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travel With many people looking for a cheap weekend away, parts of Europe are continuing to be popular destinations. etc’s Tegan Chapman took in the sights of Amsterdam

The canal in Amsterdam

Going

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Dutch

magazine - February 2013

www.etcnortheast.co.uk


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travel Stedelijk Museum

Amsterdam may be known for its seedy underworld but it’s also bursting with culture

msterdam is well known for its short weekend breaks, but after my trip to the Dutch capital my advice would be to stay longer. DFDS offered me a chance to enjoy a relaxing overnight cruise and rather than contend with airport security and check-ins, I was able to indulge in their hospitality on board. Although it took longer than by air, it was nice to enjoy a bit of luxury and the Seven Seas restaurant provided the perfect place to relax, eat good food and watch the sun set. As we were preparing to dock, we got our first glimpse of the port and the city – but not the city of Amsterdam. It is a common misconception that the ferry travels from Newcastle to Amsterdam, when in fact it goes from North Shields to IJmuiden. And if you have the time, IJmuiden is definitely a place worthy of a visit. For some culture, you can take a small boat trip to visit the fortress in front of the harbour – part of the defence waterline that you see as you come into the port. Food lovers will find some of the freshest and most delicious fish of the Netherlands at Visrestaurant, based in the port. But if it’s glitz and glamour you’re after (and who can resist glamour?), then staying at the Duin and Kruidberg hotel is a must. This five-star country estate is set in the most picturesque surroundings. Everything here is incredible. From the epic-sized beds, to the Nespresso machines in every room, but it was the seven-course Michelin starred meal that sent my senses into overdrive. The little touches that really stood out for me were the chocolate cigar for the men, and edible lipstick for the ladies at the end of the night. I felt quite sad to leave IJmuiden, but it was onwards and upwards to Amsterdam, to

sample the party city in all its splendour. Amsterdam may be known for its seedy underworld but it’s also bursting with culture and a walking tour through the oldest part of the city is not to be missed. We visited the Stedelijk Museum of modern art, and took a trip to the Brouwerij’t IJ brewery where we were able to see the beers being made and, of course, sample a few too! After a busy day taking in the sights we ended on a high with a meal while sailing through the canals complete with Dutch stories. Amsterdam is one of those places that is easy to love, but from there we were taken to Haarlem, and I would urge anyone opting to take a trip to Holland to extend their visit here. Like a mini Amsterdam, without the stag party vibe, it is a beautiful city: more relaxed but with the same canal structure as the caoital. Here we enjoyed a walking tour, taking in sights such as the Great Church of St Bavo’s, a truly beautiful church in the centre of a bustling market square, as well as paying the world-famous Teylers museum a visit. Sadly we didn’t have time for a tour of De Adriaan windmill, Frans Hals Museum, or a canal cruise, but I have already marked these on the list of things to do when I return to this city which has found its way into my heart. There is so much to do in Holland it would be a shame not to explore wider afield. When tourists disembark at North Shields, their first stop is Newcastle. As we try to encourage them to take a look at our beautiful coastal towns before venturing to the city centre, we need to do the same and take a look at what they have on offer outside of Amsterdam.

Food at The Duin and Kruidberg Hotel

Inside The Duin and Kruidberg Hotel The Duin and Kruidberg Hotel

Amsterdam light festival

Factfile

A band plays in Haarlem

Bikes line the streets of Amsterdam

Prices start from £99pp for two people from Newcastle to Amsterdam on board DFDS. Visit www.dfdsseaways.co.uk for more details. Tegan stayed at the Duin and Kruidberg in IJmuiden, where prices start from around £130 a night. www.duin-kruidberg.nl/UK/ and the NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, where prices start from £97 a night. Visit www.nh-hotels.com/NH-BarbizonPalace

www.etcnortheast.co.uk

magazine - February 2013

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Amsterdam  

Travel feature on Holland

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