I visited Amsterdam several times during business trips. It was love at first sight; narrow canals, old houses with fascination stories, large green parks, friendly relaxed people, all gave me a unique feeling I could live there forever. It was on Andrei’s list too, but somehow, it just did not fit into our traveling agenda in the past. More recently we didn’t necessarily consider it, as Amsterdam with a toddler is not such a popular option. Now I know I was wrong!
When we decided to come to Bonaire, the most convenient flights were through Amsterdam. So it came as the perfect opportunity to visit it with my dear ones, without being concerned about work, tight deadlines or meeting to be attended the following day. Having a longer layover in Amsterdam with a toddler is a great idea if you are facing a long flight from there. Spreading flight time in two different days helps a lot in keeping the whole family rest and happy and makes the whole journey more enjoyable.
We just spent one full day in Amsterdam, due to our flights schedule. But this was enough for Andrei to love it also and we promised to be back soon!
We landed in the evening and took the train from the airport straight to central station, easy, convenient and quick route. Amsterdam airport is one of the friendliest I’ve ever seen, with lots of things to keep everyone occupied and with great connections to the city center. The trains run every 10-15 minutes, early morning until late at night, so you won’t have problems with long waiting times.
We booked our stay at The Old Lady, a wonderful B&B, family business where we felt like real guests of the owners. Located on Singel Canal, it is very convenient base to explore the city and walking distance from the Central Railway Station.
The next morning, we took off through the canals to see what Amsterdam has to offer. As we only had one full day, we decided to skip the museums, historical and cultural buildings. Rijskmuseum, Anne Frank House, Heineken Experience and Nemo Science Museum, to name just a few from my list, will have to wait until next time. Amsterdam with a toddler is much better to be done outdoors. So we were wandering the whole morning through the streets and canals, crossing every bridge that came our way through the delight of our little one. We were strolling the Red Light District, around De Oude Kerk (the Old Church), still quiet at that time. Then got lost in the maze of cobblestone alleys, learning to be careful to avoid bikes instead of cars, until we reached Dam Square. We admired the Royal Palace and the National Monument, and run for minutes to catch pigeons in the large plaza. We passed through Bloemenmarkt (flower market), the most famous place in the world for tulips (my favourite flowers!) and tasted cheese in little local shops.
In the afternoon, after a well deserved baby-nap, we took a private boat trip through the canals. Amsterdam Canal Ring was created in the XVII century, to protect the city from the sea and allow for future development. Recently, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, as an example of large-scale urban planning. Amsterdam’s architecture is best to be admired from water level. It offers a totally different perspective to the tall narrow houses, built this way to avoid to pay large taxes in the past. On the boat, we also learnt lots of interesting stories about the city and observed several floating houses. Eric is a huge water lover and enjoyed a lot to be on the boat.
After returning on land, we continued our exploration to Museumplein. Here, Eric could spend all his energy in the park and around the famous IAMsterdam sign. We will have enough time to explore the museums after he will properly understand the exhibits. For now, we just enjoy our time here!
If you were reluctant to visit Amsterdam with a toddler, due to its reputation, think again! Amsterdam is a wonderful lively city, extremely relaxed and very safe. Indeed, it can be quite crowded, like most of the European capitals, but everyone, adult or child, will find its place here.
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