Spring has finally sprung and we are back from Amsterdam, capital of Holland aka Netherland, the land of windmills, tulips, wooden clogs, home to the renowned painter Vincent Van Gogh and a city where bicycles outnumbered its population.
We traveled in style and in comfort by first class with Thalys in a 6 seats family suite, served with French food, snacks and free flows of wine, coffee and juice. naaah! I was kidding. We did book the 1st class seats but they were only EUR 10 more than the 2nd class. The ‘family suite’ was more like a 6 seats carriage barred from the main carriage probably due to the French’s low tolerance for loud, active and happy kids. A well trained deer faced, apple headed, wide eyed chihuahua will beat a bawling baby at any time. We were lucky to have all 6 seats to ourselves as the other 3 seats were unoccupied. The food served was not Chinese, Japanese or anything we had tried so far, so I guessed it must be french. There were different kinds of cheese and take-as-much-as-u-want baguette, weird tasting rice with sweet orangey marsh. As for the drinks, we did have them free flow but we didn’t ask for wine 😉
A 4 hour train ride from Paris brought us to a city with warm beautiful sunshine, mesmerizing centuries old canals, traditional looking yet innovative bikes which could easily accomodate 3 kids on every street!
We visited the tulip garden and were swept away by the rows and rows of colourful tulip blooms. We strolled a traditional dutch village with old windmills that lined the river. We fed the wild ducks and geese with left over bread crumbs and called them the lazy ones as they detached themselves from the rest of their kind in the wide open field and chose a place near to human habitants hoping to get their food free.
We walked the cobblestone streets and took trams and buses on the city’s extensive public transport network. We basked in the sun for hours and took turns to climb the big alphabets laid out in the wide open field.
We visited the Van Gogh museum which displayed some of the artist’s most notable paintings during his short 10 years span of artistic career from 1880 to 1890. The audio tour told the stories behind many of his work and give a glimpse into the tragic life of this brilliant artist which was marred by illnesses and depression which finally drove him to take his own life at a young age of 37. We signed up Mal for the children audio tour in the museum and he had fun moving from one painting to another looking for the little butterfly sign which showed the number that he could press to listen to the story behind the painting. He did this for an amazing 2 hours! The museum however proved to be too emotionally exhausting for me and I was totally drained after our 3 hours stay in the museum. We were in need of something less intense and that brought us to the next highlight of our trip.
We boarded the partially topless, clear rooftop boat, a 1 hour narrative canal cruise which took us to different part of the city. It feels so good to feel the cool breeze and warm afternoon sun on our cheeks. We missed this warm weather.
check out this huge wooden clogthe main reason that brought us to Amsterdam was to catch the tulip bloom which is during March to May periodtulip bloom at Keukenhof garden. It was beautiful.a walk along the river bank with view of tulip farm on the other side of riverthe traditional dutch village at Zaanse Schansthe
big ‘I AMSTERDAM’ alphabets at the big field next to Van Gogh MuseumI made it to the top….but now I have problem coming downphotos were not allowed in the museum but we found this souvenir store next to it that sells replicas of the artist’s paintingsan hour narrative canal cruise
We had seen the nice and goody side of Amsterdam and we thought it wouldn’t be complete if we missed the red light district in Amsterdam. We decided to make a trip there just before catching our train on our last day. It was just after noon and we took a short walk along the red light district, just one street away from Chinatown where we had our lunch. We saw skimpily clad women in bikinis and sexy lingerie, showcasing themselves behind wide window panes in broad daylight! Mal was with us all the while but he was more interested in dodging around, trying to keep his feet on the narrow pavement than to notice the aunties strutting their stuff. It was a real eye opener for me and the Dutch baffled me with their bold and liberal laws on prostitution and drugs.
Coffeeshop in Amsterdam is not your regular coffee shop that serves coffee
It is our 1st cross country trip in Europe and there were so much to see and discover. I am loving this and hope that I did justice by trying to describe this amazingly beautiful and happy city with my limited vocabulary and the few pictures selected from our more than 800+ photos.0