Last weekend we were lucky enough to visit the beautiful city of Amsterdam. We had the most amazing weekend as a family and were so surprised about just how child friendly and relaxed the culture is over there. We loved exploring and making memories together, and we are already talking about booking another stay for the Spring of next year as I would love to visit and see the tulips- it is such a colourful city even in Autumn, I can only imagine what it is like when it is in bloom.
If you missed it here is Part One of our adventures. We packed so much in to our stay that I have had to split my posts into separate parts.
Our junior suite room at the Movenpick Amsterdam City was large, with a separate lounge area with a sofa bed. The large windows meant that in the morning the room was flooded with the most beautiful light.
My happy girl waiting for the ferry.
Everywhere you look there are bikes in Amsterdam and I didn't see one person wearing a helmet the whole time we were there, it's a little crazy to cycle there yet apparently it's one of the safest places in Europe to cycle.
When we go to a new place we don't always want to do typical tourist things, and prefer to go off the beaten track a little. My husband and I love colourful street art so when I read about the Amsterdam Noord area online I knew we had to visit it. It's a bizarre area, with derelict buildings, abandoned boats and a real urban gritty scene, yet it houses some of the city's most creative and artistic communities, even MTV have a headquarters here. It was quiet and there were lots of graffiti artists working while we were there. It was amazing and it was definitely the highlight of our trip. To get to Amsterdam Noord you need to hop on a ferry going to NSDM behind Centraal Station, they run 24 hours a day and are free.
While we were there there I got asked to have my photo taken and had a little interview with the Dutch newspaper NRC Hardelsblad because they thought what I was wearing was stylish. Definitely the first time I have ever, ever been called that! I had to get the girls to pose with me because I hate posing for photographs on my own, I am so unconfident in front of the camera and prefer to hide behind it. These guys do it better than me! ;)
The girls loved running around the big open space in Amsterdam Noord.
It was so quiet and deserted bar the odd street artist.
We didn't want to eat in a touristy place so headed to Pllek, a crazy looking restaurant made out out of old shipping containers.
Pllek had a really cool vibe, we sat on wooden blocks and cushions which the girls thought was really fun and meant they weren't confined to the table so much.
I had falafel, Mr E had a burger and the girls had a sandwich which the barman translated as 'brown sugar'- it arrived and literally was that, bread and butter with little cereal sugar biscuits on top. Needless to say they loved it.
We decided to hire bikes to really explore the city- the girls went on the front and it was so long and a little scary! But we loved exploring the city this way and they giggled non stop the whole time.
A quaint little open space we found while cycling- there was such a mix in Amsterdam of little parks, open green spaces, traditional old buildings and new urban zones. And it was just so colourful and bright.
We hired our bikes from Mac Bike, which we found to be excellent and they were great with the girls. We were also pleased they had helmets in stock as because as mentioned above we hadn't seen anyone else wearing them.
I love the way she is looking at her big sister. She was so tired she fell asleep while we were cycling and Mads held her against her shoulder for the whole trip. She really is the best big sister.
I feel so lucky to be able to give my girl's adventures and to experience them as a family.
Our hotel was about ten minutes walk from the centre which suited us perfectly as it meant we were out of the tourist hectic bit. There was a nice walk back along the river.
After seeing the big I Amsterdam sign on our first day, we spotted this mini one from the ferry when we were heading over to Amsterdam Noord. We therefore started our final day by jumping on another boat to check this one out out.
We then headed over to Dam Square to do the tourist thing and people watch by eating delicious Nutella and whipped cream waffles outside. We were so lucky with the weather, the sun shined our whole trip.
Soon it was time to head back to our hotel ready to catch our plane home. If you book a junior suite at the Movenpick Hotel you get 24 access to the executive lounge with complimentary snacks, drinks and newspapers. This actually saved us a fair bit of money, the mini bar in your room is complimentary as well.
We headed back to Centraal station to catch our train to Schiphol airport, but not before having one last stroll by the canals. I love this picture of this beautiful city.
All in all we had the most incredible weekend in Amsterdam and we have all fallen a little in love with this colourful, vibrant city. We felt incredibly safe there which is important to us when travelling with the girls, and the Dutch were so friendly, indeed Mads and LL were in their element as whereever we went they got little gifts from locals, such as stickers, keyrings and a little toy car. There's a really eclectic mix of traditional culture, mixed in with the bright colours and new modern structures associated with large cities. The flight with KLM was so quick and easy, and to be in a European city within 35 minutes is just spectacular really, it's definitely opened our eyes to flying from our regional airports rather than going to the larger ones.
My photos don't do this beautiful place justice, but if you are looking for a short weekend trip away with little ones, I can one hundred percent recommend it. We have come away with lots of happy memories of our adventures and will definitely be going back soon.
My final post of our Amsterdam trip is coming tomorrow- photos captured by my iPhone.
(And in case you missed it here is a video of our adventures in Amsterdam)
NB: Thanks to KLM for flying us to Amsterdam as part of their #KLMFlyLocal campaign, we feel honoured and very lucky to be a part of it. Be sure to check them out as they have some really brilliant deals from 16 local regional airports. As always, all content and words are my own. We love you Amsterdam!