Amsterdam – Part II

Amsterdam – Part II

This is the second instalment on our fabulous Spring break to Amsterdam. We fell in love with Amsterdam the moment the tram took us through the streets to our park side apartment in Pijp.
The horses welcomed us in Dam Square

Before arriving, we booked a 360 City Tour (link below), to show us the highlights of Amsterdam in two hours, and give us bearings on the city.
Typical tulips on with a cyclist passing a bridge in the Dam

We met in Dam Square, by the horses (which were a hit with Lex) and soon listened to stories on their Royals (a far cry from our monarchy!!), Dutch jokes about the Germans (ahem!) and learnt about their attitudes and way of life, which surprisingly, explained a lot of things.
Our little explorer loved running along the tiny streets

On this walk we discovered the beautiful district of Jordaan (which became my firm favourite), we were told where the best apple pie shop was (they were scrummmmy!), and were escorted down alleyways you probably wouldn’t otherwise go down, and resurfaced a little giddy and green (you catch my drift?).
A typical Amsterdam building with a peaked roof and cute little windows
This is the smallest house in the city – that tiny red brick section in the middle. The door is oh-so-pretty (the random two girls are unknown).

The tour was free, but we gave a 20 EURO donation at the end, as it was incredibly informative and the perfect introduction to the city.
The canals in the Jordaan district are picture perfect
Boats & Bikes – everywhere!!!!

This tour is not the only thing you must book before arriving in Amsterdam. If you want the chance to see the Anne Frank House without the humungous queues, which are hours and hours long, I strongly recommend you book tickets online before going.
Catching rays on the bike in Vondelpark (poor Lex looks blinded)

Tickets are released everyday, weeks in advance and sell out fast, so plan ahead and be quick. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to queue for hours with a little one, but was happy to enjoy the rest of Amsterdam with the perfect excuse to come back. I grew up with Anne Frank and read her diary multiple times and was consumed by her story.
The firemen taking a break in Vondelpark

Another reason I want to return is to travel to a real flower market and see how it’s done. I want to see the blooms, in all their glory. I’ve heard Haarlem is the place to do this.
Pretty shop fronts in Jordaan
More independent boutiques in Jordaan, Amsterdam

The rest, such as museums and canal trips can be bought once you’re there. Infact, I booked a canal trip in advance, but probably could have got it cheaper via a discount with 360 Tours.
We stopped for some lunch in a dolls-house-like teas shop with one table at the front right in the sunshine – it had our name on it

As for our neighbourhood where we stayed, well we struck gold. It’s was a vibrant mix of young trendy families rubbing shoulders with chic university students. And with the sun shining and the weather warmer, the swanky bars and restaurants at the bottom of our road were brimming with young bods.
Lex enjoying his first Heineken in Amsterdam
Just kidding – water for him, but he can “cheers” us though

Lex was on good form, so we braved a drink and dinner with the hip crowd, and even felt young again, for just an hour or so, while Lex enjoyed watching the bikes go past and playing with his new wooden Dutch toys.

A definite food choice for us was Bitterballen – a Dutch meat-based snack in fried crumbs – it’s a traditional dish in The Dam, we all loved it.
The family we stayed with prepped some toys for Lex to enjoy – such a sweet touch – love Airbnb!
Lex and Papa having a lazy breakfast in the apartment – with kids it’s self-catering all the way!

Pijp is great, full of bars, eateries, boutiques and a very lively daily market selling all sorts of things; flowers, toys, bikes, food. It’s called Albert Cuypmarkt and is well worth a visit.
The food to try is Bitterballen – a Dutch meat-based snack in fried crumbs – scrummy!
One of the beautiful trendy boutiques in our neighbourhood

As always, it’s easier to book a self-catering place with a child, so we always use AirBnb. However, we’ve been doing it since our travelling days because it really the best experience to see a new place from a local perspective. Had we stayed in the city centre we would have missed the market, the bars, the socialites, the family park.
This was the street we stayed on, with blossom outside your door.

In my view, there’s no better way to explore somewere, than in the eyes of a local.


Some useful links:

If you missed my first instalment of our trip to Amsterdam, you can see it here.




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