30th December 2007 we took a 50 minute flight from London Gatwick to Amsterdam Schiphol, followed by a 15 minute Train Journey to the heart of Amsterdam made such a quick and effortless journey!
Once at Amsterdam Central Station we found electronic lockers that you can leave your bags in for a few Euros, while you browse the city and grab a bite to eat. We arrived late morning and could not check into the hotel until 2pm so these lockers were a perfect solution.
I quickly learnt to watch my step as there are not only cars to watch out for on the roads, there are also Trams and lots of bicycles which all have a different set of rules and rights of way. Best not to guess it, or play chicken with the traffic as you will lose. Wait for the crossing lights, you will see a lot of people patiently waiting.
Amsterdam was freezing at this time of year, a real icy breeze in the air. Lucky for me there were plenty of shops selling woolly hats of all styles, I opted for a less radical one but there were plenty of people walking around with Amsterdam hats with ear covers and tassel's all over the place.
Lots of places to grab a quick bite to eat, slices of pizza, hotdog stalls, hot waffles, cones of chips, cake shops and fast food outlets. There is a place called FEBO which is a store that can only be described as a hot food vending machine, not my taste but clearly suited many!
Restaurants are many, especially in the Leidseplein area of town such as Argentinian Grills, Greek, Chinese, Indonesian, Italian and much more.
This was a lot of light hearted fun. You are taken through and you get to read all about the history of sex (both mixed sex, same sex), including images from the past, stories of taboo's, desires and practices, along with a collection of tools, instruments and toys through the ages. This was a real education, and was interesting to discover what was deemed ok, acceptable and punishable in history.
Amsterdam is famous for its Red light district, which is covered in its own section.
There are items made in jest to bring a light hearted feel like a beast of a woman jumping out to grab you as you walk past (some of the real windows we walked past were not far from the truth!)
Lots of other artefacts along the walls as you walk around, figurines from the past.
We headed to the Leidseplein to have a look around the activities there and have a drink in one of the many bars. There was an open air ice rink there where you could hire skates if you didn't have your own.
There are very cute little traditional huts selling hot waffles, cakes and profiteroles. We had resisted so far on the trip, but here the smell was too tempting so we purchased a warm waffle with chocolate ... gorgeous!
The weather was drizzly and freezing cold so hanging around this area where there were fireworks and warm huts selling food was lovely.
We went for dinner at an Argentinean Grill until just before 11pm, we knew we would be out in the cold for a long time.
Dam Square was starting to fill up, and we got there just in time to get a good spot in front of the Palace. All day the council and authorities had been busy erecting barriers, and facilities ready for the occasion.
Screens had bee placed on the front of the palace to show the countdown clock, and also broadcast the entertainment to the crowd. The screens played videos of 2007 events and a couple of bands playing music.
The streets soon filled up, I have never seen so many people in a public place before.
People had been letting off fireworks and bangers in the street all day, and they did not let the crowds stop their fun. There are hand held fireworks that let them off from a tube into the air, there were red paper mats placed on the floor filled with bangers which made a deafening noise.
The fireworks started in the morning daylights and were still going when we left on 2nd January!
Freezing cold we waited, and we were not disappointed when midnight came around. The crowd was sprayed with champagne buy one excited reveller and unfortunately the icy cold fizz went down the back our necks.
Getting out of the square was very difficult and very frightening. We should have stayed where we were. People walked in all directions and just when you thought you were following a stream of people going your way you were crushed. On our walk home everyone that passed us wishes us a Happy New Year - we soon forgot the scary crowded situation.
We didn't get out of the Hotel until mid day, or possibly later. We were not the only ones, and the hotel was well equipped for hung over sleepy guests. When we finally did surface we did what every hung-over person does - went to the nearest McDonalds!
In the afternoon we went to Madame Tussaud's, as it seemed to be the only thing open. You could get up close to all the wax works and touch them.
At the start you were told all about the history of Amsterdam and a lot of figures from Amsterdam's past were there to discover. Did you know that New York used be called new Amsterdam?
The figures mainly featured here are icons, well known states of head, pop, film and sports stars of the moment.
There was a particular section of the exhibition that featured LIVE models - which scared the McDonalds out of us!
The theme was Pirates of the Caribbean, where you walked through a dark ship with actors behind bars reaching out and grabbing you, rattling cages and screaming in your face - SO SCARED!
Lucky children were not allowed through the scary area, nor were people with dodgy hearts and were directed a different way.
For dinner we have re-booked a reservation at the Supperclub. This place is the most amazing and different place to have a meal.
When we arrived we were directed down to the bar for pre-dinner drinks. Careful as it is all out on your table tab so don't go too crazy, we asked the price of the first drinks and stuck to the same all night to keep rough track.
No bar stools or tables and chairs - King Sized beds with black sheets and huge pillows, padded leather walls and candle light ... Ok then!?!
At 8 we went into the dinner where we were met with rows of big white beds, situated on 2 floors. A little table was at your feet for your drinks.
Dinner was served on your lap as you relaxed. 5 courses brought slowly to you throughout the night until 11.30pm consisted of Prawns, Soup, Sea bass, Steak and warm desert. The food was beautiful in taste and presentation and can not be faulted.
Throughout the evening music was being played by a DJ, and the later it got the louder the music's volume - as the dining area turned into a club that was open for guests to party until 6am.
The entertainment was off the wall, and the preparation of it kept you entertained, and intrigued all evening.
A man walked in took off his top and swapped it for a silver apron. He proceeded with great care to cut lengths of string. Guests empty wine bottles from the tables and the bins were taken to have sting tied to the necks (there approx 50 bottles). He then tied all the string to his belt with care, and was placing specific bottle in certain positions. We were baffled for hours.
Then the party piece ... he walked around with them tied to his waist, shook them about (the noise !), smashed them and left yelling "Happy New Year!"
That's was the most Random and pointless thing I have ever seen, but I suppose it was entertaining.