Amsterdam By Foot

After a tiring day of travel we enjoyed our first full day in Amsterdam today by going a long walk through the city center.

Highlights of the day:

  • We started the day by stocking up on food from the Albert Heijn grocery store where they seem to specialize in various forms of yogurt.  It’s fun to shop in a different language.
  • We took a tram to Centraal Station and began a walk down the Damrak, the historic central canal now lined with cheezy tourist shops.
  • Peter’s hands were cold so we stopped to buy mittens.  Peter chased a kitten around the souvenir shop.
  • We discovered how the clean the windows on those tall skinny buildings.  With a very long pole.
  • Peter was impressed by the ponies (large draft horses, really) pulling a Heineken wagon around the city and wanted to see more.
  • At Dam Square we had a coffee break.  The barista wisely prevented me from accidentally buying a hot chocolate with coffee for Peter and got him plain hot chocolate.  Later, when Peter knocked over my cappucinno, she helped us clean up and gave me a free refill.
  • Peter enjoyed chasing pigeons on the Dam Square but then was terrified by “performance artists” wearing spooky masks.  We talked about the silly people in costumes for a long time afterwards.
  • In the courtyard by the Amsterdam History Museum, Peter likes exploring the archways and discovers a little garden of tulips.
  • We walked through the Civic Guard Gallery, a collection of stylized group portraits from the Dutch Golden Age.  Peter surprises us by enjoying the paintings and saying “It’s Rembrandt!”  (It wasn’t Rembrandt but close enough).
  • The Begijnoff is a lovely collection of house around an enclosed courtyard originally a built as a community of lay women dedicated to religious life and service.  It also contains the small English Church where the Pilgrims worshipped while in Amsterdam prior to going to Massachusetts.  A friendly woman showed Peter where her children liked to play, in the Burgomasters’ Pew.
  • We ate lunch at an Indonesian restaurant called Kantjil & de Tijger.  I enjoyed a yummy Paksoi Tofu and green beans.  Susan had a pumpkin soup.  A sleepy Peter fell asleep in his high chair.
  • On the way back to our apartment for a nap, I discover ducklings swimming in a canal and the house where John Adams lived when he was ambassador to the Netherlands.
  • Resuming our walk post-nap, we walk along the Bloemenmarkt admiring all the beautiful flowers for sale.
  • At Metz and Co, Amsterdam’s classic department store, we take the elevator to the top floor cafe and enjoy rooftop views of the city and some yummy cake.
  • Amused by a store that specializes in food from the U.S. – including Marshmallow Fluff, Pop Tarts, Fruit Loops, Concord grape jelly and all sorts of other processed junk.
  • Peter discovers that the circle on the ground in the middle of the Leidseplein is a fun place to run and spin until you get dizzy.
  • We run around in part of Vondelpark until our little boy got tired and cranky.
  • Back to the apartment for supper and early to bed for all.

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