Thursday, March 21

Amsterdam, Day 1

Another university term is over, Easter is looming, and students across the country are beginning to head home.
However, Leeds University students are not your average bears. When term ends, there is only one solution- a final, epic send off before starting a months detox.
Amsterdam was calling to us; and we could not resist its beckoning allure.
Knackered, skint, and hungover; this did not deter us, and 49 peers and myself set off on the 15 hour long coach journey to this 'magical' city.

Luckily, even though we were travelling all through the night; we managed to catch a bit of sleep and were kept entertained by the boys.
The girls might have just wanted to snuggle in a warm, double bed; but the boys decided it was time to hit the cider and beer for the whole 15 hours! Needless to say, watching them devour "the best breakfast in history", try to play with little children, and attempt to sing along to show tunes; we were never short of entertainment!

Finally, we survived the journey and arrived in Amsterdam, (after luckily dodging the 'interesting' driving of foreign truck drivers!) The city instantly struck us as... Sleepy! There were barely any cars, everyone was cycling, and as a result it was incredibly quiet! We shuffled half asleep, dragging our heavy bags, down the canal lined streets to our budget hotel. After quickly dumping our bags in the holdall and locating a few euros to share, we headed out desperate for a decent bite to eat. There is nothing worse than a hungry, tired, and hungover student!

Luckily, our rep suggested Lombardo's sandwich shop next door. I cannot recommend this place enough. I am not lying when I say this is probably the best sandwich I have ever bought, and I have had a lot of sandwiches in my 19 years! Lombardo's is owned by a Michelin star chef who gave up the snazzy restaurants for the simple, sandwich life- and by George I am glad he did!!

Each sandwich is individually crafted in front of your eyes using the freshest of ingredients. It is a tad expensive (i.e. around 6-9 euros per sandwich); but it is worth every single penny!
I went for the 'Smoked Salmon Sashimi'- Cold Smoked Scottish salmon, avocado, black olives, coriander, lettuce and a horseradish creamed sauce. Utter, utter bliss! I could live off smoked salmon, and they did it pure justice!

But I would have to say, if you visit this little gem (and I hope you do!); go for the 'Texas Brisket', this slow cooked American beef brisket topped with pickle, lettuce and mustard sauce was chosen by Emma and Flick. I managed to nibble a bite or two and this warm, succulent sandwich is heaven!
Seriously, if you are in Amsterdam, give this golden nugget Lombardo's a go! Pure food bliss!

Since we were not allowed into our hotel rooms for a few hours, we were left to wander around the nearby Flower Market before heading back for a few winks of sleep.

This cute little market is surrounded by some souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants. Flick even found a cracking cheese shop offering free samples, our student ways set in- Take anything that you can for free!
But soon, even though we hoped that we had escaped its icy grasp, the baltic English weather found us and the snow began to fall thick and fast.
Time for a hot chocolate to warm up our frozen fingertips!

I found these little blighters hidden away in the darkest depths of my handbag; perfect pick me up to dunk in a creamy hot chocolate!

Eventually the clock struck 2pm and we were allowed to enter our dorms. We joked about our loin cloth sized towels, jumped on the bunk beds (and fell out!), before collapsing of tiredness. A recharge of batteries was deeply needed before hitting Amsterdam hard in the evening; nothing except top form was allowed.

But you could not keep us from the local Heineken for long, and after a few hours; it was time to take advantage of the hotels 'Happy Hour' before hitting Amsterdam's famous nightlife.

Since it was our 1st time in such a buzy city, us naive foreigners were taken to Dansen Bij Jansen by the reps to show us the ropes. A bit of a mental bar full of English students, dodgy foreign men and plenty of beer/hot shots to go around.
Nevertheless, we went out in full Leeds style and had an incredible night!

Before long; our tiredness set in once again, bus journeys really do suck out every last drop of energy out of you! We called it an early night, buzzing on the atmosphere in Amsterdam and ready to get going early in the morning.

I have a feeling the next two days are going to be something we will never forget...

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