Europe Spring Break – Amsterdam
Getting to Amsterdam
Today we woke up earlier than the previous days; we had a train to catch. I had booked our train tickets from the US and printed the tickets. We just had to show up and get on the right train in the right carriage and the right seats. It was very straight forward and easier than I expected. I had gotten four seats facing each other with a table in between. The boys played on their electronics and Keith and enjoyed talking and looking out the windows. I was surprised at how many modern windmills we saw and how many homes had solar panels installed.
Where we stayed in Amsterdam
We stayed at the Hotel Luxer in Amsterdam. It was very close to the train station on the edge of the red light district.It was only a 5 minute walk from the central train station. Our room wasn’t ready, but they happily kept our luggage while we explored the city.
We had booked the only quad room at the hotel. It turns out the night before, the previous occupant had a little too much fun and gotten sick in the room. After exploring, the room still wasn’t fit for human habitation. The woman at the front desk booked us into 2 rooms, but not connecting. So the adults split up and each took a kid. Not ideal, but better than a room in terrible condition. Since this was an obvious inconvenience, they comped us breakfast for our visit.
Things go wrong in Amsterdam
Keith had hurt his back sometime during our first day in Amsterdam and he didn’t really feel it until the middle of the night. He was up all night hurting, but in a different room, so I didn’t know about it until the morning. Early in the morning he came in and it was obvious he wasn’t going anywhere. We had some pain medication and he took some and was out for a couple of hours. So I was on my own in a city where I had never been with the kids. We only had one phone with a cell plan and it was Keith’s. So I took his phone and left him with mine which was on the hotel wifi network and later in the day we communicated that way.
How we got around Amsterdam
We went to the train station and picked up 48 hour transport cards. They don’t actually have 48 hour transport cards for the kids, so I just bought each kid two 24 hour cards. The trams in Amsterdam were very convenient and easy to use. I would recommend them.
What we did in Amsterdam
Our first afternoon, we went to Vondel Park and walked pretty far into the park to find the kids play area. It was worth it to the kids though who spent about an hour playing and burning off steam. Then we booked a canal cruise around Amsterdam. It lasted about 75 minutes and we got to see the highlights of the city from the water. Quinn ended up falling asleep though, it had been a long day for him. In the evening, we enjoyed walking down the streets of Amsterdam, but we were careful to stay off the racier streets for little eyes.
The day Keith was in bed, the kids and I headed to the Resistance museum, which is all about the Dutch resistance to the Nazi’s during WWII. Some of the topics were quite mature and the kids did great with it. The museum had a special kids section where there were replicas of their homes and interactive stories to be told. Each of the homes and kids had a different point of view. One was a child whose parents were Nazi party members, another was a Jewish Family, another was a regular Dutch family, and there were 2 others. The kids really enjoyed this part of the museum and so did I. We got audio devices that you could tap against the exhibits and all the information was read out in English. The kids loved it and really enjoyed being able to listen to the things that they were interested in and at their own pace.
Later that day, we walked along the main canal and headed to the Nemo science museum. It was interactive and the perfect way for the kids to spend the afternoon. As a bonus, there was plenty of space for Keith to sit and not tax himself too much.