The trip from Paris to Amsterdam

On Tuesday we took the train from Paris to Amsterdam. Packing up in Paris was a breeze since we didn’t have many things. One thing I took advantage of and enjoyed greatly in both our apartments was having some beautiful fresh flowers. At home, the cats eat them and vomit, so we don’t have flowers. In Paris I got some lovely yellow ones and some purple tulips in Amsterdam. In Paris I think we actually saw these same flowers in fields as we were landing on the plane, they had huge squares that were really this solid fluorescent yellow!

Back to our trip, lugging all our stuff we went on one bus and then one subway to the Gare du Nord train station. We had some food with us, and picked up some more at the station for Jordi, a little candy for Josie, and Celia fell asleep on my back. Our train was finally listed and we went for the long brisk walk down to our car. It had started to rain but we just tried to dodge it as much as we could. We got settled down and the train left very soon after. I managed to transfer Celia on top of me and she stayed sleeping.

Josie spent a little time looking out the window, lots more playing with the wiki stix I brought, and a good amount of time eating as well. It was so fantastic to see the lovely countryside going by outside.

We arrived in Amsterdam in late afternoon. We went directly to the tourist office and bought seven-day unlimited tram cards and tickets to the Van Gogh museum. We managed to find the right tram and get on it. Traffic in Amsterdam is hectic, but it’s not the cars. It’s the bikes and trams plus the cars, all on their own lane, different traffic lights and different lines. The bike lanes are just a different color from the sidewalk, not separated by anything and so keeping wandering children on the right spot is tough. We took the tram out to our apartment just outside the city-center. But unfortunately trying to get off the tram was trouble. It was rush hour and we did not get to the door in time and so we missed our stop even though we (and others) were yelling to open the door. That’s how they get the trains on time! They close the doors fast and furious. I actually had them close the door on my arm once with Josie on the inside and me on the outside, I did not let go and they thankfully did open the door again.

After walking back one stop to our apartment we found the place and it was great. A bit bigger, and one long room which made it easy for us to see what the kids were up to. One of their favorite things was the bathtub which was huge! We did many baths and they just had fun playing too. The dining room table was large and wooden so we could use our clamp on high chair too.

After we unpacked a little and rearranged the beds as we always do (this time Josie slept in a small mattress on the floor in the room with me and Celia). We wandered around for a restaurant to eat at. We found a middle eastern place with falafel and ordered a few platters to go. The falafel was good, but the french fries were divine! In one of Josie’s favorite books, Knuffle Bunny Free, a little girl takes a trip to Holland and eats french fries on the street. So Josie had been anticipating that for weeks. When she realized our meal had french fries she immediately wanted to go outside to eat them ‘on the street’. She was really upset when we told her that we were eating this meal inside and so Jordi agreed to have one french fry with her outside. They started eating it on the sidewalk and Josie was confused. “We’re not on the street,” she said. She was taking it so literally that she expected to be eating the fries where the cars drive, not the sidewalk.

After all the new stuff and stress of traveling we were pretty tired and went to bed without too much fanfare. The grocery store was nearby and I must have gone, even though at this point I can’t remember exactly when I went the first time. Unlike in Paris, all the food in Amsterdam was labeled only in dutch, whereas in Paris it was in at least three languages, none of them English, but it helped still. Everyone there speaks English though so I just had to be bold and ask random strangers if I was buying the right thing. Many things are obvious, like fruits and vegetables, but not so much for the milk and cheese variations. Turns out they don’t sell all different kinds of cheese (Kaas) in the ‘non-specialty’ case like we have here (mozzarella, mexican mix, etc). They have ‘new’ cheese and ‘old’ cheese depending on how aged it was. Either way it was good! They also had an interesting specialty which is basically chocolate shavings and sprinkles. We saw it pictured on toast and enjoyed it ourselves too. Plus we learned about stroopwaffles which were yummy as well!

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