**When the kids were 3 and almost 1.
The Harwich to Hook-of-Holland ferry was nearly empty. Walden played in the Kids Corner for the entire 6 hours, Bertie napped in our cabin. We were off to a great start!
Then there was the rain in Holland. It turned into a snow storm. We barely hit 30mph on the autobahn at 11:00 at night, and the drive did not take just 4.5 hours. You can imagine our delight at discovering that the cleaner had placed our vacation apartment keys in the wrong lock box. We finally got in at 2am. (So much for that great start, huh?)
The next day we discovered a tear in Walden’s wellies, but couldn’t keep him out of the snow. We haven’t had any this year!
The kids had a horrific meltdown at lunch at the restaurant at the Rathaus. At least there was mousse.
But they were exhausted, so we strapped them into the stroller and wandered around, window shopping designer watches, diamonds and handbags, while they napped. Never mind that the coffee shop was out of espresso, then Starbucks lost our order. We saw the sun!
Our apartment was in an AMAZING location, with several fantastic restaurants at our doorstep and a stunning view of the harbor just down the street. There was the potato place (Kartoffelkeller, with the antiques) and the crepe place (Ti Breizh, with the art and the great light) and the Italian place (Bistro Viale Antico, because they had a high chair). And we didn’t make much use of the things we packed for our kitchen after all.
Our minds were all blown at Miniatur Wunderland. (Seriously. There will be a whole post about it later this week.)
We wandered the International Maritime Museum, gaping at a massive Queen Mary II LEGO model before finding the display of the WWII mine unit in which my husband’s grandfather served. (That room was poorly lit and we didn’t bring the Big Camera with us. Sadly, we didn’t get a good photo.) We aren’t maritime-ly inclined, but it was a beautifully presented museum with a lot to see.
The GPS took us off the highway on our way to Holland the next day, but we easily found our hotel in the Leidseplein in Amsterdam.
We had a fantastic dinner at Pantry, with Bertie on my lap. We all shared beef carpaccio, chicken satay, frites, fondue, that traditional Dutch beef and cabbage dish, and the brownie. But remember when Walden snuck that massive bite of ice cream and howled from his brain freeze? (It’s amazing how many meals we survived with open flame on the table, by the way.)
I wasn’t in a place to handle the Anne Frank house (more on that later), so Bertie and I visited the Museumplein and Van Gogh Museum. (The Rijkmuseum is pictured above. I would have gone in if we had more time.) Then we piled into the car, failed to order a proper meal at the McDonald’s drive thru at the Hook of Holland (not that we feel McD’s is proper food in the first place, we were just over the moon to discover a DRIVE THRU!), and took the ferry back across the North Sea.
We did it. We took a family road trip. We traveled abroad. Despite a few hitches, it was actually really great. It can be done! What are some great road trips you’ve taken with your little ones?
As always, please forgive the mix of my iPhone and DSLR shots, and please don’t use my photos without my written permission.