Soon after Christmas, on the 26th, we were off to Amsterdam for a few days to celebrate Steph’s 26th birthday. This year was particularly special because it was also her champagne birthday, born on the 26th of December 26 years ago.
The TGV is truly awesome! Just 2 hours later, bags packed with magnums of champagne, leftover Christmas dinner, breakfast quiche and snacks, we arrived in Amsterdam to sunny blue skies. The apartment rental I booked through Airbnb was located right in the heart of the Red Light District and only minutes away from everything in the Dam. The apartment was fantastic and just perfect for us four.
After settling in, relaxing and putting the champagne in the fridge to chill, we ventured off through the canals of Amsterdam on a self-guided architectural walk. David and I had been to Amsterdam almost 9 years ago on our Contiki tour… blurred between the ruins of Italy, the landscape of the Alps, and the bustle of London, I barely remember our Amsterdam stop at the end of a 30-day European whirl wind. So as we discovered the city, I was pleasantly surprised at its charm and beauty. What struck me the most was the incredible unevenness, and uneasy inclinations of the buildings, still remarkably standing after 400+ years at the edge of the canals.
Soon after we started the walk, our main priority was getting ourselves a world famous batch of French fries.
Later that evening, I had a birthday surprise planned. For weeks I had been working on a special birthday video, compiling old home videos, pictures, and birthday messages from family and friends abroad. Needless to say, she was touched. David and I also worked on re-recording her favourite song “Drinking in LA” to “Drinking in the Dam” with the help of Garage Band, a karaoke track, David’s savvy Mac skills and custom written lyrics by us about her life. Despite my awful singing voice, that was a lot of fun to create and ultimately to share with her. This was my gift to her.
After the tears of happiness, and a magnum of champagne, we got dolled up for a special birthday dinner at Van Speyk and a night on the town.
The next 2 days in Amsterdam consisted of eating yummy food (Dutch pancakes, leftover Christmas dinner, stroop waffles and more fries), eating not so yummy new foods (like raw herring), doing lots of walking and visiting some of Amsterdam’s famous sights. Despite some rain, we had a fantastic time and hope it was a birthday she’ll never forget.