Sometimes I have good ideas and sometimes I have bad ideas. And then sometimes, though admittedly less often, I have great ideas.
Ending my 5-week trip through Europe and the Balkans with one final night in Amsterdam was one of those rare great ideas.
When I booked my ticket for the trip, the flight home from Bucharest had two layover options, one hour in Amsterdam or twenty hours in Amsterdam for the same price. For me, that’s not even a question, I went for the overnight.
Amsterdam is a great place for a layover even if you only have a few hours. The train to the Central Station takes just 20 minutes and costs less than 4 euro. After landing at noon, I was at my hotel shortly after 1:00pm with the rest of the day to wander.
It has been 8 years since my last visit to Amsterdam, but it was just as beautiful as I remembered. Dutch architecture, a rainbow of tulips, winding canals, a flurry of bicycles and – as a bonus – absolutely perfect weather. In fact, it had rained for two weeks straight prior to my arrival, but yesterday the sun emerged and it seemed all of Amsterdam came out to play.
Though I was originally searching for a reasonably-priced budget hotel (a holdover, I guess from the types of places I booked throughout the Balkans) I ultimately decided to blow a quite a few Starwood points and finish my trip in style with a night at the glorious Hotel Pulitzer (2017 Update: Sadly, this is no longer a Starwood hotel, but it is still pretty fabulous)
I was hoping to end the trip with a nice fancy suite and Starwood did not disappoint, I was upgraded to a top floor suite with wood-beam ceilings, skylights and a canal view.
I spent the afternoon aimlessly strolling around the city just taking it all in. I stopped on bridges to watch the boats cruise underneath me on the canal below, sat at the water’s edge to feed the swans for a while and then grabbed a seat at a canal-side café to enjoy an ice cold Heineken.
It was Holland at its best and it was a terrific way to end my trip. Today I’m travelling home and tomorrow I’ll have a few thoughts on the trip as a whole.
It’s been quite a month.