The morning after we settled back home in Newcastle after our week in Amsterdam, my husband looked up at me and asked, Would you say this is one of the best trips we took?
We didn’t plan our trip, but I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam. I wanted to visit the Anne Frank Museum, take the Fault in our stars tour, visit the tulip farms, the windmills and have pancakes! Despite the fact that i did not get the chance to do any of the mentioned, it was one of my all time favourite trips.
You might know Amsterdam for a few things, weed .. the red light district and a few more 18+ attractions, but if you are still too young for all the latter, you might know it for dutch pancakes, Anne Frank’s Museum or if you read The fault in our stars by John Green you will deffinetly know a little bit about the city.
The city is photogenic and if you love enjoying numerous cups of coffee while watching people bike away, you will love the city. It reminded me of venice, minus the smell-Venice really does stink! It is a city you will enjoy walking around in knowing you are lost and not minding at all. It is filled with vintage shops, almost in every corner, turkish restaurants, caffe’s and coffee shops.
There is a difference between a coffee shop and a caffe by the way ….
“A caffe is where you can have coffee, a coffee shop is a typical Amsterdam shop, you have marijuana” explained our host.
Where we lived.
I am guilty of often maybe too often peering through the windows of homes around the world. Yes, I am that annoying tourist who does that.
Through the shutters and beyond the curtains, I love the insider look I get of how people decorate their homes, what they’re doing at that certain time of the day, if they have kids, and getting close but not too close to see their little gardens. It is not long after the stolen glimpse do I start imagining what the lives of these people might be like.
Through KidandCoe, I got a chance to live that experience in Amsterdam, without having to peek through windows anymore.
If you, like me, have a little one or maybe more and dreading the fact that you might be crammed in a hotel room, one bathroom, little space and no room to wash the bottles or cook your own meals, KidandCoe is for you.
During our 5 day visit to Amsterdam, we picked The Willemsstraat Residence a beautiful, warm family apartment set over two floors in the Joordan area.
The apartment became our home away from home. It had everything we could possibly need to make our stay comfortable. It was spacious! And since we had our one year old son travelling with us, this is exactly what we needed. The apartment was also baby-proofed, so Rashed was free to wander around and he very much enjoyed that. The hosts had their infant daughter’s toys laying around too, it kept Rashed busy the whole trip, he loved exploring all the sensory toys and building blocks!
Our host Fleur, was kind enough to provide us with tram tickets, bikes and two strollers too. What more could parents want?
The apartment was literally 10-15 minutes away from all major attractions. The area was filled with coffee shops, small parks, supermarkets etc.
During his nap times, we would enjoy a cup of coffee outside one of the many caffe’s in the neighbourhood offering Illy, my favourite espresso blend!
Where we went.
Because Rashed is still too young to enjoy places like the zoo, and would rather freely run around, we visited a petting farm instead. A smaller version of a zoo, with goats, rabbits, chickens and a small area for Arts and Crafts. I have come to learn that petting farms are actually all over the city and in a number of neighbourhoods. Worth the visit but do not expect it to be huge with lots to do.
We did manage to visit the Rijks museum and saw the huge “I am Amsterdam” sign and walked past the Van Gogh museum, too. But because of our little one and the fact that my husband and I are not really museum people, we chose to enjoy randomly walking around the city and discovering its beautiful alleys, canals and parks. Our Taxi driver was right when he said that in a matter of days, you will be done touring the whole city.
Amsterdam allows you to be spontaneous with your plans, even if you had none.
Did I mention how friendly the Dutch people are? It was overwhelming to be honest for someone who lives in England. My husband and I thought that dutch people are laid back and always smiling. We joked that maybe it was because of the weed!
What i wish i knew.
If travelling with a baby, consider bringing a small compact stroller with you. It is busy and the alleys are a bit tight and pavements are small. Or forget the stroller altogether and go for a sling.
Do bear in mind that away from the city centre where all the department stores are, there are no designated baby changing toilets. You will have to do it in random places, no one would mind really, so do not worry. Thank you Petite bateau for sparing us your changing room!
To visit Anne Frank’s museum, book your tickets early, the queue is long all year round. Same goes to Madame Tussaud’s.
Pre-book trips you might be interested in earlier instead of going through a tourism agency in the city.
Use Foursquare for finding restaurants. It can help you determine whether the restaurant is child friendly or not.
The airport is amazing, go in early!
Oh and HAVE CHEESE AND BREAD.
Don’t be a headless chicken! Bikes come from each and every direction. Which is why I chose to carry Rashed in a sling for the rest of our trip, for safety reasons and because I secretly enjoyed the fact that he was that close to me 🙂
By the time i retire, i will own an apartment just as beautiful as the Willemsstraat Residence in Amsterdam. Inshallah!
From Amsterdam with love,