Our first stop in the Netherlands held a special place in my heart, as my grandmother had grown up there during her childhood. Due to my Dutch heritage, I was excited to experience the culture my grandmother knew and loved. We found our hostel without a hitch (livable, but far from a five star hotel), and proceeded to amble around the lively streets of Amsterdam on our first night.
The next day, we awoke early to visit Rachel’s cousin who lives in a tiny cute village thirty minutes from Amsterdam. She had a lovely apartment and made us a delicious traditional Dutch breakfast (chocolate sprinkles galore!). We then went back to the airport to pick up Emily’s backpack (praise be to God for that!) and took a bus to Keukenhof Gardens. Keukenhof was quite possibly my favorite part of the whole break: flowers on flowers on flowers! We saw the famous tulip fields and strolled alongside flowers from all around the world. We got back at night and found a charming supermarket to purchase our dinner. We ate our sandwiches of Gouda and pesto and took swigs from a bottle of Elderflower sparkling soda as we wandered among the canals, passing by the Anne Frank House, the Jordaan district and Nine Streets.
Dutch pancakes were our first priority the following morning. As a proper Dutch girl, I had grown up eating these pancakes since I began to crawl. I taught Rachel and Emily the proper way to roll the pancakes, and we quickly gobbled them up. We then found our walking tour, where we learned about the complex history of Amsterdam. Our tour guide explained everything from the Dutch East Indies Company to the ‘coffee shops’ in Amsterdam, and we departed with heads brimming with knowledge.
In the afternoon we visited the famous floating flower market and the Albert Cuyp Market (a daily street market). As everyone must do on a visit to Amsterdam, we filled our bellies up with fresh stroopwaffels along with other street market goodies. We took a must-needed siesta in front of the I Am Amsterdam sign (we really are becoming Spaniards) and then walked over to Vondelpark. Everyone from the ages of nine to ninety rode their bikes along the beautiful greenery, and I narrowly dodged a few very close calls. After two exhausting days in Amsterdam, we were finally ready to check our next country off our list. Check back tomorrow to here about all the mishaps and adventures during our time in the beautiful Belgium!