Last week, with the help of some friends, I finally cut the metaphorical umbilical cord between Ebony and myself. I went all the way to Amsterdam, all by myself, without a three year old in sight, for two whole nights. This might not sound like much, but it was the first time I’d really left Ebony, and definitely the furthest away from her I have ever been.
The trip was booked months ago, long before I’d even spent a night away from Ebony, and for ages it felt like a distant event. Then suddenly it was two weeks away and I needed to start preparing Ebony for my trip away. Or so I thought. In actual fact, she wasn’t bothered in the least, she seemed more excited about Laurie being off work to play with her than she was about me disappearing for two nights. Though she did mention that she’d quite like Laurie to take her to Amsterdam while he was off work.
It’s been way too long since I’ve travelled on my own. I’ve totally forgotten how to play it cool. My days of carefree travel are firmly behind me. On the way to Amsterdam I felt so stressed about having to go through security that I bit my lip so hard it bled. Cool.
How are you meant to pack all of your things into hand baggage? The mere concept doesn’t even make any sense. Lots of my things are liquids, how is this ever going to work?! Argh.
Our hotel was… erm… basic. Think backpacking chic without the chic, but we didn’t spend much (any?) time there so it didn’t matter so much. We stayed near Dam Square which we hadn’t realised was quite so close to the red light district, and our apartment was on the outskirts of that area meaning a wrong turn took you face to face with, I can only assume, the reality of human trafficking.
Amsterdam is such a beautiful city, I really love the styles of the houses there. Tall and eclectic, with great big windows, towering above the city’s canals. There are bikes as far as the eye can see, and nowhere near as many cars as you would find in a city over here. It’s a really lovely city, and one I think would be a great place to live, assuming you were really far away from the red light district and the hideous men that area attracts.
We stumbled across a vegan cafe and shop whilst we were wandering around one day, it was called Vegabond and is definitely worth a visit if you’re down that way (somewhere near Anne Frank’s house). I finally managed to get hold of one of those Vego that I’ve been seeing on social media for all eternity. So good, like ferrero roche in a bar, my only regret is not buying more. I only bought one, and that was a gift for Laurie which I’d eaten in its entirety before I even left Amsterdam*. They had loads of amazing looking food in the shop, and a few cakes and salads on sale in the small cafe area.
It was really lovely to go out drinking during the day, and drink long into the night without worrying about how awful the toxic combination of hangover plus three year old would feel in the morning. It was nice waking up of my own accord rather than being dragged kicking and screaming by a hungry (and hair pull-y) child. And it was nice being near canals without feeling absolutely petrified that I would have to jump in to save my own offspring (does anyone else share this irrational yet overwhelming fear of canals and locks?)
But it was also really lovely to get home again and hear Ebony say the world’s most beautiful sentence, “I missed you, mummy.”
* I am not the world’s worst wife though, I did replace this with gin.