Friday, July 15, 2011

Amsterdam canal tour

What to do on a layover...

(I squeezed in a regular blog post (my favourite sofa) yesterday. It was serendipitous and happened very quickly.  BUT now feel I need some closure to our travel segment. And I like things to be in order, so am injecting this finale travel post here, before continuing with regular posts about my home renovation, decorating, inspiration, style and stuff!)

We had an early flight out of Istanbul on 7/13. Early in such a way you wonder if you should bother to go to bed. The departure time was 5:50am and we had to wake up at 3:00am to get ready to leave and out the door.  Myself, I do not need much time at all. Certainly I do not need coffee. I do not want to be awake. And I do not fuss about my hair at 3 am. "Brush the teeth and throw on a clean shirt", so went my motto on this trip (and underwear of course, but t-shirt was more applicable as my sons shirts were constantly spoiled with chocolate and other goodies).  My son thought he would try to stay awake but I requested that he do this laying down beside me in bed (wink wink, he fell asleep fairly quickly). He was delighted and shocked that I also suggested that he change into his clothes that he will wear for the flight home rather then PJs. How cool is that! He came up with 2 ideas to wake himself up; 1) a jaunt down 8 floors, 2) tossing some water on his face. ♥

I got out of bed at 3:15. Decided what I felt like wearing for the next 24+ hours (of the few things I couldn't decide on the night before). Packed the rejects, dressed baby in her sleep. Then papa came along and woke her up (argh). Packed some food for her. Woke up Chaz. Brushed our teeth. And out the door at 3:45.

As planned, our trip home was all about Amsterdam. We had a 9 hour layover.  My son's excitement for returning home was revealed during the last few days. He finally had FUN swimming in a pool. There was a little skip in his walk and he was singing the Fisherman song ...

"There were three jolly fishermen
There were three jolly fishermen
Fisher fisher men men men
Fisher fisher men men men
They should have gone to AmsterDAM
They should have gone to AmsterDAM
Amster Amster DAM DAM DAM"

Ah, so sweet to hear an 8 year old singing and getting the chance to use the word Dam.

Getting into the city was fairly easy. What wasn't easy or expected, was the HUGE drop in temperatures. As we exited Centraal Station we were instantly cold and wet.  I was secretly relieved I rejected the fabulously comfortable but short Old Navy shorts and chose the long embroidered Zara skirt to wear. Lucy was snuggled on my front and I had a hat for her, another proud moment of mine. Phew. But my son, he was in shorts and a t-shirt and tired. The cold hit him hard.  We found refuge on a boat, covered and heated. It had been recommended to take a boat tour of the canals, but knowing myself I would have walked around first then run out of time for a tour.  The weather was working in favour for us.

(side note: After my hungry, cold and sleep deprived but very cheerful children ate a couple of biscuits, the Captain came along and shamed us for dropping some crumbs on the floor. A big difference between Turkey and their love/tolerance for children and our first incident w/ the Dutch. I wonder if they are not as child friendly.)

We warmed up on the tour. Enjoyed the canals and house boats and bridges and buildings.

A just-captured-in-time photo, a cyclist holding an umbrella. We were amused, which inspired me to look for another photo op, but with better timing...

But it's tough taking pictures with a biggish camera while wearing/holding a baby AND carrying a bag that weighs the same as the baby over the other shoulder. In the rain. Since I couldn't fully shoot I chose to let that go and be completely present with family and surroundings.

After the canal tour we walked down a road towards Dam Square. Picked up an umbrella (my souvenir) and searched for a sweatshirt for Chaz.  Finally got a coffee (I skipped this at 3:15am, 9 hours later, noonish), croissant and sandwich in a cafe - we were aiming for a pancake house, but its good to be flexible. We went in and out of stores, found Dam Square and headed back down a different street, checking out a few alleys.  The weather was ideal for museum touring, but I was tired and forgot in which direction they were ... blah blah blah.

The canals and infamous bike parking lot will be our culture this time. Museums can wait. Carrying 40 pounds was wearing on me. Back to the Centraal station and the airport.

Yep, we found a sweatshirt!

We were back at airport way before our estimated time, I think we caught a 12:30 train. Luckily Schiphol has MANY MANY things to explore as well.

This little gym was my rescuer. Chaz raced the clock through an obstacle course over and over again. He met a few buddies to compete with. Lucy was contained and able to explore the area. And momma got to sit and veg out for several hours. Thank you McDonalds play area.

If you have a layover in Amsterdam, take the opportunity to visit.
We used this informative (and blunt / amusing) site: (need to find it; its bookmarked on a pc in another country)

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing adventure to take your family on!


Another 100 year old house renovation

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