiding behind row upon row of bicycles.

(Did I mention the 22,000,000,000 bikes for the Dutch population of 17,000,000,000?!)


There was no way we were ever going to walk by and not go in!


Just look at his face and the anticipation of dripping all that lobster sauce down the paper bibs they give you.


Champagne and Mixed Grill – the perfect end to a perfect wedding anniversary.

Now, where shall we go next year?