I was blown away recently when I found out we had been shortlisted by the Post Office for their Travel Blogger of the Year award.
As part of the next stage of judging I was asked to write about a Dream Trip and publish the post on our blog. The winner receives £5k towards the trip and then writes up their experience.
My first thought was – ‘WOW’, closely followed by – ‘hmmm’. You see, having an Amsterdam blog made me feel I should probably write about a luxe trip to Amsterdam, however if I actually did win £5k is that really where I would go?
Well, despite helping hundreds of others curate their dream budget or boutique trips to Amsterdam, it’s probably not where I’d head with the winnings and here’s why…
- I’m lucky enough to visit the city very regularly
- Marc’s mum would never forgive us if we spent a week holed up in the Dylan Hotel instead of with her in Amstelveen
- My idea of indulgence is some amazing herring, and even if I ate it for the rest of my life I wouldn’t burn through £5k
- It might buy a lot of herring but even £5k isn’t enough to fly there on a private jet
So what WOULD a dream trip actually entail and how could I link it to the AmsterdamWonderland theme?
And then I got it.
A place we would LOVE to take our boys. Somewhere incredibly close to our hearts and somewhere, well frankly rather Amsterdam…
You see, back in the early 17th century there was a Dutch settlement at the very tip of Manhattan. The area was known as Nieuw-Nederland and the capital became known as Nieuw-Amsterdam. The settlement grew substantially until it was captured in 1664 by the British and renamed: New York.
That’s right, the Big Apple, the City of Dreams, The City That Never Sleeps, the one so good they named it twice.
We have literally dreamed of a family trip to the city but had assumed it wouldn’t happen for many, many years so the prospect of our Amsterdam blog winning us the chance to visit New Amsterdam seemed somehow perfect.
The connections between the places are profound. The Dutch influence didn’t die out when the settlement was conquered and New York today is packed full of places that still reference their Lowland origins, so it is to these streets and districts we would head on our dream trip:
Harlem – named after Haarlem a a gorgeous town in The Netherlands; Brooklyn – from “Breukelen”; The Bronx – named for Jacob Bronck; Coney Island – in fact ‘Konijneneiland’ which means Rabbit Island… and the list goes on – Bleeker Street, Broadway, Boerum Hill, Flushing, Gansevoort Street, Greenwich Village, Long Island, Staten Island, Rhode Island, Stuyvesant Street, Wall Street and of course, Holland Tunnel – all references to the city’s Dutch heritage.
And its not just the names that the Dutch brought – Santa Claus (Sinterklaas), cookies (koekjes), skating, doughnuts, waffles, pretzels and pancakes were all introduced by the Dutch and so what could be more magical than a family foodie trip to New York – maybe even at Christmas.
The trip would be our boys’ first visit to the city and it’s almost impossible to imagine that we might be able to share it’s wonders with them. We’d show them the city by foot, by boat and by yellow cab. Majestic views from the Brooklyn Bridge and vistas of skyscrapers from the Top of the Rock. We’d walk the high line, float the Circle Line and due to their obsession with transport probably ride every subway line (several times).
They’d love the sights. Marc would love the sneakers and I would go crazy for the food (thank you Dutchies, we’d make the most of all those marvellous imports you gifted your American brothers).
The boys would eat pretzels, hot dogs, New York pizza and cronuts. I’d eat at Momofuku, at Bubbby’s and at Jacks Wife Frieda. And we’d all enjoy Big Gay Ice Creams, Hello Kitty candyfloss and munching Kardashian and Trump biscuits at Cupcake Market
We wouldn’t struggle to spend the budget but as well as indulgence it would also be a more personal and profound trip.
The Dutch were the first to allow Jewish people to worship in the New World when they welcomed a boat of Portuguese Jews into the harbour. We would show our boys around the Tenement Museum and take them out to Ellis Island. And then they would meet our American relatives whose great grandparents took a boat to a new life on the East Coast when ours remained in the UK after fleeing Vienna during the war.
Writing about our dream trip has inevitably made me long to turn a bucket-list pipe dream into reality. If we’ve ever helped you shape your dream Amsterdam trip we would be immensely touched if you’d be kind enough to vote for ours. Click HERE and look for our blog in the Travel and Food shortlist to help make our dream come true x