Mom and Dad made the hop over the pond from Montana and arrived in Amsterdam on December 16th. Four countries, plane rides, train rides, and raw sausage later means I’ve got some catching up to do!
It’s been interesting either having people visit us here or talking to friends planning to visit because Amsterdam isn’t necessarily in the top five of anyone’s travel bucket list. However, it is such a great city and has so much history and things to see. The day they arrived, Grayson was at work with the car, so we had a driver pick up Mom and Dad at the airport (because of course their phones don’t work here. Well, Dad still has a flip phone, but that’s another story entirely). I wasn’t sure what to expect after such a long flight and time difference, but they arrived in one piece and none the worse for wear. They had to say hello to Penny first because a 100+ pound dog is pretty hard to ignore, but they got their hands on Max eventually. We were all happy to see them!
That first day they checked out the new house and we walked around a bit. Father Pierre joined for dinner. An eventful first day! They handled jet lag like champs, and we stayed pretty busy the next couple of weeks. We took the first few days easy, walking around the neighborhood, Vondelpark, and Museumplein. Grayson had the week of Christmas off, so we went out and about every day. Some of our favorite outings included the Spanish Tapas restaurant Vida where Dad flame grilled some chorizo, walking around the canals of Amsterdam and shopping at the Farmer’s Market. We saw a lot of great sights in the Canal District, like the Anne Frank house, the Royal Palace, the floating flower market, and Westerkerk where Rembrandt is buried. We stopped at a little pub for some food and drink, and someone managed to order a plate of raw sausage. We double-checked with the waitress, and she informed us that it was, in fact, supposed to be raw and that raw sausage was, in fact, what we ordered. Alrighty. Grayson also drove us around some countryside and we saw some windmills, the Muiden Castle, and ended in Hilversum for a tour and lunch on the Nike European Headquarters campus.
Kara arrived early Christmas Eve morning with her usual fanfare, waking up everyone in the house and cracking the champagne. We hit a special edition of the Farmer’s Market to pick up the goods for Christmas dinner and then the butcher for our prime rib. We also made a stop for another glass of champagne. That evening Max got dressed up and we had an early reservation at Oud Zuid Restaurant (one of our faves), where we had fantastic service and Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas Day I made stuffed French toast for breakfast, we all went on a long walk with Penny and ate prime rib for dinner. Santa brought the most presents for Max and Penny. On the second day of Christmas, we attended mass and Max was baptized.
In the few days before we continued our European travel, we visited the Rijksmuseum, took lots of walks, a canal boat tour, and made another trip into the Canal District for some shopping, space cakes, and touring about. Kara, Grayson and I went out a couple of evenings after Max went to bed and Nana and Papa took babysitting duty. We eat dinner a lot later here, partly because we do as the Europeans do, but mostly because we have a baby, and some of our best nights were spent sitting around the dinner table having drinks and visiting.
“Kara arrived early Christmas Eve morning with her usual fanfare, waking up everyone in the house and cracking the champagne.”
Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas in Amsterdam. Max is so happy-go-lucky and loves to go out and about wherever we go, which was a good indication for the upcoming travel! On the 29th, we loaded up all of our luggage, ordered up a couple Ubers (no way we were fitting in one!), and headed to Central Station. Watch out Paris, the Tenney/Rasmussen posse is headed your way!