If you follow me on any of my social media accounts then it can’t have escaped your notice that I recently spent a weekend in Amsterdam. I mean, I’ve hardly stopped banging on about it to be fair.
For me, this was a pretty big thing. First of all, this is the first time this little blog of mine has afforded me the opportunity to go abroad, so that was a pretty major step. Secondly, with my brain positively frazzled from the happenings of 2017, I felt like this break away couldn’t have come at a better time. Medicine for the soul, as they say.
The weekend itself was going to be spent at ClinkNOORD, the Dutch cousin of the two Clink London hostels (one of which I have stayed in twice previously and loved). This would be my first time to Amsterdam and having been told by other people what a great place it is I knew I was going to like it, but nothing really could have prepared me for just how much I was going to like it. I fell in love with it – as a City, it’s everything people say and so much more.
As I have so much I want to share with you from the two days I spent there, I’m going to break it down into 5 separate posts spanning the length of this week:
Staying At ClinkNOORD
Vegan Christmas Dinner at ClinkNOORD
A Day In Amsterdam Noord
A Day In Amsterdam Central
My Amsterdam To Do List
I’ll do my best to keep the gushing and proclamations of love to a minimum, but you can fully expect a a little bit to slip through – Amsterdam really is a very special city and I’m desperate to go back!
However, one thing at a time – today I’m telling you all about ClinkNOORD…
Despite being 32, I haven’t seen a lot of the world. I first went abroad aged 16 and since then I’ve only ever been away with my family or boyfriend’s, and usually in the UK, although there was that hen weekend to Mallorca where we accidentally booked into a Saga hotel. That was interesting…
Travelling – in the backpacking sense of the word – has never been something I’ve been interested in. I like my creature comforts when I’m away from home and the thought of staying in a room with people I don’t know has always filled me with horror a little – my vision of hostels being inspired by the ropey looking digs you see on television and in films.
My first experience of hostel living was at Clink78 in 2015 when I slept in one of their converted prison cells, then in 2016, myself, Sian and Haydy stayed in one of their 3-bed dorms when we had a night on the town in London and needed a bed for the night. Both times I was majorly impressed, so I knew the Clink name stood for good quality.
Having been invited to spend a weekend with Clink in Amsterdam, I jumped at the chance. I counted down the days and eventually the big red circle was on ‘today’ and it was time for me to make my way to the airport.
As Haydy was going too, we met on the train before checking in at London Southend airport, grabbing something to eat at Bourgee while we waited for our delayed flight, then jumped on the plane. The flight itself was ridiculously quick – literally the minute they handed me my drink in the air, the pilot made the announcement for the crew to prepare for landing. 45 minutes after we took off, our wheels touched the tarmac and we were at Schipol airport.
From the airport we caught a train to Amsterdam Central (meeting Sandra on the way) then hopped on a ferry to cross the river from the main part of the city to Noord. (The river ferry crossing is free. FREE! That blew my mind). Off the ferry we went, a short stroll and we were outside ClinkNOORD – I would say the entire journey from Central station to the doors of the hostel itself took no more than 5 minutes, tops.
The hostel itself is an old converted laboratory, with the original façade and stairwells within, although the remainder of the building was gutted and reconstructed to make it suitable for its new purpose. There are still plenty of gentle nods to its past though, with the dining area in particular still having a slightly lab-type feel to it. That said, it’s far from feeling cold and clinical with bold artwork on the walls and old stained glass windows adding colour everywhere you turn.
Check-in at the circular reception desk was super swift and the staff were friendly and welcoming. The desk is situated within the main recreation area where there is an abundance of comfortable chairs and sofas, plus games and books to keep you occupied and help break the ice with newfound friends.
We got there pretty late in the evening (around 11pm) so we popped upstairs to drop our cases in our room before going down to the bar to meet the rest of the Clink Bloggers we would be spending out weekend with. The bar itself is really well stocked and surprisingly well-priced too; we were pleasantly surprised at how little it cost us to have a night-cap before we made our way up to bed.
The room we stayed in was a 4-person dorm, with us three girls and Sophie bedding in with us. Each bed came with its own light, plug socket and USB point, so we were all able to charge our various devices with no trouble at all (bloggers come armed with a lot of tech, always!) The beds were surprisingly comfortable and I dozed off the very second my head hit the pillow. (Picture stolen from the Clink website because I forgot to take a photo of the room before we all opened our suitcases and spread the contents out around the room!)
As well as the communal showers and toilets that the hostel has, our dorm room also had its own shower room and separate toilet, which was ideal for a room with 4 girls in it, as it meant we could work on a rotation basis and all get ready pretty swiftly without anyone else having to wait around for ages!
Each of the room’s occupants also has their own locker, meaning you can keep your belongings secure whilst you go exploring/partying.
After our first nights’ sleep we woke on Saturday morning ready for a day of adventure, but first thing’s first – FOOD. ClinkNOORD lay on a buffet style breakfast which I was pleasantly surprised by! Toast, eggs, beans, hotdogs, cold meats, cheese, plus coffee, tea, fruit juices and milk, meant there was a really good selection to choose from and we were able to top up our energy reserves for all the fun and frolics of the day ahead.
To find out what we got up to when Clink showed us around ClinkNOORD, pop back later in the week – it’s all sky high views, fun on the canals, street art and vegan food!
A 4-6 bedded dorm like the one we stayed in at ClinkNOORD will cost €24 per night for mixed occupants €25 for female only, but you can get a private room with own bathroom for €80 a night – not a bad price at all! There is the choice to have 8-16 bedded dorm too, with this priced the lowest of all at just €17 per night.
Although it’s located in Noord rather than the main part of Amsterdam, being just a minute or two from the ferry dock which takes you straight across the river, ClinkNOORD is perfectly located for anyone wanting to explore the city. Noord itself is worth a visit in its own right, with a huge amount to see and do, but I’ll tell you more about that in the next few days.
Check back tomorrow to find out all about the special Vegan Christmas In September the hostel laid on for us, as they look to roll it out for all their guests this festive season – as a non-vegan, it was certainly an eye-opener!
* In Association with Brand *