Recently I went on a holiday to the Dutch Capital with my boyfriend of seven months. Was it too early to be going away together? Maybe. However that did not stop us from booking a holiday with Thomas Cook just over three months in to our relationship. Us modern day couples move fast.
I’m just going to put this out there; I am a cautious traveller. I may book holidays easily but that doesn’t mean I don’t stress about them. As my first ever holiday away with a S.O (Significant Other), I found myself overly stressing weeks prior. Restless nights and visions of getting separated came into mind. However as it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Amsterdam – and Him – are incredible.
We booked our holiday back in November, when the air was crisp and the stress of University called for a holiday. It was February 2nd; the weather was horrible, it was cold with spits of rain. I ran into Belfast International Airport in a dressing gown (for lack of a coat with a hood) and after an overpriced child’s breakfast and a pint of cider we boarded a mid-morning flight bound for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
On arrival the boy had never gone through the ‘Electronic passport’ at Border Control before, so I was a little gutted when they were out of use. However it gave us the option to get a new stamp in our passports.
“Can I have a stamp please?” I said sounding like an absolute tourist. “Where?” The guy behind the desk asked. “Umm, on my passport?” I replied. He smiles with a sigh and presses a fresh stamp onto a new page on my passport.
“Are you with her?” He asks The Boy. The Boy says “yes”, “do you want a stamp too?” He asks. “Sure why not.” The Boy replies.
The Boy had us booked in for the Schiphol Behind the Scenes tour. As an aviation enthusiast, it was a perfect start to the trip. Our tour was private – due to our specific time slot not being as popular – which made it all the more special. Tickets are priced at €15.50 when booked in advance online and covers a bus tour around parts of the airport you wouldn’t usually see; such as the engine testing centres and being up close to where private jets take off. For a whole hour you get to hear history and facts of the airport as well as watching live Air Traffic Control Feeds.
Schiphol is massive and you don’t have to be a plane geek to appreciate the many cool things about it. If you are wanting to see more of it, make time to do so. Outside the Arrivals/Plaza is the second installation of the I Amsterdam sign.
Getting to Amsterdam Centraal Station is pretty straightforward, basically forget every other mode of transport and take the train – they cost around €5, take about twenty minutes and typically leave from Platform 3 or 4. Important things to Note: Amsterdam C. Also means that this train will go to Amsterdam Centraal and you have to scan your ticket on the little sensors before heading to the platforms.
We arrived tired and a bit disorientated in the city centre on a cold afternoon with only my mental memory of a few Google Streetview walkthroughs to guide us to our accommodation for the next three nights; Ibis Hotel Stopera. It took me a few minutes to figure it out but eventually we made it!
Ibis was a very standard hotel. Twin beds (double rooms in Amsterdam are typically twin beds pushed together, please take note before you fall in between them) and it came with breakfast. The staff were lovely and offered us dinner suggestions as well as city maps and Metro/Bus tickets were available to buy from reception too for €16.50. Note: this does not cover trains (ie: getting you back to Schiphol).
Initially I thought Amsterdam is a city much like any other place in Europe – only it smelt a lot more like Cannabis and the people had a lot less shame. Its built up architecture felt a little overwhelming and scary at first but the way the city lights bounced off the water of the canals late at night was majestic.
For my travel statistics each year I track the New Countries, Cities, Airports and Planes. We’ve came to the conclusion that The Boy tracks the Gyms and Football Stadiums.