After being diagnosed with leukaemia when I was 19, I decided that I wanted to start doing all the things I have ever wanted to do before I die to keep me motivated through my treatment. So I wrote a bucket list that included things like watching a real football match live, going to watch Wicked at the theatre and going to Disneyworld.
Now my treatment is coming to an end, I've started doing these things beginning with a New Year's trip to Paris and Disneyland. I've also seen pandas in Edinburgh Zoo and watched a live football match at the Olympics.
I've also booked a holiday to Disneyworld Florida, have signed up to do a skydive, am in the process of organising a charity ball, and hopefully a trip to see the Northern Lights.
Last week I was able to tick another thing off my list - going to Amsterdam.
I went with my boyfriend Stu and four friends: Sadie, Matty, Craig and Ste and it was one crazy adventure!
We started it off with a few drinks round at Sadie’s house. We drank and talked about what we wanted to do while we were away and enjoyed a fire and some food. It was really lovely. We all headed to bed about 11pm because we had to be at the airport at 3am.
Getting on the plane was simple and easy, absolutely no trouble and apart from a little moment I had when we took off everything was perfect (turns out I’m not great at flying!).
We got into Amsterdam at around 9am so we went and found the Amsterdam sign to take a few photos because I love photos a lot (I put them in albums so when I get old and lose my mind I can see what I’ve done in my life). We then spent the rest of the morning having some food before going to a coffee shop which was a whole new experience for me. It’s very weird and I just couldn’t relax for a while.
At 2 we went to our hotel, which (because of badly placed signs) was called hotel snack bar. After settling in, and having a nap, we spent the rest of the evening chilling out and walking round town seeing what was happening. I had the most delicious apple pie and made it my mission to see if i could find a better one. Oh, and I had a Heineken and a very large Russian guy tried to set me up with a lonely local it was funny! He was huge (the Russian) and kind of just picked me up off my seat and put me next to the local guy and said (in his very deep voice), "never say I don't get you anything!" He then walked of singing "I’m sexy and I know it." It was the funniest and weirdest experience of the year.
On the second day, Friday, we all went to the zoo. It was lovely weather so walking round and seeing beautiful animals was wonderful.
On Saturday Stu and I went for a day together on our own. It was another beautiful day so we made the most of it. We went into the centre and had breakfast together. I tried bacon pancakes which were lovely and I wanted more.
Then we walked towards the Anne Frank house because I have always wanted to go there as I love her diary and am fascinated by her life and courage. The queue was at least 2 hours long and the museum was only open for another hour which was heart breaking as it meant I didn't get to go in but I did manage to get a photo outside the door.
Afterwards we found a very pretty church and had a look inside. It was magnificent. They had a burning bush statue that was for putting prayer candles on so Stu bought me one and i said a prayer for all my angels who are looking down on me.
Then we booked our tour up the tower but while we waited for our turn we went to a cafe by the canal. Having a coffee outside of a cafe in Paris, Amsterdam, London and New York is another thing item on my bucket list so we sat by the canal and drank coffees and I wanted to cry. It was so beautiful and I weirdly felt like I'd achieved a great goal even though it was just a small thing.
After my 'moment' it was our turn to go up the tower. All 164 steps of it. It was so stunning at the top - you could see for miles. The tour guide told us all about the tower and the old graffiti on the woodwork from the builders. Did you know pollution affects the sound the bells make??
Following our trip up the tower we headed back to town and had a meal in a steak house before we found the rest of our group and relaxed for the rest of the night drinking the most amazing tea and ate apple pie in a rock pub.
On the Sunday I was extremely tired from all the walking - our hotel alone had 86 stairs up to our room - and I was in a bad mood and I couldn’t make myself cheer up for ages. But Stu promised me I could buy a new hat (I love hats I have almost 60 now) if I smiled so I put on my brave face and we went out again.
We had breakfast in a bar then headed out to Madame Tussauds. Those things are creepy; I wouldn’t go near them and kept checking my back in case one had moved! It was fun though and everyone else enjoyed it so I’m glad of that. Truth be told, I didn't avoid them altogether. In fact, I got very close to the David beckham one - I even sat on his lap and looked into his eyes while Stu took a picture.
After that we rested in a coffee shop and ended up sat there for hours. I had 3 cups of tea, 2 strawberries and one cherry.
After a quick change we went to the casino which was another first for me but once I worked out how to play roulette I was unstoppable and won 109 euros :) Maybe I have skills that I never knew about?!
Monday was our last day so me and Stu got up early to make the most of it and went out as just the two of us. We bought cheese and bread and fruit juice and even more apple pie and had a lovely breakfast picnic by the canal. It was beautiful until we realised we were actually sitting right next to a boat full of rubbish and a lot of seagulls - we really should have known the day wasn’t going to end well!
After chilling out and doing a few last minute things bits and bobs, we got to the airport, had some food and then headed to check in only to find that our flight was the next day! No one could believe it! We had no hotel, no money and now no way of getting home...
It turns out I’m no good in these situations and i just cracked up laughing and I couldn’t stop. Everyone else (apart from Stu who was laughing at me) was freaking out. Stu and I were happy to stay another night. Changing the flight was too expensive so everyone stayed and we went to find another hotel.
In the end we found one called the Old Quarter and it was lovely. They had two rooms left - a 3 bed and a 4 bed so we took both. We got a few drinks and some snacks and just chilled out for the night and planned on getting a free 7am transfer.
The following morning we got up early and caught the train to the airport. After further drama with passports and boarding cards, and another missed flight, we finally arrived home utterly exhausted.
All in all it was one fantastic holiday and one of the funniest experiences of my life.
Next on my to do list is skydiving! I’ve already signed up and cannot wait the 14th of September.
Thank you for reading my blog - I hope you’ve all had as beautiful a week as I have.
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