Friday, April 5, 2013

Amsterdam

A long weekend in the world famous Amsterdam.  Known for its canals, tulips, bikes, cheese, pancakes, the red light district and yes, decriminalized marijuana - all these reasons had people from all over the globe flocking there this past holiday weekend.  Many who were hoping to see tulips, were undoubtedly  let down with temperatures not nearly warm enough and yes, snow flurries on Saturday and Sunday morning - much to my dismay.  Where is Spring anyway!
Bike Parking outside Central Station - A sight to be seen

Regardless, we made the best of our time and crammed in as much as Hannah would allow ;)  *Yes, there are lots of traveling with toddlers and the art of learning to readjust your expectations stories behind that smiling face.  Live and learn.

We arrived by train on Friday afternoon, bundled up and ready to experience Amsterdam and all it's glory.  The city is beautiful, so much more European than Frankfurt, but then that is not hard to do.  We promptly made dinner reservations for the whole weekend - since it was Easter weekend places were bound to be packed and well, Travis doesn't like it when I turn into Betty White because I am hungry!

Next we were off wandering around, in search of the infamous Dutch Pancake.  We wandered along a meandering coffee shop filled shopping street taking in all the sights and yes, the pervasive aroma of Mary Jane.  So very different than any place we have been.  Pancakes were not hard to locate either - YAY!


On Saturday we rented bikes - to Hannah's dismay as it was pretty chilly and the cold air hitting her face seemed to be an instant switch for screaming.  So the bikes didn't last very long and we found our way back to the hotel so that she could nap for two hours.  *Expectation adjustment #1: yes, we are sitting in a quiet hotel room in Amsterdam reading, not out enjoying the sights - deal with it and be glad she is napping before taking her all over the city again and then sitting through a dinner.  She really is a great traveler.


We crammed in as much as we could on Saturday with the luxury of our wheeled transportation and custom sound effects, thank you Hannah.  All in all it wasn't so bad, when the wind stilled.  We made it to the floating flower market and cheese store.  Must sees.
Tulips and Flowers and more Tulips
Flower Bulbs
More bulbs....creating angst for Spring!
Cheese - Gouda my favorite
We also made it to the Albert Cuyp Market - not my favorite.  After returning the bikes we had dinner at the Haesje Claes restaurant that had good reviews on Trip Adviser.  Did I mention that everyone speaks English and the people are SO friendly.  I loved it.  A breath of warm fresh air coming from Frankfurt.

*Expectation adjustment #2:  It is 8pm and we are sitting in the dark hotel room staring at each other as Hannah sleeps peacefully.  OK, reading too and drinking the bottle of wine we picked up, but each thinking and feeling like WOW! here we are in Amsterdam, once in a life time trip, hanging out in the hotel room.  Be glad she is sleeping and so peacefully in an unfamiliar place.  It could be worse!

Sunday was equally as cold, less windy and significantly sunnier - YAY!  We walked everywhere from the north of the city (?) near Central Station to the southern (?) area to Vondel Park, a great big park with a couple nice cafes.  Then back again....for Hannah's nap.  Although she can sleep in the back pack and did for an hour, a little more rest before dinner seemed ideal.

The Cheese Museum & Shop
The Tulip Museum & Shop

Church near Vondel Park

I recommend the Cheese Museum, the guys in there are very nice and the cheeses are well, delicious.  Also, I very highly recommend eating at Greenwood's on the Singel Canal and at the De Bakkerswinkel (a few locations).  We visited the Nemo Science Museum for kids - a very cool museum however, crazy busy with kids everywhere since it was a holiday.  The building alone is something to see.  If you have kids then I definitely recommend making a stop here.

We really enjoyed walking around the canals and looking at the architecture.  There is never a bad time for a coffee and pancake :)

Cheers!