Holland....July 16th - July 20th
All of our time in Holland was spent in Amsterdam. While in Amsterdam, we rented an apartment in a fabulous area near the train station. The apartment we had was spacious and the owner was great because he totally stocked the kitchen with cheese, meat, juice, eggs, and breads. It was wonderful and I would highly recommend it!
I really loved Amsterdam despite the terrible rainy and cold weather. I think I loved it so much because our time here was really relaxing. There wasn't a lot that we felt compelled to see, so we were able to just take it easy and meander along the streets and canals instead of rushing from one place to the next. When we weren't chilling in our apartment, we were out walking the streets and exploring Amsterdam all on foot. We spent a lot of time just walking about the old city and enjoying the peacefulness of the canals. I loved looking at all of the gabled canal homes...so much so that I now have hundreds of photos of them!
During our walks, we went into a lot of cheese shops and sampled all sort of things. Let me just say that I love gouda. I love gouda cheese made from cow's milk, goat's milk, and even sheep's milk. I love smoked gouda, pesto gouda, herb & garlic gouda, old gouda, new gouda...it is ALL good! :) Another thing they sold in the stops was this caramel cookie waffle called Stroopwafels...YUM! I might have OD'd on them while we were there. Since I'm talking about food, I might as well mention Wok to Walk, which was a great little asian fast food place that was so tasty. We were both so happy to be able to have a taste of Asian cuisine every so often.
We explored the floating flower market where they sold bulbs for all types of flowers. We went to the Anne Frank Museum, which was remarkable to see. It was hard walking through her home knowing what happened to her. What hit home to me was her timeline and how she died just a couple of months before potential freedom. So sad. We also checked out the Van Gogh Museum. Did you know that he did a lot of paintings that were influenced by Japanese artwork? I found that very interesting and they were actually some of my favorites. Another thing we did was take a canal tour, which was enjoyable and just another way to see the city.
We of course had to walk through the red light district since we were in Amsterdam. I was so taken back by how obvious it all was. There really is a red light to get your attention, the ladies do actually stand in front of glass doors scantily dressed to attract attention, and when the curtain is closed it is being occupied. I was also surprised at the variety of people working in the red light district...let's just say there was someone for anyone interested. The one place we didn't enter was a coffee shop. Now that I'm home, I'm sad I didn't even just go in for a look. I definitely didn't need to go in for the smell as you could smell weed every time you walked past a coffee shop. I was able to enjoy the store front windows though, which were very informative.
One of the highlights had to be our bike tour. We spent about 5 hours biking around Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside. We rode through Vondel Park, saw an authentic windmill, and even visited a Cheese and Clog factory. It was so fun biking around and by the end of it, we had ridden about 24km!
Here are some pictures from our time in Amsterdam!
Anne Frank Museum
Red Light District
This was so fun!
Our tour guide told us to pose like the windmill! :)