Thursday, December 15, 2011

Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Zaanse Schans. Oh my!

This is the post before I leave for California, the last post of 2011, the post about the Netherlands. Are you excited? Because I sure am :)

On the 8th, Caitlin and I flew out of London Gatwick and arrived in Amsterdam at 6. The hotel, to our great surprise, was a pretty lengthy walk from the train station (Amsterdam Centraal, to those who've been there). However, we eventually got checked into the hotel and I popped back out to meet up with Jeff, Dawn, and Megan (all friends from Santa Cruz). We wandered around some of the popular sites of Amsterdam; the three leading the way, as they had all been there for longer than me. One of the delightful places we visited was Febo. A store that only consists of vending machines with fried food in them. Which is hilarious, given Amsterdam's notoriously loose laws. Which takes me a bit off track... The main things that really stuck out about Amsterdam: The amazingly beautiful architecture, the canals, and the rows and rows and rows of munchy-food-themed restaurants. Anyway! Sadly, I don't have any blog-worthy pictures of the night. If any of the other three post pictures that are of decent quality (it was night, afterall) then I will post some in a later blog.
The 9th started with a four hour walking tour of Amsterdam. I believe the tour group was run by New Europe Tours. I highly recommend. The tour guide was knowledgeable, it was fun, and it was free!

And then we feasted on Dutch pancakes

You need only to look at the pictures to see how delicious they were. Oh, I should also mention that at this point in the trip, I was FREEZING. It was SOOOO cold. I was wearing more layers than I ever have before.
That night, we took the train to Utrecht to visit Jeff. He showed us around the town and we went to multiple bars. It was in this moment that I realized- I'm not a giant after all, I was just living in the wrong countries. 7 foot tall men? Hello Holland!
The next day was a full Utrecht day. The beginning of the day started off with a bang- fresh, hot stroopwafel. If you don't know what stroopwafel is, you need to go to an international grocery store IMMEDIATELY and buy some. Then, enjoy the hours of bliss that follow. Honestly, if everyone in the world could eat stroopwafel, there would be peace on Earth.

The highlight was climbing to the top of the highest church in the Netherlands. The view was breath taking

I forgot to mention something that the Netherlands is heavily linked to- bicycling. And holly cow, were there bicycles EVERYWHERE. And yes, I almost got ran over by one about 5 times. Another point worth noting- they do not give tap water. Maybe, if you are lucky, they will give you tap water if you buy a drink as well. Ridiculous.
The next morning we were off to Zaanse Schans, a traditional Dutch village. We saw windmills, a cheese factory, and a clog factory. It was adorable!

Later in the day, we returned to Amsterdam and went to the Van Gogh Museum. Honestly, I didn't think the Van Gogh collection they had was all that impressive. I didn't get to see Starry Night :(. Although, they did have some AMAZING Monet paintings.
The next morning we flew home.
And then life went on, outside of the Netherlands.
My verdict:
Would I go back? YES, I didn't get to do an Amsterdam canal tour or see the tulips in bloom. And I could always go for some more fresh stroopwafel.
What would I do differently? Bring a water bottle with a built-in filter. And eat more fresh stroopwafel.

No comments:

Post a Comment