My mother and brother came to visit on Easter Monday. Their trip was the result of frequent Skype calls inquiring as to why they hadn’t come yet; my friend’s parents from America have come, WHY CAN’T YOU MAKE THE ONE HOUR PLANE JOURNEY.
And so they came. Hand luggage in tow. Smiling and apathetic faces respectively. My mother wearing some new shoes bought especially due to my insistence at the amount of walking required. My brother looking indifferent to the world — as usual. I was excited to show them my new home; to take them to some cafes and have them eat some bitterbal; to show them around Jordaan, and the Bloemenmarkt.
Of course, once they arrived, it began to rain. And my brother was in shorts.
‘You didn’t check the weather, did you?’
We visited Keukenhof which was beautiful. It began to rain harder as we trudged our way through. My camera took quite a thrashing, but I thought the rain drops on the flowers made for rather pretty pictures.
As Sod’s law would have it, we stumbled upon Keukenhof’s labyrinth and then torrential rain was inflicted as we attempted to find the exit. No luck.
My brother, who has been on the Paleo lifestyle since he discovered that the diet of the contemporary human being is particularly odious, also indulged in some bread and ham concoction. He jovially remarked that it was “the most carbs in four months” but it was entirely possible to see him thinking of ways how to purge his body ASAP.
Desperation does such a thing.
After Keukenhof, we made the journey back to Schipol back to Amsterdam. We went to eat at Restaurant de Luwte which was ridiculously nice. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel too touristic here and did not take photos. The atmosphere was very gezellig, the food was lovely, and the prices were affordable. (Two starters, three mains, two desserts: 63 EUR.) As someone who will spend a little longer perusing the Bonus section in Albert Heijn, it was the perfect restaurant to take my family out.
On the accommodation front … Unfortunately, the Pulitzer does not do triplet or family rooms, much to my brother’s chagrin. Which, let’s just say, BONUS SECTION ALBERT HEIJN.
With that in mind, we stayed at the Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel for the night. It was also quite Dutch and is a recommended, affordable hotel — very close to the centre. The initial plan was for them to stay at my flat, but The Mice happened. It was quite concerning to look at hotels a day or two prior to their arrival, considering it was the Easter weekend, but the Wiechmann was available and relatively cheap.
The next day was comparably lazy. It consisted of showing my mother my local Albert Heijn whilst my brother stayed at my place to work on a school essay (I know). Then we walked and walked and walked. I took them around Jordaan, up to Centraal Station, through Nieuwendijk, to Dam Square, through the Red Light District (enjoying an awkward moment with my family as we passed through African Momma’s District), and to Chinatown.
We ate at the New King Mandarin cuisine restaurant. My brother had an omelette and duck pancakes, I had wonton soup, and my mother chose three meat rice; that plus Chinese tea came to around 35 EUR. The atmosphere was quite stylish, but the food was decent. (It still baffles me to pay for tea; rock on Manchester’s free refills!)
Dessert was claimed by The Pancake Bakery which was delicious. There was a small queue, and the place was packed, but we managed to get served in just under fifteen minutes. Pretty good; pretty good. I got the spring poffertjes on the special. Blueberries! Ice-cream! Cream! It was b-e-a-utiful.
… and then it was time for them to leave. Their visit was over. We went to Centraal; I took them to the track and sat down as I waved at them and made silly Asian poses. When the train began to leave, a few people waved back at me.
I cannot wait for them to return for an extended visit. For that, I am confident a few museums, bike rentals (I let my brother cycle my deathtrap at his insistence and he declared it appropriately unsuitable), and brown cafes are in order.
It will be fantastic.
flickr: 2012-04-09: Visiting Fambly