I made this, which is also one of my favorite things I've ever made.
Possibly our favorite thing this time was our accommodation, which was a houseboat. We've learned that when traveling with children it's a must to have a kitchen and a second bedroom, otherwise it's just not worth going anywhere. The little ones go to bed by 8 and have hungry little mouths by 7AM, so the hotel experience is no longer enjoyable for us when traveling. Our houseboat was great! It was huge inside and pretty much just like a regular small flat. The kitchen had everything we needed, and in general it was very comfortable. (I would have liked better pillows, but I'm a bit of a pillow snob.) Lois LOVED the houseboat. She thought it was really cool (and yes, we kept a good eye on them). We stayed on a houseboat in Amsterdam our first visit, but it was not nearly as large or in as good a location.
And the shops! Oh my goodness, Amsterdam has wonderful shops. And because the city is small, and the shops are small, it doesn't seem overwhelming or exhausting to potter from shop to shop all day like it would in a place like London, for example. One of my favorite shop books is Amsterdam Made by Hand. If you don't already have that book and plan to go to Amsterdam, I recommend buying it. I used it a lot during our first trip there and again this time. We didn't go to any museums or any outings beyond walking around the Jordaan and the 9 Streets, but that was enough to keep us busy (that and our two tiny tots). Lois was a real champ popping into shops. But I think I say that every trip! The trick I've found is sprinkling in places she'd like with ones we'd like. But in Amsterdam many shops that appeal to grown-ups also appeal to kids or have a kids section with cool kid stuff, so she was perfectly happy most of the time. A lot of shops are closed on Sunday (and many Monday as well), but it was still nice to window shop when things were closed and at night.
And many places were nice to browse when they were open. Frozen Fountain (below) was a favorite.
And Juffrouw Splinter is another favorite. Though the majority of their products are new, it has a vintage vibe. I especially like the junk furniture room downstairs. And it just looks so cute from the outside.
Another shop I loved was de Weldaad, and happily it was just down the street from our houseboat.
Kitsch Kitchen had some really fun things for home and kids. We made two trips there.
Restored, another great shop.
It was a treat to have a behind the scenes look at Typique, Rene Treumann's letterpress atelier. He was there and happy to show us around.
We bought some really nice soaps (hmm, must think of the shop name!). They also had some really nice hand knit washcloths. I love anything in a rainbow display of color.
And we ate, and we walked, and we went to a playground, and we window shopped some more...
I love walking around at night in Amsterdam. It's a very open culture, and people often have their window treatments open or just have none at all. I love seeing in the windows. And almost every house looks like it could be a spread in a magazine, houseboats included.
It was nice on our little houseboat at night too.
Sometimes it was hard to tell if a place was an office, a house, or a shop, like this place below.
It was fun to look in windows during the day as well. I thought the foyer to this house (or office?) below was very cheerful and pretty.
And when people have window treatments, they're often interesting, like these woven curtains.Noordermarkt but it was canceled due to the weather, which we understood of course. Despite the storm, I think we got out quite a bit!
All the photos above are with my iPhone, using instagram, but we also brought our little point and shoot Sony camera. Here are a few night photos with it, many of which Andrew took. It was fun to sit on our houseboat and watch other boats cruise by and to get some looks at Amsterdam at night through little Sony's eye.
The houseboat at night.
Hope you put Amsterdam on your travel list! And I hope this mega post helps you pick out a few fun places to go. I think it's the most photos I've ever put in one post!