It’s half term this week and looking for a last minute treat for the children, I saw an offer for a mini-cruise to Amsterdam with P&O from Hull. On a whim, I booked and just a couple of days later we were off to explore. It hadn’t really occurred to me that Europe has been in the grip of an extreme cold spell and that Holland was going to be part of this. So my plans for a a trip on the canals weren’t exactly what I had in mind. We did have a trip on the canals, but we had to walk on them. Apparently this freezing only happens about once every decade and indeed it’s ten years since last time so we were really lucky to experience it and it was quite magical. We had a brilliant time and I thoroughly recommend it.

Arriving at Rotterdam on Saturday morning after a good night’s sleep on board, we ventured on deck to have a look. The sun was shining but the cold hit us instantly. Good job we brought those hats.

A coach took us to the centre of Amsterdam. We dropped our bags at the hotel (Movenpick – also excellent) and set off to see what we could see. It wasn’t long before we encountered the party atmosphere on the ice.

At first we were a bit scared to step on it. After being told for years that frozen canals, rivers, lakes are dangerous and you mustn’t set foot on them, it went against our instincts to encourage the children on. Especially when there did appear to be some dodgy looking patches. But the Dutch didn’t seem remotely concerned so we started to enjoy ourselves. We didn’t take to the special long skates that everyone seemed to have for these once in a decade events, but we walked on the canals for a long way.

On the bottom left of this set of four you can see a moped with two people on it. Unbelievable.

I loved the lack of traffic though we did nearly get knocked over by a bike every two minutes.

Impromptu ice hockey…

Getting a bit chilly by this stage.

It may look like we were taking the children into the establishment on the right but we weren’t. Honest.

Shop windows. I don’t know what was being brewed in the bottom one!

We went to Anne Frank’s house. It was very moving and I was impressed with how sensitively it was done. You could easily walk past without noticing it, as it was kept exactly the same (apart from being called Anne Frank House obviously).

Jasper in the Lomography shop. I liked this shop a lot 🙂 But didn’t buy anything as I’m still loving the X100 and it’s all I need for now. One day I will go back to film again for some fun again but not yet.

A trip to one of the bars set up on the canal for a warming drink.

Look, that’s me on the right! I was actually there too.

As the sun went down we came across this spectacle. We weren’t entirely sure what was going on as it was hard to see with such huge crowds. But it seemed that children were speed skating racing on the canal. There was a lot of excitement and a fair few crashes.  People were gathered on roofs and in all the building alongside it to get a good view. The only way I could see was by holding up my camera and looking through the viewfinder.

The next morning the weather wasn’t so bright. This is the view from our hotel room.

We went to the Van Gogh museum.

It started to snow again.


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