This blog was originally published on ruchaflora.wordpress.comRucha Sudhir Khot
On the way back to Rotterdam, everyone slept in the car but I was awake. I was awake because I had a lot to be grateful for today. I realized that the things you want dearly may be are denied to you only temporarily, may be they come back to you in a way that proves to be much better than it would have been earlier and that ultimately no one except God can deny you the happiness you want for yourself.
Haarlem is just 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam. A one-day visit to the city will surely worth your time. Why? Well, this city is the real gem of the Netherlands. Did you know that Haarlem (and not Amsterdam) is the capital of tulips?? For this reason is also called Bloemenstad, the city of flowers.There are several things you can enjoy in Haarlem in one day.Grote Markt is the central square: in the historic heart of the city, it hosts the main monuments, including the Grote Kerk (also known as Cathedral of St. Bavo), the biggest church in the Netherlands and the most famous image of Haarlem. The square is the cornerstone of the daily life in the city and, on Saturday, it hosts a very elegant and beautiful market. In Grote Markt you can also admire the City Hall and the De Hallen Museum of modern and contemporary art.
I have always been in awe of wooden windmills, from the first time I, as a child, attempted to paint a Dutch country side with a windmills-dotted skyline to the time when I visited a windmill-turned-brewery (Browerij’t IJ) in Amsterdam on my student trip in 2011. My short time in Amsterdam had not given me the scope to visit any other windmills around the area and my awe persisted. In my recent Euro-trip, I decided to get a closure on my infatuation and visit the Dutch countryside teeming with these imposing wooden structures. The visit turned out to be much more than windmills and alas, my love for the Dutch countryside continues…In Netherlands, there are two very popular neighborhoods which have been protected and preserved to display the Dutch way of living and trades and crafts from rural Netherlands. One is Kinderdijk (near Rotterdam) which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The other is Zaanse Schans (near Amsterdam). We decided on Zaanse Schans because it was easier for us travel-wise. We took a bus from Stuttgart to Amsterdam and then bought an Amsterdam & Region Travel Pass, which covers a lot of neighborhoods around Amsterdam including the famous Keukenhof tulip gardens and Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is a short 45 mins trip from Amsterdam Central by bus.We had booked an Airbnb accommodation in Zaandijk, very close to the site of Zaanse Schaans. After freshening up, we took our bicycles and made our way to the site. It was very windy and our hair was windswept. As we neared the place, a strong odour accosted us. We were to find out later that it was the emissions from the chocolate and starch factories in the region.We had a preconceived picture of a few windmills and wooden houses that we would get to see at the site. But the scene that welcomed us transported us immediately to the industrial age in Netherlands. It is like an open-air museum with bakery, cheese factory, clog-making warehouse and wooden houses with barns and working-windmills on the banks of river Zaan that flows in the area. It indeed looked like a painting.
2. Roermond, Netherlands
Edam and Volendam are two beautiful villages near Amsterdam. Definitely worth a day visit from Amsterdam.
BYE AMSTERDAM. WAS FUN . Went to Amsterdam airport to reach Frankfurt airport and from there on same day to India .. its all over ..
3. Giethoorn, Netherlands