Amsterdam was a pure delight… seven beautiful days together as a family and enjoyed every minute. There was so much to do, eat, and see. It’s hard to summarize or even pick our highlights, but I will do my best.
It started with our wonderful hotel, the Pulitzer. They arranged an adorable family suite where the kids had a special room and personalized pillowcases. One of our favorite experiences was a canal ride on Pulitzer’s salon boat from 1909. The most charming captain gave us a tour of the city while we enjoyed lunch and drinks on this iconic boat. It was a great way for all of us to get a little history lesson and soak in the city.
Another highlight of the trip was definitely the bikes. We rented two bikes for several days and pedaled around the city like locals. The kids got to ride in a cart on the front of John’s bike and I was the official navigator staring at Google maps as we tried to not run into a car or a canal. It was so fun to hear the kids singing songs and laughing behind me, but poor John had double the work load. We hopped around town to several different parks, the zoo, restaurants, and even ventured out of town on the last day. John was definitely ready to turn in those bikes after we made it all the way back to the bike shop, up hill and without a paddle.
A day I want to remember is when we biked to the “I amsterdam” sign. It was a hot and sunny day. We got a wild family selfie seen below. We also tried to see the Van Gogh Museum but the wait time exceeded our kids’ attention span. I took a picture of Charlotte and Johnny out front so they could tell their teachers they made it to the Van Gogh Museum 🙂 I also recorded them on the “I amsterdam” sign saying our traditional Europe line of “Charlotte and Johnny in [said city]”. This one was extra funny as Johnny continued to call it “Hamsterdam”. I still laugh every time; a moment I want frozen forever.
Now onto the tulips… we were lucky enough to catch the tulips a few days before the season ended. We went to Keukenhof, the largest flower garden in the world, and it was spectacular with tulips as far as the eye could see. When our kids maxed out on tulips, there was plenty to do with playgrounds, ponds, ice cream cones, etc. We can now take ‘tulips in Holland’ off our bucket list.
One evening on our way to dinner we decided to walk by the Anne Frank House. Charlotte had just turned 6 when we took this trip so we tried to keep this part of history age-appropriate. We took her picture in front of the Anne Frank statue where flowers are laid everyday. It was a heavy reminder for all of us to realize what bad people can do and to always stand up for what is right. I think Charlotte got it and can hopefully reflect on Anne Frank’s example throughout her life.
On a much lighter note was our day spent at Efteling. This place was like a Dutch version of DisneyLand (actually DisneyLand is an American version of Etfeling) minus the obvious brands and crowds. It was enchanting with a creepy twist that felt like the setting of Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. There were thrilling rides and great food. Charlotte and Johnny loved it! I have a feeling we will be back someday when they are tall enough for the big rollercoasters.
To sum up, I already want to go back. Amsterdam provided everything from a cultural standpoint to perfect weather and an abundance of family bonding throughout. We will always have fond memories of this trip.
Things to remember: Charlotte sleeping until 11 am the first day, playing Star Wars in the garden, Captain Ohno, breakfast with over-easy eggs, Moana neckless, endless cappuccinos, dinner at L’Invite on the canal, the bike shop, church bells ringing, a new child monitor app, iPads at dinner, dinner at Aggassi, girl hit on a bike, van ride to Efteling while playing hang man, dinner at Venus & Adonis, Johnny falling asleep on my lap at every dinner, girl dressed in bread for the birds in Dam Square, finding a souvenir, our family together on an island in Amsterdam… be still my heart.