Our second full day in Amsterdam, Thursday

Our apartment was near Vondel Park, quite on purpose, which is the largest green space in Amsterdam I believe. It is a beautiful place with multiple playgrounds, lovely lakes, some tulips and lots of cyclists, walkers, and children. We went first thing in the morning to give the girls some nice time to run around, explore and for me to take some pictures. It happened to be a holiday I believe and so a lot of locals were actually out at the park with their kids once we had been there a while. The first playground we came to had another fun big circular swing the girls liked as well as other swings that had seats for three across a straight bar. One thing I noticed about their play structures is that they accommodated different numbers of children well, from the see-saw that could fit 6 or more, or just work with two to the igloo’s of difference sizes and group swings.

I also loved how their play structures made it difficult to get to the higher parts of the structure. I think it frustrated Josie at times,  but it kept Celia safely closer to the ground. Although now a few months later I wonder what she would be able to climb and get in trouble currently. We played (with plastic cups and spoons we kept in the bag for such emergencies) in the sand and in the structures before we decided to walk on and see more of the park. They had glorious open spaces of greenery, bridges, flowers and water. I had non-cooperative children and only managed a few shots in the gorgeous locations. They were done before I even started sadly.

Notice how Jordi is wearing a fleece winter hat, and Josie and I don’t have our coats zipped? It really wasn’t THAT cold, maybe in the 50’s. Here I go chopping our feet off again in pictures.

Eventually I tricked the girls into sitting still by pointing out this cool tree stump, chair thing.

And finally I got nothing but glares when I tried to get them to sit on the bridge over the water. They stared at the dogs walking past and anything but to avoid looking at my camera while I had them nicely framed by the trees and such.

Speaking of trees, we asked random people walking around and they said we had to go to the playground that was IN the trees and so we followed the trail around to find it. It was this awesome climbing structure plus climbing ropes across multiple trees way up about 30 feet in the air. Once Josie figured out how to get up there she was thrilled and walked all the way to the end and back. I saw other parents up there in these enclosed spaces with their toddlers and kept me and my toddler firmly on the ground.

I took Celia instead into some dark areas to try to get a good silhouette.

We went home for lunch and nap. Then in the afternoon we decided to finish our walking tour from Central Station through Dam Square to Leidseplein. We really enjoy the Rick Steeves books for their detailed walking tours so we could start and stop as we pleased as well as learn something and notice the details on the trip.

One of the things you’ll notice in Amsterdam are the hooks at the top of all the buildings, these are so they can pull furniture and goods up to the top with a pulley instead of trying to bring it up narrow inside staircases. Taxes were levied on houses by how wide they were, so most of the houses were very narrow and tall, only the rich had wide houses.

On our way through the city we stopped at Dam Square. And I still have a teenager sense of humor as I had to keep myself from laughing every time I said to my family, dam square. There they had lots of people dressed up in silly, famous or scary costumes such as an angel, the easter bunny, darth vader and batman. Josie opted for the silver angel.

This walk represents the ‘parents time’ of the day, meaning the kids were along for the stroll and we just tried to enjoy ourselves and learn something as we went. We likely stopped for ice cream or french fries on the way, as the kids always wanted food. We went through main tourist areas and shopping as well as into the flower market where we tried to buy some bulbs to bring home, but apparently it was the wrong season for that. We bought some more fresh flowers for our apartment though which were gorgeous purple tulips.

From there, we’re not sure what we did but I’m sure it involved more eating.

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