I don’t often write personal posts, maybe that’s something we will change in future, but here is one that’s kind of personal…. I wrote it on the plane home after two days of drinking beer and aimlessly wondering the streets of Amsterdam…. so it is what it is… you might want to go straight to the photos though, your call.
I’m a big fan of Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man. Recently featured was 48 hours in Amsterdam with Joe Lycett, another favourite comedian of mine (so, a must watch, I’m sure you’ll agree!). After watching the programme and laughing a lot, I decided it was time to go back to Amsterdam, I booked on the Wednesday night to travel on the Friday – nothing like a last minute trip!
Flights as always were reasonable (we travelled with KLM) and the awesome looking hotel featured on Travel Man – the Sir Adam – had a good rate on rooms. I didn’t allow myself deliberation and went ahead and booked it – I needed to see this hotel for myself, and Mike was more than keen!
I’m not a city person, I’ve never really felt at home or especially comfortable in the city, and our life on a farm in Devon is testament to that. However, there’s something about Amsterdam that has captured a little piece of my heart. I’m not sure what it is about this pretty and charming city, I don’t know if indeed it’s that it’s pretty and charming, or if it’s the relaxed vibe amongst the predictable chaos of a city. Maybe it’s the friendly and good humoured locals, the culture, or the many bars and restaurants lining Dam Square, along the waterways and dotted all around the individually unique parts of this engaging city. I’m not sure what it is, I just know I love this place.
Having only visited twice and both times just for a few short days, I’m by no means an Amsterdam expert, nor am I an eloquent or knowledgeable travel writer, but having just been for the second time, my first impression of leaving with a happy heart and rested mind was reenforced. We will be back for more, and won’t be leaving it so long next time! Our flight was just over an hour, the train from the station couldn’t have been easier and we jumped straight on a complimentary ferry to our hotel, no travel stress here!
I’m usually a Travel Lodge/Premier Inn kind of traveller, anything basic and clean. As much as posh hotels are great, I’d rather spend my money on activities and experiences, but every so often I want something more. The Sir Adam had ‘more’ in abundance – trendy decor, rooftop bar with panoramic views and over-the-edge swing on the twentieth floor, as well as record players and Gibson guitars in the rooms and huge windows with city views, walls adorned with quirky art and even luxury toiletries (hey, I’m a toiletries snob) – not to mention probably the coolest bunch of elevators I’ve ever had the pleasure to go up and down in! Perhaps not the obvious selling point for a hotel but I guess I’m easily pleased. Who doesn’t love a disco lift equipped with a disco ball and light up floor?! I mean c’mon! There’s something awesome about stepping out into the night via a small private disco – every hotel should have one!!
All the staff were great, so personable, friendly and sharing a great sense of humour. Good times. Touches such as the ping pong table and retro gaming are always going to appeal to me (not to mention arrival prosecco and a free room upgrade when we checked in!). We have to mention Alexandro, who greeted us with warmth, humour, enthusiasm, and plenty of tips and advice for our stay – nothing was too much trouble – what a dude.
We weren’t particularly cultured this visit, worn out from wedding season and in need of a bit of down time, we chose to explore Amsterdam by foot, take some photos (hardly any, it turns out!) and visit a few bars – I do highly recommend the Rijksmuseum though, next time we will make it back! Just being out in the city with no real plan and our cameras was a great opportunity to play, with no restrictions or brief to work to and plenty of beer to drink. Good for recharging the creative part of the brain! I almost didn’t shoot anything at all, when you shoot for work it’s easy to put your cameras down and not pick them up again until the next job, but recently I’ve tried to pull myself out of that and find inspiration in life outside of work.
The Sir Adam is situated in the up and coming Northern quarter, right by the water and with spectacular views of the city, I can’t think of a better place to stay. I may usually be a budget traveller, but for a unique stay like this I can definitely make an exception, and I know the next time we visit Amsterdam, that’s where we will be staying – it’s well worth the extra – it also smells amazing throughout. Another odd selling point perhaps, but it was a definite high point for me (they even sell the scent in reception).
As previously alluded to, I’m no travel writer, but I thought a few words about our love of Amsterdam should accompany these images; so if you’ve made it through my rambling – well done, and I hope it inspires you to visit this little beauty of a city. Go there. Make no plans, go by foot (or bike if you’re certain you won’t get drunk and fall in front of a tram – that’s what I’d have done – by foot was a far safer option). Amsterdam is welcoming, interesting, charming, engaging and visually pleasing. It feels good being there – what more can I say than that?
Now, here are a few moody and somewhat clichéd images of the city, mostly at night, mostly in the rain, and a few of our faces as we had no one else to shoot (although it seems Mike took more of me than I did of him…).
We’d bloody love to shoot a wedding at the Sir Adam – anyone want to get married there?!
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