15 October 2019
Earlier this month the whole office took a trip to Amsterdam. One of our interior designers, Jade, has written a blog piece on everything we got up to…
Arriving midday into Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, we had already prepared for cold and rainy weather. Our predictions correct, we headed for the train to the hotel with our umbrellas and waterproofs at the ready.
After check-in at our hotel and an early start in Newcastle, we were all in need of food. On route to lunch at Bleu, we got off the train at central station to a torrential downpour which left many of us wondering whether we’d even left Newcastle at all, but it wasn’t too long before everyone was quickly satisfied at the bistro with quality food and an alcoholic beverage (or two).
Our next journey was a tuk tuk sightseeing tour, where we visited the hotspots of Amsterdam in style. We were guided past some of the famous landmarks and learned about the history of the city and its culture. Humorous but nonetheless informative, as we travelled the streets of Amsterdam, Bangkok style.
A short walk to our next activity, chief trip organisers, Megan and Colin, led all 18 of us through some of the sights in Central Amsterdam. An opportunity to remind us all about the ongoing challenge of the trip, we regrouped into our pre-arranged teams of 4. The aim of the game was to find and photograph a list of non-descript items. Some clues more cryptic than others but being a creative group of interior designers and project managers, it wasn’t too difficult for us to use our imagination.
Everyone’s competitive side becoming apparent, being discrete was key to winning. After two days of snapping lots of pictures, the winners were unveiled at Dinner on Friday evening; Group 3 – Jackie, Paul, Laura and Bill.
Then it was time to catch the ferry across to A’DAM Lookout, Amsterdam’s only observation desk where we were invited to observe a grey yet unrivalled panoramic view of the city. Two of our project managers, Dom and Alex, braved ‘Over the Edge’, Europe’s highest swing on the sky deck, it swings 100metres over the edge of the tower. It was safe to say Dom suddenly developed a fear for heights once buckled in.
Our evening began with a private canal cruise, exploring the city by water with ample beer and wine to hand. Onto dinner at De Zagarij followed by drinks at the neighbouring bar, before calling it an early night.
With a packed itinerary, it was a bright and early start on Friday morning (a little headachy for some). Delving into the Dutch culture, we arrived by bus at Simonehoeve, where we were welcomed into a traditional cheese farm and clog factory. We started with a cup of tea and were then given our very own pair of wooden clogs to decorate. A lot of laughs were had differentiating the project managers’ clogs from the interior designers’. We toured the cheese and clog factory where we finished with several cheeses to taste.
Back to the city centre for lunch at Foodhallen, an old tram station with 21 stands full of food from around the world made it difficult choosing what to eat. The afternoon then allowed for free time. With the option to pick two museums to visit, we all educated and inspired ourselves amongst some of the greatest arts at the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Van Gogh Museum and Moco museum.
We regrouped for a quick coffee break at the quirky Coffee and Coconuts, before our next activity, the Heineken Experience. A self-guided tour saw us around the Heineken Brewery, ending with two beers at the Best ‘Dam Bar.
Friday night followed on as every Friday should be, surrounded by great company, exceptional food and some of Amsterdam’s finest bars. Our final meal was at Ron Gastrobar Downtown, where we tried a ‘rice table’ which is a selection of street food from Indonesian and Dutch cuisines. All accompanied with cocktails, extravagant entertainment and the staff so attentive, we never had an empty glass. Highly recommended, but, beware of the spice carts!
An amazing end to an incredibly well organised and memorable team bonding trip. Thank you to those who made a historical Amsterdam such an outstanding trip.