PAN - O - RAMA - Pretty much sums up all the streets in Amsterdam

What a HULLabaloo to Holland!!

Yes I’m back again!!

Hope you missed me? What, No?! Well fine that’s the end of this entry!!

 

No, come back, I’m messing with you, sorry for the young people who were bought up in late 90s and 2000s that’s “HHEEEYYYY, I’m playin’ wit ya, dawg!” Seriously is that even a sentence, mmmmm…….

Sorry back again getting lost in thought, so you’re here to see what else I have gotten up in the last god knows how many months I’ve not written anything, even the webmaster here is giving me a tut!!

Well for some of you, you’ll know I’ve been to Italy and since that was a heavily organised/ disorganised family affair (cue Mary J Blige). It’s not exactly blog entry worthy other than me informing you of my over-eating and sombrely watching my sister in an ultimate Frisbee tournament.

Now here’s the exciting part, myself and the lovely YAK (aka current and hopefully last bf!) went to Amsterdam and to make it even more spectacular, it’s our first holiday together and MY first time to the smoky capital of Europe (insert girly Ned Flanders’ scream).

So please grab a mug, some biscuits and your reading glasses or monocle and prepare for more entertainment, information and general time wasting. As we explore travelling from Hull, the UK’s culture capital (as of 2017) to the place where you won’t even be able to spell your own name after 10pm, yes Amsterdam, not Brighton during pride!

The adventure begins with us being in Hull, the port is about 10 mins from the main city, where the nandos is the only redeeming feature of the place, and even then they over cooked the damn thing. Although YAK liked it, said something about its nice having crispy skin on the chicken, and which point I had a fantasy of slapping him on the head with my chicken bones for mentioning such a ridiculous thing! CHA!

By the way, did you grab the mug? Did you even put anything in it?  Come on people, I painstakingly wrote this and you’ve not even put the kettle, come on move it, move it, MOVE IT!! :)

Anyway I digress, you go via Ferry using P&O (http://www.poferries.com/en/hull-rotterdam ) and it’s quite easy to get checked in, board and get to your cabin. I will warn you now, you can’t take drink on board but seeing as its Humberside as long as you are not downing your white lighting in front of them, they don’t really check. 7UP bottle and bottle of gin decanting process, here we come.  

Prices are variable as you may gather, seeing as its Winter prices were around £70-£90 pp. you can get morning and evening leaving times, evening is better as you can sleep and awake in time for getting off. All the ferries go to Rotterdam which is ironically50km away from the port, so that’s like saying Southampton is the Basingstoke port, come on Netherlands, put the spliff down and sort it out!!

The cabins are small, the beds are even smaller so if you’re a big lad or ladette,  prepare to sleep on the floor or at bended knee in the bed, a cocktail of sleeping pills, Vodka, Tonic & Anadin are advised, that’s not for the sleeping, just a general recommendation. If you fancy sleeping in your bed with your partner don’t bother unless you are both under 9 stone each, even then your xylophone like body will still knock your partner out.

Seeing as we are on the evening boat it’s time to look around, let’s see there’s a casino for spending without actually spending, the cinema for those who don’t like a crowded orange Wednesday, games room for those missing an simulated adrenaline rush and the bar. Oh man I don’t know where to begin, mmmm, right easiest bit the drinks are reasonably priced and the venue is split over 4 levels, bottom sections belonging to the cabaret section and a more sophisticated piano sky lounge on top, think Myleene Klass on top a Steps Reunion tour.

I’ll be completely honest; I hate these kinds of things, badly sung bad pop songs with a lot of argy bargy and to top it off on a boat so you can’t really escape unless you are Michael Phelps… on stimulants! However other than YAK having a Cheshire cat smile on his face, the entertainment wasn’t the entertainment; it was the passengers that made this drunken fast bearable. Here are the “character” profiles

  • The Singer – a woman who looked like Faye from Steps in 35 years but wearing clothes for a woman in her 20s and sounding like Sarah Harding
  • Girl Thing – a group of girls that seem to be fitted together and before the 2nd jagerbomb was spilled, an argument was sure to follow. Fortunately we were there to witness it. 
  • JLS – Basically this group of Bois were sat next to “girl thing” and with the typical guy that has to get involved and make things worse, instead of, I don’t know…..move! Just a suggestion!
  • Danny, Sandy & Mr Aguilera – well here’s the odd threesome, a lovely older couple and their older socially awkward friend who I assume from the limbering “sexy” dancing is a bottom explorer, let’s just say I think he might be hurting from bending over and dancing like he’s attempting to twerk but realised he has constipation still.
  • The break-dancers – standard, every party needs them.
  • La seeker – this is the girl that every group has and needs, she basically looks good and badly intimates whatever anyone else is doing and makes it looks fun, you go girl, mind your puppies in that top!

Well that’s the ferry fun, we will return to this section….. Eventually!

Once you arrive in “Rotterdam” you have 3 ways to get to Amsterdam:  Coach, Taxi and Car (duh), I would have put train but you need to get to Amsterdam which is basically the same distance to Rotterdam (again Netherlands sort it out!) 

One word of advice make sure you book the coach with the ferry as spaces fill up and it’s the cheapest option, taxi can range from 200-300 euros and later I’ll explain how I found that out or car which you can take on the ferry. I have no memory of the coach journey; I snored my way to the capital......

Please join me in the section below for the actual trip! enjoy the photo while you scroll :)

 

The Ferry of Fun /Doom!!

Vindwill (said in dodgy dutch accent)

Oh we’re here, centraal station and after a bit of the usual lost tourist confusion we finally find our hotel which is 3 mins from the main station. I seriously can’t recommend this hotel anymore (http://www.nh-hotels.nl/hotel/nh-amsterdam-barbizon-palace ). It’s close to everything, I mean everything, and coffee shops are around the corner, loads of amenities, restaurants and bars and with my favourite new landmark, the homomonument (hehe).

Before I start with what we did, I need to get this out, I love this hotel, it’s so elegant and friendly, it’s so posh it has one of those George Clooney Nespresso machines in there, I’m surprised that George didn’t come with the room, it’s that nice.

 And off we go, ad within 2 minutes we are in the homo and smoking area, coincidence or gay intuition, I don’t know but at least we know where everything is now. We have no agenda, no map and no gloves, we have come well prepared. One thing I might have to point out is the fact that everyone is stupidly gorgeous like GQ and vogue hired Amsterdam, it made me sick and paranoid or is that the vapours I smell affecting me.

The infamous YAK asked me what I thought about Amsterdam after our trip and I have to honestly say it wasn’t for the attractions, the legal intoxicating goods, it was the people. The Dutch are so cool and mellow, which always made me think why do they have such a beef with the Germans, the other cool country? Is it because both win us over with inescapable likeness and cute accents, are they fighting over which one is significantly cooler?

To be honest most of the attractions seemed to have entrance/tour fees, now as tragic as Anne Frank’s diaries are, I’m not willing to spend hours in a queue freezing my nuts off, just to see something for a few minutes. Sorry Anne, out of respect I will try next time! If you get bored of queueing there is a cheese and tulip museum down the canal from Anne’s place, so fill up and sniff away.

Right now to describe Amsterdam, well going around will remind you of Paris, Brussels, Munich but seeing as the Dutch were some of the first to set up buildings in East Coast USA and NZ, it has that feel as well. At one point we were looking at the streets and it resembled something out of a Meg Ryan film but with actual people in it... Seriously watch Nora Ephron production and see how desolate the streets, god rest her soul but she’s clearly never been to NY or she lived in the fantasy of NY being evacuated minus the middle class.

One of my friends from work (Lady Voller) told me about the sky lounge/ bar (http://www.skyloungeamsterdam.com/en/ ), now to save my fingers and you reading more drivel, the bar is literally 4 mins from the hotel we stayed at. So…… 4.5 hours later, 3 quadrants of Amsterdam covered and at least several locals quizzed, we finally find it, gasping for an overpriced round and dark, snowy surroundings.

What’s that I hear? Getting bored of me rambling on? Am I avoiding the drug bit?

Oh look at that, a spider! Eek run!

Did it not fool you, DAMN! Fine well let’s get the parental disclaimer out of the way, drugs are bad, shouldn’t touch them blah blah, right now we got the boring thing out of the way. Since the Dutch are so cool and responsible,, if you wanted to try it you are in safe and friendly hands, if you don’t know where to get it someone can help and they have loads of shops, coffeehouses, prostitutes, Burger King, whatever, there’s an outlet, they will guide you. After visiting an ironically named Feel Good bar where I’m pretty sure you need to be high to enjoy it.

The space cake we had, ummm, I think it worked differently for each user; YAK was mellow yellow and seemed to have loads of anxious energy and the munchies. After going to bed I woke still stoned, I think the mixed meat grill I had earlier the other day was delaying things. Poor YAK had to suffer me being incoherent and even less talkative, sorry YAK, I think I can speak again!

There are other stories but that’s on a need to know basis and you nosey buggers, know enough!

Ok here’s a little story, a tale of caution if you will.

After a bit of sobering up, eating, sightseeing and more eating, it’s time to head home and we mill around the hotel with 30 mins to leaving time and head to the coach stop. We walk around looking for the coach and it’s nowhere to be seen, YAK asks several drivers where it might…. Then it dawns on us, we have been looking at his phone thinking it the right time when it never updated, NNNNNOOOOOOO!!!

We unfortunately need to grab a taxi, YAK runs like a madman to get money for a taxi and I gormlessly stand around in case YAK forgets where I am. We finally get a taxi with a guy that charges us 140 euros but would have cost 260+ euros. What a bargain. The taxi driver “charitably” rings the ferry company for us and is all said in Dutch, and I have a feeling we both thought he was taking us for a joyride and trying his best. Unfortunately it was the latter.

The ferry left the time we got there and from the taxi driver’s “comment” we were told to “try it” now I think he meant to say “don’t bother” or in realistic terms “I’m ripping you off, so just sit back and worry”.

So when we got to the terminal, we were thankfully there to see the Ferry leave 1 HOUR, yes 1 HOUR before its schedule time. Let me explain with this scenario, let me set the scene

2 lads are stood in minus temperature, in the dark, breathless, dressed (before you have any dirty images) and stressed. A jolly chunky assistant comes out to us, he looks like a Dutch Pavarotti with a Dr Hebert laugh, this abridged version as I’m raging and crying as I write this!

(YAK)”Hello, has the ferry left?”

(Dr Pav Hebert) “Yes you were meant to be here for 7 if you wanted the 8:30pm, hahaha!”

(YAK) “Why has it left so early? We would told we’d still make”

(Dr Pav Hebert) “Well sorry it’s gone, we wait for the freights and when they are ready, they go hahah”

(Me & YAK) “What?!”

(DPH) “We will have to book you onto another ferry?! Haha”

He leaves and comes back, hands us some replacement tickets, more unnecessary questioning and giggly answering exchanges.

(Me) “So where can we stay? Are there any hotels near?”

(DPH) “Well there’s town a near here but do you have a taxi?” at this point the taxi driver has vanished, probably making love to himself and laughing with our 140 euros…. TOSSER!!

So after more questions, gleeful responses, a spot of tea and worried faces, we finally sort a taxi to the next town, Brielle, if you ever got stuck like this I recommend this place. Well actually I recommend not missing your Ferry, actually fly! Seriously at one point during Hebert giggles I say “We must be the only sober brits to miss the Ferry... ever” he looked at us and agreed, GGRRRR! NERD RAGE!

So we arrive in Brielle, it can only be described as Leamington Spa but richer, smaller and with more boats. It’s really quite nice, people are friendly even when we arrived at the first hotel and it was too much for us, the concierge rang up a rival hotel and booked us a place, almost like it was second nature. There are a couple of museums and galleries to look at but other than that sit back, relax and wait for your next ferry. (http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Netherlands/Provincie_Zuid_Holland/Brielle-462693/Things_To_Do-Brielle-TG-C-1.html )

 

The hotel we stayed was not exactly ritzy but it makes up with charm, chunky pleasant lads and a pub, really it’s a B&B (http://www.atlashotels.nl/nl/index.html )

So there you go, that was our first romantic getaway, I’m sure there will be more and there will be more drama, we don’t do anything normally :)

 

Well until next trip…..

This page is dedicated to YAK, well done for putting up with me, being the white Linford Christie and generally being a HERO! Love you xxx

 

Brielle Canal, Port, 'Hood, whatever you call it!