Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

March 2010: Amsterdam

After a gap of two months since returning from Florida, I resumed my 2010 travel programme with a weekend in Amsterdam. Despite this being a nearby European city, it was only my third visit and it came after a gap of 24 years! Although it has excellent public transport, Amsterdam is best seen on foot. The weather during my brief visit was sunny and dry and the temperature was nominally 1C. Unfortunately, there was also a strong and unrelentingly bitter north-easterly wind, sending the effective temperature well below zero.

The weekend also gave me the opportunity to say both hello and goodbye to bmi's long-standing service from London (this being due for imminent withdrawal), and to meet up with some of my fellow UK-based frequent flyers, who were on an unusual schedule that gave them even less time in the city than I had!

The part of the visit that is most firmly imprinted on my memory is Sunday morning, when the uncharacteristically quiet streets almost took on an air of serenity in the morning sun.

Capital confusion

Contrary to both popular belief and what I was taught as a child, Amsterdam, and not The Hague, is the capital city of the Netherlands. The Hague is the seat of both government and monarchy, and it is home to the Supreme Court and a number of high-profile international institutions. It's also where you'll find all the foreign embassies. In short, it has everything that a capital city ought to have.

Yet Amsterdam is the capital for one simple and compelling reason: the country's constitution says so.

Game, set and match to the city of canals.

Base: Renaissance