Mom came to London to visit this summer.
We love that.
And, as we have done the last three summers, we wanted to plan a little girls’ weekend somewhere fun. We asked Rich to go on kid duty and we decided that we’d like to go to Amsterdam. Now, I’ve been once before in the spring of 2016 with the kids and my sister and her family. It was a really great trip. But it was, however, slightly grey and cold – similar to London in the spring. I could tell then that, like London, Amsterdam would be incredibly beautiful in the summer. Ever since, I had hoped to return to Amsterdam in the summer. So this was my chance. And I knew mom would love it.
We decided it was best to take a late night flight Friday, which landed us in Amsterdam around mid-night. We weren’t sure if it would be wise to travel into city center on our own this late at night, so we decided it was best to book an airport hotel.
This hotel was physically connected to the airport by an indoor walkway, and it was really great. And super convenient. The airport hotel offered luggage storage and was less expensive than staying city center. In Amsterdam, this is a great choice because you can just walk back to the airport terminal and hop a 30m direct train to city center. Then on your check out day, you just leave your luggage downstairs (in the safe room), head into town for however long you have until your flight. When the time comes, take the quick train back to the airport, grab your bags and head to your terminal.
It makes things so easy.
Big win here.
First thing Saturday, we booked ourselves a Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour of the Dutch countryside. It was easy to get into town from our spot at the airport. We walked through the airport to the train, then took the 5 minute ferry across the river to the bus meeting point.
From there we hopped on!
First stop, the fishing village of Vollendam.
Here we walked the shops along the harbor, started our cheese journey, and we ate some fried fish. I got fried mussels, and mom got white fish. They were crispy and slightly greasy and oddly filling – and with that little bit of vinegary mayo. YUM!!!!
We hopped back on the bus and hopped off again at the quiet little town of Edam. Edam is known for Edam Cheese. This one was slightly off the beaten path and we got a little turned around walking here. It was so empty it felt like we were almost in the wrong place – or like we were intruding or like we were on a movie set. There were, like, no people in sight and barely any sounds. Everywhere we walked was still and so quiet. Maybe because it was Sunday? I don’t know. But mom and I both fell in love. If I were to ever look for property in Amsterdam – I would begin and end with Edam.
As we approached the center of the village – we started seeing a few other people. Mom chatted with the cheese shop worker and bought her first cheese. I poked around in an antique shop and found a vase to bring home. We got a little lost (again) on our way back to the bus stop. But, we managed to find it and soon enough a bus came to pick us up.
The last stop of our tour was at the Zaan Schanse. Historic windmills and little green houses were moved here to recreate an 18th/19th century Dutch village. There is also a shoe making exhibit, museums, livestock, and of course – shops.
From here, we hopped back on the bus and went back to city center. From there we walked to our dinner location. Amsterdam has really great Indonesian. When we came here before – my sister found this little gem. Called “Aneka Rasa.” The menu is split into two options – Regular Table, or Vegetarian Table. You just pay by the person and they fill your table with the tastiest food you ever did taste.
Full bellies. Check.
Train. Airport. Back to bed at hotel.
The next morning, we took our time getting out of our room and had a nice breakfast at a restaurant in the airport. Then we took the bus to the other side of town, so we could begin our *Rick Steves* recommended walking tour of the city center.
We started by the museums.
Visited Van Gogh.
From there, we got a little confused (again) about the bus routes, but straightened ourselves out and made it to our destination – the floating flower market. Then we walked down through the Dam Square and over to the Anne Frank house. We couldn’t get tickets to go inside because they sell out far in advance.
We ate some delicious fries.
And dutch apple pie.
And the sun was out.
And the flowers were blooming.
And everyone was riding on their bikes.
And it was great.
We needed to catch our bus back to the hotel/airport. But before we did that, we had a little bit of time to kill. However, we were also pretty tired from walking around and didn’t feel like doing much else.
Enter park nap.
I have noticed through my adventures to other European countries, that lounging in the grass of a public area is quite common. Just laying down – right on the grass – for a little nap. We located a big beautiful green space, near our bus stop. And sure enough, there were tons of local Amsterdamers just laying in the grass soaking up the perfect weather. SO. That is exactly what we did as well. And it was glorious. It was just the refresh we needed before heading back to the airport. Ahhhh… yes yes yes.
I mean, just in general, Amsterdam is SUPER walkable and easy. It makes for a relaxing time. The food is great. The scenery is beautiful. I would be happy to return again.
And I would probably stay right at the airport.
Where we stayed: