I am incredibly pleased to be reporting back with the last, but as always, not least of my time in the Netherlands. I had such a lovely trip, it’s great to relive it. As I’ve said, it was in December last year, just before Christmas and I saw a good friend of mine. These two things tend to make a trip extra nice without even having to do anything. But we did do lots of things, so it was extra extra nice. Only issue was that it was rather cold. Hence the large amount of cake/cafe visits.
On our last day we got the train over to Zaanse Schans which is a touristy village just outside of Amsterdam, full of windmills. Inside each windmill are different types of factory/shop – some are working mills, though from what I could gather most sell products that come from the factories over the bridge. It was still a pleasant visit though, aside from the cold, and free except for entry into certain windmills, which to be honest we didn’t go in. It was very pretty and showed off how to make a lot of ‘typical’ Dutch things, such as clogs and cheese. It isn’t that big, so we were only there for a couple of hours, but I imagine if you went during summer you could make a lot more of it as you would want to be stood outside, so you could even go for a bike ride by the water. Sadly it was far too windy for me to want to do that!
Just a heads up, we got the train there and then walked from there – it takes a little bit of time (from what I recall about 15/20 minutes) so make sure to wrap up and prepare! We had bought tea at the station so our hands weren’t too cold!
After this, we headed back into Amsterdam, where Karolina showed me some parts of the University, and we wandered round some shops, including a big department store which unhelpfully I can’t remember the name of! Whilst I was there, she tried to make sure I tried as much local cuisine as possible, so I ate Dutch Sausages (Rookworst?!), Dutch Pancakes, Dutch Sweets, Dutch Pastries… And of course some Dutch Beer! I’ve reviewed those that were from independent places, but a lot were from stalls etc as we were passing. Plus, I bought some Dutch Cheese and brought it with me in my suitcase. I’m still craving a slice of pesto cheese. I also really enjoyed that when the security guard looked through my hand luggage at the airport he didn’t blink an eye at the presence of cheese.
I would definitely recommend trying all of the aforementioned, though potentially not in that order. I still have a lot more left to try, but I’ll save those for my next visit!
After that, we went back to Amersfoort and had a wander around the city walls, which was beautiful. The whole weekend I hadn’t realised where we were staying overlooked it! I believe the whole river around the city it acts as a moat. Beautiful at night.
My highlights of the trip were:
– Van Gogh Museum
– The architecture
– Zaanse Schans
– The fact that the toilets are whole cupboards, as opposed to cubicles. It’s nice knowing someone isn’t able to peek under. (Not that I think that tends to happen, but still)
– Wifi EVERYWHERE. For some reason my phone’s 4g wouldn’t work there, but I needn’t have worried, it’s everywhere. Even on trains… For free. Norway, Sweden and other parts of Europe have the same, so fingers crossed we will in England too at some point!
The main thing I got from the trip is that although December is a lovely time to visit, it’s a very walkable city, and well worth walking around so you can see how pretty all the canals and buildings are, but it’s unbearable to be walking around for too long in that temperature. So if you want to go and do lots of inside things, like shop, go to museums etc etc, winter is probably a good time, as it’s not as busy. Otherwise, wait until it’s a little warmer. Your plane tickets and accommodation might cost you more, but it might be worth it in the end. It’s not that I wouldn’t go back at that time, but it is a different experience. Especially as you could ride a bike without worry of ice/too much wind/ice freezing over your eyes (ok it isn’t that cold).
It was nice that it was Christmas, but to be honest I didn’t really experience anything Dutch and Christmassy! That already happened to me at University when I opened my door to two people dressed up throwing sweets at me.
Thankfully, this didn’t happen there. Though, my friend did say that she once had (I think) a burrito put through her post box.
Not quite the same as sweets though.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I promise to try to use less alliteration in the future. Especially seeing as I’ve used cake twice in the last couple of days.