January 30th saw the History Society’s annual Trip abroad. This year was the turn of Amsterdam, the historical hotbed of student frivolity. The trip inevitably began with a rather long coach journey from the Armitage Centre to Dover. The long slog was made slightly better with in-flight entertainment courtesy of Shaun of the Dead and Airplane!. After a surprisingly calm journey across the channel and traversing the lowlands in the dark, we arrived bleary-eyed at our Amsterdam hostel, tired but eager to see what the city had to offer.
After a traditional Dutch breakfast consisting of really large pancakes, we headed off into the labyrinthine streets of central Amsterdam to try to find out what all the excitement was about. First things first, Amsterdam really is a beautiful city, with amazing architecture. But you aren’t here to hear that! The committee’s first ‘cultural’ expedition was to Amsterdam’s (probably) infamous Sex Museum. An excellent time was had by all, with particular excitement centering on ‘Long Dong Silver’ – what a man!
Following the excitement of the Sex Museum, we figured a depressant would be expedient. What better way to calm the spirits than a visit to one of Amsterdam’s famed coffee shops? Much consumption of coffee later, and emerging from the oppressive atmosphere of the shop, we returned to the hostel for some much-needed R&R before the first night out.
We congregated in the hostels bar and sunk a few jugs of Dutch beer. Sounds like a normal night out, right? It was, until we discovered Flügel in Hans Brinker’s underground, graffiti-adorned dive. This mercurial cranberry-vodka-and-energy-drink, vaguely reminiscent of an alcoholic Calpol, has become symbolic to the few of us who ordered it from the bar on a whim. After all, what’s a night out in Holland without sampling one of its odd party drinks? Post-Hans we went on a bit of a pub crawl, ending up in the Dutch equivalent of Yates’, watching Sky Sports News – LADS ON TOUR!
After a rather hazy breakfast we decided to do something historical, so visited the Anne Frank Museum, a sobering experience. We then hired bikes – as you do – and had a jaunty ride around the maze like city that is Amsterdam. Come evening time we visited Amsterdam’s world famous Red Light District: as seedy as you’d expect, with copious numbers of ashen faced looking British men… (None of us, we promise!).
And after this whirlwind excitement, it was time to return to Manchester. The coach journey round two wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences, but passed without the emptying of too many stomachs (as far as we know), and despite some decidedly green complexions on the ferry back over the channel, the journey was relatively incident free. Although one unnamed Society member was charged 15 Euros for a plate of fish and chips, which was greeted with much hilarity.
Overall, the Amsterdam trip was a resounding success, and much fun was had by all.