• Alexa Dione Francis

Christmas in Amsterdam


Yes, it has been several months since I last wrote a post and I have no excuse whatsoever. I've really been struggling to find the motivation for everything recently but I am back! So as promised, here is my post all about the my time in Amsterdam just before Christmas last year.

I must warn you; this is not a cutesy travel guide because I have a terrible sense of direction and relied heavily on Google Maps but it is a nice documentation of my trip there with my best friend. Enjoy!

So, this all came about when not enough people signed up to go on the College trip to Amsterdam as more people wanted to go on the New York trip instead. I was upset because I have always wanted to go to Amsterdam and as much as I would have loved to go to New York I didn't have the money.

My best friend Elle and I started joking around about just going anyway but we didn't really talk much more about it. Out of nowhere, I got a phone call from Elle asking if I wanted to go to Amsterdam with her and her family for her 18th birthday! Naturally, I said yes and it cost me a lot less than it would've been had we gone with the college. I was so excited, not only was I going to go to Amsterdam but I got to celebrate my best mate's 18th with her. We drove to Harwich and took the Ferry to Holland, took trains, buses, trams and walked for what seemed like eternity around city.

In just three days we packed a lot in. Day one mostly consisted of wandering around with all our luggage for at least three hours until we found our hotel. We were right in the heart of Amsterdam staying at Hotel Clements which was such a lovely place and I really recommend. Lots of really steep stairs though. I'm confident I lost a few pounds with all the walking and stair climbing. The staff there were the kindest people who were very accommodating, they also had two cats (or three? I don't remember....this is what I get for not writing this the week I came back from Amsterdam) and they were really sweet and cuddly.

We left our luggage with the staff there and went off exploring. This lead to further excessive walking as we try to find a place for lunch that wasn't a fast food place and as we had no idea where we were or where were going but ended up finding a pretty little cafe that did the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted as well as a burger, salad and fries.

We went to a few museums (if you ever go to Amsterdam, give the Tulip museum a miss and thank me later) and explored the surroundings. The first day was really about getting a rough idea of where everything is and settling in as it had been a log journey.

So, Day 2 was a lot busier. It started off with a trip to the Zoo which actually we found by accident whilst looking for something else. Previous plans went out the window and we all went to the Zoo which is a lot different to Zoos in the UK. For starters, the lions were not fenced in (other than where they slept which was round the corner from their main bit) the only thing between me and these awesome but 'I-can-eat-you-if-I-want' animals was a pond. A bit of water. Frightening but what is life without a little risk? Being eaten by a lion maybe not the most painless way to go but makes for a great story.

We all went to the Anne Frank museum too which was absolutely fascinating . I think over the last few years they've jazzed it up a bit and it all felt quite commercialised which I was a bit disappointed by and I wasn't as upset as I thought I would be but it truly was eye-opening and I am glad I was able to experience it. Then we went back to the hotel to drop off some stuff like my rucksack and got all our hats and gloves on because Elle, Sophie (Elle's sister) and myself were going Ice Skating! The rink wasn't big at all but to us it was ideal and was one of the highlights for me. Unsurprisingly, I was dreadful and spent most of my time clutching onto a plastic seal. I did give it a go on my own though...which did not end well and I bruised my lower back which hurt for weeks after I did it. Oh, YEP also when I stacked it, it was in front of a group of far-from-ugly guys who turned out to be British so. Fond memories.

Myself and Elle met two little girls who ended up glued to our sides (and on their plastic seals too) who were absolutely adorable. They were sisters from Jacksonville in America, they took us to meet their parents who were also really kind. All of us had pictures together too but I won't be posting them as I don't have their parents consent (but they're super cute). Following this, we went and had food. I don't think we did too good at embracing the culture given that we had dinner at an Italian restaurant but the food was amazing!

The final day was relatively chilled out, we took a canal trip in the rain and did some other sightseeing bits before going back to the hotel. Also, it's just worth mentioning that I took the biggest suitcase for this trip, I packed for a week as opposed to three days and Elle's family ripped the SHIT out of me for it...though that being said, they did help me carry it up and down a LOT of stairs so thank you, Isabelle and Tony for not only helping me with my suitcase but for inviting me and looking after me the whole trip.

I hope to go back to Amsterdam in the summer and for a longer period of time as there is still so much we didn't get to do! My only advice is DEFINITELY FLY. So much time is taken up by travel if not. For now though, that's all from me but feel free to take a look and some of the photos I took whilst there just down below!

I will see you all very soon as I have so much to write about!

All my love,

Alexa x