The Roving Richards

A family on the move

Amsterdam

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

We stayed at the Erik Vokel Amsterdam Suites, a hotel near the Central Rail station made up of apartments. We tried to book a more traditional apartment but it was very challenging in Amsterdam, the places were all a bit funky and it was hard to understand where they were located. This hotel was fine, we technically had a two-bedroom but the girls’ bedroom was a room completely filled with a bed. In the interests of being modern and streamlined, the apartment had no dressers or storage for clothes at all–it might have cluttered up the look? Anyhow it was fine but not fantastic.

So by now the weather had cooled off quite a bit and we were in sweatshirts and long pants. We took the Rick Steves walking tour and enjoyed looking at the extremely tiny cars. Amsterdam is a nice city, and the canals were picturesque. We also got our first stroopwafel of the trip, man those are good when they’re fresh! We also spent some time shopping as they had a lot of inexpensive European chain stores, in contrast to the high-end boutiques we’d been enjoying in Copenhagen.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Continuing our tradition of being out of the country (not on purpose, it’s just when Adobe has a week-long shutdown) on the Fourth of July…

We started out the day with a canal tour, which was a nice way to see Amsterdam. Then we discovered cheese tasting. All of the cheese shops in Amsterdam (and there are a lot) allow you to try their cheese. We were so inspired by this that we wanted to buy a 1/2 wheel of this Henri Willig cheese. The cheese shop lady didn’t want to sell it to us because we weren’t going to refrigerate it right away, hey lady it’s like 60 degrees outside and it’s a hard cheese it will be fine… Then Mark got into the act all worried about food poisoning, as if (have you met me?). We finally lied and told the lady we were going to return directly to the hotel and the fridge and she agreed to sell us the cheese plus cut some up into cubes so we could eat it right away. We ate both cups she gave us and then resorted to gnawing on the wheel, suffice to say the cheese never made it to the fridge because we ate it all before the day was through. And the rest of the time in Amsterdam whenever we saw a cheese shop we went in for samples…

We went to this mall thing in an old government building and it had the best view from a restroom we’d ever seen. We had a quick lunch there and then went to the Amsterdam museum which was cute. Back in the 70’s they’d had an electrical vehicle program, how progressive! They also had a nice display of dresses and shoes that were so incredibly tiny it’s amazing a full-grown woman wore them.

Friday, July 5, 2019

One of the few things I’d preplanned on this vacation was a food tour through Eating Europe, and today was the day. We were going to cover the Jordaan area so we met at Cafe Papeneiland which is known for its apple pie. Then we went to a salami place, where the girls and I were told to check at the counter for vegetarian options, which turned out to be egg salad, macaroni salad, or chicken salad. Got a laugh out of that last one. We walked around the city and learned more about its history. We also go to try herring, which is a famous street food and not something we would have tried on our own but it actually was pretty good. We finished up at a very cute little bar and we were on our way.

Next we went to the Willet-Holthuysen House Museum which was a very nice recreated canal house. Interestingly, it’s also the house of the woman who donated her gowns and shoes to the Amsterdam museum. And finally we went over to the Van Gogh museum, stopping at a restaurant/bar in the park for a drink first. Not realizing you needed to buy the tickets to the museum online and we should have done that while we were at the bar. So we bought the tickets and then waited around outside the museum until it was our time. And then we all realized we don’t really like Van Gogh. Whenever I liked a painting I’d be like “oh, I like that one” only to find out it was one of his contemporaries. His life was a very sad tale though.

For dinner we ate at a family run Thai restaurant that had very deservedly high marks. The proprietor made me laugh because he refused to clear my plate until I ate all my shrimp. Hey, I’m a mom, I get you!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Genevieve had purchased tickets way in advance to Pal Mundo, a music festival where this band she likes, Bad Bunny, Unfortunately the weather report called for rain. Charlotte wanted to go to Muiderslot, a very castlely castle she’d turned up in her trip research, so Genevieve decided to go with us as a family before she went to the festival later. We took an Uber and got there no trouble and it was very cute! The museum was engaging and set up for children so there were activities and clothes to wear, etc. It had a moat around it and looked everything like you’d want a castle to look like. We walked around the castle and then went into the town of Muiden for lunch. At first we sat outside along this cute canal but the wind picked up and it got too chilly and it’s good we moved because it started to rain.  We got an Uber back to Amsterdam and for some reason that ride was much shorter until we hit Amsterdam itself, at which point we told the driver to just drop us off because we could walk quicker than he could drive us. Charlotte and I headed back to Primark to see if they had this dress she wanted in her size but they didn’t although I found a cute shirt from H&M in that Amsterdam blue and white flower print. Then we headed back to the hotel and by now it’s pouring and Pal Mundo was livestreaming and Genevieve could see that hardly anyone was there and those people that were there just looked miserable, so she decided to bail on the idea. It would have been so different if the weather had been good!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

We checked out of the hotel and made it to the airport in good time, but the security line was so long. Actually, there were several lines and you’d clear one and have to go stand in another. It was very chaotic and frustrating. We did make it to our plane on time but not with any time to look at the duty free which made me sad because I was hoping to get some European sunscreen. Oh well, there’s always eBay. It was a direct flight and we had the extra legroom and for some reason I had an easier time on the way back than the way there, perhaps because it was “day” so there was none of that lights off try to sleep that I can never do.

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