I got back from Amsterdam last night; I got my to my flat at around 20:30, threw my bag on the floor, my keys on the side table and lay myself down on the sofa. I woke up around 2am, downed two pint glasses of water and finally crawled into bed.
It was my good friends hen-party, so the weekend was suitably raucous. I’m the maid of honour and so the weekend was the culmination of about ten months planning, which I’d done alongside five other bridesmaids. It was a lot of work, and a lot of stress, but it was definitely worth it in the end- I think the bride enjoyed herself and despite the fact that we had a couple of hiccups and issues, during the planing and whilst we were there, I think that overall it was a success.
We arrived into Schiphol airport on Friday afternoon at 13:50, and then made our way to Amsterdam central station. Two members of our group had travelled out earlier than the rest of us to check into our room and plan a couple of bits, and the brides sister flew in from India so she’d arrived in Amsterdam the night before. I flew with the bride, one other bridesmaid and two other friends of the bride- bringing the total number in our group up to eight.
The bride is a smoker, and something of an Amsterdam veteran- she’s travelled to Amsterdam fourteen times before- so she had a very specific set of places she wanted to visit. We walked from the train-station through central down to route 66, where we met the other three girls. She was wearing a tiara, veil, L-Plates and a ‘bride to be sash’ so she got a lot of attention which was exactly what we were hoping for; the rest of us had matching white ‘bridesmaids’ and ‘team bride’ sashes.
The weather was gorgeous- which made the place all the more beautiful- and everywhere was buzzing. I’ve only been to Amsterdam once before, and it was in the autumn time and had been fairly grey and overcast. This weekend we were so dam lucky, it was blue skies and warm almost the whole weekend, and everywhere was packed out with people having fun and enjoying what felt to me like the first day of summer.
We sat in the cafe for about an hour catching up, some girls smoked, and me and the others which don’t smoke weed drank soft-drinks. I’d already had two pints at the air port and a G&T on the plane so was feeling fairly mellow. After everyone was suitably baked we made our way to the Hans Brinker hostel, which was central/south, and the girls had decorated the room and bought prosecco and strawberries so we sat and had a few more drinks.
I won’t describe the whole weekend, but it was fairly hazy and fairly boozy, exactly the way it should have been. All the girls like to party, in their own ways, and so we all got on really well. I got to meet the brides sister and get to know her a little bit, and also spend quality time with the other bridesmaids which was really nice as we’d spent the previous ten months planning the weekend together.
For myself, it was really nice exploring the city with a group who know it really well and like to hang out and wind down an hour or two in one of the numerous cafes. I always regretted that I never visited Amsterdam when I still smoked weed, and so never really had the chance to embrace the cannabis culture there. I always fall in love with every city I visit, but Amsterdam has got to be up there for me, it’s simply too chill and too cool, and as always it left me wanting to pack up and move.
I think the cannabis culture means that the atmosphere after dark (and during the day tbh) is much more relaxed and mellow than it is when everyone out and about is drunk rather than baked, though we did see someone stumble out of a McDonalds and be sick all over their own shoes at 1am on the Sunday morning. So, you know- not everything is different there than in any British city at that time..
I don’t know whether or not it’s just me painting everything in a rosy hue, but I always get the sense that everyone in Amsterdam gets what a special place the city is, and so nobody seems to want to do anything to jeopardise that. There’s an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance, which somehow seems more pronounced than in other places- though this might only be a subjective impression- I did walk around for most of the weekend in a gin/beer bubble.
Today I have been recovering. I start a new job next Monday, so have the next week now to eat lots of greens, do a few runs and generally get myself back into a 9/5 mindset.
The holiday’s over