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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Vacation photos: Amsterdam

As I mentioned before, Alex and I recently took a pretty spontaneous four-day trip to Amsterdam to visit my college friend and explore the city, while Toby stayed home and guarded the fort. It was a whirlwind adventure! Thank you again for all your tips! Here are some photos, if you'd like to see....

Once you travel with a child, a flight without a child seems like a spa. It was heaven to spend seven uninterrupted hours reading, watching Fraiser reruns, eating airplane Pringles, and snoozing. Confession: I was almost as excited for the flight as for Amsterdam! (P.S. More on this brilliant book later.)
Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world (remember this?!) but I had no idea just how many bikes there would be. Look at this bike parking around the train station--it's bigger than a parking garage!
We, of course, rented bikes. (By the way, the forecast was for rain everyday of our trip, so got us rain pants, which worked really well.) Amsterdam felt much smaller (in a good way) than I had expected; the narrow streets with townhouses are beautiful. And there are so many canals—more than Venice!
Many staircases in public places had tracks for your bike, so you could easily push it up. Genius!
Instead of staying in a hotel, we rented a houseboat!! We booked it through the fantastic site Enrout.com. What a treat to stay right on the water and watch the ducks swim by. This was the evening view from our deck, above. (Btw, did you know that the canals sometimes freeze in the winter and you can go ice-skating?)
We watered the plants in the morning...
...and drank wine on the deck before heading to dinner. (My friend Penny is hilarious, if you couldn't tell from these photos:) Interesting tidbit: After spending a year in Amsterdam, Penny told us that the Dutch (well, the people she works with at least) preserve a strict work-life balance. She says she never gets work-related emails after 5pm or weekends. Thumbs up!
Since our trip was so short, we decided to treat it as if we were, more or less, living in Amsterdam. So we would sleep in, ride bikes, and then have lunch and drink beers beside a canal. Then we'd see where the afternoon took us--maybe on a bike ride or exploring the streets and shops. It was a fun way to experience a city. We didn't go to many of the tourist attractions, other than visiting the tulip fields, and the powerfully affecting Anne Frank House, which was incredibly moving.
Everyone in Amsterdam seems to eat sandwiches for lunch. (Dutch readers, is that true?) A grilled sandwich is called a "toasty," which sounds especially cute when grouchy old men order it. Our favorite spot was Cafe 't Smalle right on the water. Penny insisted that the Dutch really nail club sandwiches, so we ate them three days in a row. Delish. Pictured above is Penny, her French boyfriend, and the aforementioned club sandwich:)
Back on our honeymoon, Alex joked that the hardest decision you have to make on vacation was what time to switch from coffee to beer. On this trip, however, he once went for both!
One funny thing about Amsterdam are the public restrooms. Metal structures are peppered around town, and guys can just go in and pee--even though passersby can see their feet and faces. It was a secret thrill to use one, Alex said!

Another afternoon, we biked through Vondelpark, the big park in Amsterdam. The playgrounds were awesome, including this GIANT slide. Kids as little as three were scampering right up.

We spotted this Dutch dad riding with his daughters...
And this tandem bike carried FOUR people: the dad in back (his handlebars turned the front wheel), a five-year-old up front, plus twin toddlers in the baby seats! (See many more Amsterdam bikes here.)
Amsterdam has killer restaurants! We went to Wilde Zwijnen, an uber-hip spot with fresh flavors and crisp wines, as well as Blauw, a cool Indonesian restaurant, where we ordered the "rice table," and they brought out dozens of teardrop bowls filled with meats, fish, sauces and rice. One night, as a special treat, we went to dinner at De Kas (pictured above), an award-winning restaurant in a greenhouse, where we had one of the best meals of our lives. I loved that people still rode their bikes, even though it was a super fancy place.

They brought Champagne with freshly picked flowers, and this cutie, above, told us all about each course as it arrived. It was such an amazing trip, from start to finish.
Have you guys ever been to Amsterdam? Do you live there? What a place! Amsterdam, we miss you! xoxo

P.S. Nutty Amsterdam bikes, and a hilarious children's book. And remember this insanity?

(Photos mostly by us. A few De Kas and Wilde Zwijnen photos courtesy of the restaurants themselves.)

185 comments:

Abby said...

Looks like sooo much fun!! Two summers ago my twin sister and I took a little trip through central Europe and it was amazing! The only thing I regret is that the only part of Amsterdam we saw was the airport...

Ballad of Seasons said...

love these photos Joanna! looks like you had lots of fun! I can't forget my first Amsterdam trip, I was shocked by the biking frenzy there :)))

Kendall Monroe said...

looks like a great trip! thanks for sharing your pictures and advice on how to do a quick trip. I love that you kept it low key <3

gia said...

I went last summer and it was heaven! I love how the bike handlebars are higher up so you can sit straight up- did you notice that?xo

Mindy Day said...

I went the weekend before you and hired bikes, and pedalled through the Vogel park, it was lovely. The cheese was delish :)

Did you venture to the Red Light District or the "Coffee" Houses?

Mindy Day said...

(It was pure coincidence I was there the weekend before- just as I returned to the UK and checked your blog, I saw you announced you were going!)

Leigh said...

My last name is Dutch, but I've never been there. Would love to go!

laura @ hollywood housewife said...

We went to Amsterdam several years ago when my husband was promoting a movie, and I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. It's beautiful! And small enough to navigate as a solo tourist.

I also found the Anne Frank museum incredibly powerful.

Lindsay @ Darling Clementine said...

So lovely!

Love how it was a surprise let's go trip too!

Kirsteen said...

Wow it looks like you had an amazing time! The bike track on the stairs is such a genius idea!

Veronika said...

I love your blog so much.
This post is fascinating!
So, what do women do about going to the bathroom?!

brenda said...

This trip looked fantastic. I loved that you stayed on a houseboat. My very good friends in London live on one. Was it very compact ? I love that you were excited for the flight ! I travel with kids in tow a lot so I smiled when I read it. Have never been but have always wanted to and do now more than ever. Thanks for sharing.

Lauren Ashley said...

Amazing photos - what a fantastic trip! When I traveled to Amsterdam I wasn't sure what to expect and was completely (and pleasantly) surprised to fall in love. I can't wait to go back. Thank you for sharing with us.

Bethany Poller said...

Looks like the perfect trip. Just over a year ago, I spent three months in The Hague and still miss the laid back Dutch attitude and how charming all the cities are. I'd love to go back, even for a short trip like yours!

My favorite parts of Amsterdam: the way all the restaurants have tables outside (sometimes ON the canals when it's freezing), the Anne Frank house, and watching my boyfriend eat the nieuwe haring (raw herring) - he nearly barfed!

Shoko said...

LOVE the bit about "toasties" - couldn't be cuter.

Lauren said...

Lovely post - just to say that here in Britain we called grilled sandwiches toasties too!

Rose said...

I'm so annoyed by tourists just visiting Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a very generic place, not at all like the rest of my country :). I live in The Hague and though it's not tourist-free, we are overlooked for same old, boring, overrated Amsterdam.

Secretly of course, I'm glad we are not as tourist filled as Amsterdam here. That's why I don't like Amsterdam in the first place.

leigh said...

i can't wait to visit amsterdam - i'm sure i'd feel right at home. Otown has a canal (ya, just one) and it freezes for ice-skating every year. also we have amazing tulips this time of year, thanks to the dutch people ;) The tulip festival started last weekend ;)

Rose said...

ps.

It's tosti's and yes we do eat sandwiches for lunch! And breakfast too actually :)

Jamie said...

Ah! We went to De Kas when we were there in 2007! I will never forget that meal! And the bikes had us in awe too. At a few spots in the city we joked that we could easily get run over by a car, a bike, or a train all in that one spot! It's really a great city!

Victoria said...

I love your pics! You're totally making me want to leave the babes and hop on a plane to Europe for a few days! Sounds amazing!! I was in Amsterdam once, a long time ago, backpacking. It was far less glamorous that this! ;) I love that you rented a houseboat, brilliant idea!

natalie said...

Ughhh. Don't you love vacations! Alex has got the right idea, double fisting with a coffee and an adult bev, yep! Glad you had a great time and thanks for sharing your cute pics. xo

Ms. Scotch said...

Love the pictures of Amsterdam! I'm on the west coast so I don't get to Europe as much as I want (and I've never been to AMS) but looking at your pictures makes me realize that is my next trip! Ahhhh! So pretty.

And THANK YOU for cluing me in to Enrout. I always try and stay in a vacation rental when I travel but most of the sites rent flats that are either outrageously expensive or suuupppeeeerrr dodgy- this company looks amazing! I'm actually booking something right now : )

That book about French eating reminds me of "French Women Don't Get Fat." It espouses moderation and common sense while never sacrificing on the gourmet. Love it!

xoxoxo

Lilac In May said...

So glad you enjoyed your trip. I cried when I went to Ann Franks house. My husband looked at me, confused, he said, 'it's not as if you didn't know how it ended!' Why are men so logical?

Alli said...

I went to Amsterdam when I was 20 and had a great time, but I'd love to go again and have a more--AHEM--mature visit to the city. I do remember how beautiful the tulips were, in full bloom when I was there. I'd love to hear about your visit to the Anne Frank House!

hannahgetup said...

Loved looking over these photos! I'm so glad you had fun, can't wait to hear more about that book. :)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

i'm sure the trip flew by in four days. love the photos, thanks for posting!

Knoopjes said...

And ofcourse the 2 of you fitted in perfectly! After all you live in New Amsterdam! Too bad we sold it out to the brits... ;)
Nice to see you've had such a good time here & you took a fresh approach to the city.
xoxox

Polly Rowan said...

how exciting! makes me want to go! We call grilled sandwiches toasties in England as well :) must be a European thing x

Natalie said...

Great pics! I'm baffled as to how you balance the bike as you strap in 4 kids?! As someone who recently embarrassingly wrecked a bike (at age 25)I am just amazed! Ha!

Brianna Soloski said...

This makes me want to book a ticket to Amsterdam. Do they mostly speak English there? I speak zero Dutch!

RedMeehan said...

Love your pictures! I live in Amsterdam, and read your blog because of the NY feel I miss ;)

Just one note: It's Vondelpark you biked through I think..named after Joost van den Vondel, a 17th century poet and playwrite.

Interesting youtube movie about why the Dutch bike so much: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o&feature=share

Valerie {All Mussed Up} said...

YES we eat sandwiches every day, and YES we drink coffee and beer concurrently. I love it. (:

Anonymous said...

Ooh. The public urinals are funnily interesting. Do you know if there's some quirky type for women?

Sneaky Magpie said...

Oh, I miss this place, De Kas is amazing and very brave to stay on a boat.

Melissa said...

I spent three days in Amsterdam while studying abroad and it was my favorite city! The Dutch are so friendly and the food is amazing! Did you try Dutch Herring? It is my favorite Dutch street food!

Joëlle said...

Hi Joanna! What a lovely post. It was fun meeting you and Alex in Amsterdam. And yes, we do always eat sandwiches for lunch ;-) And a lot of dutchies eat them for breakfast as well..

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing. It's so lovely that you let us nosey parkers live vicariously through you. Please don't ever stop.
Emily
x

Lisa said...

What a lovely post Joanna! Looks like you had a great time :) I don't live in Amsterdam but I go to school there and I love hanging around in the city. It's so funny to hear how tourists think of Holland, while for me, it's so ordinary! :P Oh, and about the sandwiches.. that's true! We Dutch people love them! :) Sometimes I make a tosti with ham and cheese and put some ketchup on it. Yumm! You should try it ;-)

Meadow said...

Awesome, looks like you made the most of the four days! Hopefully you'll get to go back soon and spend more time there. The food definitely piques my curiosity!!

Agnes said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip! Hope you didn't have to wear those rainpants too many times... And the answer is yes: we do eat sandwiches for lunch and breakfast too. I find it a little boring sometimes since my homemade peanutbutter sandwiches surely aren't as good as that clubsandwich you have pictured! I'm wondering; how did you like riding your bike in Amsterdam, did you feel safe?

ms wendy said...

Husband and I are currently in the process of planning our trip over to the UK/Europe to visit family (he is English, I am American, we live in Canada) - he has to go for work and I am going to meet him. We are trying to decide which European city to meet up in, and these pictures made me remember how much I love Amsterdam. Even though we spent a lot of time there when we lived in the UK (he has family friends there), I still love that city - in fact, when I was 18, I decided that three cities I wanted to live in were Vancouver, BC, London and Amsterdam. Done the first two, now the (job-seeking) husband just has to get one in Holland for a hat trick.

Glad you enjoyed your time there! What a wonderful place.

(My husband has many tales of his youth spent skating on the canals - his family used to spend every New Years in Amsterdam!)

Megan said...

Love all your pictures! Would love to go there someday...

Julie said...

Amsterdam is so great in the spring!

Loes said...

So glad you liked Amsterdam! I live next to Frankendael Park with the restaurant 'De Kas'. Did you see the storks? A family of storks live next to 'De kas' on top of the chimney.
We al grow up eating a lot of sandwiches it's true! Wish that no emails after 5 or on the weekends is true for everybody ;-)

rebecca said...

The rail for pushing bikes up stairs is brilliant! Oh, to live where biking is part of the culture.

LC Taylor said...

Looks and sounds wonderful Thank you for sharing!

Casey said...

Beautiful! You're making me hanker for a trip to Europe!

coeur.de.verre said...

'grilled sandwiches' are called toasties for us british people as well! it seems bizarre for me to say grilled sandwich lol!

Allyson of Lovely Explorer said...

This makes me want to book my trip immediately! I'm not from amsterdam, but I am from Holland... Michigan! This week is actually our annual tulip festival celebrating dutch heritage. The houseboat is such a fantastic idea - and I love that you decided to nix a lot of the touristy stuff to soak in the lifestyle.

UNAC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So happy to hear that you enjoyed the city where I was born and still live.Cycling is, indeed, our way of life. It's just the quickest way to get around. And healthy.
Good to see you were riding around on goodlooking bikes, instead of those red or yellow 'tourist-bikes', which we don't like!
Clubsandwiches. Hmmm. Usually we eat a more simple kind of sandwich. With just one thing on it, either cheese or ham or peanutbutter or nutella,etc. On your next visit go to de bakkerswinkel, the ultimate midday-sandwich place.
Best of all, I see you flew with the coolest airline of 'em all (the one I work at! ) thumbs up!
I just hope i get to visit NY again in a short time.
Best regards from a rainy Amsterdam
Nina

Ana said...

Such nice photos... and in a way you were lucky with the bits of sun you got! It has been grey, grey, grey around here! They do eat sandwiches everyday for lunch... not much variety but it seems to be their thing. (I'm living here but I'm Portuguese and fan of warm meals for lunch and dinner!) It's funny you went to the Wilde Zwijnen... when you were here I kept thinking 'what if I see Joanna around?' and then you end up having dinner right bellow my apartment! ahahah Btw, the photos you have as being their, are from de Kas as well..

Erin K. W. said...

I would love to go to Amsterdam. It looks so beautiful! I bet everyone there is so fit from riding their bikes all the time!

lisa said...

this makes me want to go there!

Caroline No said...

Was just thinking today, why do americans call cheese toasties grilled cheeses? They're not grilled cheeses!

Only visited amsterdam once, briefly, now i'm hankering to go back.

Lindsay said...

My fiancée and I are planning a European honeymoon next year. Looks like Amsterdam should be on the list!

Teri B. said...

what wonderful photos. my husband and i went to amsterdam on our honeymoon and LOVED it. so gorgeous and SO MANY BIKES. great lifestyle and mix of living and culture. did you go to van gogh?!

thanks for sharing - i loved the "pee" picture... my husband said the EXACT same thing to pee in the middle of a busy public area. Ha, Men!

teri
www.bockting.blogspot.com

Aya said...

This looks wonderful! I want to go. It's just how I like to spend trips--eating, hanging out and going here and there.

I'm curious though, where do the girls pee?

KateK said...

It looks like you two had such a lovely trip! I definitely want to visit Amsterdam, but I may never leave! I love how people ride their bikes even to fancy restaurants.

Aja Lake [the gold hat.] said...

what a wonderful trip, joanna! i love the spontaneity. and the houseboat stay looks rad:)

xx,
Aja Lake
the gold hat.

Kristina said...

glad you enjoyed your amsterdam trip - it is a great place!!

karina said...

Great that you had such a good time.
I live in London now, was born in Germany and lived in Italy and Spain. Visiting Paris or Amsterdam is a weekend trip. I think it's lovely to live in Europe and have so many cultures only a few hours away. Am I boasting? Yes I am. Without any shame ;)
Karina

Mimi said...

I love Amsterdam! These pictures remind me of when my husband were there four years ago. Tomato Soup and Toasty's were my go-to. I love the size of the city. You can literally walk (or bike!) to everything. So beautiful.

Now I'm going to spend the rest of my day formulating a plan to get back there soon...

erica p. said...

I visited in 2005. Prior to my arrival, I had no idea that Amsterdam even had canals! Can you imagine?! I would love to go back on day...

Isabelle said...

Gorgeous photos! Your trip looked amazing!

http://www.allgoodthingstoday.com/

Miss Bibliophile said...

These pictures make me want to go to Amsterdam! It looks amazing! Although it seems a bit unfair that there are no public restrooms for ladies (not that I'd want to use one that exposed to, well, everything!) :)

Hannah Brandt said...

I loved reading this and looking at your pictures. It made me nostalgic for my trip there - such a cool city!

pam said...

what were the women's public restrooms like?

Annie said...

I've been to Amsterdam twice and I think it's one of the most beautiful cities I've seen. These photos of yours really do it justice. I could jump on the next plane!

13bees said...

makes me feel like we americans have got it alllllllll wrong. xx

Nikskie said...

Amsterdam sounds so fun!
I envy that bike-friendly thing about this city. i always hope that Indonesia can be as bike-friendly as this city

Vanessa said...

Amazing photos, Joanna! Thanks so much for sharing your trip. I am going to Amsterdam in June (for the second time) and I will definitely check out some of these places.

When I first went to Amsterdam (March 2011), I stayed on a canal boat, and it was the best decision ever! The canals are so crucial to the Amsterdam experience, I think:)

Alina said...

Wow, your trip sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing, especially about the culture of Amsterdam. I didn't know about the work-life separation and the public bathrooms. Thanks for the link to Enrout...I just might book my next vacation there.

CMA said...

looks like fun!

-COSMICaroline
www.COSMICaroline.com

Jules said...

Thanks for sharing... I have been anxiously anticipating this post. My husband and I are heading their on our honeymoon in September so I shared your post with him and he totally wants to book a house boat now!!

Christine said...

I LOVE Amsterdam too! I've been there a few times and adore it. Lovely people, amazing bike riding, and gorgeous canals. Thanks for sharing your photos!

Natnarin said...

Me and my husband went to Amsterdam last March and stayed on a nice and cosy house boat, Ark 16 in Jordaan area. It was truly a memorable trip and experience for us! Amsterdam to me is one of the most beautiful and magical cities in Europe!

I was addicted to the pickled herring as well while i was there :)

Should check out the local cinema Pathe Tuschinki and go for movie there. And have good coffee and tea at the Vondel Park cafe.

Elisse said...

This looks like the most amazing trip! My boyfriend talks about wanting to move there, but I have never been. You've definitely made me want to plan a trip!

http://www.thefrenchtoast.net

Robyn said...

Apart from the airport (doesn't count)- i've never been to Amsterdam . It looks fab though! What a brilliant holiday-just so chilled and only a tad of tourist things.Looks brill Jo!

Anonymous said...

Great job not mentioning helmets, everybody!

Speed Limit Zero

Esther Cotton said...

Looks like a lot of fun. :)

Love the photos!

- Esther
http://roseywinterrose.blogspot.com

Noelani said...

Oh my gosh, Amsterdam looks like sooo much fun. I love the little "bike garage" photo. I'm glad that you and Alex had a lovely little time.

coral said...

Alex's comment cracked me up! My favorite vacation thing to do is order a beer a lunch. To me it feels like total luxury and sets the tone for the rest of the afternoon!

Shanti Knight said...

fantastic fun! can I snoop and ask you where your perfect striped tee came from??

Miyan said...

wow- your trip sounds just amazing. relaxing and fun-filled. my husband and i flew to the states to visit my family last fall and we (purposely) stopped in amsterdam. i was thrilled about it and couldnt wait to see for myself the canals and the squished wall-to-wall town homes. it was just lovely. i cant wait to go back!

Miyan
www.miyan-overseas.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I went to Amsterdam as a child. We stayed at a canal house and I remember the Anne Frank house so well.
Your vacation looks wonderful!

Jess said...

Great trip pics! And HOLY SMALL WORLD your friend penny and I used to play soccer in st Paul, mn for the Blackhawks.......like 20 years ago! I about died seeing that I read your blog all the time :). Tell her hello :)

tara polly said...

you did such a good job of documenting this, i feel like i was there! lovely.
blog.tarapolly.com

lilywanderlust said...

So glad you had a great time in my adopted city! I moved here in 2009 and must say it was a whirlwind to get adjust but the quality of life here is great. Despite the rain I absolutely love taking my bike everywhere! It's so interesting to see a visitors point of view :)

PS. Yes, the Dutch really do eat simple sandwiches (just cheese+ bread, boring!) my boyfriend has the same thing almost every.single.day! haha
x lily
http://www.lilywanderlust.com

Lindsay said...

Thanks for sharing! I've been to Amsterdam a couple of times, but I don't remember those "public pee stations" for guys lol

Kate said...

I LOVE these photos! Sounds like you had such a lovely time, and I love the idea of staying in a houseboat instead of a hotel! x

Kate {Something Fabulous}
http://thesomethingfabulous.blogspot.com

Linda said...

Love Amsterdam and your point of it!
Good memories! :)

Annie said...

I truly love Amsterdam. As I live in northern England and am 15mins from an airport, I can leave my house at 5.30am and be strolling through Dam Square by 10am. If I had unlimited funds, that would be a regular Saturday for me. Civilised, unassuming and it doesn't cost a fortune.

Dina said...

Jup, Dutch always eat sandwiches for lunch ánd for breakfast. Right now, I'm eating bread with chocolate sprinkles for breakfast (very normal, believe me). I'm so glad you had a good trip, and it's so funny to see all the Dutch names in your English text.
Bonus: a blog you will love: http://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/
Groeten uit Nederland!

Elaina said...

Great photos, Joanna! My husband and I went for a weekend right around the same time as you guys and had a pretty similar trip, it looks like! We also went to De Kaas and had the same cute waiter and amazing food. It was one of the most relaxing trips I've been on, just biking around the canals and stopping at different cafes. Glad you two had such a fun little getaway! Xo

Laura said...

Since three people asked about the public toilets for women, i'm responding :) I live just outside Amsterdam. City-centres don't really have public toilets for women. All pubs, restaurants and departmentstores do have them, the latter, oddly enough (compared to other countries), charge you for the use of it, as do gas stations.

One clever businessman recently opened a shop in the center of town, specifically offering toilets for a slightly higher price and service than the department stores. It's a bit gimmicky. http://www.2theloo.com/

My recommended strategy when exploring a Dutch city: Take time for coffees in the sun and bathroom breaks.

Jenny McL said...

Oh the Van Gogh on a Friday night is brilliant!!

Anonymous said...

Great photos! One thing, though - it's Vondelpark.

Julie said...

What a nice trip!!! Love the pictures!
I got to see only the airport...
Julie
xoxo

McKenzie said...

That truly looks like an amazing trip! I am planning to read The Help soon after I loved the movie. The bike riding looks very enjoyable - I am still in need of one of those vintage styled bikes! And of course, the best way to end a post, with the dazzling colours of beautiful flowers!

http://currentlylovingblog.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Amsterdam girl here! So cool to see the way you experienced my city and took photo's on places where I bike every day :)
Anna

ohbeautifulblog said...

So much fun to read about Amsterdam from the view of a tourist! :)
I am a dutchie and indeed we eat sandwiches for lunch and take our bike everywhere we go.
Great you experienced the Netherlands in such a good way, it is definitely a nice place to live !

Vivian said...

What a lovely post! I live in Amsterdam and it's so adorable reading about Amsterdam from another point of view, haha :)

Dilly said...

Awww, great photos. I love Amsterdam and really want to take my children...its such a family orientated city. I just wish we had the bike culture and facilities here in England. Although being of Irish heritage I was far too short for the bikes and felt like a dwarf around the amazingly tall Dutch!

Jocy said...

I love Amsterdam! How did it feel leaving the little one alone? Would you be able to do that again? I'm also so curious about these things, but I think it's great that you are able to do trips like this.

Anonymous said...

Ah "Toasties" are actually called tosti's here. It's something like a grilled cheese sandwich! We Dutchies do eat a lot of sandwiches or bread for lunch, breakfast, dinner.. haha!

Glad you liked Amsterdam but Holland has lots of more beautiful places!

Marloes

Hiskia / www.gestipt.com said...

"Gezellig" :-) Looks like you had fun!

Ana Degenaar said...

I'm glad you had a wonderful time. I adore Amsterdam.

Caitlin said...

I studied abroad in the Netherlands in college and visited Amsterdam quite a bit. This post convinced me I need to take a trip back, thanks!!

Juultje said...

Its true, we eat sandwiches (and Tosti' s) for lunch, sometimes my portuguese boyfriend really had to get used to...a plain fresh bread with cheese....yum:-)

Inner-Outer Beauty said...

What a great trip this sounds like! And funny written! I got back to Sweden from your hometown NY this morning, with a lot of jetlag though...but it was soo definitely worth it!

Christine Lu said...

This is a fantastic recap of a trip- thanks for sharing!

Natasha said...

Love Amsterdam!! Had no idea about those urinals. Love the houseboat idea! Next time, don't miss the Van Gogh museum.
And I know exactly what you mean about flying without kids once you have them - a vacation in itself! My husband and I found ourselves actually gloating on a flight to Europe as we watched people dealing with their toddlers...only coz we are usually in their shoes when we travel!!

Casselberry said...

I love Alex's black zip-up. Where did he get it?

Collections said...

Amsterdam is one of my favorite places in the world I absolutely adore it.

Collections

Eva said...

Looks like you've had a great time! I'm proud to be Dutch - one of my parents is from Boston, but I've lived in Amsterdam all my life. It's so funny that you commented about all the bikes and the way Amsterdam is, while for me it's so normal. You probably weren't in Amsterdam with Queensday, because then it's super busy, but luckily this year, the center was a little less busy and the weather was great! Great you had a good time and thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Loved these photos and your blog! Looks as if you had a great time! I would love to go there myself sometime.

Anonymous said...

i traveled to paris last fall w/o my 3 yr old daughter or any family (i was meeting family upon arrival) but people thought it was weird when i told them i was actually looking forward to being alone on the flight. haha.

-amanda f

Trina said...

Thanks for the Amsterdam dreaming. Good call to not spend four days madly running around to the tourist spots...you're disciplined! I'm hoping to do a solo trip there and either do the Airbnb thing or stay in Haarlem and train in, then traipse off maybe to Edam and Delft before heading to Bruges and Brussels. In any case, thanks for sharing.

yujean said...

looks like you had a great getaway and the pictures are wonderful. i'd love to visit amsterdam sometime; it's on my bucket list!

lisacng said...

What an amazing relaxing trip! Glad you had time to soak it all in and staying on a house boat rocks!

Amy Powell said...

oh man that looks like so much fun!!

Joanna Goddard said...

thank you so much for these sweet comments!!! will respond to them all soon -- and alex's sweater is from uniqlo xoxo

Joanna Goddard said...

gia, yes, it was awesome!! leigh, i had no idea that pennebaker was dutch, i love your last name:)

Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle said...

It was fun to read your story about my (once) home town. And to answer your questions Yes, most dutch eat sandwiches for lunch. I still do here in Singapore!

Helen said...

What a great post! This made me homesick for Amsterdam as I lived there for a year. My Dutch boyfriend eats sandwiches constantly, with all different combinations of toppings. Oude kaas is his favorite. As an au pair in Amsterdam, I used to take my kids to the giant slide in Vondelpark-- it made me really nervous though as Dutch children can be a bit rough. The link below is me on a tandem bicycle :) If you go back to Amsterdam, make sure the weather will be nice- then you can see everybody boating on the canals which is really fun!

Stacy Chiavaro said...

I am completely turned on to Amsterdam via this post. My husband is from Switzerland (where his family still lives- we're in l.a.) and I am making a list of European destinations for "side trips" when we visit overseas (leaving our 3 year old daughter with her nonna & nonno!). Thanks for sharing all your adventures Joanna, we can't wait to go! ~

Sara said...

Brilliant! I intentionally booked a flight with a 10 hour layover in Amsterdam last summer (with my two kids) We saw the bike racks, took a canal tour and walked some streets, all in the rain. You have definitely inspired me to go back - boat hotel, cool, bike touring, FUN. Coffee and beer at the same - on my to do list. Thanks for sharing.

Suzanne said...

Hello! Lovely pictures! I am dutch and it is true that we eat sandwiches for lunch. mostly for breakfast too. The roasted bread is called a Tosti. It is only a tosti when there is cheese on it. Otherwise you would call it roasted bread.

tara said...

The bit about looking forward to the kid-less flight made me smile. My 11 month old is such a good boy, but there is something about being cramped on a plane that brings out the fidget in him. I just get so tense.

Ah to have a long flight complete with space, headphones and a good book! xoxo

Sara said...

Great pics! Love Amsterdam! Random, I remember hearing the boys bathrooms were to try and stop drunk men from going in the canal bc they can fall in... ha!

Sara said...

Great pics! Love Amsterdam! Random, I remember hearing the boys bathrooms were to try and stop drunk men from going in the canal bc they can fall in... ha!

Jennifer of JennySue Makeup said...

that "work/life balance thing" is reason enough to move there!! oh, and the beautiful backdrop isn't bad. a houseboat??! y'all are so adventurous!! you also make me super jealous with that plane ride minus the kid aspect, sounds like heaven:)

Maya said...

These are gorgeous pictures and I couldn't help but notice that you have very long legs and that Alex is rocking that beard- the two of you make one attractive couple!

P.S. I'm aware that this might sound very creepy- I assure you that I'm not a creep, I just occasionally sound like one. Or did that make me sound even creepier? :-/

Laura said...

After this post I absolutely must go to Amsterdam! How beautiful. Thanks for sharing!!

Christina said...

I really enjoyed this thanks for sharing. You live such an adventuresome life. I will be daydreaming about a get-away European vacay all day. P.S. I love the smart combo of stripes and beige/tan.

Mikkele Suzanne said...

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world! I lived there for a year (2009-2010) and it brought back so many fun memories looking at your pictures.

Mijnmeraar said...

Haha, so much fun to read your observations of the Dutch and Amsterdam life :-) We do love our tosti's, with special sauce on the side, and yes, we eat loads of sandwiches.
My dad used to live in Amsterdam and although it can be crowded, it also has some magic to it, even to me who comes there on quite a regular basis. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too!

Anonymous said...

Hihi, Nice written! I live in Alkmaar (near Amsterdam!) It is also a very nice place, i think. Bye bye, xoxo

ana {bluebirdkisses} said...

what a great vacation, I can't wait for our family trip to Amsterdam in October!

and so completely true about travelling without the baby. We flew to Vancouver last month alone for the first time and it was amazing. So easy, light, no stress, no drama and I even got to sit down the whole time!

Rebecca said...

Joanna - thanks so much for sharing your trip to Amsterdam! Your photos took me there with you. After seeing your pictures, I believe this will be one of our next trips!

Lucy and Lloyd said...

Alex is brave indeed. I showed my husband the outdoor potty on the street, and he said he didn't think he could use one! Glad you two had a great trip!

JenJekel said...

I was lucky enough to live in Leiden (a little town about 20 minutes away from Amsterdam) for 7 months while studying abroad. It was the best decision I ever made...except for saying yes to my fiance, of course!

Paige said...

I love Amsterdam and your pictures make me want to go back. I was not expecting all the beautiful parks and outdoor spaces and was surprised by the city. Your pictures make me want to go back!

hveng said...

Gorgeous photos! I haven't been there yet, but your photos certainly make me want to go!

Posh Pearl said...

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities! I've been waiting for this post! Such beautiful photos!! Looks like you and the Mr got in some much needed R&R time!

I've never rented a houseboat but I've always wanted to. I've stayed in a boutiquey hotel the first time I ever visited, then graduated to a B&B, then graduated to an apt rental....I can't wait to try the houseboat!

Thanks for sharing and so glad you guys had such a great time!

xx

Amielle said...

I love travel posts. Getting to read people's experiences and what they did and saw and ate is so personal and inspiring, really. It looks like you had a great time and Amsterdam has definitely been added to the list of 'places to go'.

Anonymous said...

I'm married to a Dutch man and we've lived in holland for almost four years now. I love our life here.

Re: work/life balance. Family is really important and they're really good about letting people work less hours to be with their children. My husband never goes out socialising with his colleagues. He rushes home to his wife. Amd his colleagues rush home to their wives and kids. :)

"It was announced this week that the Dutch work the fewest hours of any other nation in the European Union" - http://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/

Anonymous said...

It looks like you have a such lots of fun:) and amazing time. Thank you jo you shared pictures and show me amazing places which should be visited. Sure if i go there i will defenetly go to taste that wonderfull food. Kiss

marketa anna medas said...

It looks like you have a such lots of fun:) and amazing time. Thank you jo you shared pictures and show me amazing places which should be visited. Sure if i go there i will defenetly go to taste that wonderfull food. Kiss
marketa
www.thankyouanna.blogspot.com

Trish said...

What a lovely little mini-break! Thanks for sharing! It looks like a stunning place to spend a few days! :)

teeny said...

thank you so much for sharing you're trip. it looks like you two had a magical time. i need to go to Amsterdam immediately :)

mylettchronicals

Jen said...

I live in Utrecht (another great city, totally under the radar) and loved seeing your post on Amsterdam, since I go all the time. So glad you enjoyed it!

newmamasarah said...

I was thinking of your plane=spa comments today as I was driving the hour-long drive to my parents house. As a new mom, this hour drive is my own slice of time cut out of a busy day. My 5 month old is in his carseat- and usually sound asleep. It is my one hour to listen to music, sing along, enjoy the scenery and my thoughts. or just plain old quiet if that's what I need.

Sarah said...

Great post! I studied abroad in the Netherlands, so I loved seeing all the pics. Especially THE BIKES! So many.

Jaime said...

I love Amsterdam! I only spent a weekend there but packed so much in it felt much longer. I want to go back and visit!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely trip! I am delighted that you were able to go, delighted that the tulips were in full bloom, and a bit happy-sad-hopeful in my heart. Hopeful that I will make a trip there someday! :)

I am from Holland, MI (I saw at least one other local commenter - hello!), and my family (maternal and paternal) came to America from the Netherlands. It was a delight to see your pictures of the country that built the strong and lovely people I call family. I am unabashedly proud of the way my ancestors loved their homeland and later worked for the good of America when they settled here. My family is still discovering letters and documentation of cousins who helped protect and hide Jewish families during WWII, to the point of imprisonment and death. Such a beautiful place with a beautiful heritage that shouldn't be forgotten. Thanks for sharing your trip!

~

Mary said...

There are so many things I like about this post. Thanks for sharing your trip with us! I'm sold!

Luna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luna said...

Loved reading about your trip! So glad you both had fun. You're spot on about child-free travelling :)

Loes Evers said...

Wow, love your photos. It's really great to see my city through your eyes. I actually fall in love with it all over again. And you sure picked some of the best spots in town, especially the café and restaurants. And I see Alex had IJ-beer. Good choise!

It is true that we Dutchies always eat sandwiches, at least for breakfast and lunch. I guess two brown slices with cheese is the classic, and yup, we sure do love them toasties. Good for you to have such a fun time here! X Loes from Amsterdam

aniyehu said...

Lovely photos! I am happy the two of you had such a good time over here and it was great bumping into you in Vondelpark.
You were really lucky with the weather, too. Lately, it's not getting any warmer.
Take care, Anita & Ilan (the little guy)

Bobby said...

Amsterdam is looks lovely! Definitely on the To Go list. We stayed on a houseboat for a week in England on the canals there. We loved it, it's so much fun!

evdokia t. said...

i want to visit Amsterdam right away!
thank you for sharing your moments there!
looks beautiful!

xx
evdokia

Chin said...

Hi Im from Hong Kong, just read your blog for a month, but i really like your blog, it gives me lots of new idea and explore new things, specially the wedding topics, it is so different from Hong Kong's wedding! =) Thank you so much for your sharing!

Notes from Holly St. said...

looks like a wonderful trip! my favorite part is when you said that the flight without a toddler felt like a spa. lol! i can so relate to this because i went to the doctors about a month ago without my 14-month-old and just sitting in the waiting room and reading a magazine without interruption felt so luxurious and relaxing! parenthood really makes you appreciate those quiet little moments :)

mariniere said...

Great photos! I went to Amsterdam a decade ago and would love to go back. Thanks for sharing!

Joëlle said...

Oh Joanna, i had to share this one:
http://vamosajugarporlaplaya.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/img_1670.jpg?w=490&h=326
taken in March in 2011 at De Kas for my birthday ;-) Same shirt, I loved the food and the champagne too! Joëlle, A French girl living in Amsterdam

helena said...

Now a bike shop is no longer the only place to find a great bike, you can find one online and have it shipped to your door and assembled in under ten minutes.


bike seat

Charlotte said...

It's my home town, but feels like my home village. Your vieuw on it is lovely, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen those green toilets like the one on your photos, but I have seen a lot of this kind: http://wera.bc.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/pissior-in-amsterdam.jpg ! They are just everywhere, you practically bump your head on them if you don't pay attention and they're even more open! That was a bit of a shocker to me :)

Iriska

Rhianna Nelson said...

Every time I read a post about travel I get itchy feet! I so want to travel the world and learn about all the different cultures. Totally adding Amsterdam to my list (not that it wasn't already there...) for my 6 months in Europe next year :D

I love how you said you experienced the city! My favourite holidays are always the ones where I can just take it as it comes :) Rhi xx

thewildestofdreams.blogspot.com

wiscjennyann said...

Glad you had such a fun time!!

Curious: where did you rent your bikes? We like to rent bikes for our visitors but prefer not to get them ones that scream TOURIST (a la the ubiquitous Mac (Red) & Yellow Bikes). Yours look super cool and blend in perfectly :)

Thanks! Jennifer in Amsterdam

nikki said...

Amsterdam is right on the top of my list of European cities I still have to get to! There seems to be adventure around every corner in that city; never a dull moment! Your photos are gorgeous! Well done!

Ev said...

Yess!! we do eat sandwiches for lunch! I live in Barcelona now and I still do it - everybody thinks it's weird

Rena said...

Yeah! I live in Amsterdam and love to read things about 'my city' that are related to all the pretty things instead of smoking weed (like most tourists)...
Thank you!

Rena

maticki said...

funny, I live in Amsterdam (as a non native) and am not as near excited about it as you are. I guess it is always different when you are only visiting. I think the service in restaurants is appalling, they possibly have the worst service in the world (but not in de kaas - been there - they are nice), the weather is terrible, really terrible and they only eat toasties for lunch....
but the work-home balance is amazing and it is cool to be able to get everywhere by bike and if the sun would shine mor than twice a year, it wouldn't be such a bad city to live in

New York City Extended Stay Hotel said...

Well this place Amsterdam would be an amazing one to spend in a vacation at a such a scintillating place and atmosphere...

Cassi said...

I've not (yet!) been, but wanted to thank you greatly for this perfect escape as I start my morning at work here on the West Coast. I plan on exploring my Dutch roots in Amsterdam soon, albeit not soon enough. The public restrooms for the guys are hilarious! I bet guys would definitely get a rush from (almost) peeing in public...wish it was that easy for us ladies.

Nancy said...

Hi Joanna,

I love your vibrant talk about Amsterdam. I adore it when people say we (the Dutch) have a beautiful country or a beautiful city. I am quite proud of being Dutch so all this is very flattering :)

So, it's true about the sandwiches. We do eat them all day, every day. In fact - I always need to change my mindset when I go to another country since they would eat warm meals in the afternoon in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. But in The Netherlands we eat bread. In the morning and for lunch and then for dinner we have a warm meal with vegetables, potatoes and meat/fish. That's typically Dutch as are the bikes. We do ride them everywhere we go and it even comes in handy because you don't want to drink and drive. You just drink and bike :) So we have a lot of great stuff going on here in The Netherlands (I live in the south, so for me Antwerp is also very near) but I must admit that I've just read a comment of somebody who's not native and not really fond of anything Dutch - and what she was right about (only one thing, really) is our weather.
Dutch tend to talk about the weather with each other. Apparently it's typically Dutch to do so. We talk to the hairdresser, the butcher, the woman at the desk or just people at busstops about the weather. Because it rarely is nice weather, so we're sighing because it's raining. But when the sun is shining, people start to sigh since it's too warm to sleep at night. As you can tell: we can be fussy about the weather. But spring time is beautiful and every season has it's own charm. Even a cranky Dutch man can't change anything about that.

Love to welcome you again to our great country and thank for this wonderful blogpost.


Love,
Nancy

northierthanthou said...

The flowers are fantastic.

Hotels in Miami said...

Awesome pics of Amsterdam showed here.
Thanks to share this.

Renatelisabeth said...

We do actually ;)
Dutch people learn English in the last years of primary school and onwards. And we watch lots of English films and series (with subtitles, but still I believe that helps a lot). Nowadays a big part of all courses at universities are only taught in English, so if you want to study you'll basically have to be able to understand English. Most of us do have heavy accents though. And I find that a lot of people (especially tram and bus drivers) in Amsterdam are sort of rude to tourists.

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