I have been remiss to blog our recent winter trip to Amsterdam to visit Meredith, Elliot and Isla. But - better late then never.
It was a month long trip. We arrived just before New Year's Eve, in time to experience the barrage of firecrackers that are set off around the city much of the day. As midnight approaches, the blasts increase in numbers continuing into the next day. With eyes shut, it would seem like a war zone.
The first several days in Amsterdam we spent at friends of M&E's (Sarah and Nathan) while they were on a trip to the U.S. It was fun to explore a new neighborhood (yet not far from from Meredith).
Bringing Isla over to the flat wasn't a problem because she was very familiar with it and she knew the toys well. Julian and she are best buds at school.
A morning snack - rice crackers with peanut butter.
A little reading time.
It was moving day for us, when Sarah and Nathan came home. We borrowed Meredith's cargo bike, an Urban Arrow "bakfiets" to haul our gear to our Airbnb flat. It was about a ten minute bike ride.
We always enjoyed picking up Isla at her school.
Painting is great fun. But after filling up a sheet of paper, painting Oma is even better.
The playground of Sarphatipark is only a couple of blocks away and even at 37F is lots of fun.
I took a bicycle ride along the Amstel River one foggy morning.
A bike ride in Sarphatipark after a little snow dusting.
On one of our days when Isla was in school Diane and I visited the Stedelijk Museum. The main exhibition was by a Swiss sculptor, Jean Tiguely. He created what was called "kinetic art" - sculptures that were mechanical in nature and had moving parts.
There were rooms filled with his creations. The one above is one of his larger machines. Every few minutes it begins to run, makes some sounds and then shuts off. Although this series of gears, cams and bells does not create anything, some other sculptures he made created things. One machine we saw drew - it was art that created art!
We took a tour of Utrecht with Maarten and Ineke one afternoon. It's a historic city with charming canals and narrow streets. The highlight was a visit to the Speelklok Museum. The museum has a comprehensive and superb collection of musical boxes, player pianos, musical instruments, clocks and huge street organs that still work.
Afterwards, we still had time to take a walk in the woods in Loosdrecht. It was cool. But beautiful scenery.
The following day we took Isla to the Amsterdam Museum, a museum dedicated to the history of Amsterdam and its international airport - Schiphol. We concentrated on the airport section where Isla could enjoy some of the displays.
Even more to Isla's liking was Tunfun, an enormous underground, indoor playground that we took her to when it was cold and raining. It's a perfect place to get away from nasty weather.
We got a chance to participate in the Amsterdam Women's March. Over three thousand people showed up to participate. Lots of interesting signs.
We had lunch with our friend, Ton. Unfortunately, Marleen was not feeling well, so couldn't make it.
One day before heading home we met up with family. Gys had flown in from Spain for business and was able to meet us at a cafe, along with his mom, Nelly. It was great to reconnect, catch up on family news and otherwise just share some time together. Meredith and Isla also were able to join us.