We rolled out early and grabbed breakfast at the Mövenpick Hotel with Husband’s fam. Excellent buffet spread with an espresso machine that could probably make any kind of crazy coffee drink you wanted. Granted, it wasn’t bowls of coffee, but I’m pretty sure we could have made it happen. Once our bellies were full, we headed over to the City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off boats. They have a fleet of boats that run on three different lines throughout the canals of Amsterdam. We tried out the green line first. After running through the whole tour, we hopped over to the blue line and took it over to our next trip win.
Trip win #4: The Pancake Bakery. Oh, sweet, doughy pancakey goodness, how I adore thee! Husband’s Dad decided that this would be a great lunch spot and he was right. This place is totally legit. As we walked up to the restaurant, we thought that we may have to wait a little. The doorway is narrow and short, and it’s difficult to gauge how many customers are inside. They weren’t expecting the number in our party (10), so we offered to split up if necessary. They told us to wait just a sec and then led us upstairs to a huge table that more than easily accommodated us.
To say the menu is vast is an understatement. You can have pancakes any way you want — sweet, savory, with meat, with cheese or even all of the above. Husband ordered a bacon and cheese pancake, Boy Child had the Dutch pancake and since I’d never had a savory pancake, I went with the Greek pancake. If you order the Greek pancake, be prepared for a LOT of olives. It’s super delicious, however, after awhile the olives start to overpower the dish. I think the true winner was Boy Child. Ice cream, chocolate, and speculoos (cookie butter)?? Winner, winner, I wish I’d had that for dinner.
Once we had our fill of pancake awesomeness, the Hawaii Ohana was feeling the effects of the 12-hour time difference. Since they would be jumping on their cruise in the morning, Husband’s dad decided it was time to part ways. I don’t think we were quite ready to say goodbye yet, but we understood. We were a little tired ourselves and figured that a 90-minute timeout would be a good idea.
Trip win #5: Delirium Café. We spotted this gem while we were waiting for the green line of the City Sightseeing boats. Delirium is a Belgian brewery that produces some phenomenal beer. There are only 14 cafés around the world: four in Tokyo, two in Brazil, two in Italy, five in France, two in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. Since this particular day happened to be the same day as my 20-year high school reunion, we decided to “celebrate” at Delirium. Because nothing says, “Yay Graduation 20 Years Ago!” like rubber cheese nachos and beer.
Trip fail #3: The Red Light District. Not sure if I would classify this as a fail, really. More of a didn’t-match-what-I-had-envisioned kind of deal. On the way back to the hotel, Sparky and Brain mentioned that they wanted to walk through *the* district — mainly to say that they did and to see what all the fuss was about. Being naturally curious, I wanted to see what it was all about. Husband immediately volunteered to take the kiddos back to the hotel, so off we went.
Here’s a disclaimer about me: I tend to romanticize things (okay, I get it…there’s really nothing romantic about the RLD). I wouldn’t really classify myself as a prude, but this was one of those moments when the hype didn’t match the reality at all. The district itself is small and only continues to dwindle. Men (and some women) ogle at the windows and sometimes offer a proposition. It’s all completely legal. The majority of the people we saw in the windows were either standing or sitting on a stool, on their phones. The hoots and hollers of the passersby just made the whole thing sad, really. We only walked around for about 20 minutes before heading back to our hotel.
Since we had such a great breakfast at Le Pain Quotient on our first morning, we figured we should hit it up again. Husband, who is usually NOT a coffee drinker, ordered his own bowl of coffee. It was just as delicious as before. On the way out, Sparky and I grabbed two baguettes and asked them to slice it for the train ride home. We could munch on some cheese and bread and be happy campers.
Amsterdam was most definitely an eye-opening experience. Husband and I likened it to Las Vegas — only replace the gambling with marijuana. It’s such a strange juxtaposition to have a place renowned for its rich history, architecture and canals, be just as known for it’s sheer excesses. People say that it’s a great kid-friendly place, but I would caution parents to talk to their kids about those topics before you venture out. It truly is a beautiful and unique city.