Today we slept in to try to compensate for yesterday and then drove into Amsterdam and wandered all through the beautiful canals and bridges. What a fun city! We instantly fell in love with the fact that everyone bikes everywhere in the Netherlands! There are more bikes than cars and more bikes than people in this flat country that has worked its infrastructure around a cycling society. It is amazing. There are bike paths everywhere and EVERYONE from the very old to the very young is on some kind of bike or in some awesome bike seat.
One of the things we had spent the most time prepping for in anticipation for this trip was the study of Dutch artists. We had poured over paintings from Vermeer, Van Gogh and Rembrandt to familiarize ourselves with these masters. Boy were we in for a treat! The Rijksmuseum did not disappoint! The kids got a “fun mystery adventure audio tour” that took them all through the museum. We loved Vermeer’s little street in Delft, the enormous Night Watch (SO MUCH BETTER IN PERSON!), the Steel Masters, Isaac and Rebekah, the Love Letter and so much more. What beautiful works of art encased in such a beautiful building and beautiful grounds! The kids could have spent hours in the fun fountain outside, but the Vondelpark was waiting.
Similar to a smaller version of NYC’s Central Park (we shared with the kids that the as the Dutch were losing their overseas power in the 1600s they swapped New York City with Great Britain for Suriname), Vondelpark, is an oasis from the bustle of the city in the middle of town. Cyclists were everywhere as well as exercise enthusiasts doing workout classes, yogis, loungers, and children running through the various playgrounds. Our bigs found what Luke claimed to be the best tree house he had ever climbed in. The kids were dragged out only with the promise that more adventures awaited them on the morrow. For now, we had to get home so Drew could complete an impeding deadline on a math exam.