March 2014. I had holiday to use up before the end of April or lose it.  I always seem to end up saving my days off work and then losing them as there’s never anything I want to use them for (or more truthfully, I run out of money to do the things I’d like)!

I’d been keeping myself occupied, going to the gym, having lunch with my Mum but it looked to me like the week I’d given myself wasn’t really going to amount to much.  It was a Wednesday evening and the week was nearly over.  About 10pm at night I was playing around on Facebook and a sponsored advert came up – Flybe flights to Amsterdam from £50…

Now, you see I’ve been to Amsterdam before.  On my 30th (gulp) birthday a small group of friends travelled over.  It was a great couple of days, but we of course didn’t really do anything of any value culture wise. Unless you count sampling ‘coffee shops’ and Heineken tasting.  In which case, we smashed it.  As we were leaving I promised myself; “I will return soon, and I will return with my camera.”

So, all of a sudden … an inkling of an idea appeared.  I could go back! What else was I going to do?  It was the summer of 2011 when I’d been before.  Was I really going to go back one day or was I telling myself lies?  Time has a horrid habit of passing far too quickly. OK.  If I can find a cheap hotel, I’ll book a flight.  In steps – 2 nights for less than £80 in the same hotel I stayed at previously.  Brilliant.  By 10.15pm I had the hotel and flights booked for under £120 – and I was leaving at 9.30am the very next day!

This was an adventure and I had no time to prepare myself!  Very exciting!  My only plan – take some nice photos, visit a museum and absolutely under no circumstances miss visiting Anne Franks secret annexe.

I will close this little piece with a word on Anne Frank.  I felt close to tears as I walked around. A strange feeling as I walked past a door with her height marked against it.  History feeling tangible in a way I hadn’t felt before.   If you ever visit Amsterdam then to pay a visit here I feel is essential.  In fact, if I had my way every single school in the country would pay a visit as part of the curriculum. The horrors of the war must never be forgotten and must never be repeated anywhere, to anyone.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

~John Lennon~


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