The lies started months before. Opening a new email address, I began hiding bank statements. Organising a secret weekend away to Amsterdam, I was having an affair with Google.
In the weeks and months proceeding, I fantasised about telling him, “We’re not going to my mothers in Navan, we’re going to Amsterdam for a weekend of cultural gluttony.”
So the day arrived. I instructed him to change lanes – we were going to the airport. “I didn’t even wash these jeans. My clothes are all crap,” he said. Wardrobe considerations banked headed off on the Aer Lingus flight, which cost about €120 each.
We camped in the Moevenpick, a four star hotel about 15 minutes from Centraal Station, sitting on the waterfront at Piet Heinkade, right next to the Bimhuis jazz concert hall. Despite our best intentions, we only visited the Subway there. Both nights cost €160 through Hotwire.com .
Friday – St Valentine’s Day
Bo Cinq on Prinsengracht 494 would give Paddy Gibauld a run for his manuka. The restaurant has a cool, NYC loft feel with exposed brick – and great service to match. We went for the three course set menu. Lovers of Heston-style theatrics would enjoy Bo Cinq – we sucked the thick custardy deserts through a straw, from a bong sitting in dry ice. Dinner with wine to match course cost €160.
We rolled ourselves out of the restaurant like barrels and found ourselves in the Old Sailor pub on Oudezijds Achterburgwal 39-A. It had a Porterhouse feel, and the beer was cheap at €3 per pint.
As we had visited neither coffee shop nor brothel the night before, we decided to visit Anne Frank’s house the next day. Pre-warned to book a ticket online, we skipped the two and a half hour queue, to the annex where the young Jew sheltered from the Germans during the Second World War. Reminiscence aside, if you have read her diary and have limited time in Amsterdam I would give it a miss. That afternoon we caught a canal boat from outside Anne Frank’s house, which is a great way to see the city from the canals for a tenner.
For dinner that night, I had the lobster special at Cinema Paradiso at Westerstraat 186. It’s a big bold Italian restaurant with the freshest of buffalo mozzarella and an indoor smoking area. Two courses with wine was about €35 for me. (We went Dutch!)
Sunday morning we went in search of the Rembrandt museum but ended up at Rembrandt’s House at Jodenbreestraat 4 instead. An enchanting building nonetheless, it charts the fortunes of the artist from rags to riches, and back again.
48 hour city breaks can be hectic, and our trip to Amsterdam was no different, but with some forward planning and an open mind it’s a fantastic reason to stick on the out of office. Make sure to wash his jeans during the week if you’re planning it as a surprise though!