Look! It’s Amsterdam!
And it has been wonderful to be here! (most of the time)
We’re really here! And it’s been a whirlwind trying to balance making the most of our time by being out and about, but also needing to get a place to stay more longterm setup. The days go by extremely quickly when there are so many things we want to see, but also way too many things to learn combined with the fact the girls have also been sleeping in a lot more than they ever have back home (hooray jetlag!) so we have typically been getting a later start to these first few days.
Here’s a look at where we stayed in Heemstede the first four nights. We had booked a room in another family’s house using airbnb.
The first full day we hopped on our hosts’ bikes and headed to Haarlem, a suburb north of where we were staying. I was on a “cargo bike” with the girls…
…while Corrie was all by herself on her own bike. So boring we didn’t take a picture of that.
Saturday was market day so the town square was full of vendors. Flowers, bread, produce, clothes, ice cream, dog biscuits, and people.
Haarlem is a special place because that’s where Corrie’s namesake, Corrie Ten Boom of The Hiding Place, lived. The family watch shop is still there and their home is now a museum.
The tours where scheduled affairs, so you go through the museum with a group of other people. It started with an informative lecture and a lot of talking about World War II. The idea of war must have been a little shocking to Sabria, because she and Corrie had to leave the room preeeeetty quickly. They ended up going on their own little tour that went like this…
Eventually Sabria and I simply left altogether and caught up with Corrie and Acadia later.
Day Two: We walked to the train station and got a lift into Amsterdam proper for the first time. We avoided the sex shops, but the smell of weed…not so much. Still it is a very beautiful and interesting city. We got some lunch at a little cafe next to a church shortly after arriving. Acadia and Corrie went to take a look at the inside of the church only to find it had been converted into more of a flea market-type affair. Somehow that made sense.
After wandering around the canals and houses, we jumped on a tram heading to Vondelpark (wiki Vondelpark).
It’s huge; we didn’t even see a quarter of it.
We came across this pretty amazing playground equipment.
Acadia tried her hand at making friends, too.
The day ran out on us while we were at the park, so we ended the day hurriedly making our way back to train station to catch the train back, while stopping at a little Turkish sandwich joint run by an Egyptian.
Day Three: We stayed closer to home. Heemstede had lots to offer itself and we also needed to get our next lodging situation taken care of.
We hiked in the nearby park/forest, visited the petting zoo and had lunch in their little downtown.
A petting zoo nearby.
Eating lunch at ‘The Family Fork’ in Heemstede.
Acadia got to help Cathrin in the garden. She loved it!
In the afternoon, we made calls and sent emails and scoured the internet searching for a more longterm housing situation. It was a lot harder than we had anticipated and pretty stressful as we didn’t have any positive responses by the end of the day.
We went to bed not knowing where we were going to sleep the next night.
We were pretty down the next day. Spent more time searching in the morning and eventually came away with one lead, but it was in a tiny town we’d never heard of and we had no clue how to get there with all our bags.
Going on a walk to take a break from all the searching…
Saying goodbye to our wonderful hosts.
After lots of back and forth with the apartment owner in Woerden, we packed our bags. With the help of our hosts we got our luggage to the train station and then we were off.
To be continued…