Amsterdam. I’m pretty sure that when we told our parents our intended itinerary, there were a few raised eyebrows at “Amsterdam.” Instant images of the Red Light District. Marijuana leaves. Hash. Joints. Beers. Frites. Bicycles. Not really what you immediately think of as a playground for kids. YET, it is listed as my son’s favourite city in the world.
I wrote an earlier post about cycling in Amsterdam which was definitely a highlight! Here he is riding through a paddock in the Amsterdam-Nord. A truly uniquely fun experience. Riding without a helmet is exhilirating.
Food. Ahh the food. One of the biggest challenges travelling with kids to different parts of the world is the food. Can we find something they will eat? Is there a supermarket we can get supplies from?
The answer to both questions is yes. There are local supermarkets which are well stocked with a huge variety of staples. I mean, the Dutch need to feed their kids too right? If your kids are cheese-fiends, look no further than your local Albert Heijn. It’s perfect when you’re staying for a while to cut down on costs on eating out all the time. Sometimes a piece of toast or croissant with jam is the perfect way to start the day at home.
Amsterdam has some of the tastiest treats on the northern side of the equator. Asian influences abound, Turkish, Greek, of course continental European. Many eateries will happily cater for kids. There is a cafe called Winkel Cafe in the Jordaan area which makes a type of apple pie-cake, about 3 inches high, sweet, chock full of tart apples, cinnamony and lavished with cream or icecream. Take your pick from one of the many ice creameries. Monte Pelmo (Tweede Anjeliersdwarsstraat 17) is THE best. You can’t go past IJscuypje (Prisengracht 292) without getting a bolletje.
Street food in Amsterdam is literally everywhere which makes it very handy when travelling with kids. A stroopwaffel in De Pijp, kibbeling (a deep fried, crumbed, scrumptious morsel of white fish usually served with a mayonnaise chosen at the discretion of the truck vendor – just go with it – it’s delicious!), and if you’re game, raw herring which Callum liked, but not as much as the kibbeling.
Museums. There are plenty of museums around but if you’re there for a short while and if your kids are like mine, a long wandering foray into a museum is ok but not up there with the things to do. This is where the RIJKSMUSEUM is brilliantly ingenious. What do kids hate? Queueing. Purchase your tickets online for the Rijksmuseum and skip the queues. Once you get past the awesomeness of the entrance and foyer, head up to the front desk where you can get set up with a multimedia family quest for a small fee. See link here for more details.
Go and get lost in the maze of alleyways and streets, check out the boat house museum, go for a canal tour.
Babysitting. And if you need a babysitter, we found the lovely Rosie (who spoke fantastic English) through oudermatch.nl. (For those from the US, it’s similar to care.com). I paid about 25 euro to join as a member.
We have the opportunity to go to Europe again next year and of all the places you could go to, Callum wants to go back to Amsterdam.
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