26 September 2013

The Balti Triangle, Birmingham

I'm a fan of South Asian cuisine but I've never really been adventurous enough to breakaway from a mild Chicken Korma dish. Until now I ventured down to Sparkbrook, Birmingham to check out the Balti Triangle. Being a university student in Birmingham can usually mean sticking within the city limits only taking in the Bullring and the Canals. Bring that Balti back! 

Welcome to Sparkbrook, the homeland of Birmingham's Balti Triangle. You don't need to be fancy, so get off that high horse and experience something authentic. Ladypool Road is the part that I discovered yesterday to find some spicy food and eastern promise. If truth be told I was following a Google map from my iPhone so I was relieved to see the sign for Ladypool Road. You could say that I'm quite daring because until yesterday I had not ventured past Highgate in all my time as a student in Birmingham. I really felt like I needed to take a chance and just go with it! I'm quite accustomed to areas like Sparkbrook as I lived close to Southall, London until I was six years old. Back to the Triangle, I loved the variety of convenience stores that were on offer as I turned onto Ladypool Road, it was great to see the long lines of fresh fruit and vegetables ripe for sale out front. I will now choose alternative Brum!

This Balti Triangle is a testament of Birmingham being a multicultural city with a rich tapestry of communities that complement each other. I believe we have to tolerant and willing to be part of these international factors because it's what Birmingham is famous for! I timed by walk from Birmingham's Westside to Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook finding out my journey had taken less than thirty minutes, proving this hot 'n' spicy area is conveniently located from Birmingham's inner city core. Now I urge you to trust something that you're not completely sure of because its so worth it. I shall never be told where to go, I plan to keep on seeing places that are away from the city centre because life's just too short and danger lies in the most unassuming places. I honestly don't know why I hadn't been to Sparkbrook for a walk around before that point? Sparkbrook reminded me of something from the 90's film 'East Is East' I mean that quite literal, why would I lie about that?!

You've heard of 'Haute Couture?' Well, I want to turn that definition of fashion on its head because I saw some beautiful Asian saris and wedding dresses that could be certified 'Halal Couture!' Call me controversial but if I was a Pakistani or Indian bride to be I would jump at the chance of having a dress made at one of Sparkbrook's many bridal boutiques! I did not just see normal dress shops I saw Islamic fashion shops that specialised in the sale of headscarves like the Hijab and Niqab, the shops windows in those shops were very brightly coloured with a wide range of fashionable headwear available for the modern and more conservative Muslim women of Birmingham. I nearly forgot to mention something! Are diamonds really a girl's best friend? Birmingham's Balti Triangle features a series of eye catching jewelers, I prefer diamonds. Men are suited with select range of barbershops to congregate around. 

Still on the subject of religious and bridal wear there was a huge range of men's fashion wear for all important occasions, I would say that definition of 'Halal Couture' could utilised once again for the gentleman from this part of Birmingham. No one wants to look like a hot mess so these Arab ladies work their 'Halal Couture' instead of wearing clothes from the western fashions houses that don't comply with the Islamic way. How have I gone from fruit and vegetables to Asian bridal wear, no matter what Sparkbrook has something that the city centre doesn't possess. Do Asian bride wear white on their wedding day? I feel like I'm going off on to a tangent but with all the colouful wedding fashion the bridal wear looked refreshing with a Eastern flare. A fair amount of modernisation was being carried out when I made it to Ladypool Road, I suppose the streets of the Balti Triangle are just been beautified? If I was an Asian bridegroom I would be back to Sparkbrook for my threads. Yes!

I did not just go to The Balti Triangle for a walk around, I went for the food! Choosing to eat at Shabab Balti Restaurant on Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook. Birmingham is undoubtedly the home and creator of the Balti dish, originating from the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities this dish has allowed the Curry to become the national dish of England. Back to my orders, I chose Onion Bhaji and Chicken Pakora to start with accompanied by a Poppadom with raita. I honestly didn't realise how much food I was going to be faced with so I had the rest of starters packaged for later. I took a breather from eating by enjoying a cup of Desi Masala Tea it tasted superb! Finally, I ordered the Balti Chicken Mushroom and Spinach with a Naan bread instead of Pilau rice. I literally enjoyed every single mouthful, even though I'm not one for extra spicy food I opted for medium spice that tasted just right. Don't be so beige!

I could not fault the service conducted at Shabab Balti Restaurant as it was exceptional. My whole order cost £14.00, which for an occasional treat didn't break my tight budget! Would I choose other places to eat upon my next visit to Sparkbrook? I don't think I would even though variety is the spice of life, I did really enjoy the food served to me. Also I shall rethink my curry of choice for next because I wish to sample other types of Balti dishes. Challenge yourself because as trivial as it sounds I don'r stray away from a Chicken Korma so I did good! Let's keep things simple, the waiters might only have limited English but my waiter was polite and nothing was too much trouble for Shabab to execute. Choose Shabab Balti Restaurant for a uncomplicated and flavoursome dining experience in the heart of Birmingham's Balti Triangle. To finish things off I even got a 10% discount card for my next order at Shabab Balti Restaurant, so I know where to eat next time. Consider that done!

Balti Triangle, Birmingham .... Thank You For Welcoming Me!

Joseph Harrison

24 September 2013

Those September Days . . .

September has already been a month full of excitement and changes, looking back what have I actually accomplished? What things do I still want to seek? From the Coffeeshops of Amsterdam to moving back to Birmingham, did I forget anything? I'm awaiting my student loan because there's more to life than food! September was a lovely month, let's rewind the weeks!

Beginning with a bang myself and my brother made the trip to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Mary Jane Holland! When in the Dam its the done thing to experience the Coffeeshops, choosing GOA as a top pick for its chilled vibe and modern music. Be prepared for the soothing smells of the Coffeeshops, we loved it! Amsterdam is a beautiful place that has many temptations, some of those temptations were not for us! I must admit the working girls that can be seen posing from the windows in the Red Light District are a sight for sure! Being cultural during a boys weekend in Amsterdam is possible. We took the liberty of going on a canal cruise, taking in the iconic warehouses and new developments that keep this Dutch city a cut above the rest! No Royal Taste! Negatives aside the energy of the city can be felt in the centre of Dam Square. Amsterdam writes its own rules, enjoy it and respect them!

We made a considerable effort to be responsible tourists that didn't do the typical things that are expected. Dankuwel Amsterdam! Note to self, always be mindful when taking the train from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport because lots of trains all go to stations that end with Centraal. We took the train that called at Utrecht Centraal instead of Amsterdam Centraal, it was a mistake because quote me wrong those Centraal's all read the same when you don't speak or understand Dutch! Nonetheless with the help of a fellow passenger who happened to speak English we made it to our desired destination instead of Rotterdam as that's where our original train was bound for. Flying with Flybe the flight only took one hour, quick and easy it was! Taking it easy on the first night we went for some beers, not wanting to be boring we got our drink on and went to Escape to enjoy our final night in Amsterdam. No takeaways open at 3am in the morning?! No stress B!

Whilst at home in Bilston I made it to Wolverhampton to run a few errands. I've been quite the globetrotter over the last two years so I have not been faithful to places that are closer to home. Like most places over the last two to three years the economic situation hasn't been too kind to our high streets and retail companies, I wanted to see if Wolverhampton still had its spark that I remember from my college days! I made my way around the city taking the current sights in with an analytic approach to determine how I felt about Wolverhampton. To be truthful I was not really impressed but also felt sorry for this city as I had grown up at one of the city's Irish pubs that's now a betting shop. Wolverhampton will make its comeback soon.

Located by the headquarters of Wolverhampton's City Council is St.Peter's House a building that brings back fond memories. For two years I went to St.Peter's House for my drama classes with the Christian Drama Club (CDC). With my six other fellow actors we had a great time rehearsing for shows and having a great time, it was a place that allowed me to make some great friends for sure! My September visit to Wolverhampton was a sobering state of affairs, I saw some fashion faux pas committed by the locals, sort it out Wolverhampton! I'm no Gok Wan but I would be serving some shade towards the ill-dressed Wulfrunians, girl they need the truth!  I don't really know when I'll be returning to the city streets of Wolverhampton. I see another blog on the cards about Wolves!

Birmingham has some hidden gems that have brighten up my university life. Cannon Hill Park allowed me to have a relaxing afternoon. The weather had taken a turn for the better with sunny spells blessing the Birmingham area, I took a chance on something new so Cannon Hill Park sounded like a plan. Leaving my student halls behind me I was excited to see something outside the Maltings because it can be boring sometimes. Setting off for the park I made a pit stop at Aldi to buy lunch as breakfast time had past by then. My eyes were opened up to the Edgbaston Cricket Stadium, new discoveries are made everyday! I'm no stranger to spending time at a park or open space for last semester I spent some time at the Edgbaston Reservoir, its so much better to enjoy the best of the weather beside some nature. Birmingham is landlocked so any lake or man-made water space is much appreciated.

Back to my parklife, I took some much needed time to clear some head-space for the stresses of moving back to Birmingham had got to a level! I opted against having an ice cream because my last serving was less than satisfactory. Captured above is the view I had at Cannon Hill Park, its bliss just to take time out, others can be so draining! I'm a cultured soul who likes to mix things up compared to the average university student. I would say to any university student in Birmingham to get up and get out to see something new. I've been at University College Birmingham for almost three years now and I'm constantly discovering new places within Birmingham. Entry to Cannon Hill Park is free so there's no excuses about not having enough money, steer clear of the binge drinking all the time and be a little bit different! Anyway, I had a great time at the park and look forward to more days spent out and about that don't hurt my already weak financial predicament! Who needs money?!

September . . .  Remember all the good things and smile!

Joseph Harrison 

21 September 2013

Back To Birmingham

Back to Birmingham for my final year of my degree. Where has the time actually gone?! I have been globe trotting again, well just around Europe since July so now in September I thought it was more than appropriate for me to return to Birmingham. With this being my final year I'm expecting an extra serving of pressure surrounding my studies. Party!

I'm no longer a fresher but why should I slow down? I have decided to entertain a few of the events from this years fresher's week. It was a crazy night for many reasons, but to start I was contemplating selling my t-shirt because my brother wasn't making it clear whether he was going out or not. I had resided to the fact that I wasn't going out so I made my way to my old flat to see if one of the girls wanted a spare t-shirt, thankfully they go a tee each so we hit the town in-pursuit of PopWorld! Bopping to the Spice Girls before hitting Risa for the final stop of the night. Sammy and Sophie called it a night, but out of the blue my brother phoned me to see if I was still in Risa. Reunited, we partied the night away! Who said final year was stressful?! Yeah B!

Friday just gone it was University College Birmingham's 2013 Autumn graduation ceremony, it was mad to see friends from my university experience progress with their completed and respected qualifications. It was great to see Lucy Houghton yesterday night to celebrate her graduation from University College Birmingham, I'm not quite there yet but it will be my time soon enough! I look forward to my time but I'm not going to wish my time away because its great being back in Birmingham! On the graduation front I just don't know if I agree with the whole gown hire and cost for the photos, I have one year remaining of my studies at UCB, I know in my heart its going to be a tough one compared to the last academic year now those semesters were a joke thing! Get it together Joe!

Birmingham has changed some more since my departure from the Maltings for Summer. It's been great to see the long awaited opening of the new Library of Birmingham, as it was getting quite tiresome continually walking past the building works on a daily basis. I have already joined the new library but I plan to make use of the facilities throughout this year as I have my dissertation to consider. Change is good! Captured to the right is the finished project, along with the restored Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Exciting! So, I have made my vow to be a dedicated student and committed member of Birmingham's new modern and cutting edge library! I really don't want to be eating my words because I want to be sporting a graduation gown in September 2014! I admit that one thing that hasn't changed in Birmingham is the weather, its been god awful since I've been back at the Maltings Halls! 

There are places in Birmingham I love to go back to, places that just don't change even though I'm not a fresher anymore. I love walking through the Mailbox into the city centre, its a walk I won't forget when I do eventually move out of Birmingham for the final time this summer. I wouldn't change the German Market for nothing, its coming back this November on my birthday! For that reason alone I want it to snow already! I'm tired going to the same old haunts, I want to mix things up this year by going to Sparkbrook for a Balti Curry as its the home of Birmingham's Balti Triangle. It could be a nice idea to visit the Botanical Gardens because its been an age since I last visited. To pastures new, I'm really excited for this year because its my last at university! I make a vow to become a fully fledged scene queen, I will be getting busy at the Village Inn as much as I can! Let's enjoy what I've got left of student life! In actual fact why should this be the final time? Just trust and believe!

Travelling is in my blood, or is it the convenient central location of Birmingham that makes discovering new places easy? In November I will be making the trip up to Liverpool for a night of mayhem. I went to Liverpool back in 2011 to see my Disney friend Kat and to see the delights of Liverpool. I'm looking forward to this weekend as it will hopefully be a great way for me to relax and forget about my dissertations! I know that my Liverpudlian escapade will be exciting, I'm really looking to get some more adventure in my life. I am definitely one for the theatre, going to see a show just shakes things about because it doesn't leave me with a hangover the next day. Culture is cool but like I said I'll be working it down Southside! Who mentioned rain?!

I have always loved going to the theatre, plus it occupies my attention away from a crazy night! I'm looking to revisit the same theatre in March to see Singin' In The Rain! I adore the film, so I'm hoping for the stage version to be equally exceptional! Birmingham will have my whole attention this but I want to spread my wings this semester. To complete my cultural crusade I'm looking to spend some time in the city of Cambridge, I shall leave the boating to the professionals so I can safely admire the charms of that university city! I just hope that all of our university work doesn't stop any of our travelling plans! I'm not allowing myself to book another international trip because I want to try and do something interesting over the summer in 2014! For now I'm back so let's turn it up loud B!

Birmingham! Let's do this one last time!

Joseph Harrison

16 September 2013

Spotted: Wolverhampton

We've all got places that we can associate with, if we've been to college there or just happen to call home, I call Wolverhampton a place for both situations. Wolverhampton, a city that's certainly gone through the mill. The strains are still apparent for this city but she's got a comeback plan! If you love Wolves look away because you know this is going to be real. 

Wolverhampton is a city that doesn't receive positive press but deep down I know that she is a diamond in the rough. Keeping things straight If I have to throw shade on Wolves I won't hesitate. Wolverhampton's a city that has many qualities and quirks that set it apart from other places in the West Midlands but things have changed. I have spent a lot of time away from Wolverhampton due to moving to Birmingham for university and to America to work, upon my arrival back to England I was looking to reconnect with the Wolverhampton that I had once known. Being a Birmingham and New York City boy hasn't changed my stance on Wolverhampton. Tough love and a healthy wedge of investment is what she needs! Trust and believe. 

Queen Street, the gateway to Wolverhampton's main shopping amenities. Things might look normal from the photo that has been captured to the left but over recent years life hasn't been too kind to the retail of Wolverhampton's city centre. Home is home but after Woolworths closed down the Mander Centre has seen a quick succession of shops closing due to the economic downturn, times are definitely tough! I love a good bargain but I don't want to see a Poundland or Bargain Corner open up across from the city's Primark store. Word on the street is that new developments are coming Wolverhampton's way to help regenerate the city centre's pulling power. This blog feature originated from the infamous and full-frontal Facebook group, Spotted: Wolverhampton. 

I lived in the centre of Wolverhampton at Mooney's Irish Pub, it was a thriving Irish pub located on Princess Street that had true life and soul. No longer this public house exists, after moving out some years ago it was taken over by a new owner. More recently this once bustling Irish Pub is now a 'Paddy Power' betting shop, a stark change to what it once was but I suppose its Irish roots have been artificially been revived. I look back at my time at Mooney's Irish Pub to think I was living in a vibrant place that always had something going on, but as a child I wasn't aware of the delights that I could now take advantage of! See, I'm not completely talking Wolverhampton down to the gutter I just made a positive reference. Good memories aside it's now more common to see betting shops and payday loan stores in place of the gems like Mooney's Irish Pub. Don't dare stay on the passenger side Wolves, earn it back!

We live in a changing world but I just don't understand the way that this place is changing! Will there be a pot of gold at the end of Wolverhampton's rainbow?! The recent opening of the new Wolverhampton Bus Station has lifted the Pipers Row area of the city so that's good news. Plans for a newly built train station have circulated for the last three years or so but a change will happen eventually. Wolverhampton isn't the conventional tourist destination but with some investment and marketing I would see a fair chance for the Birmingham market allowing some growth for Wolverhampton as a destination. I for one wouldn't mind fronting a project to help my city become spotted for all the right reasons. Bring us a new train station, we'll be better connected and that's a damn fact! Life deals us tough times and good but I won't settle for this city to be turned into a hotspot for discount retailers! Wolverhampton, can you be our queen? Don't be that shady lady WV1! No!

Queens Square is the focal point of Wolverhampton from my point of view. I'm so over the Metro bridge its just grey! The 'Man on the Horse' a monument of Prince Albert that was unveiled in 1866 by Queen Victoria, it was five years after his death that this feature was brought to Wolverhampton. I'm proud that Queen Vicky came to Wolverhampton because she would have been real! The area surrounding the 'Man on the Horse' has been transformed into a modern and open square that's complete with some special features. Wolverhampton's list of royal visits doesn't stop at Queen Victoria because the divine Princess Diana came to Wolverhampton to open Bilston Street's police station in July 1992. I'm will not sugar-coat anything Wolverhampton!

I hope that the economic situations get better so a little thing called 'regeneration' pops along to help this deserving city out! All the Queens are welcome in Wolverhampton! Of course! Wolverhampton, I'm warming towards you again! During my college days I spent my dinner breaks wandering around Wolverhampton's city centre with my classmates. I dare say we made the most of the local sights no matter how amusing they posed to be. Spotted: Wolverhampton has gripped Facebook with a frank look at selected photos of people from Wolverhampton. This Facebook site has caused a lot of controversy but it's also quite playful, because who is it really hurting? Take what you want from this site but I won't stop following the updates of Spotted: Wolverhampton anytime soon!

Wolverhampton is home to a place that once made Thursday nights special. St. Peter's House was the home of the Christian Drama Club (CDC) for the three years I spent my Thursday evenings with my six friends and the best Artistic Director, I had a great time! We rehearsed for our performances, improvised from time to time and had a cheeky hot chocolate! Fond memories that I shall take on with me into the future! I genuinely have fond memories of being in Wolverhampton, it's a interesting place that has a lot to answer for! Keeping with the acting theme, Wolverhampton will always be the home of Kuumba Arts Movement. Kuumba was a Theatre Company that has transformed my confidence and introduced me to the world of acting. I will always champion Kuumba Arts Movement for continually being a professional, dedicated place to act and to become myself! You know I'm an actor B!

From hot chocolate with friends at St. Peter's House to venting my stresses for Wolverhampton, I can't help but return to the city again. At the end of the day I'm only a freelance travel and lifestyle blogger so the impact I hope to make might not even reach the surface but we all have a voice. Being a Birmingham university student I have seen the progression that the second city has received and the developments that are to be announced in the future surpass the efforts of Wolverhampton. I hope the City Council see better times but the Government needs to get in touch with the working class midlands of this country to get off their bureaucratic horses to come close to understanding our struggles. Then again the private school educated middle class politicians have never had to struggle for anything in their lives?! Think about that one Mr. Cameron! Lady Wulfruna, we need to get together, we need to save this city from itself! Wolves you're going to be fine! 

Wolverhampton ... You Haven't Seen The Last of Me!

Joseph Harrison 

11 September 2013

Amsterdam - Canals, Coffee Shops & Bicycles

Time waits for no one! Time for another adventure?! Me and my younger brother jetted off to Amsterdam. I've been busy with this international travel lark, but this Dutch escapade would be my final overseas trip for a long while. Leave the Tulips because they are not really Dutch, they're Turkish! You know Mary Jane Holland was with us! Wait for this lady of the dam!

Welcome to Amsterdam! This Dutch city has many a tale to tell, but we weren't looking for stories it was an adventure of some sort we were looking for. Our first port of call was Amsterdam Centraal, it was an interesting journey but we finally made it to our hotel that happened to be in the centre of Amsterdam's Red Light District. The weather was beautiful, a warm ray of sunshine engulfed the quirky streets of this unique Dutch city. I speak for the both of us to express that we loved Dam from the very first moment! Our first impressions of Amsterdam's quaint side streets and canals made us feel right at home. By the time we had made our way to Amsterdam's Red Light District it was time to check-in to our hotel. I had chosen for us to stay at the 'Hotel Royal Taste' a charming hotel which sits along one of the smaller canal avenues within the Red Light District. Boy, the view was on it! Brothers on tour!

This trip had to be epic because my brother had turned 18 in May so things were going to get a bit exciting. Amsterdam had to be the place for our last holiday before university, I really wanted this trip to be special, by what I mean this weekend had to be memorable! Dropping our bags we said goodbye to the confides of our hotel to enjoy the delights of Amsterdam. The Red Light District looked more like a jovial pantomime, the suggestive manner of the working girls made me laugh! Little did they knew I didn't get off their bus stop if you get what I mean? No! The canals were beautiful, the people were friendly but we were looking for some excitement. Bicycles are the way forward in Amsterdam, they are more dangerous than cars in my opinion because they are literally everywhere on the streets. Let me rephrase that please, the bicycles are crazy for they own the stress like a car would in London or Paris I tell you! I'll always be a gypsy, going from one place to the other!

A visit to one of Amsterdam's Coffee Shops is a must, whether its for a relaxing smoke or just to see what all the fuss is about. We choose GOA, a chilled and hip Coffee Shop that had a urban atmosphere with a fairly young catchment of participants. I would like to think I have a liberal attitude towards Cannabis but in Holland its legal to smoke Cannabis in a Coffee Shop. Mary Jane Holland was about so things were just fine, the wide selection of Coffee Shops in Amsterdam's Red Light District means that we were spoiled for choice but we chose GOA to be our favourite! You could say that the air has a chilled feeling its a pleasure to walk the cobbles of this city with a pleasant haze. It's about greener pastures for one reason I could see what products the Coffee Shops were selling, the menu was clearly layed for the least informed smoker. I enjoyed my time at GOA, it shows that a modern city can safely regulate Marijuana. 

We're so straight laced in Britain, we have so many laws that just don't make sense but the Dutch have it all covered! Coffee Shops in The Netherlands abide by the law to not serve alcohol in-favour of soft drinks such as juices, coffee and tea. One thing I didn't indulge in was eating the cakes laced with the green stuff because that would've just been damn stupid! I seem to be harping on about GOA but this Coffee Shop definitely feels like the 'Empress of Serenity.' I know that I shall be going back to the Netherlands in the future so I can sample other quirky and cool Coffee Shops as and when I return I might well spend one afternoon in Utrecht! Visit Amsterdam for something out of this world, its got that crazy and relaxed feeling all in one place. Plus Dutch is an interesting language to listen to after a few Mary Jane's! Throw caution to the wind like we did to enjoy something outside of the box? I look back with a relaxed demeanour to say the grass is really greener on every side! 

Amsterdam is most definitely the city of canals, with the never-ending avenues of water its not difficult to discover a new part of Amsterdam's vast network of open waterways. On the second day of our trip we decided to take a canal boat trip to be further acquainted with this charming Dutch city. I for one loved it, I'm not one for museums or art galleries so I know that this relaxing excursion was the perfect decision. We passed the Anne Frank house but I decided against visiting because I had already been to Auschwitz in Poland to pay my respects to the murdered Jews. On the whole I loved the winding canals that I saw on the boat trip, the iconic buildings that were once factories looked darling in the mild September sunshine. The weather was amazing for September time! I always find it very important to get to know a city's fabric, to further appreciate the little niches that makes a place pop! 

Another city that boasts some impressive canals springs to mind when I think about Amsterdam, no not Venice! Birmingham has that something special with its post industrial waterways but still makes them look trendy, so I got that vibe from Amsterdam with the waterside properties and boathouses. Captured above is the view I admired during the boat trip, a fact springs to mind that the apartments used to be factories and with a closer look the hook at the top of the building would pull the goods from the canal into the warehouse. The riverboat trip gave us a wealth of knowledge about Amsterdam's shipping boom and the part the canal systems played in helping trade boom. Amsterdam is just another working girl, serving forward to pay her way as a key European city of the world! Would I return to The Netherlands? Yes, I quite fancy a weekend in Rotterdam. We didn't really see many places pushing locals dishes apart from cheese, no apologies for that Amsterdam!

On the cultural note Amsterdam offers so much more, I'm a stickler for a historical monument that really makes a city pop! Captured to the right is Dam Square a magnificent wide open centre of energy. We saw Dam Square twice, on our first meeting I wasn't too impressed, the day must have taken its toll but on the second occasion. Of course it was cool! Amsterdam's got some real gems when speaking about architecture, some palatial sights for sure. The Royal Palace of Amsterdam takes pride of place looking over the centre of Dam Square. Backtracking to the beginning of our trip we took the the GVB train from Amsterdam Centraal to Nieuwmarkt but after looking at a map online we discovered that we could have walked to our hotel through the formidable Dam Square. Amsterdam's Centrum is currently being developed, to gain what benefit I'm not quite sure as it didn't disrupt our trip at all. Get your life!

I must confess that I first saw Amsterdam on an episode of MTV's Geordie Shore, I would say that the depiction of this city was perfect for our trip as we did see the working girls of the Red Light District knocking their glass doors to bring the punters in, I simply laughed because that's not my cup of tea! Embrace the twilight in Amsterdam because there's so much going on! Taking the alternative to a new height we paid a visit to the Condomerie, that was just darn bizarre! Firstly we choose to scout out a few more Coffee Shops, including the Bulldog and some others I can't remember the name of. It's an attitude free scene in Dam when the sun goes down, let's just say we were loving the twilight! To conclude our short break we got our pre-drink on ready to enjoy a buzzing night at Escape and I must say that we enjoyed it very much! I must admit that it would have been nice to have had a takeaway open in the small hours, clubbing makes me hungry! Oh no Amsterdam!

Amsterdam . . . Get Yourselves To The Dam ! ! !  

Joseph Harrison