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Amsterdam: A Very Different Return

We ended our 7 weeks of Euro travel with 6 days in Amsterdam, a first-time visit for Dave and an anticipated but very different return for me since my last visit in 2004 (one of the many long weekend jaunts I took with friends while studying abroad in Spain in college). In 2004 we stayed at a crowded hostel and partied all night at coffee shops and clubs and maybe went to one museum, I canโ€™t really rememberโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‰ In 2022, we stayed in the hip, cute, but much quieter Jordaan neighborhood, spent most afternoons and early evenings at a local โ€˜speeltuinโ€™ (playground) with dozens of communal toys Jacob became obsessed with, and were usually so exhausted from full and busy days that we were in bed by 10:30pm. And about that speeltuin: every morning Jacob asked to go back to this playground to play with a car transport truck. It was pretty much the only thing he wanted to do in Amsterdam. (He did have a fun morning at the @nemosciencemuseum though ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ great for kids of all ages.) 

We did manage to fit in other activities, like an entertaining canal boat ride and renting bikes to explore Amsterdam Noord and more far-flung, less touristy areas. Biking in Amsterdam can be tricky and stressful as a tourist, but it was a great way to see so much more of the city. 

And with the help of a terrific babysitter, we were able to take our time at the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Anne Frank House. It was hard not to think of and miss my Dad and how much he loved returning to impressive, thought-provoking collections like at the Rijksmuseum. 

One highlight was a belated Fatherโ€™s Day gift for Dave: a massage, a fancier and delicious Indonesian โ€˜rijsttafelโ€™ (rice table) dinner at @restaurant_max_amsterdam, a chill coffee shop visit, and watching the sunset at 10:30pm on a beautiful evening. 

Lots of reflections and lessons learned after 7 weeks on the road (well, trains) with a 3-year-old in Europe. But first we have to get settled in Valencia this month for our family adventure living abroad as expats. Already in a few days itโ€™s been a lot of drama and headaches – but more on that to come!