Or not, as it turned out. We flew into Schiphol airport during a deluge of monsoon rains and thunderstorms. The weather was so bad the airport had to temporarily switch off the electricity, meaning we were waiting on the runway for half an hour until the plane had permission to approach the terminal.
This wasn’t really what we expected from a weekend in mid-August. Ideas of sunbathing in the Vondelpark and al fresco dining were swiftly replaced with running through the flooded streets to the first restaurant we could find, and debating which shop sold the best value umbrella.
Our hostel was called the Flying Pig Uptown, and was situated near the Leidseplein in the museum district of the city. We had intended to get a tram from the train station, but the weather encouraged us to take a taxi instead. As there were four of us, it more or less cost the same as public transport and at that point it made perfect sense. The hostel is relatively new, and like so many of Amsterdam’s hotels, the building is a traditional narrow canal house. The inside is clean and modern, with a good bar and kitchen facilities, and is really close to a number of bars and restaurants.
After dropping off our bags, we braved the weather in search of food. We ended up in a traditional Italian restaurant (I know, very Dutch), but we were starving and the food was good. After this, we headed for the bars on the Leidseplein, which are renowned for being the place to go for a night out. It was certainly busy; tourists and locals converge on this area, and it has a very relaxed atmosphere. Thankfully the rain had stopped so we sat outside one of the bars with some very expensive vodka. Amsterdam definitely isn’t a cheap city, especially so when it comes to alcohol; my advice would be to take advantage of happy hours and drink deals!
The next day started warm and sunny, but this was quickly replaced by yet more pouring rain and storms. Consequently this meant we spent the morning in a café with coffee and pancakes, so you know, it could have been worse. This was followed by the Rijksmuseum; a huge collection of art and artefacts telling the history of the Netherlands, and a historic library containing five kilometres of books. Although it was very interesting, the sheer scale of the museum is a little overwhelming, and after a few hours (as we’re very cultured) we decided to go for cocktails instead. We went to an Australian bar on Rembrandtplein, a large square which seemed dedicated to having a good time; there were a lot of backpackers drinking here, creating a good atmosphere even in the late afternoon.
The weather improved on our final day; the sun was out and it was actually warm! We spent the day looking around the flower market and shopping; there are a couple of stores, namely Abercrombie & Fitch and Forever 21, that don’t have outlets near us in the UK, so we made the most of those…! Food that day was from Wok to Walk, a ‘healthy’ take away that make noodles to order with your choice of ingredients and sauce; I definitely recommend this, as the food was great and was ready within five minutes.
Amsterdam is easy to get to from the UK and is a great city to visit – even in the rain!
Looking to visit Amsterdam in the winter? Read all about it here.
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