Now, I know the first half of the caption would have caught you off-guard. Since we don’t generally picture Amsterdam and a baby together. But, here is my abbreviated version from our wonderful trip to Amsterdam .
I had always heard so much about the medieval centre , bustling with life combined with the scenic charm of the little colourful houses pitted together around the canal. We decided to make two pit-stops in Europe this time ; Amsterdam and Belgium. This Blog is my account of our little time in Amsterdam – the city of narrow lanes and wide bridges.
We took a 10 hour flight to reach amsterdam, with our 17 month old. Just a little side note, if one is travelling with a baby a little planning goes a long way. According to me , one needs to cover three aspects ; Meals, Nap time and most importantly Entertainment. Since a 17 month old in the congested airplane , finds is difficult to spend their time productively. A few games & some screen time helps ( a little rule bending on the vacation helps to have non- cranky baby on the whole plane ride).
Anyhow, we reached Amsterdam and took a 10 mins train ride to reach the city centre. Well, I will be honest here. I wasn’t quite impressed from what I saw outside the train window. It felt like , something was missing. The long stretch of grasslands with a little house were beautiful. However, thats was not my expected scenery, as something was still lacking.
Things dramatically change, once we exited the city centre to reach our hotel near the DAM square.
Here I would like to paint a picture of how things panned out. I was tired, we had two huge suitcase being dragged by my husband and I was the designated stroller pusher. Tired and not quite impressed. We exited the NON-IMPRESSIVE train station and few minutes later; My jaws dropped.
Beautiful open space with gorgeous Canal surrounded by the little colourful houses. Cyclist and trams on the Cobble street. Life and people Bustling around make up for the european experience.
Instantaneously , I gasped and said ” WOW” and it was unapologetically long enough for, my husband , who caught my reaction in the middle the ” WOoooW”. Would also like to add, that the baby suddenly decided to recite ” GLEE .. GLEE ” with happiness for another hour or so , the moment we left the train station (reasons , best known by her).
We decided to make our way to our hotel; Park Plaza Victoria , which was barely 300 meters away from the train station. Hustled in between the beautiful cafes opposite, the canal and a 7 minute walk to the Dam square. The hotel and its location was a delight and so was the super effective air-conditioning at the reception area(instant respite from the hot summer ), it also housed a cute bar with live music on saturdays.
Anyhow moving on.. after a quick shower we decided to take a little stroll around the city and ended up on the Hop-On , Hop- Off bus. You may call it convenience or a touristy delight, that we like to indulge in. We decided to take a quick half round, saw the beautiful canal. I specifically, enjoyed observing people having a relaxed boat rides. later, we decided to walk to the DAM square, surrounded by cozy cafes, high street shopping.
I loved the square, decorated with music played by the talented band, that included saxophones and drums. I wish I could add the video on the band playing here… the music and the vibe was infectious. Since it was sweltering hot, we decided to enjoy a nice gelato and a few drinks over-looking the dam square.
Day 2 :
The next day we decided to explore the city centre. Decided to visit the Diamond factory , it was our first stop since it was closest. The diamond factory has a complimentary tour of their facility , along with a little diamond show & Tell , along with most effective AC. We later followed it up with the famous Heineken Experience. An old Heineken brewery converted into a museum. for Euro 20 (approx) , one can visit the museum, see the evolution of the beer and its process , along with a 4D show on beer to be followed by a little tasting session and a complimentary BEER. This facility also housed few Horses, to symbolise the importance of horses in transportation . I must add, the beer tasted much better in amsterdam than here.. Maybe it’s the water.
We also enjoyed a quiet lunch at the Restaurant behind the brewery , a little plush place with good local cuisine mix, tasteful drinks and an unforgettable experience. we prefer sipping a nice wine in a plush setting and simply talk amidst the world going by. Later, we enjoyed the canal cruise for an hour or so and ended the day with a nice meal at the DAM square yet again. Soaking in all the vibe .
We decided to take an excursion tour , to the city to Volendam , Marken; the fishing village, Old centre at Edam and wind mills Zaanse Schans.
For this we had to catch the bus at 8AM , from the bus stop near the railway station (our location helped us yet again, since we reached the spot in 8 mins) the bus ride took us through a scenic route of rivers and grasslands, after 1.5 hours of drive, we reached Marken , showcasing the CLOG-MAKING process and one can try a few pairs as well. it’s fun, we did took some souvenirs home.
We also walked a little around in the village overlooking some beautiful houses to be taken to our boat ride to take us to the fishing village.
|View on the way to Marken|
Its one of a kind. Nestled away from hustle and bustle house for cheese making factory . We did get a demonstration of the process, followed it up with some sinful tasting session. After a little cheese tasting and an ice cream session later, we got a little guided tour of this scenic and bustling village. Followed it up with lunch , where tried the local delicacies and also bought some cute vintage dresses for the baby (a must when travelling). Later, we took the bus ride again for another 1/2 an hour and reached the windmill village. picturesque and one of its kind. Since it was really hot (disturbingly hot !!) , no one on the bus decided to explore much of the village. we had another ice cream to beat the heat and decide to end our tour and reached amsterdam city centre by 4pm .
After reaching amsterdam , we had a little time on our hand. we decided to visit the notorious red light area. there are walking tours available as well, incase one is interested. Since it was still day time, everything was shut and closed , but one does get to understand the little vibe of the place. Since we were travelling with the baby, we wanted to check it out at a reasonable time. Later we did visit the mall near the dam square to indulge in some luxury shopping, in order to enjoy the EU Tax refund benefits.
At the end , I would like to conclude, amsterdam is a bespoken picturesque place with beautiful canals. One would enjoy walking or cycling while enjoying the beautiful colourful small pitted houses and canals. It might be famous for notorious activities, but finding those is task.. easy task but still a task. Like there are some coffee shops famous for selling stoned items. These are generally situated little away (300-400 metres ) from the other shops and you would be locate them easily and if not, simply follow your nose, since the stench is evident. In all , amsterdam has a lot to offer, a picturesque canal ornamented city with bustling vivid choices along some notorious activities. However, to indulging in them is a choice.
Lets not judge the book by its cover.