Wednesday 2 July 2014


Firstly, many thanks to all of you who sent good wishes and joined in the celebration of Steve's 5 year survivor anniversary!

As our Facebook friends know already, we marked this special occasion with a trip to Amsterdam - somewhere we had been planning to visit for years but never quite got round to it. However, it was the perfect choice for this occasion - our first adventure since Steve recovered from the side effects of the VanSel Phase 1 drug trail he took part in during the early part of the year.  A short flight, plenty to see and do indoors if the weather was poor, and a good base we could return to to recover, if it all got too much....

We planned to split our main time three ways - visits to some of Amsterdam's modern buildings around the docks and River Ij, including EYE, Holland's national film institute;


Muziekgebrouw Concert Hall (centre for contemporary and classical music); 


the wonderful public library and the Conservatoire school of the arts next door; 

Public Library

The Conservatoire

Arcam architecture centre and Nemo, a science museum whose amazing stepped roof terrace had water features, deck chairs, games and a cafe where you could rest the feet, quench your thirst and enjoy wonderful views over the city from a high vantage point.



We also spent time just wandering around the historic core of the city, from canal to canal, admiring the terraced streets of distinctive, tall narrow houses and the floating flower market, amongst other things.

There was some culture too - a visit to the Van Gogh Museum and to the Stedelijk Gallery, home of Amsterdam's modern art collection.  

Van Gogh Museum

Stedelijk Musuem

Plus a quick look inside the atrium of newly opened Rijksmuseum, although not enough time to view the collection on this occasion.


However, it was some of the unplanned events that we enjoyed just as much - seeing the Dutch getting behind the national team in the FIFA World Cup - the city turned orange on match day - balloons, streamers, bunting - plus people wearing T-shirts, hats, suits and onesies in orange...

....wandering through the leafy Vondelpark on our way to the Museum quarter...

....watching the surge of cyclists (living in Oxford, we are used to cycles...but nothing like in Amsterdam, where cyclists rule the roads and cycleways alongside the footpaths!) 

...and spending our last evening in the company of two photographers - Ricky, an accomplished street photographer based in Amsterdam and Jan, who is famous for his wonderful architectural images...Jan and his girlfriend traveled from the Hague just to join us for the evening.  We were honoured!  Thank you for making it a last night in Amsterdam to remember.  

Jan, Ricky, Linda and Steve

Add to that mix of happy times being based in a lovely flat in a traditional Amsterdam house, close to the museums but in a relaxed and quiet area (except for when the Netherlands won its world cup match!)

I do hope we will return one day...must try the pickled herring next time!

A short break but a very enjoyable one. Now we feel ready to tackle something a bit longer before Steve's next appointment in August....But in the meantime, it's back to life, back to reality....

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