The first few days were okay, waking up to blue skies and sunshine certainly makes it easier to get started in morning, and I was definitely a little bit more cheerful upon arrival at work. Also the joy of an ice cold beer on the balcony when the working day is over is hard to beat. But the excitement of all that does wear off, for several reasons.
1. Clothing - if you're used to living in a country that spends large amounts of time being pelted with water, and where even in the height of summer you always have to count on things turning 'a bit nippy' at any moment, suddenly having to deal with the temperature never dipping below 25 means you fairly soon run out of sensible outfits. This is especially a problem if you also have to look 'office appropriate' as well. I do see some girls who have obviously just given up and start coming to work looking dressed for the beach. Which leads me neatly on to...
2. Tanning - At the first glimpse of sunshine, Amsterdam seemed to be filled with beautiful, long limbed Dutch girls with the most unbelievably lovely golden tans. HOW DO THEY DO IT? I can't believe that so many are having spray tans or sun beds, so I have come to the only logical conclusion that they have been grown inside giant cocoa pods that crack open as soon as the temperature rise above 20 degrees. Yes, the sun falls on these pods and out come these brown amazonian meisjes, probably already attached to bikes, to taunt me and my pale, normally sized limbs. I've just depressed myself thinking about it. Time for an ice cold beer on the balcony. But better cover up because...
3. Mosquitos - Ah, Amsterdam, with it's beautiful network of canals and waterways, and lush parks with picturesque lakes and ponds. A haven for hatching evil, biting, winged pets of satan. HD likes nothing more than to sleep with the windows open (all year actually, even when it's cold enough to make the canals freeze over) so as you might imagine, our bedroom has become some kind of Studio54 for the local mosquito population. Somewhere they can hang out, hook up and generally get off their faces on the red stuff. Or, to be exact, MY red stuff. HD has hardly been touched.I don't know why, but he's smug and I'm itchy (pleased to meet you). I look forward to being able to go to bed without drenching myself in DEET.
4. People with boats - they're smug, it's annoying, that's all. I basically need to meet more people with boats so I can also spend summer evenings getting irresponsibly drunk far too close to water.
I could go on, miserable so and so that I am, but instead I will pass on some handy Amsterdam in hot weather tips!
Ice-cream: there are two places which everyone knows are THE places to go for the best Italian ice-cream - Pisa or Venezia. Well worth making the visit to either, or both so you can decide who takes the (probably quite drippy) ice-cream crown.
Pisa, Scheldeplein 10
Venezia, Scheldestraat 68
Swimming: In addition to the city's many indoor pools (some with beautiful 1930's design still intact), Amsterdam also boasts an array of outdoor pools, should the weather be warm enough for long enough. More details can be found on this page of the IAmsterdam site. Of course when it heats up most people flock to the beach at Bloemendaal or Zandvoort. There is another option though, lakes. Amsterdam is surrounded by lots of beautiful lakes, many of which you can swim in. I don't know about you but I'd take a wild swim over an overcrowded city pool or beach resort any day. Check out Wild Swim for a map of what's around.
Hortus Botanicus: My number one, all time favourite place to hang out on sunny days. Amsterdam's botanical gardens are small but beautiful with lots of shady benches and peaceful glasshouses to explore. The Orangery restaurant serves some excellent food, and a glass of prosecco to go with your lunch gives you a bit of luxury without breaking the bank. One word of warning: the giant butterfly house. My friend and I couldn't wait to go in, imagining as we were a Walt Disney style scene where beautiful butterflies landed gently on our hands in the manner of Cinderella or one of her kind. What actually happened was more like a horror film. People passing by would have heard bellows of "get it off me, GET. IT. OFF. ME" shortly followed by two women virtually commando rolling through the doors. For giant butterfly wings are beautiful, but big black bristly giant butterfly bodies are not. And they have legs, six of them.
Museums: I know that sounds like an odd suggestion for a warm day, but they're the only buildings in the city with air-conditioning. Choose one, go there, luxuriate in the cold, cold air. But whatever you do, don't lie down on the lovely cool tiled floor, they don't like that.