It’s been a busy couple of months for us with all of the traveling and Danni’s mother coming to visit, but Amsterdam was a work fueled trip that I couldn’t miss.  My original plan was to travel to Amsterdam last year for the 2011 Dutch PHP Convention, but due to the UK border agency holding my passport too long (for a bit of paperwork I ultimately didn’t need), I wasn’t able to attend.  The nice folks who ran the convention simply shifted my tickets to the 2012 event and since Danni had her shiny new UK passport it didn’t make sense for her not to join me.

A sliver of our view from the hotel window.
Since I was spending my days at the conference, I didn’t really get a chance to get out and take some proper photos until our last day.  Still, I managed a few snapshots in the evenings here and there but our travel book is going to be a bit thin this time I think. (whenever we go on holiday we get our photos printed in a photo book from a company called Albelli who do a good job at a decent price, and the software is dead easy to use)

I had to run back to catch this photo as the lights came on.

Amsterdam was a lot like a Venice you could actually live in.  Where Venice was cramped and overrun with people, Amsterdam had all of the charms of the canals (less the gondoliers) with what actually felt like residential areas.  I’m not saying one place was better than the other, but I certainly know where I’d choose to live given the option.

And my little cheese eater

Danni had the time to do quite a bit more sightseeing than I did and enjoyed most of the museums on offer, in addition to sampling a LOT of free cheese. She even joked about having to come up with a disguise so she could hit all of the spots she’d done already, but I don’t think it came to that.  We did end up bringing back a fair bit of cheese with us, so I think it all balanced out.

Danni and our tasting expert.

We managed to do the Heineken Experience tour one evening which was actually a lot of fun.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the tour, but it was interesting, slightly informative (especially if you’re unaware of how beer is actually made) and most importantly you get quite a few samples included in the cost of the tour.  Tours that include booze of some sort are always better than tours that don’t.  Fact.

Our last day out, visiting windmills.

On our last day we had a bit of time once the conference was finished so we headed to a nearby village/museum called Zaanse Schans.  It was a collection of old style Dutch homes along with half a dozen windmills, each designed for a different purpose.  It was a really nice day out, partly due to the great weather we were having, but also because the windmills were exactly what you want to see on your first visit to Holland.  We had lunch in the little village before jumping on the train back to Amsterdam in time to catch our evening flight back home.

Danni and the tiny remains of a once great cotton candy stick.

I’d love to go back one day and really explore the city and a bit more of the countryside.  There are a lot of other places we both want to visit, so it may be a while till we’re back again.  As always, there are more images in the gallery.

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