With every country we visit, I try to post a Truths of Travel post. Mostly as a country review for those friends that may attempt these trips with small children, also as a raw visual into our daily lives. As a mother traveling with very small children there has to be some awful moments and there are, that’s what this post is really about.
I cannot say enough good things about the Netherlands and Amsterdam specifically. It is an incredible place. As an avid recycling mama, it made my earth lovin’ heart incredibly happy to see a country that separates their recycling so perfectly, who lessens their footprint drastically by cycling or walking EVERYWHERE and who greet foreigners with open arms. No matter how perfect the country there are some differences that make a large difference in our daily lives as westerners.
- I personally require more sunshine. There’s something wonderful about the occasional rainy day indoors to reset, clean, rest, etc. I can’t do that everyday, especially when there’s a country and city to be seen.
- The plumbing is odd. Now maybe this was just our airbnb, we were in a much older, yet wonderful house. The pipes vibrate and shake when certain faucets are on. We could hear water running or dripping in the pipes through the walls, etc.
- The electrical outlets and wiring. In Europe as a whole, unless built yesterday they are crap, truly just don’t function well.
- I slid down the last two stairs in our airbnb and my big toe nail stopped me and tore off entirely. Therefore, I was hobbling and doctoring my toe while walking 5 miles a day.
- The coffee there is awful.
- everyone wears dark colors, we stuck out like sore thumbs in our red and blue coats.
- The canal tour was mediocre at best, I just wasn’t impressed with it at all.
That’s all the negativity I have for the Netherlands. The public transit was WONDERFUL! So Clean, So efficient. The people were down right exceptional. I cannot sing their praises enough. Hidden helpers everywhere and the way they treated my children put me as their mother to shame. They had more patience, more time, more smiles than I could have ever asked for, in regards to their responses to my children and all of their antics.
In every single museum someone working there would high-five the boys, would ask them questions, would move them to the front, etc. One particular instance in the Van Gogh museum; we had made it through floors 1 and 2 without noticing, but apparently we weren’t allowed to take photos. So on the third floor, Lux is taking photos and a museum guide told him that he couldn’t, that it wasn’t allowed. Lux handed me the camera and I put it away, he didn’t cry or say anything, but the guide felt so bad for discouraging him to take photos; he apologized at least 4 times and then later found us again and came to make sure that Lux was ok. It was so sweet, just pure kindness for people of all ages.
Some Very Real Parent Moment Fails:
- Atlas fell out of bed not once, but TWICE the first night!
- I slid down the last two stairs in the airbnb and my big toe nail stopped me, tearing off the whole thing. Not good any time, but especially not good before walking 30k miles sightseeing.
- I left a gas stove top on for almost two days because I couldn’t figure out how to get it off.
- Lux dropped and broke the gate remote to our airbnb.
- I checked the weather up until two days before our flight. Online it said that it would be in the high 40s low 50s for our time in Amsterdam and the temperature being that high I didn’t pack gloves. . .yeah I had to buy gloves for everyone. We call this the stupid tax, as in stupid mistake big pay out.
- Rhodes had a melt down in the most people heavy shopping area available. Screaming and crying following me, chewing me out for not letting him pet the horses. . .this was the first time he had mentioned horses. Probably for half an hour, everyone staring, I was mortified, but pressed on. No amount of discussing it was helping. He has done this a few times, always in the most crowded places.
- Right after one of these so-called melt downs, we went indoors out of the cold and pulled out our notebooks and had some coffee and hot chocolate. By the time we were ready to leave, Atlas was sitting in the corner chewing on sugar packets. I was fried, I left him be, I couldn’t chase him anymore.
Despite what some of you seem to believe, I am very human, I am full of fault, I struggle to raise these three crazy boys everyday.
Things happen, they happen all the time and they happen everyday with children this small. Some days I feel like I made some weird decision to torture us, but I am confident that the last effects will be wonderful. On we go.