This past weekend was supposed to be our big trip to see Michael Jackson in concert, but for obvious reasons, that did not happen. Since we both had a few days off, we decided to go to Amsterdam. Ian used Holiday Inn points to book a hotel for us. He bought a travel book about Amsterdam the day before we left. On the flight over, I was reading it and discovered it said this about our hotel:

The absolute top of the range - one of the best and most luxurious hotels in the country, occupying a grand, chateau-style, nineteenth-century mansion beside the Singelgracht canal. Favored by visiting celebrities, the hotel was treated to a scrumptious renovation to the tune of 50 million euros in the late nineties.

Now, I must let you know, we stayed there FOR FREE. Not one cent left our pockets to stay at this hotel. This was definitely funny to us. The best part of the hotel for me was the bathroom. It was huge. The bathtub was longer than me and seriously, if I filled it all the way up, it would have almost covered my head! And, they gave bath salts to put in it. I ended up taking a bath both nights! Honestly, I can't remember the last time I took a bath before then; it has been years. But, lets get to outside the hotel...

Amsterdam has to be one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. The houses are stunning. The oldest one we saw dated back to 1477. They are all built next to each other, like townhouses. Some of them are leaning, which we found quite entertaining. We found out they are leaning because the structure underneath them is failing due to water in the foundation. While in the city, we visited the Anne Frank House. It is moving to think what the people that hid Anne's family for two years did. They really were loyal to her family. We also visited Begijnhof, a home for members of the Catholic sisterhood living as nuns, but without vows and with the right to return to the secular world. This little community was built with its back to the outside. You actually have to use a door to get to the courtyard. It was so peaceful inside, you couldn't even tell you were in the middle of a city.

Call me stupid, but I didn't realize that canals are weaved throughout the city. They are beautiful. The funny part is that tons of people live on them in makeshift houseboats. Some of them were quite nice, some of them not so nice. They were so serious that many of them had patios on the water, complete with gardens. We took a tour of the city from the canals and it was a fun experience.

The people of Amsterdam seem to ride bikes everywhere. No joke, there are 1000's of bikes every way you look. Because of my "condition" we didn't rent bikes, but I would have loved to under normal circumstances. Bikes have their own riding path next to where the cars go. And, when people lock them up, they don't lock them to poles, just chain the front wheel to the body so it can't be ridden. This results in an estimated 200,000 bikes a year being thrown into the canals! Canal cleaning boats come along and remove the bikes and other large objects from the bottom of the canals so the boats don't have trouble getting through.

I recommend to everyone to visit this city if they get a chance...hey, and we managed to have a good time without doing either of the things Amsterdam is known for...smoking pot and going to the red light district! There is so much more to this city than those two things!


  1. the tub sounds amazing, only my Nazi doctor told me not to take them when I was preggers with Jonas, I asked when I was prego with Reegs & that doc said yes.... strange how that works. It looks like you guys had fun, despite MJ's early departure.

  2. I'm glad you guys had fun! The picture of your hotel looks amazing!

  3. Hi Jess! With the pictures and your awesome story line...makes me want to go visit!...well, almost! Love you! Dad

  4. Amsterdam is my favorite city ever!! (I may be a bit bias being half Dutch). RJ and I went twice during our long European adventure. I love the people, the houses, the food...did you try any Zout while there? It is a salty black licorice that the Dutch love. I've grown up on it and I think it's my favorite edible thing ever.

    Oh, and I can't believe you haven't been taking tons of baths. I took a bath nearly every day during my pregnancy. I loved the weightlessness.

  5. Seriously Anna, I am ready to go back to Amsterdam! What's not to love?!? The adorable houses, the canals, little shops and cafes, the bikes everywhere...loved it all! I didn't have any Zout though...I will have to look for some over here so I can experience it.


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