Our last full day in Amsterdam gave us a chance to tackle a few things that we didn’t get a chance to check out during the week. After a quick breakfast, we walked across the bridge to the NEMO Science Museum that received rave review from fellow Amsterdam visitors.
This museum is housed in an impressive building that looks like a battleship that is partially sinking. This is the only museum we visited that charged admission for kids and the most expensive but the museum is filled with four floors of various hands-on exhibits which in turn, made us feel like we were getting our money’s worth.
On the fourth floor, they had an exhibit that was geared towards teens that was titled “All About Sex.” Clearly, I needed to see how the Dutch teach this topic because I’m dreading the day that I have to have that conversation with my own kids. I didn’t get to see the exhibit in it’s entirety but the part I enjoyed the most was the wall of wooden drawing figures that were placed into position to show all the various sexual positions you can try. I can honestly say that I will never look at a wooden drawing figure the same way.
Once we reached the top floor, you can step outside where the views of the city are incredible. Unfortunately, the outside sitting area was closed for renovations but I can imagine on a warm sunny day, that rooftop is the place to be.
After NEMO, we headed out to lunch at the Sea Palace which is a floating Chinese restaurant. We learned on our canal tour that the restaurant actually sank a bit on opening night after the Chinese failed to recognize that Dutch people weigh more than Chinese people so when 800 locals were invited to the grand opening, the restaurant sank a wee bit.
I was super excited to eat in a floating restaurant but the other driving force was when we realized we hadn’t eaten a vegetable over the course of six days. I guess our steady diet of pancakes and apple pie had to come to an end at some point.
After our lunch that involved more than one food group, we walked back into the city center to the Rembrandt square where there is an impressive statue set-up reenacting one of Rembrandt’s famous paintings. We sat for a bit to rest our legs and to sample a locally crafted space cake. It was super delicious and super effective.
We walked and walked some more until we reached the red light district. Now, I’m not a supporter of prostitution however, you’re in a city that supports that particular profession and it’s a part of the culture and the history of the city. I was curious so Tim stayed back with the kids at the farmers market while Ryan accompanied me down the illuminated streets. Mind you, it’s daytime so we weren’t really sure what to expect.
I can tell you that there were a lot of blue lights which means a woman with a little extra something *wink* and the crowds of onlookers were nearly nonexistent. Ryan and I made a quick getaway after we witnessed one of the “workers” stroking his member against the glass. We quickly coined him the ‘sad stroker’ because of his lack of enthusiasm and morose demeanor. After Ryan and Tim had visited the area the night before, they deemed my visit less than spectacular and encouraged me to go again at night when that particular area is a bit more lively.
By the time we returned to our apartment, our space cake was doing its job so we hung back for a bit and watched The Discovery Channel because well, that’s all we were capable of doing at the time. From what I remember, the kids repeatedly asked us why we were laughing, Ryan couldn’t feel the temperature of the pizzas he was heating up for the kids and I consumed the following in a 60-minute timespan: 3 slices of cold vegetarian pizza, a bag of popcorn, two chocolate bars and a roll of antacid.
Once the effects of our afternoon treat wore off, Tim offered to stay back at our apartment and watch the kids so Ryan and I could walk through the Red Light District once again. After a lovely night walk through the city, we arrived and I can attest that the district is indeed very different at night compared to the sad displays I saw during the day. There are hoards of people, mostly men but there is a fair number of women spectators as well. The district consists of a handful of streets that are all illuminated by the red glow of lights signaling that women are present and available. The alleys are lined with glass doors, all filled with women in lingerie or bathing suits, presenting their offerings to the crowds. The groups of men were rowdy as expected when a woman in scantily clad lingerie is suggesting you join her in her room. It really was unlike anything I have ever seen before and probably something I don’t need to see again. Thankfully, we never took a wrong turn when the kids were present or they would have received a crash course in sex education. Hooray for small victories!
The next day was our final day in Amsterdam and we had some time to do a little shopping and take in the city one last time before we said our farewells to this great city.
Per the suggestion from the front desk attendant at our apartment, she recommended a restaurant just around the corner from us for a delicious breakfast. Instock is a fascinating concept. The chef buys produce from grocery stores that would otherwise be thrown out because of approaching expiration dates and in turn, creates gourmet dishes from the ingredients. The menu changes daily so you’re never really sure what you’re going to get. I’m bummed I didn’t learn about this restaurant sooner in our trip because it would have been exciting to see all the different dishes the chef came up with. We pretty much tried everything on the menu and agreed it was all delicious.
After our incredible breakfast discovery, we made one final walk through the city and we all collectively agreed that we would miss Amsterdam terribly. The city itself is weird yet charming. The city was incredibly clean in comparison to big cities here in the Bay Area and despite the loud crowds we witnessed in the Red Light District, the city itself is amazingly quiet. Amsterdam is an incredibly child-friendly city despite the city’s extracurricular offerings. We found plenty of playgrounds, open spaces and a myriad of activities for the kids. There was even a grand piano in Amsterdam’s Central Station that encouraged anyone to sit down and play!
We accomplished quite a bit during our stay and felt that we could leave Amsterdam satisfied by all we experienced. It’s definitely a city worth visiting and hopefully we’ll return at some point in the future. Until next time, Amsterdam!
Next post: Copenhagen!