Our family bucket list just got one more city checked off: Amsterdam. We definitely need to return because a long weekend simply isn’t enough to get everything done. But this last trip was a last minute road trip with the entire family in tow. It was a treat to finally get to nearby Holland!
Coming from Mainz, the trip really only took about 5 hours on the road not counting rest stops. And we had to stop a couple of times for a WC visit & once for fuel. When we finally arrived at our hotel, the cozy recently renovated The Neighbour’s Magnolia in the Museum district, the sun had long set and the dogs needed a walk. Yes we took Travelhunds and Mutt brothers, Charlie and Rusty, along for the ride. They survived the road trip. How would they handle the steep stairs common in older European buildings? Like Rocky!
We wandered around the area on our first full day, just getting to know the lay of the land and going wherever our feet took us. We wandered towards a local Saturday market with the dogs but when the dogs got skittish as we approached the busy market, we decided to take a streetcar back to our hotel and try again without the dogs.
Ambling around town later, we caught a traditional Dutch meal at a restaurant by the Central train station. Everyone was so tired after supper that we returned to our hotel rather than try to catch the evening tour at Anne Frank’s house. (So that’s on our list of Must Do tours for our next visit) I’ve decided that it’s more important for us to have experiences and create great memories than to rush about trying to get from this museum to that exhibit to this restaurant…well at least until you are hungry and it’s time for a decent meal.
So what did we do? We took Thomas’ advice. He’s the hotel manager and a wonderful source of information. Also we used the Internet as well as the app Digital Concierge (use code 1116 for The Neighbour’s Magnolia) to customize our weekend visit. We walked through parks like the huge wellkept Vondelpark. Ambled through neighborhoods and walked past diplomatic consulates and embassies. Stumbled through a small red light district on the banks of one of the many canals dotting the city and on the edge of the museum district, just blocks away from embassies and the grand old Albert Cuyp market.
Drove to the beach.
Played tourist and saw old windmills in quaint little Zaanse Schans.
I’d say we had a nice weekend full of memories, even without a bunch of museum trips. That’s not to say we won’t see the museums and exhibits next time around. Because there is sure to be a next time!
PS. What’s one of my favorite memories? At a gas station outside of Zaanse Schans, we noticed the air has a distinct scent of CHOCOLATE. I bought 3 bars of chocolate… The best unintentional marketing strategy ever.