Blurry-eyed from our 3am wake-up alarm, we touched down on Amsterdam soil in time for breakfast. A short train journey north delivered us into the welcoming arms of our friends Sam and Rena, who took us the sunny scenic route to their work-studio; a converted warehouse space full of light, handmade ceramics and happily for us, plants. The surrounding landscape was idyllic; looking out onto the flat, fertile countryside of the Netherlands with the Amsterdam skyline rising just above the horizon.
On our way back to the city we passed through beautiful traditional villages with wood-clad Dutch houses in all shapes and sizes, and as we neared the busy centre the buildings seemed to squash up against one-another to suddenly become tall and slender but even wonkier still. We wandered the streets under bright green Elm blossom and dreamt of living canalside with our own plant-filled stoop to bathe in the evening light.
Day two began with a visit to Vondelpark which we explored on two wheels, stopping only to try and catch a sight of the colourful parrots flitting from tree to tree. We immersed ourselves in the Dutch Masters at the Rijksmuseum and stared for what felt like hours into paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
On our final day in Amsterdam we headed to an old favourite of ours; the lush greenhouses of Hortus Botanicus, where we spent the morning amidst the glorious botanical oasis that sits in the very heart of the city.
Keen to see more glasshouse action, we hopped on a train and found our way to the Botanische Tuin Zuidas (part of the Vrije University) and couldn’t believe our eyes. The passionate gardener we met introduced us to the collection of over 8000 cacti and succulents and let us roam around the incredible greenhouses freely.
Amsterdam is a place that has a vast history, a place that has inspired great names in art and literature and for three days in spring it showed us it’s wealth of culture, wonky architecture and an incredibly warm welcome.