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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Day 7 - Amsterdam

After a lovely buffet breakfast, we were briefed by our guide the activities that were planned for the day. We were doing 5 places in Amsterdam : Zaanse Schans, Volendam, the canals, diamond factory and Dam Square.

ZAANSE SCHANS

Zaanse Schans  is  a neighborhood in the Dutch town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam.

Historic windmills and distinctive green wooden houses were relocated here to recreate the look of an 18th/19th-century village.

In its heyday, the Zaan region was an important industrial area dotted by hundreds of windmills producing linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, paper and other products. Many of the Zaanse Schans' characteristic village houses are now museums, gift shops or workshops while others are used as private residences. Some of the windmills are functioning still.


The scenery was surreal. It was like going back in time


A private residence

People (mostly tourists) walking past a village house that has been converted into a souvenir shop.

Think Netherlands, think clogs!


Inside the Clog Workshop

We were given a short demo on how clogs are made


Love this dude - he reminds me of Paul Rovia aka Jesus from Walking Dead.
Tom Payne. No?

The heavenly smells of chocolate and freshly baked stroopwafels wafted over us as we wandered around the village.

Inside one of the many adorable souvenir shops.



Clogs are a popular tourist souvenir.

The cheese farm was my favourite place to visit in Zaanse Schans. Upon arrival, we were given a short demo on the cheese making process, after which we were invited into the shop to taste their smorgasbord of cow, sheep and goat cheeses in a variety of flavours: pepper, paprika, pesto, truffle, and even coconut!!


Generous samples and free tasting!  Cheese heaven!

Blue lavender goat cheese!

Smoked Jalapeno Cheese
The hubs bagged a couple of these. They were amazing! I never knew Dutch cheese was this good.

VOLENDAM

Our walking tour began with a lovely fish lunch in the picturesque fishing village of Volendam.

The Lunchroom De Koe B.V. where we had our meal.

The fish was as fresh as it can be!

Strolling along the vibrant street named Haven


The village is awash with souvenir shops, cafes, seafood stands, a cheese museum, a photo studio...

Charming wooden houses where people actually live line one side of the very narrow street and the sea on the other.



The place is so touristy that one tends to forget that people really live here!  Locals, shopkeepers and delivery drivers use the Haven and main roads to get on with their daily business. We witnessed a lady missing her foot getting rolled over by a delivery truck by a couple of inches!



Although the village stole my heart, I don't think it's fun to live in this neighbourhood. Busloads of tourists amble the very narrow street daily. Imagine strangers gawking and snapping photos of your home!


THE CANAL CRUISE

A day in Amsterdam isn’t complete without a cruise along the canals of the Dutch capital. There are 165 interconnected canals and are the most iconic structural feature of the city.

Seeing Amsterdam from the water was fun and interesting. And certainly relaxing after all those walking tours we had been doing for the past 6 days.



I was most fascinated with the colorful houseboats that moored along the canal banks. I spotted gnome statues, flower pots, wind chimes, garden furniture ... and even a barbecue stove on the 'patios' of these boat houses!

We cruised past the Anne Frank House and many other historic landmarks and bridges.

The Anne Frank House
image credit - daryll_mitchell
This is the house where Anne penned her diary while she was in hiding.





You can see the houseboats from the 0:37 mark onward

2,500 houseboats dock along the banks year-round. It was once considered a sign of poverty to live on the water but today’s modern, electricity-equipped houseboats are some of the pricier properties in town, starting at around 250,000 euros minimum.

A houseboat in front of the Dancing Houses


These are called the “Dancing Houses” on the Amstel river. The soil was so swampy that homes along the canals had to be built on stilts. Over the years they settled and sunk into the mud, so now many of the canal houses in Amsterdam are tilted and leaning forward!

Interestingly, did you know that you can rent a houseboat on Airbnb?





Rijks Museum

After the cruise, we were corralled into the bus and headed to Dam Square for more shopping and dinner.

DAM SQUARE

The square was bustling with activities and throngs of tourists when we reached there after whisking past the seedy De Wallen neighbourhood aka The Red Light District.

Yep, everything you've heard about the infamous RLD is true! The red lit windows from behind where slightly clad ladies stood like mannequins were as real as they could be!

It is strictly forbidden to take pictures or videotape the ladies behind their windows.

Word of advice - NEVER take pictures of the ladies in the windows. I've heard from a couple of sources that the girls are not too happy about this (understandably so), and show their displeasure by throwing a cup of pee at the poor unsuspecting tourist!

'Window-shopping'  in the RLD was definitely quite an experience and certainly an eye-opener!

But I digress. Anyways, back to Dam Square...

A brief history
Dam Square was built in the 13th century when a dam was constructed around the river Amstel to prevent the Zuiderzee Sea from flooding the city. Through the centuries, buildings mushroomed around the Square. Special events were (and still are) held here, making Dam Square the most popular and important location in Amsterdam.
In the 1960s, Dam Square was famous for the hippie population that hung out here.

Buskers are very much a part of this vibrant square. And pigeons too!

The Royal Palace

Standing proudly in the middle of the square is the National Monument which was built to commemorate  the casualties of World War II.




While window shopping in the vicinity, we came across many souvenir shops and establishments that sold cannabis edibles like cookies, brownies, chocolates, lollipos, ice-cream, drinks etc.


So, did we try them and did they get us stoned?  Find out more in an upcoming post!

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

27 comments:

What's Nana Making? said...

Saw your post on Sunday best. I absolutely loved Zaanse Schans. Looks like you are having a great time!

betty said...

How quaint! I would love to explore all those areas and visit the clog stores. The windmills would have been cool to see too!!

Happy Mother's Day Veronica!

betty

Mother of 3 said...

Wow! You squeezed so much into one day. I love that antiquated Amsterdam town with all the windmills; that really does look like you stepped back in time.

Hena Tayeb said...

Oh wow everything looks amazing.
We have been to Amsterdam twice. Once was the first international place we ever went to when we started travelling and then we went there again when we had a long layover.

An Apel a Day said...

What a fun time. I love chocolate, clogs and cheese. Certainly a place for me.

I'm looking forward to your next post. Ha!

Shiju Sugunan said...

Thanks for the virtual tour. Lovely pictures and looks like fun!

stevebethere said...

What a good post loved the tour via the photos what fun and those clogs suited you heheh!

Have a funtastic week :-)

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Fabulous tour - I'd love to visit all the old windmills and wooden houses. Wonderful!

Hootin' Anni said...

What an incredible journey! I'm grateful you shared your steps (tours) & boat rides. I'd love the windmills, the cheese factory & all the shops to peruse.

Christina Morley said...

Oh no! Cannabis chocolate? Now I want to know. 😉
It looks like you had a lot of fun and many great experiences. Too bad it’s so cold there!
Thanks for commenting on my blog!

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

Beautiful photos! I can see what a wonderful time you had. I have never been to Amsterdam but it looks very similar to Belgium where I enjoy visiting Brugge and Ghent.
Love those giant clogs!
My WW is here: https://allatseawithme.blogspot.com/
I am adding my link to all my WW comments because a lot of people go to my main cat blog instead of my WW post.

Keiths Ramblings said...

Having relations in Amsterdam and being just a day's drive away, I've visited this magical place many times over the years, and it never fails to thrill me. Sadly Volendam has now become a bit commercialised, but you can hardly blame them! Canals, tulips, clogs and windmills - just perfect. I so enjoyed your pictures and words.

Bluebells! LINKY

mireille said...

What a great trip: I am loving seeing all the different places you visited!
www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

Marg said...

What a great post with all those wonderful pictures. It is fun to see things that one will never get to see for real. Have a wonderful day.

Briony said...

What a lovely trip, it looks fabulous. I hope you had a brilliant time. #BloggerClubUK

messymimi said...

Someday i'd love to see those places in person, it looks like a delightful trip.

pilch92 said...

Fantastic photos. That looks like a great place to vacation. I like those giant clogs you got to try on :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Veronica, loved this. I always enjoy a good travel post (I just posted one myself today!). Of course, where I went doesn't have a RLD with ladies behind windows! That narrow street with houses on one side and the sea on the other is quite something.

NCSue said...

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Michelle said...

I love the giant clog! That is very cool! I love historic villages like this one. I look forward to traveling to this someday! #GlobalBlogging

loopyloulaura said...

Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging and reminding me of my own trip to Amsterdam almost 20 years ago!

Mellie said...

Love seeing the windmills. My husband has flown through Amsterdam and brought back little wooden shoes for the kids.

tiredbutcraftymummy said...

I've loved reading through your post and seeing your pictures. It reminds me of going Interrailling with my now husband just after we got engaged. Amsterdam was one of the first places we visited #KCACOLS

Thisiswhereitisat said...

What a fabulous day of exploring, you got so much done X #kcacols

Lydia C. Lee said...

I loved Amsterdam. That windmill place was the highlight for the three of us. I really enjoyed the Immigration museum (possibly not called that) and the galleries. I'll be honest, we didn't try any of the cannibis. And I was amazed at how easy it was to keep clear of. The drunken bucks parties a little harder to avoid. There's a travel blogger who said to me she didn't want to go to Amsterdam because she doesn't do drugs and I just thought 'how misinformed and closed minded can you be?' which I find odd for someone who likes to bang on about how much they travel the world. I will admit we only had three days there so barely scratched the surface and I did think it was going to be me trying to shield the kids from a total drug fest. I did say to my husband 'I'm surprised there aren't more people walking around f***ed up' and he looked at me like I was a lunatic, pointing out it was a big historic city, like everywhere else in Europe. It's funny how misinformation spreads...I hope I get to go back there. Great food and great scenery!

Mimiroseandme said...

Oh wow, these photos look amazing and it's a little place that I would love to add onto my travel bucket list. There is so much to do. Thank you so much for joining us for #KCACOLS and hope to see you next time.

Jo (A Rose Tinted World) said...

Amsterdam has never really appealed to me, due to all the other things that go on there. But loving this look at the history. The windmill looks so picturesque! #KCACOLS