One of my photos


February 18th, 2005 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

This week we are childless. Frankie has gone on a week’s ski trip with his school, and the two youngest have gone to stay with grandparents for half-term, so we decided to take a little break and went over to Amsterdam for a couple of days.

After the experience of booking through eBookers I was a bit wary, especially as everything was electronic with nothing tangible sent to us by snail mail, but it all went smoothly, and in the end it was a good deal for us. We flew out with British Airways and stayed at the NH Barbizon Palace, a 5-star hotel. I had stayed at the hotel once before when I was on a business trip, so I knew it was of a high standard and, very importantly, right opposite Amsterdam Central Station.

One of the big benefits of living in Crawley is being so close to Gatwick airport, especially as our part of Broadfield is right next to the motorway junction so its a very quick drive there.

Although I have been to Amsterdam many times, Jayne had never been before so it was all new to her. This works quite well, as I was partly seeing the place through her eyes. We did the traditional boat cruise, and as it was valentines day we didn’t take the Holland International boat but one from the Lovers Cruise company…

Amsterdam is my absolute favourite place for eating out, and we certainly ate well during this stay. On Monday night I introduced J to the Indonesian ‘rijstafel’ where you get about 20 dishes of food laid out in front of you, and on Tuesday we gave in to the temptation of huge steaks at an Argentinian restaurant.

Obviously I re-visited a few old haunts just for old times’ sake, but also went to some new places, most notably the Artis zoo. The place is undergoing some major building works, but still has some fantastic animals on show. Unfortunately the giant anteaters were hiding from the cold, and the giraffes (my favourites) were similarly hiding, but we did see some spectacular nile crocodiles and giant turtles. I was impressed by the aviary which had some massive vultures, and room for them to fly properly, which is awesome to see.

We had 48-hour travel passes for all the trams, buses and metros, and made quite a few tram journeys, but even so we did walk a lot. We always do seem to walk a lot on our cultural breaks: we did in New York and also in Paris. Its because we want to cram in as much as possible, but it does leave us quite exhausted by the time we get home. I wouldn’t like to work out how many times we walked the length of Kalverstraat or the Warmoestraat.

Now we are home, I have bitten the bullet and dismantled my hi-fi. The amplifier has gone under the television and the rest has gone into boxes. Tomorrow it will all go up into the loft. It really does break my heart to lose the access to my Linn Sondek turntable…

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