Amsterdam: December 2014
We chose Amsterdam as our final destination of our Christmas trip for three reasons:
- We could fly back directly Birmingham on 1st January
- I'd not been there before
- We found a rural farmhouse to stay in where we assumed there would be no loud fireworks making us jump out of our skin for the whole of 31st December.
Amsterdam itself seemed like any other city to me with the added mile-long queues for the museum although it was Christmas holiday time. The city was messy, perhaps for the same reason and pretty much what I expected, probably why I had never been.
We enjoyed our rural village location though and only went into Amsterdam for the first evening. Once we got our bearings and over the disappointment of the museum queue, we loved the library, which unlike our own in Birmingham - the largest lending library in Europe - opened long hours (8-10pm), had lots of books and a fantastic restaurant with every type of food at an everyday price - with views! Similar to the one in the department store in Geneva, Manor.
Morphi (our little orange dude) had one too many cocktails at the Hilton's rooftop bar on 30th January. He broke his left by falling off his perch (pedestal) during the night. We were heartbroken.
He had to stay in the room for the rest of the trip until we could bring him home and take him to NotMorph hospital for surgery.
We only ordered one drink, as per our travel tradition since Berlin in 2012, but the barman gave us another one to try free. A lovely service considering the place was packed and staff had to find us a couple of bar stools so we can sit in the first place. We pondered whether if we'd stayed at this hotel, we'd have seen the fireworks but not heard them going off in the street from the safety of our high floor room? We found an M&S (hurrah) and bought enough food for the next day, planning to enjoy a fireworks free 31st December away from the city.
That didn't happen.
Loud bangs could be heard from morning till well into the early hours of 1st January. So our idea of an idyllic, rural new years eve disappeared pretty quickly but we manage to find some quiet in a bar serving just crêpes! We had a late morning coffee there and decided to use our 2 hour bus pass to pop to a village on the water's edge. It was beautiful but very much spoilt with the aforementioned loud bangs. And we didn't find anywhere better to eat so we went back to the crepes place and had a fantastic meal followed by an hour-long walk back home on a gloriously cold and sunny Amsterdam day.
When we got back home, we discovered our next door neighbour (who rented us the little property we were staying in) were having a party so this was actually an even worse location than the last two years, now the loud bangs were right our side our door until the early hours!! A good job The Help was on TV later to take my mind of it - we nearly forgot to open our midnight bubbly and have our dessert!
Our research that night lead us to the fact that there are only four countries that ban domestic fireworks: UK, Chile, Ireland and Canada. I've been dreaming of a small town in Ireland for our next Christmas ever since. I've even been planning my wardrobe!