I mentioned in my last post that I am enjoying the slow pace of life that rural living has to offer – well our trip to Amsterdam really proved that! December in Amsterdam is very busy. So noisy, and so very crowded. It was a bit of a shock at first but we had a good time nonetheless.
Amsterdam is a 2 hour drive away from our base in Erm, Drenthe so we booked a houseboat via Airbnb which was a ten minute bus ride away from central Amsterdam. The houseboat was lovely. It had everything we needed for a quick city break and was far enough away from the city that it was quiet in the evening. The bedroom was downstairs and below the water level which Eliza thought was really cool. It even had a floating outdoor space with bench to relax on when the swans weren’t claiming it as their own!
Before we arrived we booked tickets for the Bodyworlds. Bodyworlds is ‘A Happiness Project’ exhibition in the heart of Amsterdam. It tells the story of our own body and the impact of happiness on our health. It has more than 200 anatomical specimens of real human bodies that have been opened and preserved to show bones and muscles and the nervous system. It is macabre and absolutely fascinating. I don’t want to say too much or share too many photos but I will say – if you are in Amsterdam I highly recommend a visit. You have to buy tickets in advance, they have alloted time slots which means it is not crowded which is also a plus point.
Eliza and I read ‘Grandpa’s Great Escape’ by David Walliams earlier this year. Since then she has been asking questions about the second World War. We have visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum where she saw a Spitfire, we went to the D-Day museum in Portsmouth to see The Overlord Tapestry, and while in France we visited the Thiepval Memorial to those lost in the Battle of Somme. While in Amsterdam we had to visit Anne Franks House too. We have read a bit of her diary and while it is a little too much for Eliza to take in, she was eager to visit the house. It was an incredibly moving experience. The exhibitions are well set up and very informative, you get a real feel for their family living in the space seeing her posters on the wall and the marks where they marked the children’s growth. It was a real emotional experience. The video interviews of her father’s account is incredibly compelling. This is another attraction to book in advance – if you don’t have pre-booked tickets they won’t let you in until after 3:30pm and you will have a long wait on your hands.
We escaped the crowds for a few hours with a trip to Vondelpark. It was quiet in the park but it was a chilly wet day – I imagine it is much busier in the Sun. We found an awesome wooden playground that is made up of a series of tunnels, bridges and forts on wooden stilts to make into a treehouse walkway. Eliza (and Chris) had a lot of fun playing here. The park is also full of pretty green birds and has a couple of coffee shops (no – not that kind) if you fancied a hot drink or snack.
Funny story – whilst walking down a typical Amsterdam street, you know the ones with the red lights in the odd window, Eliza asked ‘What is a hooker?’ Chris and I were a little stunned and our facial expressions obviously showed it as she continued to press for an answer with a cheeky grin on her face… it turns out she was talking about a crochet hook. She had found one in a packet of loom bands and had been carrying it around and chewing on it for a couple of days. Here she is with an Anne Frank statue chewing on the aforementioned hooker. 😂