Sunday, September 27, 2015

Eerste verjaardag in Nederland!

Welcome back lovely readers!

As many of you will know, my husband and I recently celebrated our very first wedding anniversary! To really celebrate this wonderful milestone in our lives, we decided to take a trip to Amsterdam. We were also invited to stay with some of Nick's relatives in Wassenaar (South Holland) for a few days too, so we made a good holiday out of it.

We started with a super short flight from Newcastle to Schiphol, an even shorter (accidental first class...) train ride to the city centre and a shorter yet stroll along to our wonderful boutique hotel.

We stayed very near to the Red light District, just a short stroll from Dam Square and on to the Flower Market and Museum District. Our boutique hotel was really retro and cool, with black and white artwork displayed everywhere, a chic deep purple and sleek black decor and the biggest, softest, most cloud-like bed imaginable! We were lucky enough to stay in one of only two rooms with a balcony, which meant we could gaze out at the beautiful city and watch the world going by.

We spent our first afternoon wandering around the beautiful streets, getting our bearings and deciding on where to go for dinner. We actually ended up an an Argentinean steak place, which was super delicious and we got to sit outside. Straight away we realised we were in for some seriously brilliant weather - it was sunny and warm all weekend. Perfect!

On the day of our anniversary, we started with a delicious continental breakfast courtesy of the hotel. Back in the room, upon emerging from the bathroom ready for a day of adventuring, I was greeted with the most stunning bunch of Dutch flowers! My lovely husband had pre-arranged the delivery with the manager, what a lusher!

The treats didn't stop there though, as we then decided to open our pile of cards. We were blown away by the love from all of our family and friends (and Euros...) and I couldn't begin to describe how happy and content we were.

At the bottom of the pile was a card that said WIFE... I opened it to find a mini treasure hunt as Nick had somehow managed to smuggle things into my bedside drawer! When I finally opened my 'proper' card, it was full of words of love and happiness and a Paper Gift for our 1st Anniversary...

... my paper gift was a Trailfinders itinerary. Flights to Reykjavik, and flights to New York. (!!!!)

My amazing husband had outdone himself in the surprise stakes again by booking a surprise winter holiday of a lifetime - my ultimate winter trip that Ive wanted to do ever since we got engaged in Iceland - Iceland just after Christmas and New Year in New York City!! Aaaaagh!! I was so overwhelmed, I thought my heart might burst open with joy. What an amazing gift. What an amazing man!

After an impossibly perfect start to our first anniversary, our day just got better and better. We got the tram to the Museum District and had a supremely cultural morning exploring the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, followed by the BEST seafood we have EVER had, a wonderful walk in Vondel Park and a lazy afternoon exploring the canals. We loved gazing around at the beautiful buildings and imagining what it would be like to live in Amsterdam. Its a very 'Dutch' thing to leave your drapes open, so people can have a good nose in your home! It was all so beautiful, I just kept saying "it's like a 3D Pinterest!".

A beautiful end to a beautiful day, sitting on our balcony watching the happy Amsterdam people strolling home from dinner, or swooshing past on the tram. The beat of this city sits very comfortably with us. I can imagine us jetting back for long weekends in future. 
We fell in love with Amsterdam!

After a beautiful stay in Amsterdam it was time to visit Fred and Tina in Wassenaar. Now this Fred, is the real Fred Holvast. Nick's Dad is also Fred Holvast, but this Fred is the proper Dutch version! He very kindly offered to pick us up from our hotel and drive us back to their home in South Holland. It wasn't a particularly long drive, but nevertheless we stopped for lunch in the most magical nature reserve with real life Bambies, baby toads and giant snails!

We had our first taste of proper Dutch food here too; Bitterbollen! It's kind of like a potato croquette, but with a beef ragu mixed into it with mustard and herbs. They're deep fried and served in a baguettem and you gently squish the bread so the delicious filling oozes out. AMAZING!

We spent much of our time with Fred and Tina simply exploring the town where they live. They're currently renovating an amazing house in the countryside with extraordinary views and a canal right outside the door. They took us for an Indonesian feast, burgers at the beach, to the International Space Station (at the ESA - European Space Agency...) and to the market in Leiden on our last day, where we truly cemented our love of the typical Dutch treat Stroopwafel. 

We had the most fantastic holiday! We soaked up the culture, sampled the local delicacies and explored the nooks and crannies of the beautiful towns and villages. A massive thank you to Fred and Tina for being such wonderful hosts and for giving us a truly Dutch experience.

Happy First Anniversary Nick & Col!

Til next time, CH x

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