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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Going to surprise...

The big cities of the Netherlands are located close to each other, making it extremely easy to go from one town to another. This is especially the case in the province Zuid Holland where we live. 

From our place, we can reach Rotterdam in 15 minutes; Leiden in 20; Utrecht in 30 minutes, and Amsterdam in under one hour. The train connections are pretty good. You can even go further, beyond the border: to Brussels, Antwerp, even  Paris. But then of course, if you want to see Paris, it is highly recommended to stay there for a night, preferably longer.

It is then not necessarily surprising that every weekend, we decided to spontaneously go somewhere. Sometimes I knew where we where going. But more often than not, my question "Where are we going?" was answered with "Surprise!". I was not allowed to look at my train ticket so I wouldn't spoil the surprise. And I didn't want to look at it. I liked going to "Surprise". 

Sometimes, "Surprise" ended up being Rotterdam. Other times, it was Amsterdam or Leiden, or somewhere else. But we always did something exciting: we saw a museum or a botanic garden. And as we had one child at that time, everything was easy. We only had to pack the stroller with baby food and jackets, and diapers, but that was no problem. We saw, we visited, we admired, and we learned. We also went for walks. That was fun!

But along the way, we had another child, and K. needed more fresh air and movement. Since then, going to "Surprise" has become more difficult. The first time we went to Leiden with the two of them was difficult. K. had a bad day and J. cried. We came back home tired and miserable. Since then, we've been trying to keep our travel destinations interesting for K. With a little luck, she slept and we had a a few minutes to sit down in a nice restaurant and eat something without somebody asking for our food. Or we could use this time to see something. But sometimes, she didn't sleep during the day, and that was OK as well. Because she then ate with us. Most of the times, she behaved.

But we don't go to "Surprise" all that often now. And even if we do, our choices have become more limited. Usually,  going to "Surprise", means going to the Zoo in Rotterdam, which I am actually totally in love with. I also have this inexplicable fascination with Rotterdam so I always enjoy going there.

I hope that the girls will be big enough so that we can go to "Surprise" again. And if we do it, we want to do it right: we want to see a museum, to walk around and admire a new place, to explore the unknown. 

But to my surprise I have found that you can still go to "Surprise" with two little children and have tons of fun! The Netherlands have a lot to offer to children. For inspiration, you can look up this helpful Pinterest board!

Have you ever been to "Surprise"? Where did you end up going? Did you enjoy it?

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