I've now been to Amsterdam four times. Each one quite different from the other.
The first time was with my parents. We watched Bulgaria play against Holland, did loads of tourist-type stuff and discovered the amazing, world-famous dutch fries with sauce.
The second time was insane. Fourteen hour coach trip from Manchester through Dover, on the ferry, loads of drinking, singing on the coach and the kind of experiences some people hope to never forget (for their youth depends on these memories).
The third time was with a group of experienced Amsterdammers. We knew what we wanted to do, did it, stayed in a fully-equipped apartment (rather than a hostel) and Teddy and I decided to rent some bikes (best decision ever).
In keeping with the tradition of going to Amsterdam every year I am a student, this year I was very lucky to manage to convince Tom, my housemate, to come with me (this is after I had already booked my tickets).
So having had three very different experiences, I wasn't sure how this one would turn out. As it turned out, pretty awesome actually.
On the Friday we met up with Dani, a friend who studies in Holland. Bar-crawling, exploring and catching up. On Saturday we made a brave decision to rent out bikes; bikes which had old-fashioned pedal breaks and no gears. Because it was puring down we took them back to our city centre boat. Yeah, that's right, Amsterdam no.4 will forever remain as the time when we stayed on a Botel. Our host was an awesome dude who took care of us with a couple of beers and some nuts until the rain stopped - then the adventure began: Van Gogh, some coffee shops, and those amazing Argentinian ribs (those of you who have been with me before will know how tasty they are). No Amsterdam experience is complete without a tour of the red-light district, but this time we decided to combine it with a bar-crawl.
On our last day, in true holiday style, we cycled to the Heineken brewery to enjoy a fantastic tour and a couple of drinks before lunchtime. We bought some gifts for our lovely ladies and off we were to start our new placement on the very next day. Not enough time to recover, for sure, but 'Amsterdam 4' goes down as another unforgettable experience.
photos to follow (Tom if you read this, please send me some...)