‘Haha, are you serious?’ was the question most people asked when I told them what I was doing with my long weekend off. Yes, honestly. The other week, I took my mum to Amsterdam for her birthday. It was my fourth time in the space of four years visiting Holland’s capital and as like every other year, it didn’t disappoint. Who would have thought that this time though, I’d be arm in arm with my mum walking through the red light district, stopping her from taking photographs of the ladies in windows and even said ‘hello’ to a pimp.
What we did
For anyone that’s been to Amsterdam before or has read my previous experiences (see here) you’ll know that in Autumn, Amsterdam is piercingly bitter temperature wise. With our multiple layers (!) and my handy fringed bag (from Stroom UK) we popped on our trainers and ventured out to the cobbled streets.
With a wealth of tasty choices and places to eat, we made an effort to be up early and leave our incredible AirBnB accommodation for brunch away from the touristy hotspots like Dam Square and Central Station. I always prefer AirBnB these days as I find hotels rarely live up to expectations unless you’re forking out a small fortune. AirBnB is so easy to use and offers a more immersive experience in Dutch culture. Everything in Amsterdam is in walking distance and as we were already staying so local, this usually meant a 10 min walk to the nearest cafes. Betty Blue was our first stop after peering through the windows and seeing people devouring some delicious looking eggs. Who knew that a rocket, tomato and sesame seed salad could be so appealing at 10am. For the more unhealthy among us (or those who like the occasional treat I mean), pancakes in Amsterdam are also considered a food for any meal time so the second day began with pancakes (or ‘pannenkoeken’) as they’re called in Dutch. They’re different from other pancakes as they’re thinner in Amsterdam and are served sweet or savoury at any time of the day.
Feeling full of energy after such delightful brekkies, we spent our days wandering around the streets looking at houses, interior shops, clothing stores and even sweetie shops. Amsterdam have some of the best vintage shops in the world and we spent hours in places like Bij Ons Vintage where you can find rails and rails of coats (including vintage furs), hats, belts, tops and even retro Adidas and Reebok jackets. “Maaaaaaarrrggghm! Do you remember you had this shell suit?!” I’d scream as my mum tried on a 60’s leather mini skirt. One thing to note about Amsterdam clothing shops (even trainer stores) are the unique presentation and layouts inside. As you’d have seen from my previous post on Amsterdam, street art is huge there so expect to see graffiti walls and random splashes of paint everywhere.
Now come on, for those that know me this was all blatantly just to pass the time until it was an acceptable hour to start on the pubs and wine bars. By the third day, 11.50 am was adequate. You can’t pass through Amsterdam without ducking in to one of the old beer bars and having a few sneaky half pints of lager. For those who are after novelty, check out the top 15 Speciality Beer Bars here but for those looking to just relax, dip in to any that you stumble across because they’ll each have their own individual identity. Well. Maybe not so much by 10pm….
A few things stick in my head from my time here with my mum. Being thrown out of your comfort zone and experiencing things together has really made me see my mum in a different light. I’m surprised at just how similar we actually are and just how good friends we can be. According to a recent statistic, between 80 and 90 percent of daughters acknowledge a closer, better relationship with their mother by the time they’re 35 so I hope this is the start of more fun trips away to come. In Amsterdam, there’s such a variety of things to entertain and provoke thought. For me, being Jewish and visiting the Anne Frank House again was another emotionally charged experience and it was great to see how interacted and engaged my mum was walking around but sad to see how much it affected her over lunch that day. Now I must stress that my mum isn’t as conservative as most and isn’t easily offended. It was so funny seeing her face as we walked past the first window with a girl in her lingerie… Her face when I asked the bar man to ‘look after her’ while I went to the loo as there were a group of loud stags next to her… Her excitement finding Hema and loading up on cheap makeup brushes… Listening to her on the phone to my Dad as we took a night boat trip… Even seeing her giggle and pull questionable faces at a man tripping (and projectile vomiting) after taking mushrooms… One thing is for sure, Amsterdam is a cool place to take your mother!
Have you been to Amsterdam? Would you take your mum? x