What do you do when you aren’t interested in the typical family holiday of a self-catering apartment in a resort near the Mediterranean???
Have you ever considered a City Break?
Now I know what you are thinking, the City of Weed and Ladies of the Night, but we discovered there is a very different side to the Dutch Capital. We flew direct into Schiphol Airport, it might be cheaper to go to Eindhoven, but you are way out and with Schiphol you can hop on a train straight into the centre of the city. We picked a cheap enough hotel in the Rembrandt District (Museum Central) it’s a lot quieter and it was only a ten-minute tram Journey into Dam Square.
Straight away I was impressed by the taxis in Amsterdam, they all seemed to have built-in child seats that come with a Five-Point Harness, it simply folds away when not needed. Something Irish Taxis could do it. We decided to do a night cruise along the canals and Daisy loved it. She didn’t get the history bit but she loved being on a boat and seeing all the pretty lights of the city.
The following morning, we were up early to make our way to Eftleing, a theme park outside the city. It’s based on the Fairy-tales such as Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and many others. We took a bus from Central Station that took a little over an hour to get there, and because it was mid-week in December, there was hardly anyone in the park. I had been to the park as a child and it was everything I remember, Magical!
Some of the rides were closed because of the snow but we still got to try several rollercoasters, some ice skating, skiing and lots of other attractions. My favourite was the Hansel and Gretel House which has a Cookie smell pumped into the air so it smells good enough to eat!
We stayed in the park all day and then took the bus back to the centre of the city. Even though it was December and around 3 ℃ we were still able to sit outside for dinner, although we did have to make sure we weren’t near anyone partaking in a little ‘smoke.’
On our last full day we took ourselves to the Amsterdam Royal Zoo. Again, it was as simple as jumping on a tram and minutes later we arrived. Now I love Dublin Zoo, but this Zoo was amazing. Some of the animals were so close and not in cages (which I think is much better), there were some that you could walk right up to. Also, their Museum of Micropia was so interesting. Just to note it was slightly cheaper to book on line. We spent about three hours at the Zoo before returning to Dam Square then after a little lunch we decided to make our way to The Nemo Museum and this was the highlight of the trip for me.
Nemo is an interactive science museum with four floors of fun. With everything from Cause & Effect to how water produces electricity, your curious young minds won’t know what to do first. Everything is laid out in a fun manner so the kids enjoy themselves while not even realising they are learning. To be honest, even if you didn’t have kids with you, the Nemo is well worth a visit. With its exterior shaped like a large ship and its roof top garden, it’s the perfect way to spend a few hours. I only wish we had had longer to spend there.
I would visit Amsterdam again with the kids, and also without! And for those of you who enjoy a little retail therapy, they also have a Primark store that’s amazing. It opened while we were there and I just HAD to visit.