Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Amsterdam

You know how you try to recreate a special memory and it never turns out quite like the original?  When Keith and I took an overnight train to Vienna, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. We had our own bathroom, our own shower, a delicious breakfast delivered, even treats as we checked in to welcome us to our room. I have been anticipating this for a year, being able to share this experience with my kids. I am not sure if Keith messed up when he bought the tickets or if the lady behind the desk got it wrong, but our tiny private room was not the coolest thing ever. Now I’m not complaining. We still had fun, went to sleep in Switzerland and woke up in the Netherlands. I have a strict policy of never complaining. It’s not in my nature. I’m a positive person. So once again, to be clear, I’m not complaining.  I’m simply reporting on the bare, cold, miserable facts of the situation. 

This is NOT the way mom described it!

We arrived in Amsterdam around nine am and the train station was a work of art, and so was just about every building as we took the tram to the Marriott at Leidenspleine. We took a Blue Boat canal ride.  As we walked to the boat dock, I accidentally stepped into the bike lane and nearly collided with a biker, who responded with a polite "Welcome to Amsterdam!"  Something like 750,000 people live in Amsterdam and there are 650,000 bikes.  Yikes! The canal ride was interesting and taught us a lot about the history of Amsterdam. It was cold but sunny. 
From there, we walked to the Rijksmuseum, where we learned it has been closed for ten years, with its main works still on display in an Annex, but was only six days from reopening. The building was amazing. We climbed on the “I amsterdam” with a hundred other tourists. We walked through the streets and over bridges, went to the Willem-Hultsheim museum, a recreation of 19th century art dealer’s home. We visited the Flea Market, where Kelly could buy a little jewelry. It always makes Kelly happy when she can buy something. 
From there we went to the Rembrandt House, where we watched a girl make paint from clay powder and linseed oil. We saw a large collection of Rembrandt etchings, and learned about his life and times. By then, the kids were tired. Josh ate McDonald's, Kelly ate at Subway, and we locked them in the hotel room for the rest of the night. 
Keith and I had a lovely night seeing the Royal Palace, the New Church, the Old Church, and ate at a Chinese restaurant by Dam square.  There were lots of Chinese having dinner there -- usually a good sign.


Rembrandtsplein with soldier statues

I think I have dragged them too a few too many museums.
Amsterdam is gorgeous!

Flower Market

The next morning we went to the Anne Frank house. We all found it interesting and moving.   We rented bikes and drove along the canals and through the Vondelspark. Very impressive. We went to the Amsterdam Hermitage museum and saw the Van Gogh collection which is usually at the Van Gogh museum. We found a great TexMex place for dinner. then rode carnival rides at the Damplein and nearly lost our TexMex dinner.

Kelly, Josh, and Dru are up there somewhere

Kelly and I ready to lose our dinner.

Monday we had pancakes and Proffertjes (mini pancakes) that were soooo delicious.  Rode the train to Zaane Schaans, a preserved village with 11 original windmills. We watched a miller pressing peanut oil.  Back in Amsterdam, we thought we would go to the Maritime Museum to see a VOC ship, but couldn’t get in because Vladimir Putin was meeting the NL Prime Minister inside. So we hung out with the protesters for a half/hour instead, until the motorcade dropped him off, and he spent 18 seconds going from the car to the building while our new pals shouted at him to release the Pussy Riot political prisoners. Then all the protesters got interviewed by TV reporters, and we left without our ship tour. 
We did a little grocery shopping at Albert Heijn, and ate like kings on a paupers budget. 

Adorable little dutch town.

The millstones at work

Welcome to Amsterdam, Mr. Putin

Now, we are on the train to Belgium through Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Antwerp.. to Brugge.   Kelly is helping Josh with his French homework. (Miracles never cease)

1 comment:

  1. Isn't Amsterdam beautiful? Your pictures are great and I'm so glad the weather was nice (= not raining) while you were there. But 3 days is not enough, right? Good to hear you liked the little pancakes (they're called "poffertjes" by the way), I can make you some one day!!