In January 2016 I made another trip to Amsterdam for three nights. I’d bought a ticket to watch F.C. Ajax Amsterdam play at the Ajax Arena which I was looking forward to.
The trip was spent in my usual fashion in Amsterdam, wandering around aimlessly finding new things to look at and new pubs and beer to try.
I crossed the IJ river on the free ferry behind Centraal station and had a wander around Amsterdam Nord, which isn’t as pretty as downtown ‘Dam but had some interesting modern buildings.
I also went to the Skylounge at the Hilton hotel near the station. The bar on the 11th floor of the hotel is open to non-residents and I had a drink and a bite to eat while admiring the wonderful views of the city.
The night of the match came around and I jumped on a train to Bijlmer Arena station next to the stadium. The metro also serves the station so it’s very easy to get to.
Arena Boulevard was packed with Ajax fans, eating hotdogs and drinking beer from the multiple vendors by the ground. I picked up my online-ordered ticket from the front desk (and got given a free scarf!) and headed off to find my seat.
The game was against SC Cambuur of Leeuwarden in the North of the country. They were near the bottom of the table so it should be a routine win for Ajax, perennial title winners and multiple European champions.
Not to be. The game was flat as a pancake. Ajax must have had 80% possession but seemed clueless at carving out a goal scoring opportunity. The fans were in great voice at the start of the game but by the end had, like me, been sent to sleep. It finished 0-0.
In desperate need of a pick me up I headed back into town for a few drinks before catching the train back to my hotel.
The Corendon Vitality hotel is located near Lelylaan station, served by local trains between the airport and the city centre. It’s also on Tram route 2 which takes you past many of the most famous landmarks including the Rijksmuseum.
The hotel is very smart and modern and the spa area is lovely – as I recall you have to pay a small fee to use it but it’s worth it – there’s a pool, sauna, Turkish baths and many other relaxation areas. It’s a good value hotel because it’s out of town, but because the transport links are so good this isn’t much of an inconvenience.
A very enjoyable trip – just wish the football had been better!