Last weekend we did something that we had been looking forward to for a long time, we visited Amsterdam again, but this time it was with my brother Mark, and his wife Charlotte. Not only that, but we were going there to see Fleetwood Mac! Unbeknown to Nick at the time, I was also taking him away to Berlin for the night after the Amsterdam part, but I’ll get on to that later!
On Saturday we got to Amsterdam at about lunchtime and checked into our B&B – Wladimir Studios which is at Lijnbaansgracht 166, about 10 minutes walk from Leidesplein. The B&B is situated behind Wladimir Dance Studios, and it was lovely! We had to walk through the Dance Studio to check in, but there is a private entrance around the back that we could use after this point. The lady who was there to meet us was very helpful and showed us how everything in the room worked. We had our own little terrace and swing (!) outside the door which we didn’t use as it rained most of the time, but it was cool! The room itself was so comfortable and lovely! It was about £150 for the two nights, which for that location in Amsterdam is pretty good.
Once we’d checked in, Nick and I went to a pub I’d read about on Tripadvisor, Proeflokaal Arendsnest. It apparently has over 100 beers and according to Google, was ‘quaint’, so it sounded worth a visit!
The bar was pretty busy but we managed to get two seats at the bar, which was good for people watching! The beer was lovely; I don’t really drink beer but was craving it as soon as we got to Amsterdam for some reason. I can’t remember what beer we were drinking but it was a Pilsner. We also got the most amazing cheese and sausage board to go with it. I highly recommend visiting this amazing little bar!
At night we went out drinking with Mark and Charlotte and it is a bit of a blur. There was a lot of laughing involved!
On Sunday we were supposed to meet early to go to Pancakes! Which Nick and I visited last time. I was feeling a little worse for wear until the afternoon so unfortunately we couldn’t go 🙁 I was gutted as I’ve been looking forward to these pancakes for months!
We wandered about and went to a couple of bars before going back to our hotel to chill out for a bit as it was raining really heavily and we needed to prepare ourselves for FLEETWOOD MAC!!
The gig was at the massive Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, near the Amsterdam Arena. I think there was about 17,500 people there. As for Fleetwood Mac, they were unbelievable! When they started playing The Chain, I started crying a bit (not ashamed) as I was just so overwhelmed by the fact that they were right there infront of me!! Rhiannon also was amazing! We didn’t film any as our phones aren’t the best at filming, but I did manage to get a pic.
It was a great end to the trip and thanks to Mark for the Fleetwood Mac tickets!!
On Monday we were originally supposed to be going home, but I planned a trip away to Berlin for Nick and I, as it was his 30th birthday on the Tuesday. He knew we were going away somewhere ( I couldn’t keep my mouth shut!), but didn’t know it was Berlin until we got to the airport on Monday!
We were pretty knackered by the time we got to our Berlin hotel and it was raining so it looked pretty grim, but we forced ourselves to go out and explore a bit.
We stayed in the Winters Hotel – Berlin Mitte at Checkpoint Charlie, which surprisingly is right at Checkpoint Charlie. The hotel is lovely and in a perfect location for all the main tourist spots.
One thing which is a bit odd is the ‘Checkpoint Charlie Museum’ which is so confusing and random we didn’t last long and skipped half of it. It is mainly about people’s escape attempts across the Berlin wall which was interesting but it was all laid out in a really weird and confusing way, and in about 5 different languages, plus there was random things like a cabinet with NASA space suits, and a stuffed badger in the corner of one bit!
We left there quite quickly and then walked towards Potsdamer Platz for some lunch. We stopped at Andy’s Diner Bar, which is like a 50’s diner, but in a pub, with no 50s music, and hockey on TV. It was a bit weird but the food was ok. The beer, however, was not! Do not get Berliner Pilsner!
We then went to the Holocaust Memorial, or the ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’ which is a collection of different sized concrete slabs all laid out in a square. It’s quite eerie and serene walking in between them.
Brandenburg Gate is near to the Holocaust Memorial, so we went up there for a look. They were setting up something for the Champions League Final at the time and it was really really busy, but still managed to get a few good pics 🙂
We then went to the ‘Topography of Terror’ museum which is situated on the former site of the SS, Gestapo, SD and RSHA main offices, and tells the story of the Nazi’s role in WWII. This museum was very informative and was laid out in a logical way, unlike the Checkpoint Charlie one. We stayed here for quite a while, and read pretty much everything. After reading all of that we were both feeling a bit down so we went back to the hotel for a rest!
By early evening the rain had stopped so we got on the u-bahn (underground) to Alexanderplatz and decided to try our luck going up the the Fernsehturm/TV Tower which is a massive 1207 ft tower. As the weather had been so bad we were really lucky and got straight up there! I’d heard that usually there are queues of about 2 hours so I was surprised! The view from up there is amazing and we even managed to see a sunset up there which was wonderful. We also had a couple of drinks up there to celebrate Nick’s last day before turning 30!
We then had dinner at Vapiano’s, which is right next to the TV Tower. It has the most bizarre ordering system I’ve ever seen! Basically when you walk in you get a swipe card, and then you go upstairs to find a seat. Then you walk up to a food counter and order your food, which they will put on to your swipe card. And you have to go and collect your food when it’s ready, then give your swipe card to the person on the door on the way out so you can pay. There are different counters for pasta, pizza, salad, and drinks and it was a lot to get our heads around! We didn’t have to wait too long for our food though, and the food was pretty good.
On Tuesday it was Nick’s 30th birthday, and after he’d opened his presents and cards we checked out of our hotel and went looking for some breakfast. On the way we stopped at Fassbender & Rausch, an amazing chocolate shop. I was in heaven from the moment I walked in there! The smell was incredible! They also had amazing chocolate sculptures around the shop of famous Berlin buildings which all said ‘do not touch’, which is just asking for it really!! We bought quite a lot of chocolate in there and also some hot chocolate, which I am looking forward to sampling tonight!
We went to Chipps, a cute café on Jägerstraße 35 for breakfast and we both had pancakes. My god they were incredible!! They more than made up for the fact that we missed out on them in Amsterdam! Whilst we were sitting there we saw a bird fly off with a piece of someone’s teacake which was so big it was weighing it down, and the waitress dropped my plate on me and it smashed which was pretty funny!
After that we got the u-bahn to the Computerspeilmuseum which is basically a museum full of computer games! It has pretty much every games console from the beginning and you can play most of them too which was brilliant! I also beat Nick at a few games which was a triumph for me as he’s normally better than me!
We then got back on the u-bahn to the Berlin Wall Memorial, which has original parts of the wall still up, as well as lots of information on what it was like at the time. It was very interesting and also quite sad to think that was going on so recently. We did see some people smiling for pictures at the wall, which was a bit odd!
I had booked us tickets to go in to the Reichstag Dome but we didn’t get there in time, so we just looked at it from the outside!
We then had some lunch and wandered around for a bit before making our way back to the airport. We had a slight drama when our train to the airport was cancelled, but it was all good in the end, thanks to the masses of research I’d done into the transport before the trip!
It was a great trip, and even though we are knackered, it was worth it! That will probably be our last trip away until our Honeymoon in Thailand, which is only 3 months away!! Woohoo!!