Hallo, Amsterdam!

3 Oct

Once again, Monday has rolled around- why is that always the case? Sheesh. I never know if it makes it easier or harder having had an amazing weekend to look back on. In this instance- when it’s really cold and rainy outside and I’m just getting home from grocery shopping and have piles of laundry calling my name- I’m going to go with harder. That’s how good this weekend was. I kid you not. All the stars lined up- one of our favorite cities, three (yep, Andy made it- WOOHOO!) of our favorite people, the perfect weather (this is a first- it’s rained, sometimes freezing!, every single other time we’ve been there), no traffic, no one ended up in jail 😉

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So yeah, we’ve been to Amsterdam a handful of times and it just gets better every time. The first time we visited was for John’s birthday back in 2010- I planned the whole thing as a romantic, over the top weekend all about him- boutique hotel with black velvet walls and gold chandeliers, Heineken Brewery tour, personal chef preparing his favorite delicacies, and one delicious homemade bake by yours truly <3. You can check that out here , along with all the nitty gritty details about the Netherlands and its capital city.

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The other notable visit came just last spring when John surprised me with a trip for Mother’s Day. He- and Neve- planned all the details- a gorgeous room overlooking the canal at one of the oldest hotels in the city, reservations at all of our favorite restaurants, homemade gifts and a visit to the famous Keukenhof Tulip Gardens. Completely different trip than our first, but every bit as fabulous and memorable. Check it out here if you need to jog your memory. 😉

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Our new house and ride…

Y’all, we had the BEST weekend. We stayed at a great little AirBnB apartment in the heart of the hipster De Pijp neighborhood. We walked our tushies off, we thought ahead to make reservations at all our favorite spots, and we even rented our own boat this go around to see the city in true boating-family-style! Really couldn’t have gone any better. And getting to finally share such a special city with the people we love- priceless. So I give you: Amsterdam ❤

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One of our favorite meals in the world. Cheese fondue with freshly baked bread and lean steak, served raw and cooked at your table in pesto sauce over an open flame. OH. MY. WORD.

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Best part of our apartment- people watching one of the busiest nightlife streets in the city!

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Best pancake house in the Netherlands. Totally earns that reputation. 

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When the city is already too crowded, how do you accommodate bike parking? On boats!

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Our visit to any city isn’t complete without a stroll through their busiest market!

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Remember my post about these a few months ago? They’re plaques in the sidewalks in front of houses that were raided during WWII. Engraved are the names, birthdays, death dates and places of the victims. You have to bow your head to to read them. I love everything about this whole concept- and that it’s so widespread.

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At our favorite restaurant, Moeder’s (Mother’s). In the background, those are pictures of mothers. Thousands of pictures of mothers. 

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You can’t help but feel good eating here.

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One of the most well known ‘coffee shops’ in the city…

We covered so much ground in just 2.5 days, right?! Yep, we were sure tired by the end of each day, but it was so worth it. And I think it’s safe to say that Mom, Dad and Andy all fell in love with the city just as we did years ago. There’s just something so neat about Amsterdam. Yes, it’s beautiful and it’s unique, but it’s also very REAL. It feels lived in and worked in and in constant motion. It reminds me of NYC in some ways. It’s the perfect mix of old and new- of history and modern. The people are friendly, the lifestyle is progressive and there’s an overall feeling of acceptance. Of peace. Of happy. Yep, we’d move there in a second. 🙂

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Oh, and you may have noticed something- er, someone- missing in all these pictures. Where was Neve?! Well, we gave her the option this time since she’d already done Amsterdam with us last year- she could either come do it again (because she LOVED it the first go around!) or she could stay at the house with Ms. Rachel, her favorite teacher/friend in Stuttgart- the one whose been keeping her practically since we got here. She thought long and hard, but ultimately decided she’d have more fun at home. And fun they did have! They- along with the pups!- did the markets, the zoo, the huge Killesburg Park, dinner at McD’s…

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At the top of the Killesburg Tower overlooking Stuttgart…

I’m pretty sure Neve would tell you that she had the better weekend over ours in Amsterdam. Ha! And I’m pretty sure that I was the one who had the harder time being away from her! Thank Heavens for FaceTime! And for Rachel. Y’all have heard me talk time and time again about Ms. Lori back at home- how she’s one of the best things that ever happened to Neve, to our family…Her absence in our lives here, in Neve’s life, has most surely been felt, and we knew that coming into it, which is why we prayed for God to bring another special person into our lives here in Germany. Well, he did just that with Rachel. Y’all, she’s a saint. She’s so good with children, SO good with Neve, so kind and genuine and creative and crazy smart…And she’s become a great friend to me. She’s from North Carolina (yay for Southerners!), graduated from Chapel Hill, moved to Germany, met a boy, went back to get her masters in education…And the rest is history. 🙂 The nerdy part of me loves that Rachel and Neve speak German when they’re together. 😉 Anyhoo, we are so blessed to have Rachel in our lives- the peace of mind she’s given us is immeasurable. She has most definitely helped fill a void more than we could’ve hoped.

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And speaking of blessed…Our Neve is so brave and so fearless- just look at all these pictures proving just that. She’s comfortable on trains, on buses…She’s confident helping to take our pups out into the city…She can climb tall, swaying towers, she can do ziplines by herself…She can be away from us for two whole nights and still thrive and feel secure and be happy. We’re just so proud of her- for her first time staying away from us, but also of who she’s becoming. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it makes me just a tiny bit proud of us, too. We are raising this kind of girl- this kind of person- who will do great things, I just know it. Times like this make me believe that we must be doing something right, at least some of the time. ❤

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This face- and this little body…I’m pretty sure I squished her to death when we got home. ❤

3 Responses to “Hallo, Amsterdam!”

  1. jsimssr October 4, 2016 at 1:59 AM #

    Loved all of the above. Thank you for sharing your tough life, ,Ha ha,,

  2. Eleanor October 3, 2016 at 7:16 PM #

    Terrific post! Love all the pictures and words. Is it as pretty as your pictures? Happy that Neve is growing into a super little girl! She is so special as are his parents and grands. n Love you.

  3. Robin October 3, 2016 at 5:38 PM #

    Such a fun few days. We all missed Neve but an adult trip was very nice too.Larry and I both loved Amsterdam and would go back in a heartbeat. Really enjoyed seeing one of Erin and John’s favorite cities.

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