Jun 21, 2014

Europe with a Toddler, Part 4: Amsterdam

Ready for Round 4 of Europe with a Toddler?  Today we're featuring our time in exquisitely quirky Amsterdam!

In case you missed 'em, our other Europe with a Toddler posts can be found here:

We got to do two trips to Amsterdam during our last Europe trip - the first was an adult only day trip for just me and the Mr. (that sounds way more exotic and erotic than it should) and the second was an overnight family trip with our little one and our friends who have elementary age kids.

For our first little trip, we rode the train from Tuddern, Germany into Amsterdam Central.  It was about a 1.5 hour ride, so not bad at all.  Here we are with a selfie along one of the many canals.  Early morning was really a beautiful time a day to be there.

After a quick coffee stop (by "coffee" I mean a quick cappuccino at a "cafe" not weed from a "coffee shop"), we rushed to get to the Anne Frank House before it opened.  The line gets wicked long very quickly! (note: you can pre-order tickets online here, which is highly recommended if you know which day you'll be there)

The Anne Frank House was a must-see for me, and I'm so very glad we took the time to visit it.  It was surreal to get to see the quarters in which the Frank family tried to thrive during their hiding.  Though a somber experience overall, it was also uplifting to see how Anne Frank's words from her diary continue to help change the world and shift mindsets to a more positive place.  It's awesome to see such a variety of people from all walks of life standing in line to witness such a place.

The exterior of the Anne Frank building itself isn't terribly impressive; however, the views from the building across the canal certainly were.  It was the view of Amsterdam that I had always imagined...

Next we hopped on a canal boat tour which truly is the best way to get around the city.  The city of Amsterdam is quite comparable to Venice when it comes to the amount of water surrounding the buildings.  The feats of engineering and construction that it takes to build in and around water are mind-boggling.

Check out these darling shutters!  You can also see the pulley hoists at the top of each building.  I imagine that's how they get the large pieces of furniture into the apartments...

We almost completely avoided the Red Light District, but we did venture in close to it to see a pretty old church, visit a cheese shop (yum!), check out a local art show, and get a delicious gyro from a don kebab place.

There were about 12 things I wanted to take home from the art show in that gorgeous building above...sadly, I had no space in my luggage.  After a nice half-day date in Amsterdam we rode the train back to Germany to join back up with our daughter and friends.

A few days later, we all hopped on the same train to Amsterdam.  Guess what I caught by completely random chance in the frame of my next photo??

That's right, the ONLY windmill I saw the entire time in the Netherlands.  I thought they would be everywhere - along with the wooden shoes and the tulips (oh the stereotypes!!) - but they were hard to come by even riding on the train through the fields.

We encountered our first major rain fall that first day in Amsterdam, which was surprising because we were in Europe in Spring...should have had way more rainy days, but we truly lucked out.  Here's the "I amsterdam" sign.

And, a little close-up of the "a" with my Addison after the rain stopped.  Who doesn't love a little typography?

 We got to visit another one of my bucket list  must-sees...the Van Gogh Museum.  Van Gogh has always been my favorite artist since I was a little kid, so this was a monumental stop for me.  This is another museum where it's ideal to purchase tickets online ahead of time.  The line was crazy long and we got to bypass it all with the tickets we purchased online here.

Sadly, the famous Sunflowers painting was on loan to a museum in London, but on the upside we were able to take a picture with the photo rendering (which would not have happened with the real one there).

 They had a great head-set tour for kids, which our daughter loved.  She was a little trooper in the museums we dragged her through, and actually came away from the trip saying she loved museums - that's my girl!

After the museum, we had a delicious stroopwafel.  Hello warm caramelized sugar and crispy waffle goodness!

 Next we spotted my first Dutch tulips...

 I decided I could move into this house on the canal, if they offered it to me.  But only if they opened up the yellow and white striped window awnings....only then.

Once the sun came out to stay, it was beyond beautiful once again.

Our hotel in Amsterdam - the Radisson Blu was well-designed and in a great part of town. All of our hotel stays in Europe this trip were at Radisson Blu properties and we came to the conclusion that they were dependably a great establishment to stay in.  You knew you'd have a large(r) very modern bathroom, great bath products, a comfortable king size bed, air conditioning, a Nespresso machine, and sleek contemporary decor no matter what city you were in.

Admittedly, grasscloth wallpaper and cheeky city-themed plates get me every time...

Here's our cute kids enjoying the perfect evening in Amsterdam.

And, of course the silly photo is more like what was going on most of the time we were there...

One last photo before we departed from Amsterdam.  The prettiest wisteria I've ever seen...

Bottomline lesson learned, you CAN DO Amsterdam with kids!  It's a lovely city with a just few unsightly quirks (at least for me when it comes to the Red Light District).  "Those" areas of town can be blocked out quite easily and you can enjoy the more wholesome offerings the city has to offer instead.  There are simply too many wonderful things in Amsterdam to skip the city all together.

The following morning we headed to the airport to jet over to Dublin, Ireland - our final stop for this trip.  Our final post, which you don't want to miss because Ireland was AWESOME, will likely be sometime next week, so do check back in with us!


Mindy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You had me at cheese shop. And tulips. And wisteria. And it would be awesome to visit the Anne Frank house.

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