European Vacation: Wrap Up

amsterdam for families

If you haven’t already seen the first part of our vacation, you can check out part 1 here and part 2 here.

The last three days of our journey were spent packing in the culture and off the beaten path sites.

Were were very ambitious in attempting to visit both the Rijks Museum and Van Gogh museum in one day. I would advise against this. The Rijks museum is so huge, crowded, and overwhelming with amazing and vastly different types of art that one can spend all day there. We opted for a highlights family audio tour which all four of us enjoyed and then followed that up with lunch in their cafe. The cafe menu was pretty fancy-schmancy and Dear Husband and I were a little afraid we were about to drop a whole lot of euros on food our kids wouldn’t eat. Thankfully there were two items on the children’s menu one of which being a sandwich made with peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles. Lucky for our kids, sandwiches made with chocolate sprinkles are a normal thing for Dutch kids.

By the time we got to the Van Gogh museum (which is only a few steps away) Addison and Harry were museum-ed out. After the vast variety of the Rijks all we could comprehend at the Van Gogh were walls covered with selfies and sunflowers.

The next day we decided to have mercy on our kids and took them to the NEMO children’s science museum. It’s a great museum but not any more amazing than the one we have in Oklahoma City. Science works the same all over the world.

Our parental mercy only lasted through the early afternoon because after we had lunch in the NEMO cafe we gave Addison the option of going to the park with his little brother and seven year old cousin or going to the museum of handbags with his nerdy parents. He chose handbags.

After learning about the history of handbags (the murse was a real thing way before Hollywood celebs made it trendy today) I took Dear Husband and Addison on a wild goose chase to find the cat houseboat. The cat houseboat is just what it sounds like; a houseboat that is home to a lot of cats. After (once again) discovering the Red Light District we found the cat houseboat only to discover they have the shortest hours in the history of places open to the public.

Our final day was spent exploring the Amsterdam Bos (Amsterdam forest). We biked to the forest and then explored the paths to find a wading pool, lake for swimming, and a goat farm. We fed bottles of goat’s milk to baby goats. Need I say more?

And as if baby goats wasn’t enough, we spent the evening puttering around the canals of Amsterdam in a motor boat eating fancy cheese and drinking wine. I have always maintained that it is better to know people with really cool stuff than to own that really cool stuff yourself. The next best thing to having friends with cool stuff is if you are close to people who have friends who own really cool stuff. Two degrees of separation from really cool stuff was the case here. Friends lent their boat to our cousins, no questions asked. They have a boat, they want to enjoy it and their friends to enjoy it.

What a wonderful way to live life: enjoy the things you have and be generous with them so others can enjoy them too.

Day 10: Rijks museum and Van Gogh museum

rijks museum

rijks museum

rijks museum

Day 11 NEMO Science museum, tired kids on the tram and disappointment at the cat houseboat.

NEMO museum

nemo museum

amsterdam with families

cat boat

Day 12 Amsterdam Forrest, Goat Farm and boating on the canals

amsterdam forrest

amsterdam goat farm

amsterdam goat farm

amsterdam goat farm

amsterdam goat farm

amsterdam goat farm

amsterdam with families

amsterdam with families

amsterdam with families

amsterdam with families

 

This last picture, I feel, sums up the feel and attitude of our entire trip. Relaxing while exciting at the same time. Magical and cultural. Educational without feeling like you are being forced.

As I browse through our pictures and think back on our trip I’m struck at how fortunate we were to be able to take our kids on a trip like this. How incredible all of this was and the special experience we gave our kids is not lost on me. Dear Husband and I have tried to impart the importance of experience over possessions. Yes, we have all the ‘stuff’ and a comfortable life but I hope we are imparting to them that stuff is temporary but the memories we make with each other will always be a part of our lives.

2 Responses

  1. This is AMAZING, Stephanie! For some reason, I never got the last two posts about your trip in my inbox. Huh. I’ll go back to look at them now but just wanted to say I am SO HAPPY you and your family had such an incredible trip. Those memories will last a lifetime.

  2. Looks like you had a wonderful time! What a fabulous experience for you and your family. I love the focus on experiences over things.

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