On day 4, (you can read about day 1, 2, 3 here), our last morning in Amsterdam, we woke up to glorious weather. A clear blue sky and sunshine. I was over the moon that we had such lovely weather but slightly grumpy that the sun only chose to show up on our last morning. However, the sunshine did mean that this was the perfect day to visit the A’dam Tower.
Baths and beige pastries
After a bath (I was making the most of that bath!) we made our way downstairs and enjoyed our last breakfast at the DoubleTree Hilton. As usual, the breakfast was good and we couldn’t fault it. This is a very busy hotel but there are plenty of seating areas, including little booths that are tucked away. Youngest went for her usual breakfast of chocolate muffins, croissants and any other beige pastry that she could squeeze onto her plate. Oldest preferred to take her breakfast in two parts, starting with pancakes and waffles, followed by scrambled egg on toast.
After breakfast we headed out into the sunshine, determined to find the A’dam Tower. We made our way past Amsterdam Grand Centraal Station, pausing to take in just how majestic the building is. It reminded me of a grander St Pancras Station. It’s a building that looks beautifully gothic. Opposite the station are rows and rows of bikes, and it’s quite a sight to see. We noticed that many of the bikes had a blue front tyre. We later learnt that this is because they are bikes that are available on a hire purchase scheme in which the owners of those bikes pay a monthly fee. But, if their bike ever breaks they don’t have to worry because it’s covered on the bike scheme.
We made our way down the side of the building and through the underpass. Normally an underpass feels me with dread and I avoid going through them, especially if I’m on my own. They are often dank, smelly and not the kind of place you would want to dwell in. This underpass was completely different though. It didn’t reek of urine, there were lovely tiles that made up a picture and everyone was friendly. It didn’t feel intimidating at all. However, I’m not here to extol the virtues of the underpass. After all it was just an underpass and we had places to be.
We love a free ferry!
We made our through the underpass and came out into the sunshine. We were now at the back of the train station and next to the ferry terminal. We jumped onto the free ferry to ‘Buiksloterweg’. The children loved it and thought it was a real novelty. It’s only a very short crossing of about two minutes but you can see the iconic A’dam tower from the boat.
No swinging for us
After disembarking we made our way towards the tower. On this side of the river it felt a lot quieter. We were all hoping to go on the A’dam Tower swing. The tallest swing in Europe that gently swings you over the side of the building. After I spent our time in Disneyland Paris confronting my fear of all things high and scary, I was determined to enjoy the swing too. However, on arrival at the tower we discovered that Youngest was too small to go on the swing. She had been so looking forward to it and was absolutely devastated. There were tears and so we decided that as she couldn’t go on it, we wouldn’t do it either. I’m not sure how my brother felt about that, as he had been looking forward to it too ;-). Oldest also wasn’t overly enamoured with this idea but she eventually agreed that it was the fairest thing to do.
We purchased our ticket for the tower. At the time of writing a family ticket was €11 per adult and €5 per child. If you want to go on the swing you will need to pay an additional €5. We then went upstairs where there was a seat that was surrounded by guitars. I’m not sure what its significance was but Youngest was very excited to have her photo taken on it. She sat very regally on her guitar throne. Then we lined up for the lift. On your way through there is an opportunity to have your photo taken in front of the green screen. This puts you against the backdrop of Amsterdam and you appear to be balancing on a steel beam, overlooking Amsterdam. This photo is included in the price and you can later download them to your phone.
We had our photos taken and afterwards our faces were aching from the usual over grinning for a photo. We then made our way into the lift. I was expecting the lift to shoot up but it moved at a more sedate pace. You are told to look up, and lights flash as you move up to the top of the building. The children loved the lift ride. The top of the A’dam tower is the Lookout and it offers incredible views of Amsterdam. We could just about espy people resembling tiny ants walking about at ground level. It was such a clear day that we could see for miles and miles. We also went outside where there was a massive horse in pink (a little surreal but beautiful) and naturally the children had to sit on the horse.
The views from the A’dam tower were just amazing and I also enjoyed spying on the flats next to the tower. Every house and flat in Amsterdam always seems so stylish.
We watched as people went on the swing and noticed that it went very slowly. It looked like you only got about 5 swings on it, hardly great value for money and we didn’t feel as if we had missed out too much. Plus, the swing is positioned so that it’s looking away from Amsterdam city centre so it doesn’t offer you the best view.
Time to say goodbye
After we had savoured the views we reluctantly made our way back to the hotel to check out. We then caught our train to the airport and said goodbye to my brother who was flying back to Norway. The Amsterdam airport is vast as I mentioned in day 1. There is so much to see and do but it is all incredibly well organised. It must have been a mile from security to our departure gate. We had just about enough time to grab lunch at McDonald’s before we made our walk to the gate, passing the playground, library, huge teacups for you to sit in, bars, and large Miffy rabbits.
Getting home felt a bit of a slog but really it was very straightforward. All of our planes were running on time and we made our connecting flight in Amsterdam. We arrived back in Jersey just before 8 pm, after a fantastic couple of days in Amsterdam.
It was the perfect destination for my birthday and I hope that I can return one day.
Amsterdam you were stunning, surreal and superb.