In Europe, every bistro, luncheonette and soup house is setup for curbside coffee, cocktails and crumpets. What’s unique is how the chairs are setup – all facing the street – which makes for excellent people watching. The service is dandy, too. You casually stroll by and when you find it’s time for a break, you just park it in an open spot and then voila! The garcon is there within minutes to offer you a coffee or warm tea. On our recent trip, my family went to The Netherlands. We stayed in a houseboat in the Amstel river in the heart of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is so beautiful. No loud honking or people yelling or trash. Instead, you find lots of bikes with cute bells and people buzzing and whizzing by dressed in their fall poplins and whimsical hats and fancies. Definitely an eclectic scene.
We had 5 full days together and were lucky to get all of them rain-free. Our pioneer vacation as a family of three. It was wonderful time spent scooting around the tight and wobbly streets and over the bridges along the city’s treasured canals. It was a charming trip, invariably my favorite to date.
Willow absolutely loved it. She’s a natural born people-person and natural born traveler it would seem. She literally smiles all of the time at everyone. One evening as I was walking to a nearby grocery store with her up close to me in the hip pack, she suddenly got all wiggly and the next thing I knew two ladies from the land down under had approached me. In their fun accents, they explained that they and Willow had been having a “smiling conversation” as we were walking about and then they left us with many sweet compliments. Throughout the week, she stayed awake to people watch when she wanted to and slept (in a fully flat recline no less) when she wanted to. It’s like she knew she was on vacation.
I’m not a diaper bag sort of mama. I just haven’t found one I love. So each day when it was time to go out exploring, I packed my baby “go tote”. The tote size and contents were generally selected depending on where we were off to and how long we would be out. I had a short mental checklist that I would run through in my mind to make sure I didn’t forget anything essential:
- Diapering? Check.
- Feeding? Check.
- Clothing? Check.
- Playing? Check.
- Wearing? (as in baby wearing) Check.
Most of the time in Holland I used a reusable shopping bag that I had purchased that night at the grocery store. Extra items I had to include that weren’t on the checklist were 1) the stroller rain shield and 2) a warm baby hat. And! As I learned on our outbound trip: everything that came into contact with the Lady Baby, like a bottle, paci or toy needed to be attached to me, her, the stroller, whatever, whereever with a snap line! Last but definitely not least, I also would throw an extra paci in my bra for safe keeping and easy access in an emergency
For the trip I had 1 rule and 1 bottom line. The good news I have to report is that the only time anyone ended up wet was intentional from either a shower or bath
- Rule: If the mama falls in the canal, the husband must stay with Willow and not jump in after the mama.
- Bottom line: Nothing will piss the mama off on vacation. And that’s nothing, with the exception of Willow falling in the canal.
Amsterdam is an easy and safe place to bring the baby. I’ll definitely do it again and on a houseboat to boot! (Looks like I must have that on the old bucket list twice!)
Glad I Brought It Gear: Stroller, Infant Carseat, Baby Monitor, Hip Pack / Sling, Bottles, Pacifiers, Body Woolie and Stroller Blankets, Blackout Curtains, Mamas and Papas Baby Snug Infant Seat, Playard, lots of wipes and sanitizer, diapers, food, breast milk/pump/back up formula, baby food, gallon size ziploc baggies, nursing drape, snap lines, washable (non-plush) toys.
Gear That Could Have Made My Luggage Lighter: Bottle warmer & Halloween costume. And bottle warmer is only here because I didn’t buy a step down converter and was afraid of breaking it…had I brought a converter, I would have definitely used it.