My brother, his wife, and their two boys (same ages as our girls) were vacationing in Amsterdam in September, and asked if we could come meet them for a weekend in Antwerp, Belgium. My friend Shelby was also visiting at the time, and knows them well too, so we decided we’d all go. We’d never been to Belgium before, so why not?
I started writing this post in the bar of Edinburgh’s famous Balmoral Hotel, where J.K. Rowling lived while she wrote the final Harry Potter book.
Or “Hamsterdam,” as E calls it. I started this post nearly two months ago, but it got long, and I got busy. Better late than never, which was my approach to blogging about Christmas in London, too.
We had a great three and a half days in the beautiful city in the Netherlands in May. I’d been there before, when I was 20, with my parents and younger brother. Since I’d hit most of the big tourist must-dos in Amsterdam back then (Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank’s house, Heineken Experience Tour, a stroll through the Red Light District, and what felt like ALL the churches), and M had traveled there for business a couple times, we didn’t feel pressed to drag our kids to places that aren’t particularly interesting to a 3-year-old, or baby-buggy-friendly. So this trip we could just enjoy being in what is actually a very child-friendly city, despite its reputation for its Red Light District and “coffee” shops.
It’s hot in London. Legitimately hot, even by American standards. Sure, Baltimore gets hotter and definitely more humid, but pretty much everywhere I need to go is air-conditioned: house, car, office, stores, restaurants. I miss air-conditioning SO HARD right now. And what I would give for a ceiling fan!
I’m typing this with my feet swishing in the inflatable paddling pool I bought for the kids, which was maybe the best money I spent all year. I’m living off of sorbet and rosé. People are queuing outside stores to buy fans. The grocery stores are literally sold out of ice cream. These are dark times.
Memorial Day Weekend in the States is also a bank holiday weekend here in England, so we had planned a getaway to the English countryside, from Friday to Monday. One of M’s business associates had recommended the Griffin Inn to him as a family- and dog-friendly place to stay. He told us to ask for the room over the pub, so the baby monitor reaches down there. Good tip!