Oct 6, 2016
That day I planned to experience everything Old Holland – Dutch windmills, tulips, wooden shoes, cheese. When planning this trip, I initially aimed going to that place I always see as background video in videoke (I know, weird) where there was some sort of cheese exhibition, many people dressed in what looks like their traditional costumes and carrying loads of round cheeses. I learned that it takes place in Edam, another city in Netherlands where the name of the cheese (edam, or quezo de bola in the Philippines) originated. The “cheese demonstration” is held every Wednesday at 10am but unfortunately there was no schedule of it on my trip and that they will resume on March 2017 (as per their website).
[Image not mine! Source here] Edam Cheese Demonstration
Of course, I’d also like to see the “Holland Tulips” in the flesh, so I googled whether early October is a good time to visit Keukenhof, probably the best place where you can see those world-famous rows and rows of colorful beauty. Unfortunately again, I found out that I won’t see any flowers when I go there, and that the best time to go is around April to May. Gives us a lot of reasons to visit Europe during spring/summer – this and the fact that the weather is more tolerable for tropical people like me, and eliminates the bulk of winter jackets in our luggage, making room for more shopping because priorities.
[Image not mine! Source here] Keukenhof and the Holland tulips
Crossing out these places, I decided to go in Zaanse Schans in Zaandam, a city about 40 minutes away by bus from Amsterdam. I prepped up to check out from Owl Hotel at around 11am. After bidding goodbye to my room and leaving my luggage in the lobby for safekeeping while I’m away, I walked to Leidseplein and took the tram going to Centraal Station. I bought a burger from a fast food store in the station and looked for the bus going to Zaanse Schans. There was free wifi onboard, and I think that applies to most of public transportation in Europe. How good it would be living in countries like this?
There is no entrance fee to see the farm and the windmills and houses.
Also from Wikipedia: “Zaanse Schans has a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses.”
90s Pinoy kids will remember Nelo and Patrasche (Dog of Flanders) with this carriage full of traditional milk cans
A lot of product demonstrations take place in each of the houses inside Zaanse Schans. Here, they showed how Gouda cheese is made. Like Edam, Gouda is a name of a city in Netherlands.
The same house, aside from offering an assortment of cheeses, also offers syrup and honey waffles, which are called “stroopwafels” in Dutch. Stroopwafels are the greatest invention on earth, according to me.
Animals roam freely around here. In fact they are probably so used to people that they are the ones who approach you. A chicken approached me as if it wanted to start a conversation, and so I did.
What a beautiful day!
My dream house would have one of these cute little bridges over a little stream.
This house showcases the making of wooden shoes.
These are not real tulips. They’re, well, wooden.
Inside the wooden shoe-house
A demo of making wooden shoes was taking place when I entered.
I wonder how much that costs.
They actually have sizes, you know! Pretty and colorful souvenirs! I didn’t buy though, mainly because of the price and baggage issues.
After 2 hours and a bag of stroopwafels and cheese, I left Zaanse Schans and headed back to Amsterdam. I roamed around Centraal for a bit then boarded the tram, got off at Koningsplein for the flower market in Singel.
Stalls after stalls of ready-to-plant tulip bulbs (which I didn’t buy because it’s impossible for them to grow in tropical countries), typical souvenirs like keychains and ref magnets, and.. did you see that?
This is where we should be extra careful 😀 Examine carefully the things you buy in any place where cannabis – or marijuana, is legal. It could cause you some serious trouble in your home country’s airport.
And then I got settled inside Amarylles, a quaint little resto I saw while walking. It was around 4pm and the last thing I ate was the free taste bits of stroopwafels lol.
Full english for a very late brunch! Did you see that speculoos? The Netherlands is also home to that popular biscuit.
Different types of cheese
I learned that there are plenty of Henry Willig stores in Amsterdam. I decided to buy more stroopwafels because basic necessities.
I went back to Owl Hotel to get and arrange my things. I was having a little sepanx before going, it was just a short two-day trip and I hoped to stay longer. It was only on my last day when I finally figured out the shortest way to go back to the hotel, oh well. My flight was scheduled for 930pm. I headed for the airport at 5pm.
Because I was too early in the airport, I roamed around and found this display at the roof deck.
Duty free shop selling 1 for 29 EUR, 2 for 49 EUR perfumes
I wish I learned earlier that security in Schiphol Airport would take this long. It took me about 40 minutes in queue. I really didn’t see it coming, it was not the case in Bergen and Paris – there was no queue there at all. Amsterdam Schiphol takes its security very seriously, they will tell you to take out all electronics and liquids, they scanned and rescanned my items, they made me take off my shoes, it made me rethink whether I bought that cannabis lollipop (kidding, of course I didn’t). After I was cleared, I ran like a madwoman to my gate. Lesson learned: Upon arriving at any airport, immediately check the queue for security.
This caps off my Europe 2016 series! It has been four months since my trip and I sorely miss it. I will try to make helpful travel guides in the near future 😀 You see, my posts actually serve as my online travel diary, so bear with me for writing even the most nonsense stuff.
Japan series coming up! Stay tuned 😀