Our European beach adventure had come to an end so it was time to head a little further north. Why not throw in a couple of weeks in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Copenhagen (Denmark)? We had asked for ideas from friends a few months back after out staying our time in the Schengen area and jumped at the chance to mix things up a little in Northern Europe. Thanks Pernille for pointing us in the right direction.
Our first stop would be Amsterdam. Now, Amsterdam was one of my first stops on my backpacking adventure back in 2001. Those days were a little different. Back then all I was interested in was Museums, canals, architecture and kids’ parks. This time around it was all about sex shows, coffee shops and late night partying…or something like that, I may have got those two confused?
We were actually pretty excited about arriving into the Dam as it would be considerably different from our months on the beach. We headed to our latest air bnb apartment. The kids were pumped as part of the deal was that we had to take care of the family kitten, Joris. We soon found out she was a bipolar little thing who would one minute be purring on your lap and then next be trying to scratch out your eyeballs.
Piper and Evie – I hate the cat. She is f***ing nuts.
The other great things of this place is that it was full of kids toys and came with a Bakfiets bike. I had to google it too but it’s one of those bikes with a big box on the front where the kids can sit. It took me a little while to get used to it but the kids loved it. If you’ve been to Amsterdam before you know a bike is a must. What does a family do in Amsterdam?
- Cycle the canals and the city. It has to be the best city to bicycle around. After I got over the bicycle dinosaur (megasoraus) #dadjoke we were pretty mobile throughout the city.
Piper and Evie – If whinging was an Olympic sport, our dad would be the gold medallist. We weigh about 20kg wringing wet and all he did was complain how hard it was to ride. We loved it cruising around the city and Evie even managed to grab a few zzz’s in it.
- Checked out some of the best parks around (particularly kid’s playgrounds) in Europe. I think our record was 4 in a day. Never have the kids been happier
Piper and Evie – We haven’t been this happy since Anna and Elsa declared they were making Frozen 2. Best.kids.parks.ever. Credit to ma and pa that they actually let us play for a while (it was probably that the big guy just needed a break).
- Saw the sights – canal cruise, Anne Frank House, red light district, “coffee shops”. Piper kept on asking questions like if they’re drinking coffee why have they got red eyes, why are they laughing so much, why are they eating a whole chicken?
Piper and Evie – It was a little weird. We walked around and a lot of these very nice ladies stood in windows with a red light around them. Mum said they were just salespeople. Strange that they all seemed to like dad. One even said ‘welcome back’?
- I added another football game, Ajax champions league qualifier with 50,000 other Dutchies.
- Ate some good food. We had been hanging for some Asian food so the first 3 nights in Amsterdam we ate Vietnamese, Indonesian and a Vegan curry house. We also got heavily into Stroop Wafels, a Ducth treat. When I say heavily, I probably added another 5kgs here.
- Checked out the markets. Floating flower markets, street market but probably best of all (and not really a market) was Foodhallen. As the name suggest a food hall, plenty of good hipster food for us wannabe family hipsters.
It was a great week in Amsterdam enjoyed by all the family and we even managed to survive the serial killer cat (she was crazier than a Fritzl family reunion). Contrary to its reputation, a great city for families. Next stop was Denmark where we had a place in Copenhagen for the week. This was another late addition to our trip and were looking forward to heading further into northern Europe.
We had been told that Denmark was expensive but would obviously need to test it out for ourselves. Our apartment (another family home with plenty of kid’s toys) was pretty reasonable, the first visit to the super market wasn’t too bad either but it was our first trip to the markets where a $18AUD hotdog and $10 OJ made me realise what people were talking about. Don’t worry, I still ate the hotdog, I couldn’t starve. So what did we do in Copenhagen?
- We went to the sand sculpture festival which was meant to be amazing. Only problem was that it was actually on in 2013. Ez had looked at an old web page.
Piper and Evie – Oh My God. Could they be any more stupid? Next they’ll want to go to the London Olympics (they were in 2012!)
- We went to play knock and run at Princess Mary’s crib/palace. We wondered if she was at home until that night we saw her in Rio with the Danish Olympic Team.
- Went to Noma (the best restaurant in the world). Didn’t go in, just had a pathetic photo at the front door.
Piper and Evie – A little embarrassing for all involved. I can’t talk about it any more.
- Hired bikes and checked out some parks/playgrounds. We also hired massive swans paddle boats and paddled around the lake.
- Went to see FC Copenhagen play in the Champions League qualifiers. I actually went twice. The first day I was about ¾ of the way to the stadium, thinking it must be a pretty poor crowd when I looked at my ticket and realised the game was actually on the following day. I went back and bought a beer and a burger which cost more than the ticket. Don’t worry I still ate the beer and burger, I couldn’t starve!
- Had a great day out at Tivoli Gardens. Possibly the oldest theme park in the world in the very centre of Copenhagen. We loved it. Piper rocked out some big roller coasters, daddy dominated sideshow alley, we ate hotdogs, watched a Cinderella show and just generally had a fun day out. Piper’s excitement for Disneyland (later on our trip) is reaching new levels. She had about 30 questions after I said Disneyland will be bigger than this place.
Piper and Evie – Awesome place, shame about the tightass two ride limit imposed by Hitler and his wife. Bring on Disneyland where we’ll be leaving them at the gate to go on unlimited rides!
The weather wasn’t great in Copenhagen so we spent plenty of time dodging rain and chilling out at home. The kids love a few home cooked meals and playing with a pretty serious Lego collection. I enjoyed watching the Olympics in both Danish and German pretending I knew what they were talking about. As confused as a homeless man on census night. We were pretty ok with that as we knew we had a pretty busy few days ahead when we would arrive in Edinburgh with the festival just kicking off. More about that next time.