Jo's Amsterdam

One of the best times in Jo’s seven-month trip around Europe with her husband Greg and son Luke, 10, started with a bout of food poisoning.

“Strangely one of my best memories was when my husband got sick,” she said.

“We went to a yummy Nepalese restaurant in Amsterdam and my husband came down with food poisoning,” she said.

“Luke and I ate it and we were fine, but Greg ended up in bed and blamed the food.

“So Luke and I rented some bikes and went off exploring.  There is a huge park called Amsterdam Bos, and we rode around it all day and we ate pancakes and stopped at the goat park, and a petting zoo.”

And that’s part of the reason why Amsterdam was Jo’s city of choice for the These City Walls feature in the lounge of her Bucklands Beach, Auckland New Zealand, home.

“For us it is a reminder of a grand adventure.  It’s not about visiting a museum or the big ticket tourist attractions.  It was the parks and the streets and the feel of the place.  That’s the stuff that stays with you.  It was a special time for our family and we wanted to make it a special part of our home,” she said.

It was a grand adventure that was several years in the planning for Jo, the creative mind behind H Architecture .

“We rented the house out and went travelling for 7 months back in 2014.  We didn’t know how long we’d be when we left and that was part of the magic of it, the freedom.

“But my parents did it with me when I was a girl so I knew it was possible.

 “It helped that I’m self-employed as an architectural designer.  I reduced my jobs but still worked on two projects when we had a wifi connection.”

And to help reduce costs, they spent about half their time house sitting.

“It took us off the beaten track to places we would otherwise never have gone.We got a real taste of the local community and had dinner with neighbours and that sort of thing.”

And what does Greg think of the trip now when he’s sitting at the dining table looking across at the map of Amsterdam?

“It’s the best thing we ever did if you ask my husband,” Jo said.

Just so long as there’s no Nepalese dishes on the table.

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