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a girls weekend getaway!

View Amsterdam - 2021 on Ils1976's travel map.

2020 - 2021 memories of the past

Ever since my last trip to Israel in March 2020, I must admit I dreamed a lot of new destinations to travel to, but then COVID hit Europe and made sure all my travel plans were "safely" locked away. Like the rest of the world, I thought it was going to be for just a few months and yep even I thought it was fun for a few months. Not having to go to work, doing nothing but read loads of travel blogs and even find my way to the wonderful world of Netflix.

It was indeed fun for a while, but not so fun anymore when the winter months came along and we still were confined to doing nothing but going to work. Meeting friends was a no no, meeting relatives was a no no, even going to see something more rather than your own inside of your house or garden was yet again a no no.

Liberty came along with the world announcing that you could get a vaccin and then we were all going to be free again! Yeah, something wonderful to look forward to in those dark days and yet again I started dreaming again of visiting all those amazing places on our blue planet.

2021 was near and everything looked better and brighter. That is, till our government decided that there were still going to be loads of restrictions, even for the lucky ones who were already vaccinated. The promise that everything would get better and more than better, after a few months, it seemed it only got worse and more worse, that is in my country at least!

June came along and I finally got the chance for my jab. Still reluctant to it all, I gave it a chance just to become FREE again and be able to travel, but when the summer months finally came along, it seemed that I still wasn't able to travel because of work related issues. Summer wasn't all that, so I didn't mind all that much, but now that fall is coming near and our government yet again told us we were going back to a normal life, things seemed to look a little bit brighter.

To be honest, I don't believe a word what our government says, but my need to travel is something that doesn't seem to disappear, so if I can't travel to far overseas destinations, I am more than happy to just travel in my own country as well as the ones close to ours.

04/09/2021 traveling is the only thing on my mind!

It seems quite unreal, but almost 1,5 year after my last trip, I could finally look forward to traveling again. It was going to be just a 2-day trip to the capital of the Netherlands, but still, I felt like a kid in a candy store and to be honest, I just couldn't wait for the night to be over. It was a short one, but I didn't mind at all.

At 5 AM my alarm clock woke me up, I jumped out of bed and not really in the mood to have something to eat, I just made sure I had everything I needed for this short trip and about an hour later I arrived at the train station. Although It was still very early in the morning, I was more than glad to see my best buddy and fellow travel addict Tania again.


The two of us chatted away about the usual things and while Tania enjoyed her cup of Starbucks coffee, I had a small servings of a vegan berry bircher, which tasted delicious and together with a small cup of Chai latte it was all I needed to get that travel vibe again.

We didn't have to wait all that long for our train to arrive and although I don't have the best of memories traveling to the Netherlands using public transport, for once it arrived on time and we had no hassle at all and needless to say we arrived at the capital of the Netherlands about 2 hours later. It was still early for most humans, but we were quite awake and while we searched for our lodging for the night, we had so much fun looking at the daily hassle of all the people we passed.

It didn't took us too long to find our hotel Die Port Van Cleve, since Tania visited the place a few times in the past for her work. Today we were going to stay 1 night in this 4 star luxury hotel because of the 150th anniversary of the hotel. A few months ago, Tania was invited to stay overnight for free while enjoying a celebration dinner later this evening and of course she couldn't decline such an offer and I was the lucky one to join her.


Checking in to our room was not possible because of the early hour, so we just dropped off our stuff and went into the city. It felt such a bliss being abroad again. I travelled to Amsterdam a few times already and it always feels good coming to this city. Instant happiness comes to mind and no, it is not the herbal thingy talking.

Since it has been a long time, we first went to the main shopping street, De Kalverstraat where we spent most of our time. What can I say, we are just girls who want to have a bit of fun while doing some shopping. Something we have missed for the past year unless it was online behind a computer. I am so thankful that is over and done with. For the love of God I don't understand what people find so interesting about it, besides the fact that it makes you even more lazy. I am more the person who wants to see and hold things, maybe that is way I hated it so much and for that alone I am thankful that we can go into shops again.

Around lunch we ended up at "de grachten" or the canals where we had the most infamous dish of the Netherlands, a "broodje kroket". Now this is holiday for sure! Together with the sun shining on your back, it felt like a summer day although it already was September.


It must have been around 3ish in the afternoon when we arrived back into the hotel and checked into our room where we dropped of our luggage and had a change of footwear since it was becoming really hot in the afternoon. Taking things slow, we walked back to the vicinity of the train station and had a drink at a terrace of one of the many local pubs and for some reason it felt like being on holiday. We were only gone for just a couple of hours, but still it was so relax and after all we have gone through the past year, we finally felt a bit normal and dare I even say ... "human" again.

We arrived back at our hotel around 6 PM and although already a bit woozy, we managed to change into a more festive attire and moments later we were more than ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this beautiful hotel.

Needless to say, we were waited on hand and foot and after a delicious aperitif, we were escorted to our designated table for our 5-course menu with adapted wines. A few hours later, we had seen enough food as well as booze coz we couldn't even walk straight to our room, but hey, we had more than enough fun trying to.

05/09/2021 a bit of sightseeing

Although quite drunk, I surprisingly enough had a good nights rest! We didn't set our alarm clock because we just wanted to sleep in, but somehow we woke up around 8AM. I must admit I felt a bit more human again after a long hot shower and I have to say that breakfast helped as well.

Since we agreed to take a train back home later this afternoon, we packed our stuff, handed them over to the reception as we checked out and headed for the Anna Frank museum.


Tania wanted to have a look and since I found this a more than interesting museum, I wanted to have a go at it as well, but as we arrived, we stupidly forgot to book a reservation. The one thing I hate about COVID (besides the other obvious reasons) is the fact that you cannot plan something spontaneous anymore. For me this has always been very important while traveling and even when you traveling in group with an organization there is always room to plan things spontaneously and sadly enough this pandemic has ruined all that!

I must admit that I have a hard time dealing with this fact. It might seem stupid for some people, but not able to do things spontaneous anymore, takes the fun out of traveling a bit.


The sun wash shining, we were in Amsterdam and we couldn't hold a grudge forever, so instead of visiting a museum, we did the next best thing and had a walk next to the more than many canals that enriches the city. We ended up at the Jordaan, a neighborhood infamous for the Dutch folk singer André Hazes, who still till this day is very popular in the country although he died in 2004.

Since we were in the vicinity and we started to feel hungry again, we found ourselves a nice place in the sun to enjoy lunch and afterwards we slowly walked back to our hotel passing some more interesting neighborhoods.

Around 3 PM we ended up in the train station again and once again I was surprised to notice that our train was on schedule and just like yesterday we didn't had any troubles en route so just as we planned, we arrived in Antwerp around 5 PM where we met up with Sander, Tania's boyfriend. It was but a short hello and goodbye to both of them as I needed to catch my train home again and although it was but a short trip, I really enjoyed our girls weekend out and about and I can't wait for the next one the come along!

Posted by Ils1976 10:54 Archived in Netherlands Tagged buildings people hotel shopping city friends holiday sun sightseeing wine capital relaxing festivities tipsy

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I share both your frustrations and also the joy of finally being able to travel again, even if not too far away. Just being in a different place and doing holiday-type things is enough to bring a smile to my face and I can tell it is the same for you :) I do agree too that this need to plan and pre-book can be a pain, but we found in Paris we could do so at quite short notice. For example we decided at breakfast one day we wanted to visit the Rodin museum, I checked straight after our meal and was able to book us in for later that same morning! So almost spontaneous :)

by ToonSarah

I agree with you, it is a bit sad that so many things had "gone in to the internet", like booking tickets, you just can not know everything you want to see or do in advance :)

Albeit not able to see the mmuseum you wanted it sounds like you had fun! :)

by hennaonthetrek

thanks for the nice words Sarah and Henna and yep, although it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, we still managed to see beautiful things and the museum is a sure thing for our next visit ... one always needs a reason to go back of course!

Do you guys have plans for the upcoming year?

by Ils1976

I just booked plaintickets to VT Euromeet in England, that is in May and we have also tickets to Riga for summer, that I had to postpone once..
I am looking forward to be able to travel again, going little bit stircrazy at home! :)

by hennaonthetrek


by hennaonthetrek

Haha, I can imagine! Have the same problem but at the moment I still await the news what is going to happen in the upcoming months. Hope to go to Germany or Poland for a trip, but so far nothing confirmed or planned, maybe I end up somewhere completely different. Just can't wait to do something again!

by Ils1976

Much like you we missed traveling so much the past two years. But I do agree it has allowed us to take some time and explore local area's we usually by pass. So that is the bright side. I am not sure if we will do any traveling across the pond again this year. There are still so many questions. But we are planning to visit the Southwest US which we have never done before.

by littlesam1

Sam, to be honest, the same with me. I don't know what will happen the next upcoming months so I wait with much patience so to speak, but I hope to travel to nearby countries more often if possible but secretely hope that I can go overseas as soon as possible ... whatever makes one happy it the most important thing, as long as we can continue to travel I am not complaining wheter it is nearby or far away! :)

by Ils1976

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