Tag Archives: Amsterdam

The Vacation Post -Amsterdam #1

6 Jul

It was my 33rd birthday and I really wanted to do something special; something I can remember for as long as I live. And I did just that. Not alone. Ofcourse not. Happiness doubles when you have people to share your beautiful moments. In my case, it tripled because I planned it with Amit (the history loving husband), Mimi(the L’Enfant terrible) and Namit ( the cool, photographer friend). With interesting personalities as them for company, the trip was bound to be adventure from the word go!

Amsterdam

9 hours of air travel with a 3-year-old isn’t the most ideal of situations. 3 year olds, especially the ones of the hyperactive nature, find it difficult to stay put in their seat. Well, on the positive side,  3 years of handling such a baby has conditioned us and taught us valuable lessons. The thing is now, we are prepared with required ammunition to tackle all probable toddler meltdown situations. Infact, we try and not allow that to happen at all. An iPhone, a Samsung tab, an iPad, books, colours, in-flight entertainment, food and other paraphernalia served their purpose dutifully until we landed at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. Travelling from the desert to Europe can be a little bit of a shock, climate -wise. We did check the temperature and had mentally prepared ourselves to face the jarring cold. We were armed with thick jackets and woollens to keep us warm. But the moment we stepped out, we were hit by a cold wave which was unfair considering it was Spring in Europe. How does 9- 10 C qualify as Spring -time temperatures?

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Amsterdam was gloomy and overcast, yet there was promise in the air. Crown -shaped orange balloons, vendors selling royal crown printed tshirts and artificial crowns for children to flaunt was a common sight. Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander was to be crowned as Europe’s youngest monarch after his mother, Queen Beatrix. There was to be a magnificent ceremony which was to be attended by all the world’s royalties and dignitaries. On 30th April, 2013, Willem-Alexander, 46, was to became the first Dutch king since 1890.

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Several cups of hot coffees later, we summoned the guts to brave the cold winds made worse by a persistent drizzle. Clearly, the weather wasn’t on our side. It was the 26th of April and yet it felt like middle of winter to us.  The moment we stepped out of the airport, we were greeted by “IAMSTERDAM”  which is iconic. It is impossible not to act like a typical tourist a click tonnes of photographs against the different letters.

Another important piece of advice for anyone planning to travel with young children would be carry a baby stroller. This was the single-most handy piece of equipment, we couldn’t have done without for this trip. There is only so much walking that toddlers can do. Their enthusiam is just as short lived as a fire work. Soon they get tired and cranky especially if it is their nap time. Mimi slept, rested, kicked her heels in the air, played games on her iPad in her stroller. Without a stroller, we would have had to cut short all our tours to go back to the hotel just because its the princess’s nap time. I also made sure I always carried plenty of food in my purse because toddlers usually don’t realize when they get hungry. Keep them nourished and they will be chirping like larks all the time.

Inspite of the weather being such a kill joy, we  planned to visit Keukenhopf which is famous as the Tulip garden. Keukenhopf its closer to Schiphol airport than Amstedam City. It is the world’s largest garden which is open between mid – March to mid- May.   drenched and shivering, we toured around the gorgeous garden full of tulip blooms. There is a dream – like feeling in visiting this garden having seen it only in bollywood movies. I desperately wanted to visit the Tulip fields which I mistakenly thought to be in the garden. The tulip field are a few kilometers away from the garden but it was too cold to take a walk that long. I sighed at them from far and waved them goodbye as we made our way back to the city.

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We checked into our hotel  – Multatuli, dot in the middle of the city, overlooking the canals. After a much deserved nap, we set out to meet a friend of my hubby’s. We had a lovely time cruising around the city, absorbing the spirit of the festivities. We ended the day with a sumptuous dinner at an Italian joint.

The next day we set out for a canal cruise around the city. Criss-crossed by bridges, 165 canals encircle the city of Amsterdam. The waterways provide an attractive border to the art-sy shops, galleries and cafés.  As we  sailed around, we found the ‘Museum of bags and purses’ that my hubby resented at the very idea, Anne Frank’s House and  other stellar landmarks. By the time we finished our cruise it was just enough time to visit the Vondel park which isn’t something I would recommend if you had time. We thought there may be some play area for Mimi but to our disappointment it just an unkempt park with cyclists running amuck. I missed visiting the Van Gogh Museum and taking a peak at the red light area, which with babies may seem quite inappropriate.

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Amsterdam to my mind is about freedom of the extreme kind- I found it in the graffiti of the walls of buildings, in the carefree peddling of the cyclists, in the hearty drinking in the pubs that also serve green tea and in the beauty of the bridges that have stood the test of time.

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