Europe 2017: Holland
Holland has a super special place in my heart. My papa Hofman and his family moved to America from Holland when he was 5 years old. Growing up, I loved hearing Dutch stories and celebrating Dutch Christmas with my family at Nana and Papa’s.
We only had a few days in Holland. We flew in to Amsterdam where we rented a car from the airport and zipped straight to Kinderdijk. Kinderdijk is seriously a must if you go to Holland. It was so magical and definitely a highlight for us. Holland reminded me of Denmark - they don’t let the weather stop them. People were still biking all around in DECEMBER. So, we decided to put my Dutch blood to the test and we rented bicycles. Addison clearly passed the test, because she had a huge smile on her face the entire ride. It was the best. Also, the bike rentals right next to Kinderdijk were just $3 an hour and it was free to get in the park! You seriously can’t beat it. They also had plenty of bikes with baby seats.
We had so much fun going to the grocery store and buying all the cheese and bread that Holland had to offer! We bought so many Dutch snacks and had such a good time just eating all the good food. We planned our trip so that we would be in Holland over Dutch Christmas. It was so fun to see the Dutch chocolate letters, the pepernoten cookies, and all the other Dutch Christmas traditions that I grew up seeing. We stayed in Rotterdam that night at THE cutest little airbnb cottage. Here’s the link in case you are planning on visiting Holland and want a cute place to stay!
My papa lived in Rotterdam so we went to visit the street that he grew up on. We got to see where he went to school while he lived there too. It was actually a really special thing for us to get to do. My papa passed away last year and I’ve missed him so much. It was a cool experience to reflect on his life and to get to see a little bit of his life in Holland.
After exploring Rotterdam a bit, we went north to Geithoorn, which was absolutely incredible. Geithoorn is a little Dutch village often referred to as “Little Venice.” There aren’t any cars and you have to walk or take a boat through the village because it is built around tons of canals. We took a little tourist boat through the village. After the boat ride, it was fun to walk through the town over lots of bridges and see the amazing Dutch homes.
After Geithoorn, we had a few hours to drive around and explore. We ended up finding a really cool town called Steenwijk. I felt like it was just a classic European town filled with church bells, kids running on the brick streets, bakeries, and small cafes. We ate at one restaurant and it was our favorite meal in all of Holland - Dutch Satay. I have never been so satisfied in a restaurant. Ha! It was so good and I plan to make a trip back to Holland just to eat this meal again.
We stayed the next couple of nights in Amsterdam. And Amsterdam was seriously one of our favorite cities ever. We were blown away by how massive the canals were and how many there were. You always see pictures of Amsterdam and know there are canals, but it just doesn’t do it justice. And because we were there around Christmas time, it made it even a little more magical with all the Christmas lights and donut shops! We loved exploring Amsterdam and walking around Dam Square - our airbnb was just a 10 minute walk away. We have fun memories of making late night runs to get a cup of fries and mayo or some yummy donuts with powdered sugar (Oliebollen). There were so many places to eat and shop. We also enjoyed visiting the Anne Frank house. There was so much to see in Amsterdam, but we enjoyed just taking our time wandering around and getting completely lost.
We were so sad to leave Amsterdam. It's funny to see pictures in the airport because I just feel the pain of leaving and then the excitement of going to our next adventure! ha! It also made it a little better to have our @mountainbuggy bagrider suitcase for when we had to go to Gate 84.
We loved Holland and we decided together that we will definitely be back!