“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth, it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.” John Green sums it up.
I am never usually a fan of New Year’s Eve, perhaps it is the pressure to have a good time, how inflated the prices always are or because it is a remarkably easy night to remember…you can always recall what you were doing on the 31st December. When the girls suggested heading to Amsterdam for a couple of days to escape the UK pressures of NYE I, therefore, jumped at the chance. A chance to see our trip as a couple of days away and not a decision of where and who to spend NYE with. An opportunity to escape the country and leave the pressures of Christmas behind and that is exactly what this trip turned out to be. This is a short round up of how we spent a brief couple of days in Amsterdam.
Monday 30th December
Pip, Niece and I flew from Birmingham with Flybe on an early afternoon flight which I have to admit Flybe it was a nicer experience than our experience last January. After a very pleasant flight, we arrived in Amsterdam around 5 pm and hoped in an Uber, (in my vlog video I said we are going to call an uber which was probably the most un-millennial thing I have ever said). In the past, we have taken the train and then walked to the apartment but it was cold and we were eager to get to the apartment to start our evening. Splitting and Uber between a group of you to the city centre works out about the same as the train.
Once we had devoured the snacks and prosecco Jon and Fliss had kindly put on for us we made our way over to FoodHallen. FoodHallen was our first stop when we visited the city in January and I think it always will be. It is the best way to ease into a few days away. A big indoor food hall with stalls selling every kind of food you want along with bars. We love FoodHallen because we can chill out, we know we can all buy something to eat that will suit each of us (you can pick and choose and we are a picky bunch) we can get ridiculously cheap wine and it has a really casual, friendly, relaxed vibe. After a few rounds of drinks, we made our way back to the apartment for a relatively early night. Gripping Amsterdam content, I hear your yawn don’t worry.
Tuesday 31st December – NEW YEARS EVE
We are beyond lucky to stay in the most amazing apartment, centred around a big lounge kitchen area so we made the most of the space and cooked breakfast in the apartment. With the evening plans sorted we wanted to make the most of our trip without making ourselves too tired for the evening and avoiding the mass tourist attractions. With the sun shining we took a walk around the Nine Little Streets surrounding the apartment. These are famous small lanes around Amsterdam filled with cafes, bars and boutiques, the perfect shopping if you are looking to pick up a nice birthday gift etc. We wandered around seeing the sites we missed earlier in the year when the weather wasn’t as nice until we ended up at Dam Square where we stopped at a bar for drinks. Situated in one of the main tourist attractions we paid a little more for drinks at the majestic wine bar. The drinks cost more than average but there is plenty of heated seating so we enjoyed the sunshine outside and the service was good.
For the afternoon we booked a table at the Hoxton for an early dinner, on our way over there we ducked into the W Hotel for cocktails at Mr Porter, I would definitely recommend giving this place a visit. The rooftop views of Amsterdam are amazing as were the cocktails. The Hoxton was the perfect spot for an early lunch, the decor is very hipster and in keeping with the other Hoxton hotels in London. For lunch, we ate from the brunch menu and they were really accommodating rustling up cocktails which were not on the menu. After this, we made our way back to the apartment to get ready for New Year’s Eve.
For New Year’s Eve night, we booked at the NYE Party at the W hotel. I can’t remember the exact price I think it was around £116 per person but I might be wrong. This included the party, firework display, unlimited Veuve Clicquot and canapes. The New Year party was exactly what we were after, the music was good, the drinks were constantly flowing, it was sold out and there was no wandering around Amsterdam trying to make a plan. The rooftop terrace firework display was one of the most remarkable starts to the New Year I have ever had, I felt so lucky to be with my favourite people in the most amazing city ringing in the New Year, London is cool but Amsterdam and our time there will always remind me of this group and how lucky we have been. There were only a couple of negatives I would mention to anyone looking to book the W hotel for New Years 2020 which were… most of the people there were in groups or couples so there wasn’t much mingling, I think because we are used to going out and just chatting to strangers I felt isolated from everyone else there compared to how a normal night out goes. I would say the average age of people were in their early 30s so it’s not somewhere I would recommend if you are a lot younger, the food was amazing but they weren’t very good at vegetarian which was surprising when Amsterdam is so forward with their vegetarian and vegan food and that is about it. I had an amazing time, I loved the opportunity we had to get dressed up as we usually go out in converse with the day’s makeup still on and it was great to be able to stay in one place all night. We left the W around 3 am and then continued the night back at the apartment.
Wednesday 1st January – NEW YEARS DAY
Most of our group didn’t go to bed which left New years day looking a little ropey. I had managed to get a couple of hours sleep and my sister is the first one to crash every time we go out, this left us feeling pretty fresh and keen to make the most of our last few hours in the city. I was pleased with how many shops, cafes and restaurants were open in Amsterdam on NYD. I am the first to say places should be shut to give people a break but I was grateful for the opportunity to get out and enjoy the city. Our first stop was food. We made our way to Vegan Junk Food, we visited the Downtown restaurant because it is the closest to where we were staying, this is the second location we have been to. We were incredibly lucky arriving there just before the queues began to start. We managed to devour everything we ordered in a matter of minutes, it was better than the last time I went, it honestly blows my mind how they make vegan food taste this good. After the meal we continued to wander around the last few streets we had started the day before. Amsterdam was so peaceful on New Year’s day, it was quite the contrast to the day before, it was great to experience the more casual laid back approach to the city without hundreds of tourists about.
And that was our very short but packed out with wandering New Year’s trip to Amsterdam, I know we are so lucky to get to visit this city and I am so grateful for the apartment we get to stay in. Next time I want to visit Amsterdam in the summer, it is by far one of my favourite cities I really want to see it when the sun shines and I’m not in 100 layers. A big thanks to the group for making this the best New Years.