[From Beth and Mike] Today we were able to rally early for our three-hour train ride into Amsterdam. Upon arriving, we bought the kids pre-lunch snacks (see how we’re learning?) and then were able to tackle the how-to-find-street-signs and whether-to-take-the-tram-bus-metro-or-canal-bus questions without breaking into fist-a-cuffs before an official lunch.
We had lunch kitty-corner from Westerkerk, listening to the same bells Anne Frank could hear from her room, and people-watched for a little while, then boarded a canal bus for a slow circuit around Central Amsterdam.
Out of dozens of museums, we were able to make it through exactly one floor of the Van Gogh museum before Colin declared it officially stupid. Mike tried to invent a dozen new games about finding random objects such as windmills (a few), flowers (a bunch) or skulls (at least two that we know of, but only one in this whole collection), before we all got tired of “Speed Museum” and decided to leave. We honestly forget the poor kid is eight years old and we have a habit of seeking out and dragging both boys through some of the least kid friendly stuff in the world. For the most part they’re pretty good sports.
Of course, this leads us into situations where we have to explain awkward things like the funny smell coming out of that coffee shop…
(I always wondered where Cheech and Chong ended up. Mystery solved.)
…and why we’re nervous about having dinner in the red light district after 9 pm. Good news about the latter: the burgers were almost fully cooked this time, and we ran into these two, friendly guys who bought us shots of Jaegermeister (offered to buy them for the kids and Saara too), and recommended we tour the city by rented bike tomorrow (which we have no intention of doing considering how little regard our children seem to have for traffic).
By the way, this is a city of 750,000 people and 600,000 bikes. Another factoid: the canals are said to be three meters deep: one meter water, one meter of mud and one meter of bicycles. Yup, I think we’ll skip the bikes in favor of another leisurely ride on the canal bus tomorrow before wrapping up the euro tour of this vacation.