While the kids were here, we managed a quick roadtrip to Holland, and of course Amsterdam. We stayed just outside of the city, in a wonderful B&B: In den Ossewaerd. The room was clean, with a gorgeous view of the Dutch countryside and a big, light, airy bathroom. In the morning the owner, Rens, made us an amazing, hearty, Dutch breakfast. Perfect to start a long day in my favorite city.

Soren had driven the night before, it was my turn to guide us in. I easily found my way out of “De Kwakel” and onto the A4. But I was the only one. Sure it was early, but not ridiculously early. We had early-entry Anne Frank tickets, but there should’ve been bumper-to-bumper traffic for people going to work. As I drove the lonely highway, nothing out my window, no people, no cars, just cows, we all got nervous. Finally Soren said what we were all thinking:

“Did the zombie apocalypse finally happen?” Maybe it had.

As Amsterdam came into sight, a few cars joined us on the road. Maybe the zombie apocalypse hadn’t happened or maybe, like us, those cars hadn’t gotten the memo. Then, as we tried to drive through the heart of the city, and barriers blocked our way, and a sea of orange filled our windows, I remembered. It was King’s Day! It was the birthday of Willem-Alexander, our King. It was party time!

After parking the car, we saw the remnants of the night before. Empty bottles, cups, orange streamers, rolled across the streets. Sidewalks were rapidly being filled by people selling their wares, old, new and antique at a city-wide vrijmarket (ie free market, free to sell but not to buy LOL!).  The energy of the city started as a buzz, and as we walked deeper into the center, the energy rose and I had an irresistible urge to move to Amsterdam and be a part of this lively city.

We had a wonderful, long, day touring Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the canals, the Rijksmuseum (I saw The Night Watch and Van Goghs self portrait!). We ate raw herring with onions, kibbeling, pannekoeken en poffertjes! I drank coffees, wine and cassis (my favorite black currant soda). By the end of the day, I couldn’t walk anymore. Usually, in Amsterdam, I will hop a boat, a tram, a bus or even a taxi… but for King’s Day this was not possible. The center was blocked off and only my feet would do. Luckily I wasn’t the only one worn out, and Soren, Lindsay and my mom were happy to leave an hour early.

Even better? The roads to Maastricht, to pick up my dad, were almost empty too. I think a zombie apocalypse may just be a good thing.

I love the extra small, extra crooked, traditional buildings mixed in with the new.

Lindsay, Soren & my mom. When will he learn to just smile?

Right around the corner from “our” garage the pride and fun was starting.

In a country filled with water, and stubborn people, life vest awareness is critical.

We refrained. I have more than enough Orange stuffs to clothe an army.

I love, love, love the architecture in Amsterdam.

And I love canals. And boats.

The signs in Amsterdam are very helpful. I still got lost.

An inside peak down one of Amsterdams many ally’s.

The Dutch are the bike Kings of the world.

I love all the boats. Big and small.

The Rijksmuseum and the market tents out front.

The back of the Rijksmuseum offers a glimpse of the I Amsterdam sign and the Van Gogh museum.

I want this library inside the Rijksmuseumm. Want.

While the Rijksmuseum is old architecture (just outside) the Van Gogh is all modern.

It started to rain just a little, that didn’t stop us from getting several plates of poffertjes!

What are poffertjes? Poffertjes are amazing little bites of yummy! Cooked in a special cast iron pan with 15 round “divots”, poffertjes are puffy little pancakes that you have to eat to appreciate! While they can be served savory or sweet, with innumerable variations, I always stick to the one, the original: butter and powdered sugar.

I am hungry.