A MASSIVE Happy New Year to all of you beautiful readers out there – it’s been a hectic few weeks trying to get back into the work routine, swapping out late nights and lie-ins for 5am alarm calls and no longer picking up my books and reading blissfully for as long as I want as I am now lifting weights and dumbbells for clients and getting them through their workouts. It’s all good though, I am so lucky to enjoy what I do, and I know it’s rare to be able to say that, so I try my best to not complain too much about it!
(The hours are a bitch though!)
So, anyway – last year, when Mr OneBigStressball and I were bringing in the bells of 2018 along with Hot Dub Time Machine in Sydney, Australia, I blurted out to him that it would be a great idea to spend the rest of the remaining New Years Eve’s of our lives together in different places around the world. Because why not? The world is a huge place, and why wouldn’t it be a good idea to experience the first night of every New Year in a new place to experience how others celebrate it and also get a holiday from it?
So, due to the cheap flights and the fact our friend Ross is doing an Erasmus year over there, we decided to spend this New Years Eve in Amsterdam.
Have you been to Amsterdam before?
I’m such a lucky gal… when we booked the flights, I was still building my business and struggling to make ends meet, so Mr OneBigStressball offered to pay for both tickets and one night’s stay in a hotel over there.
We came up with a plan that meant we would stay at our friend Ross’s apartment for 2 out of the 3 nights we were going to be in Amsterdam, and that worked fine with me. There’s nothing like free accommodation to save some money, but there were 3 couples due to be in the same space together for the entire holiday, so it made sense to have one night apart from the group and give our getaway a lil’ romantic twist.
The only hitch that came up before our time away was the fact that, way back when, when Ross said he had room for us in his apartment, I assumed he had meant he had a room for us. Or at least a sofa. Nope. What Ross meant was that he had physical space for us. As in, he lives in a student studio, which consists of one bit open plan room, that has his desk, bed and kitchennette area in one space. The only door in the place (and therefore only private space) was for the bathroom. Yep. We bought two king size air mattresses – one for each couple – and Ross obviously shared his bed with his girlfriend. Once those beds were inflated and put on the floor, there was no leeway for walking round the room. On top of this, we had one pillow per couple, and no cover for the mattresses, so they made a horrendous amount of noise every single time we so much a breathed a bit too heavily.
Also we happened to make an amazing choice when we picked our mattress (kudos to me for having to choose the one closest to the bathroom because of my small-ass bladder), because the other one totally deflated on the other couple and they had a total ‘mare trying to even sleep on the first night.
We arrived quite late on the first night, so we spent the evening chatting and drinking beers at a nearby bar, and it was so lovely. None of us had met Ross’s girlfriend before, so we spent time getting to now her. Ross has had an unlucky streak with women, and he seems to be super happy with his new lady, so we’re equally as happy for him, and they’re so cute together!
Jack and Georgia, the other couple, had tickets reserved for the Van Gogh museum quite early the next morning, so we all decided on an early-ish night, but of course, none of us got any decent sleep because of the disgusting amount of rustling noise coming from the mattresses.
J and G left first thing in the morning, closely followed by us. Now, much as I enjoy being cultured and like art, Ian and I decided not to go to the Van Gogh museum, and, after grabbing some bagels and coffee for breakfast, we got to the Red Light Secrets museum for it opening.
As an aside I want to mention it was 10am and we already saw some ladies in the windows of the Red Light District, which was werid to me because I always associated the whole thing with being done under the shade of night etc, but I guess they wanted to finish their shift before New Years Eve celebrations got underway.
The museum was so so interesting. It was proper eye opening, and in places truly harrowing as well. The world of prostitution is something that is so completely out of my depth and shrouded by mystery, I’m so glad we went to the museum to be better informed about it.
We met up with everyone else for brunch after the museum… and Ross is quite hipster, so we met them at what was apparently a really good cafe, but as soon as we arrived we were told there was a two hour wait, so we decided to go and eat somewhere else. If I learned anything at all on this trip, it’s that Amsterdam has a select few places that people will literally queue for hours to get in. Even just coffeshops (for real coffee, not the type of coffeeshop that is actually a place to smoke weed). I like coffee, but I ain’t waiting that amount of time in order to get a hit of caffeine.
As if one brunch wasn’t enough, we went on to a little pizza place that Ross absolutely loves, and bought a giant slice each to munch on on the way back to Ross’s apartment.
One real quick disco nap afterwards, everyone was up and getting ready for New Year’s Eve dinner. It was a short walk away, but it was terrifying. Kids in Amsterdam are allowed to just set off fireworks here there and everywhere, and so every second there were fireworks going off and scaring the shit out of us. It wasn’t even 7pm and everyone seemed like they were already out celebrating, which was so nice to see, because even though it was bitterly cold, everyone was already in the mood forgetting together and partying.
Before we had gone to Amsterdam, we had all paid for tickets to get into a specific club for their New Year’s Eve disco night, but decided that we would bring in the bells together as a group in the apartment before heading out to the club after midnight. It just made sense to avoid the crowds and go into the new year together. I’m glad we did as well. The Uber into town cost me the most I have ever paid for a taxi, and then when we got to the club, unfortunately it was pretty underwhelming. The ‘disco’ theme wasn’t quite right, and the drinks were horrendously overpriced. (Mr OneBigStressball bought two drinks and it cost nearly 20 euros.)
As per usual when we get drunk, Mr OneBigStressball and I got in a huge fight and didn’t speak again after having that drink until morning when we woke up… apart to argue about where people were when we were trying to find a taxi home. Not an ideal way to start the new year, but I guess it’s better to arguments over and done with quickly, right?
We did make up though (otherwise wouldn’t this be the most depressing post ever?) and the rest of the holiday went by without a hitch. We spent New Year’s Day sailing in our own little motorboat down the Amstel (and froze our toes off); and checked into a hotel which was vintage arcade game themed so we had a SuperNintendo right there in our cosy little room. The room also had various different coloured mood lighting in the bathroom, and the people who stayed in there before us had left their Netflix signed on so we had a game of Netflix Roulette, whereby we picked a random account, went through their viewing history and plucked an unknown tv show or movie to watch. We watched a horror movie called Escape Room. It was shit.
We also made the most of food delivery apps on our phones, and Mr OneBigStressball got a McDonald’s ordered straight to the room, while I did the exact same with a portion of spaghetti carbonara.
If in doubt, carbonara is the best shout.
We spent our night giggling and being generally lazy, and got up early the next morning to have a wander round the area of De Pijp before meeting up with Ross and his gal in the afternoon. Jack and Georgia had a morning flight, so left even before we woke up.
We had breakfast in a cute little local cafe – where we witnessed an argument that almost turned into a full-scale fight- before we found a street market and bought giant stroopwaffles the sze of our head as our post-breakfast dessert.
When we eventually met up with Ross again, we went and did what we did best. We hit up a local brewery that is based inside a windmill, and bought in a round of drinks before going off to dinner.
It was during these drinks that I tried my very best to describe to Mr OneBigStressball how to take the perfect photo, and why backgrounds matter so much.
Our flight wasn’t till late in the evening, so we had plenty of time to enjoy the city on that last day. As a thank you to Ross for having us stay for the two nights, we treated him and his girlfriend to dinner and a place that did amazing steak and comfort food.
If you’re going to treat your mates to dinner in Amsterdam, make sure you save up your pennies first, because it is e x p e n s i v e.
Worth it though.
All in all, it was a good wee getaway. I switched most of my message notifications on mute so I was able to stay present and take some time off from always being ‘on call’ from clients at the gym, and it felt incredible to not have any responsibility, even if it was just for a couple of days!
I wonder where we’ll go for next New Year?!