Amsterdam, Netherlands with Infants

For the fourth part of my series of posts titled Europe 2005, I am going to share our impressions of Amsterdam. If you ask people to tell you what the first thing they think of is when they think of Amsterdam, it probably isn’t “a great vacation spot for infants!” However, Amsterdam is actually one of the most welcoming and child-friendly spots that we visited while on that trip. There were families, both locals and tourists, wandering around everywhere.

We stayed in Hotel Atlanta, a very small family run hotel in the center of everything! Because it is family run, this hotel welcomes children with open arms. I distinctly remember the person checking us in making sure that they said hi to my son! We stayed in the twin standard room and although it was so small, we still had enough room for all three of us. The hotel is located in the perfect spot…overlooking Rembrandtsquare, a famous part of town.

While in Amsterdam, we walked around Dam Square, toured the Heineken Experience, and took a canal cruise at sunset. My favorite part of the trip was the visit to the Anne Frank House.

The Anne Frank House

One of our most memorable meal experiences was in Amsterdam. We wanted to give Indonesian food a try and the hotel suggested a restaurant in the square. We walked in and realized it was one of the fanciest restaurants we had ever eaten in. We were very worried about bringing a 10m old into this environment but the waiter welcomed us in quickly! He found a high chair in the back of the restaurant and quickly got us settled. We ordered Rijsttafel. Warmers were placed in front of us and soon dish after dish started coming out from the kitchen. They brought out crackers for our little guy to chew on while we ate.

Have you been to a spot in this world where you felt like your children were welcomed more warmly than other places? Please share with us in the comment section!

American Cemetery and Memorial – Netherlands and Luxembourg

For the third installment of “Digging into the Archives-Europe 2005,” I would like to share photos that are very special to my family. We visited the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial and the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial on our way to Brussels from Frankfurt.The Luxembourg American Cemetery is located in Hamm, Luxembourg and General S. Patton is buried here. Then we headed to Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial where my husband’s great uncle, Winder Lane, is buried. He went to fight for our country during World War II and was killed in action in his early twenties. Our visit to the grave site was the first family visit in over forty years. It was such an honor to see that cross and to be able to see my husband experience it. It was a true honor to bring pictures to my husband’s grandfather, Winder’s brother, of my husband and son with the cross. It is a moment that I will treasure forever.

The Mourning Woman Overlooking the Reflecting Pool

Thanks so much for stopping by and allowing me to share this important family moment with you.

Head over to DeliciousBaby for other Photo Friday pictures.

Photo Friday — Digging into the archives!

The first major trip we took as parents was a three week whirlwind vacation in Europe. We landed in Frankfurt and then traveled to the following cities (with other stops along the way) by car or train: Brussels, Belgium; Hamm, Luxembourg; London, England; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Berlin, Germany; and Zermatt, Switzerland. Big S was about 10m old and Little S wasn’t even a twinkle in our eye yet! As a matter of fact, we couldn’t even imagine having two kids at that point!

For this Photo Friday post, hosted by Debbie at Delicious Baby, I am digging into the archives. Actually, I thought that these pictures had disappeared with our crashed hard drive. I was thrilled when I came across this CD recently as I was archiving pictures. It hadn’t been labeled and I was so excited when I realized what it was. I had a blast looking at these Europe photos from our trip in 2005. In the next few weeks, I will continue to reminisce about our experience and post photos from that first major adventure.

These photos were taken in Trier, Germany. Part of the Roman Empire, Trier is the oldest city in Germany. There is a cathedral, Roman ruins to view and some great little cafes.

The view of Trier from the Porta Nigra, the Roman city gate

Big S playing in the ruins

The Basilica

A view of the baths

More bath ruins

Daddy J, Big S and me in front of the Porta Nigra

And to give you a laugh, the car ride to the next stop!

Swarovski Crystal World–Innsbruck, Austria

According to my husband, this is one of the strangest places we have ever visited. I was so excited to see this place…I am still not sure how I feel about it now. We waited at the train station for the shuttle that runs to Crystal World. It is about a 20 minute drive. While in the bus (with lots of other tourists), we listened to soothing music…almost like windchimes (or crystals!) clinking quietly together. When we arrived, we bought our tickets and headed into this strange place! We walked into the “giant’s lair” and checked out all of the art. There is a whole room dedicated to the Giant (see below). It was a bizarre compilation of art pieces. After exploring the many rooms of art, we were able to wander the Swarovski Crystal store. There were pieces that ranged from just a few bucks to a few thousands. Check out other great photos at Delicious Baby, host of Photo Friday.

The giant’s lair

Jewelry display

The “giant’s” ring


Hofbrauhaus in Munich

Do you like brats and beer? Do you like a loud atmosphere and lots of people? If so, you will love Hofbrauhaus in Munich. This beer hall has a very rich history. The Hofbrauhaus began operation in 1592 and was founded by Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria. The menu consists of typical German fare. The Hofbrauhaus is a fixture at Oktoberfest. You can hear the singing down the street as you walk towards the beer hall. Don’t be alarmed if someone asks to sit with you at your table. The tables are long and hold many! Just make sure that when you get a table, you don’t sit at one marked for the regular patrons. You will know that the table is reserved when you see them marked “Reserviert” or “Stammtisch.” When it gets busy, you might find yourself making new friends! During the day, the Hofbrauhaus is a great place to take the kids if they like pretzels!

Fairy Tale Lane — Innsbruck, Austria

Fairy Tale Lane is a wonderful place to take the children during the Christmas holidays. We couldn’t believe our eyes as we walked down the street. Through Old Town Innsbruck, there are fairy tale characters hanging all over the buildings. Of course I love these scenes…I am an English teacher!

Check out the other great travel photos at Delicious Baby, host of Photo Friday!

Partnachklamm or Partnach Gorge

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the alien landscape that we saw in Wyoming at Hell’s Half Acre last summer. While we were in Germany, we saw another crazy landscape that looked like it was formed in some other world. The Partnachklamm is a gorge that at some points is 80 meters deep. To get to the Partnachklamm, you start at the 1936 Olympic Ski Jump Stadium.

The 1936 Olympic Ski Jump

It is about a 20 minute walk from here. I imagine the walk is absolutely beautiful in the summertime. We saw it during the winter. There was fresh snow on the ground; there were horse drawn carriages and sleds everywhere. I will admit that with our two children, our walk was a bit longer than 20 minutes!

On our way up to the gorge

Once at the gorge, you pay a small fee of 1,50Euro per person. During the summer, the gorge is full of flowing water and huge waterfalls. During the winter, it is like you have just landed on another planet…a very far-from-the-sun planet! The waterfalls are frozen in time, yet the river is still flowing right under the falling ice. The pathway is an easy walk and you can turn around whenever you like. We saw many children and adults of all ages.

There is a bridge that you can take but it is only open in the summer so unfortunately we missed it.It was an easy walk for our 4yo and he couldn’t believe what he saw!

The family posing for a picture!

On our way into a spooky tunnel!

Our ride back to the car!

Wordless Wednesday–Hotel sign in Innsbruck

Photo Friday — The rooftops of Innsbruck

When we were in Innsbruck, we climbed the Stadtturm (148 steps if I remember correctly!) to see the view of the city. As we walked around the outside of the entire tower, I snapped a bunch of pictures of the city. I was excited about how cool some of them turned out when I was reviewing them at home! The rooftops are absolutely beautiful. Some have gardens on them. Many of them are a gorgeous rust red color.

My favorite rooftop picture!

I spotted our hotel–it is the bright pink looking one!

More roofs!

The Stadtturm (City Tower)

See other travel photos at Delicious Baby!

Photo Friday

While in Europe, my children were most fascinated by checking the sewer drains to see if anything was there and seeing who could spot the “Old McDonald’s” (aka MickeyD’s) first! They also looked for birds and horses. However, nothing could top the excitement of spying yet another dog and yelling out at the top of their lungs “LOOK MOMMY!!! ANOTHER DOGGY!!! TAKE A PICTURE QUICK!!!!” I give you “The Dogs of Europe”!

Check out some other travel photos at Photo Friday at Delicious Baby!