Thursday, 13 September 2018

Amsterdam and Hull

Mister Handmade in Israel and I have travelled to the UK a few times over the last year. All for good reasons I must point out.  We usually fly into London and spend time there, but this July we were heading north for my niece's wedding in Harrogate, so it made sense for us to fly into Humberside airport, the nearest airport to my dad's home. That required a stopover in Amsterdam. Such is life!
We had 12 hours to spend in Amsterdam and my brain was bursting with ideas. Sadly I decided not to visit one of the many wonderful museums there on this occasion. Mister Handmade in Israel isn't as interested in museums and art galleries as I am and, in addition, I didn't want to feel rushed or feel that we were trying to squeeze too much in to one day. In the end we decided to spend the day simply walking and cruising round Amsterdam.
We had a great day.
We walked through Dam Square and viewed Amsterdam's Royal Palace, the National Monument and de Nieuwe Kerk. We passed through the Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam Flower Market, which we both found very disappointing. It was touristy and tacky and severely lacking in flowers! We saw the Anne Frank House (both of us had visited it previously) and enjoyed a delicious brunch alongside one of the many canals. At 1:30pm we joined one of the Free Walking Tours Amsterdam. Our guide was Sonja, who informed us at the end of the tour that it was only the fifth time she had taken out a group. We would never have known. She really knew her stuff and answered the many questions I had. The tour was informative, funny and a great way to learn a little more about Amsterdam.
We discovered why Amsterdam is known as the most liberal city in the world, how this small fishing village become so important in the 16th century, and a lot about Dutch culture and typical Dutch food. We visited the beautiful Begijnhof, a peaceful courtyard surrounded by churches and building which housed women as far back at 1346, and wandered through Oudekerksplein, the centre of Amsterdam's red light district.
When our feet were beginning to hurt we joined a Lovers Canal Cruise (though the title makes is seem far more romantic than it actually was!). I was concerned that much of what we would hear would be the same as our walking tour earlier in the day, but that was not the case. We saw a wider area of Amsterdam, this time experiencing it from the water. We passed grand merchant houses, gothic churches, museums and medieval buildings and sailed by the iconic Skinny Bridge.
Then it was time to fly on, this time to Humberside Airport and on to Hull, which I had last visited in June 2017. We had limited time for touring on this occasion since the focus of our trip was my niece's wedding, but those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I always find the time to see some new places! We wandered around Hull's Old Town, popping into the Streetlife Museum of Transport to see one of Hull's cream phone boxes. A strange fact about Hull is that telephone company BT have never run the public phone boxes in the city. All of the communications in the city were run by the city council until 2007 and so all of the phone boxes are cream, not the usual red that BT uses. We passed The Deep, ate a fun lunch at a café on the pier and saw the now fully renovated Hull Minster with its stunning new mirror pools.
I was delighted to discover that the current exhibition at Hull's Ferens Art Gallery was Clangers, Bagpuss & Co. As well as telling the story of Bagpuss and The Clangers, the exhibition went behind the scenes of their other creations; Pogles' Wood, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine. Did you know the Clangers' iconic whistles were actually scripted in English? Or that cult favourite and "saggy old cloth cat" Bagpuss was originally supposed to be marmalade coloured, and not pink and white at all?
Another day we drove over the Humber Bridge to the delightful Waters' Edge Country Park. Until the 1990s the park was one of the most polluted industrial sites in the area. A multi-million pound reclamation project transformed the area into a nature reserve with a series of ponds, reed beds, marshland, woodland and wild flower meadows. There are three short colour coded walks around the ponds as well as access to the riverside walk along the banks of the Humber and the Humber Bridge Walkway. We visited the park with my dad who was not walking well at the time, so we kept it simple and stayed on the decking near the park's ponds.
Nearby we stumbled across The Ropewalk arts centre, the longest Grade II listed building in the country, used in the past to make ropes for shipping. Now a museum, an art gallery, a lovely little café and only a stones throw from the Waters' Edge Country Park, it was a fascinating find. The museum tells the story of rope making with extensive photographs and written commentary from the many people who worked there until the factory's closure in the late 1980s. 
Then it was on to Harrogate, a spa town in North Yorkshire, for a few days. My niece's wedding celebrations were due to take place. Harrogate is a tourist destination and its visitor attractions include its spa waters and RHS Harlow Carr gardens. Unfortunately the weather was amazing for the whole of our time in the UK apart from the day of the wedding when it rained heavily, so we did not see much of Harrogate on this occasion. The wedding was beautiful and the weather did not spoil anything at all! We can go back.
There was time for just one more visit so we made a return trip to the Humber Bridge, this time to enjoy the foreshore and a family lunch. I watched the bridge, a 2,220-metre (7,280 ft) single-span suspension bridge, being built as a child. It opened to traffic on 24 June 1981 and, when it was opened, it was the longest of its type in the world. It's still a lovely place for a walk and a good opportunity to take some nice pictures. It was also the perfect place to end our visit to Hull. Perhaps the most iconic structure in the Humber region, I always knew that I was just about home when I saw the Humber Bridge.

Travel Notes & Beyond

26 comments:

Richard said...

a good trip.

Tamar SB said...

Amazing trip! So fun to see towns in Europe that are also now places in MA (: We have a Hull too!

Sonja Brouwer said...

Hey Lisa! This is Sonja (your Amsterdam tour guide;-) Great to read that you liked the tour i gave you guys and that you love(d) Amsterdam ������❤️

Meditations in Motion said...

I have been to Amsterdam once. What an amazing city. You made good use of the time you had there. I recommend the van Gogh museum if you go back.

Mami Made It said...

Great trip! I always wanted to visit Amsterdam. Hope someday I can manage.

VeggieMummy said...

You brought back many happy memories of Amsterdam for me - thank you. I've never been to Hull, but found the cream telephone boxes interesting and I would have loved the Clangers, Bagpuss and Co exhibition. Glad you had a fantastic time. xx

Miss Val's Creations said...

What an amazing trip! Amsterdam is on my long list of places to visit someday but I am concerned I would find it too touristy. Strolling a foreign city with no plan is my favorite way to explore. That can be really stress free and a great way to discover its nooks and crannies! I haven't heard of Clangers, Bagpuss & Co. over here but it seems like a super cute company!

restlessjo said...

Amazing how much you can fit into a short space of time, Lisa. I'd settle for 12 hours in Amsterdam. :) :)

Bryna - Dotted Line Travels said...

It looks like you had a lovely 12 hours in Amsterdam! I love that you mentioned Begijnhof - I loved it there!

Spectrum Mum said...

I love to see Holland through other people eyes. Ansterdam is such an amazing and beautiful city to visit. It certainly looks like you made the most of your time here. #POCOLO

Kim Carberry said...

It looks like you had a fantastic trip and fitted so much into such a small space of time. Fantastic photos! #PoCoLo

Margie DQ said...

Amsterdam is one of the cities in Europe I've never been to. Looking forward to visiting one day.

Jill said...

I've been to Amsterdam - for a long weekend visit only - but I found it to be an extremely pleasant and walkable city. I'd love to go back someday. And I'd love to check out Hull, too. It seems you checked out all the things to do!

inverted sheep said...

A good combination - two different but very interesting cities!

Jann Olson said...

I'm so excited to see this! We have booked a river cruise with friends for next July. We spend 3 days in Amsterdam. :) Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Anne Stone Sweet said...

It looks like you had a fabulous trip, I love all your photos from Amsterdam, what a great place to visit. I would not have said the same about Hull but you have made it look good from a visitor's point of view. I'm so sorry about it raining on the wedding day, that's so typical of British weather. I'm glad it was still a lovely day though.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

You always cram so much fun into your travels. Amsterdam sounds wonderful as well as your time in the Uk. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful photos of your trip.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

You have me curious about Amsterdam now. :-) You certainly saw and did a lot of different things during your brief trip. I loved reading and seeing photos of every part. Thanks!

Kate Lewis said...

I love Amsterdam! Such a great city #citytripping

italiafinlandia said...

Amsterdam is peculiar and special. I love it too!

Laura H said...

Hull is always such an overlooked city by tourists - and yet it's so steeped in history. And who doesn't want to see a Bagpuss exhibition?
And Hull Minster is such a beautiful building - can't wait to see it now the renovation works are finished.
#CityTripping

Cynthia said...

Amsterdam is such a fantastic city - I loved looking at your photos! I've never even heard of Hull, so happy to have learned something new as well :)

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Looks like a great stopover! I love Holland! Wish I had more time there in the spring when we were there for the tulips. Have a great week!

junieper said...

These photos prove you made the best of your stopover! Wow, you went to a lot of places in Amsterdam - and you even found the Anne Frank house:)
This is how we visited London as a stopover (to Amsterdam), haha.
The RopeWalk looks interesting to me. Thanks for sharing you travel experiences with All Seasons! Have a great week:)

Morgan Prince said...

You've got some beautiful photos - Amsterdam looks amazing.
Thanks for linking to #pocolo.

Stephanie Robinson said...

What a fab trip - but bagpuss and the clangers in a museum, that'd be my trip made! Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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