Here’s my first weekend back in Amsterdam

flying over Dublin Coastline

Flying over the Dublin Coastline

We have just moved to Amsterdam for a few months to be closer to friend’s and Alex’s family. The last time I lived in the city was over 10 years ago. A lot has changed since then, myself included.

As much as I give out about the weather and the transport in Dublin. It is where I am from, it is my home town, it is familiar and I have a sense of belonging. I also know a lot of great people in the city. The capital has a lot going for it these days; great places to eat, good live music, great pubs, it’s close to the sea, mountains and lakes and has some stunning landscapes.

However, I will be leaving all of that behind for a bit. Our main focus is to support a family member who is fighting cancer. However, it is not all negative. Over the years, most of the people I know have also moved to other locations. So it feels nice to be surrounded by lots of close friends again. Also, I have been based in our apartment in Dublin since I came back from Australia 5 years ago. That is the longest I have ever lived in one place in my entire life. So for me, it is also the right time for a change.

Although Amsterdam is very familiar. It has been so long since I live here, so I am rediscovering the city again. Living in a place compared to visiting gives you a totally different perspective. You have time to get underneath the skin of the city and it’s people.

Packing & the move

Packing madness

Packing madness

The past few weeks we have been throwing out stuff, packing boxes, getting the painters in and getting everything ready for the tenants to move in. I cannot believe that I was able to live for 2 years out of one backpack. How did we manage to accumulate so much stuff since then? It actually felt good to throw away,  donate or store all the excess stuff we have. In the end, we whittled everything down to one 20 kg wheelie case, one 10 kg wheelie case, and a backpack each. A massive thanks to everyone who helped us with the move and let us store our belongings in their place.

We also tried to meet up with everyone before we left. So the last week was a blur of lunches, pints and coffee catch-ups. Which of course led to me getting sick with a fever for the last few days in Dublin and I am still in recovery mode a week later. Sorry to anyone we didn’t get around to meeting but we do have a spare bed in Amsterdam so you are welcome to visit us!

Bloody marys in the parents back garden

Bloody marys in the parents back garden in Kilkenny


My first night in Amsterdam: Friday

I landed in Schiphol got a lift to our new apartment on Goudsbloemstraat and dropped my bags. We will be living here until mid-September when we will be travelling to Barcelona for a friends wedding. After that, we need to find some other accommodation in Amsterdam. I am not sure we will be quiet as lucky as this 3 story house, but you never know.

Living room Amsterdam Apartment Jordaan

Ground floor  in our new apartment in the Jordaan, Amsterdam

Dutch stairs

Dutch stairs

other stairs

other stairs

Alex working remotely

Alex working remotely

Amsterdam Bedroom

Amsterdam Bedroom


A 5 minute walk away past some beautiful canals we met friends at t’Blaauwhooft. A lovely café bar with a large terrace outside. I had a few goats cheese croquettes for dinner washed down with a few Belgian beers.

First night back in Amsterdam

First night back in Amsterdam with friends at t’Blaauwhooft


Rastaplas Festival: Saturday

Rastaplas festival Zoetermer

Rastaplas Festival Zoetermeer

Saturday was the day of the festival in Zoetermeer near The Hague. We had the great idea to travel down together by public transport. A one hour journey turned into 3.5 hours. Silly me thought Irish public transport was bad. On the first train, there was fault on the line which meant we had to reverse all the way back to Amsterdam. The second train we got was delayed 15 minutes. Then it stopped without any real explanation for another 20 minutes while we were all trying to stay quiet in the silent carriage. Sshhhhh.

The loud Canadian had no problem telling everyone in the silent carriage his travel nightmare. Having missed his flight from London he managed to get to the city several days later just in time for an electrical storm. They rebooked his hotel via in Amsterdam. However, the hotel was in Utrecht, a completely different city. He then got something closer but it was 3km from the centre. Then he tried to book an Uber but it never arrived due to a recent bug with the app. However, Uber still charged him 80euro.  Our travel delays didn’t seem so bad after that.

King Shiloh Rastaplas

King Shiloh Rastaplas

The small local reggae and dub festival was right on a lake shore. Surrounded by trees on one side and a beach on the other. King Shiloh a sound system from Amsterdam was in the Dub section and the highlight, the Twinkle Brothers were playing at the end of the day on the main stage. The Twinkle brothers formed in 1962 gave a powerful performance at Rastaplas 55 years later. With no breaks between tunes, they slammed down classic after classic. The video below isn’t from the festival but gives you a taste of what it was like.

Boating along Amsterdam Canals: Sunday

I had planned on doing nothing on Sunday after the busy week. However, friends persuaded me to join them on a cruise around Amsterdam. Boating gives you a unique view of the city that is built on water. After a couple of circuits, we stopped in Rechtsboomsloot for a takeaway pizza dinner from Il Sogno before winding further through the maze of canals. The weather turned and we tried to hide under bridges to escape the rain. However, in the end we couldn’t avoid getting completely drenched before being dropped off at a nearby canal to our apartment.

And so the adventure begins.


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