Amsterdam. What a beautiful city! The canals, the cafes, the pancakes, the history, the buildings, the Indonesian food and the houseboats.
It was cold when we visited last weekend but between the walking, going into a couple different museums and the cafes, we were warm enough and happy.
Amsterdam’s always been one of my top 10 places to visit. It wasn’t really for the above reasons, but mostly because my grandfather talked about it quite often when I visited him. He grew up in the Dutch colonial system (Indonesia colonized by the Dutch for around 300 years) and besides speaking fluent Dutch and loving Dutch influenced food he never visited. When Indonesia became an independent country, he wanted to move to The Netherlands but the family didn’t and so he stayed. Ever since I can remember, he always told me to visit Holland, Amsterdam in particular, and I am so glad I finally did!
We took the ferry from England to The Netherland. A night one. And it was so relaxing! We only had to drive a bit over an hour and the next thing we knew, we were there. If you’re interested in taking the ferry from Suffolk county to The Netherland, you can read my write-up here. I am a bit OCD on details so there are LOTS of info!
While in Amsterdam we visited and did a few of the things listed on TripAdvisor’s website. Since it was a short trip, we wanted to make sure we went to the places we really want to see but still try to keep it relaxing. To do this, I only scheduled activities for day 1 and the rest we just winged it.
Day 1 we visited Ann Frank House, a WW2 walking tour for hubby, a long lunch and casual walking tour for the girls and I, lunch at an Indonesian restaurant, lots of coffee breaks, and a Rijsttafel dinner (a very Dutch thing to do I think).
Day 2 we spent shopping and exploring Amsterdam. By the end of the day we walked everything but the (old) Jewish district (although hubby visited during his tour but he thought it was really neat and wanted to show us — next time!).
Day 3 we split up again and hubby went to the Resistence museum and the girls and I visited the Rijksmuseum — and what a FABULOUS museum it was!!
We saw a famous Rembrandt: The Night Watch. What a magnificent painting!! Pictures do not do it justice. You really have to see it in person to appreciate the details, especially the way he used light.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at the museum but there were surely many things to see. This one for example, the old library. One of my favorite (I was too busy looking to photograph) was the room with the old ships and the one that told the story of early film. Very neat! I did think that M might be bored after a while but no, she loved it as much and thought the Rijks to be one of the best one she’s been to. I think because it’s got a lot of varieties and everything in there was just beautifully displayed.
I took a few photos of buildings, streets and canals of Amsterdam but not too many. I think it’s nice to capture a few for keepsake purposes but when I am in a new place, I love to just take it all in and as long as I have a few great photos, I am happy. How about you?
While the walks alongside the canals were mostly quiet and lovely, the shopping areas and main thoroughfare were always busy with trams, buses, cars, people, bikes and scooters. You really need to be on guard when crossing because even when the light is red, a bike may still waltz by.
I thought Cambridge, UK, has a lot of bikes. But after Amsterdam, I think Cambridge got beat!
There were many ways a parent would peddle with their children but if I were to live there with little ones, this would be mine.
Before leaving for Amsterdam, our friend lent Jovie and I a Zwarte Piet outfit. But since it’s been a couple weeks since him and Sinterklaas came to visit, there were no other children wearing the costume and Jovie refused to wear it out and about. So here she was modeling.
Hope you enjoyed the photos. If you ever have a chance to do some traveling, I highly recommend Amsterdam. It’s family friendly (even the Red Light District was easily avoidable and even at the tip of it — I had to see what it was all about — I could distract M), small for a city and easily walkable (but the public transport was really nice, easily accessible and frequent), and for a small city, Amsterdam has A LOT to offer in terms of things to see and do.
We want to go back sometimes during our stay here but next time it’ll be during the warmer months! We want to sit outside our houseboat drinking coffee (or beer)!