Friday, March 15, 2013

Our First Week

When Monday morning rolled around, I was not very happy about it. The weather here had turned really cold, after reaching record highs the week before. Snow was swirling in the air, my husband was going back to work, and I had a 3 year old and a 25 sq. meter apartment all to myself. Hmpf!

I knew that I could not be stuck inside all day with Simon. We would both go crazy. So we got out every day this week and explored the city, toddler-style.

I remembered a friend of mine in Düsseldorf recommended Tunfun, an old metro stop that has been converted into a giant underground playground.

It's a massive place, with a different areas designated for different areas. But on a weekday during the school year, the 0-4 had their run of the place and it was great! Lots of climbing, bouncing, sliding, etc. Plus a little cafe with food and drinks, and free wifi!

You may remember me gushing about a Dutch family we met in Thailand. Turns out that Sabine runs Ren je Rot, a play group twice a week in her neighborhood, Bos en Lommer. Toys, mats, and trampolines are spread throughout the gym of the recreation center and kids have 1.5 hours to run wild. Outside is a huge playground with a petting zoo!! HUGE rabbits and goats. So cool! And I met some other mamas as well.

Making bubbles.
The NEMO Science Center was next. I bought a museum card for less than 50 Euros, which gets me unlimited entry into 40 museums in Amsterdam. Deal!
Purifying water!
Located in the newly developed Oosterdok area, NEMO is an impressive modern building shaped like a ship, with cars whizzing through the IJ tunnel below. Inside is a hands on, kid friendly museum where you can explore everything from bubbles to DNA to water purification. Simon loved running around and pressing and cranking and touching anything he could get his hands on. At noon they had a little "chain reaction" demonstration that involved lots of crashing and swinging objects. Simon loved this as well.
I highly recommend this museum for kids of all ages!

Today we decided to educate ourselves by heading to the Openbare Bibliotheek (aka - the library). The lower level is a huge children's library, with cozy places to sit and curl up with a book - or a pile of books. They have a good selection of English and other foreign language books, and once we have an address Simon gets a free membership and will have access to books, games, and movies.

(Oops - no pics.)

After our reading marathon we headed to the trendy de Pijp neighborhood to wander (more like hustle, it was cold) through the daily (except Sundays) Albert Cuyp Markt. We had a scrumptious lunch at Bazar, a locally famous middle eastern restaurant. When Simon finished, he started shaking his booty to the music. Oh, the joy!

Back to the Ren je Rot playgroup in Bos en Lommer. After dragging Simon away from the goats and the playground, we headed to the English Bookshop, to - you guessed it - buy a book! It's a charming bookstore on one of the canals in the Jordaan neighborhood. Although it seems that nearly everything about Amsterdam is charming. We bought Simon a new water bottle, stopped for lunch in a small cafe, and headed home through the blustering snow. I thought we had strategically avoided winter. Touche, Mother Nature.

Bear came along!
The enormous rabbits!
And now it's Friday afternoon, and I am here to say that we survived. It feels good to have explored the city a bit and have met some new people. This back to working life business is definitely an adjustment, though. Simon has been unusually ornery this week, which has been an added challenge. But still - we've had a lot of fun!


  1. Bazar has a great breakfast platter. I will definitly take the rest of the family there.

  2. So happy to hear that you are already exploring and liking your new home city. Wow, Simon has grown!! Emma still talks about Simon. Enjoy your explorations! xo lisa

  3. You made it! One week down. I hope things gets easier as you readjust to stationary life and find a place to live. The real question is: have you figured out how to access March Madness from Amsterdam yet? Miss you guys!