The countdown has been on since we left Australia after Christmas for the Easter holidays, when Mum and Dad would be coming to visit us again in Dusseldorf. Their trip flew them into Amsterdam, where they arrived 2 days before school broke up for us, and so gave them the opportunity to get over their jet lag. My sister and nephew went to Amsterdam from London to meet them, and we drove over to join them on Saturday.
We hired a family truckster, so that we could all travel together. And we picked it up early on the Saturday morning, brought it back to our house to pack and set off in order to be in Amsterdam for dinner. We had a great drive, and settled in at our hotel. Mike took the car back out to the edge of Amsterdam to a Park and Ride carpark, so that we weren't lumbered with excessive parking fees for the few days we were there. We stayed in Museumplein, and were booked into 3 hotels all a stones throw from each other. It was great.
Over 20 years ago, Mum, Dad, Marnie (my younger sister) and I had visited Amsterdam, and we had cocktails in the American Hotel and Rijstafel for dinner at Puri Mas. Remarkably, Puri Mas is still there, and Dad was delighted to take us all back for Rijstafel again, this time with families in our entourage! Rijstafel is an Indonesian tradition, which is very popular in the Netherlands due to the Dutch explorers bringing it back years ago!
We spent our spare day in Amsterdam, visiting the Rijksmuseum, and of course the Night's Watch is most impressive. We also spent some time searching through the museum to find the Hartog Plate, which had been hammered to a tree in Western Australia by Dirk Hartog, a Dutch Explorer, in 1616 - some 150 years ahead of Australia being discovered by Captain Cook. Marnie and her family headed home on Sunday night, but it had been wonderful to have the whole extended family together!!
The next day, we had a luxuriant buffet breakfast in the restaurant of the American Hotel, where Mum and Dad were staying. I was impressed because next to the juices, was self pour champagne! Then Mike headed out to collect the car, and came back to pick us all up, on the start of our family road trip. It was really only a short drive because our next stop was Delft, only a 2 hour drive from Amsterdam.
We were staying in a quirky eco-hotel, that we stayed in last time we were in Delft. We thought Mum and Dad would be intrigued by it a bit too, they were in a themed room which looked like they were by the beach, and we were in a room decorated like a, hmmm, like a cow. We again had a bunk bed, which delighted the kids. We visited the famous Delft pottery workshops, and Didi asked the tourguide some relatively sensible questions, showing that he was making connections to things he heard. Our plan for Delft, was to visit Keukenhof - the famous tulip gardens in the Netherlands. Although it was a bit early in the season it was spectacular. Especially the tulips in the greenhouses. The theme this year was van Gogh's 125th anniversary of his death, and there were scenes set up that visitors could interact with to be part of his artwork. Stunning and truly wonderful. We went to Keukenhof last year, and I promise we will be there again next year!!