270 Kms from Essen
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.
255 Kms from Essen
I did spend a lot of time researching about the places I would want to visit in this small beautiful country. By shortlisting few places which interested me and putting them on a piece of paper gave my itinerary a good foundation and hurrah, my itinerary fit almost all the places with the time I had. My Flight was at 10:30 in the morning from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. The flight duration is about an hour and a half to Innsbruck, Austria.
307 Kms from Essen
The capital of Belgium is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe since it is filled with as many historical insignias as its modern counterparts. Being the administrative capital of EU, Brussels is also understandably bureaucratic to some extent. What's really enviable here is the beauty of everyday things. The roadside cafes and bars are designed to welcome and not merely to swindle. The overall humour is deadpan, but hilarious. It's an outstanding city and one of the relatively cheap European destinations from India.Free or inexpensive things to do while here: You can chill at the many gorgeous parks in the city, such as Parc de Woluwe, Bois de la Cambre, Square Ambiorix, Parc Leopold, and more. To mingle with royalty at the Royal Palace is also absolutely free and will be memorable for life. Visit the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military without a ticket.Where to eat: Here are the three cheap but outstanding places to eat in Brussels: 1. Tonton Garby at Rue Duquesnoy, 2. Bia Mara at Rue du Marche aux Poulets, 3. Fritland at Rue Henri Maus. All three serve vegetarian food as well.Where to stay: What makes Brussels one of the cheapest European destinations from India is its budget stays. Here are two options.
239 Kms from Essen
The rebels started their first leg of their journey from Mumbai ( India), traveling Via Istanbul to Frankfurt.We landed in Frankfurt on a cold evening around 7pm at Frankfurt Airport. Some of our experiences are captured greatly in our pictures below We got to witness a beautiful set of dancers who had come together as activists outside our hostel & performed a sweet show for a large audience which had gathered. The Frankfurt hostel was bustling with a great vibe.A great set of youngsters chatting,some playing some instruments & listening to music,others reading and some standing at the balcony facing the lovely streets of Frankfurt and enjoying a beer or two The lovely Meninger Hotel at Munich City centre was our pad for 2 nights.( would highly recommend them).Not only because they surprised us with a free upgrade to a private suite from a 8 room dorm,but because they have a great vibe, a cute bar, generous staff and some lovely guests. We had a privilege of tasting some of the best local Bavarian beers. Amazing architecture & culture History & Art Beautiful buildings and architecture around the city. Frankfurt & Munich both have a unique touch to it of modern and medieval setting.Munich is quite well known for its big museums and cathedrals After spending the day seeing some of the beautiful architecture,local areas, we went to this lovely man made ice lake.The route was through the very pretty Englischer Garten, German for "English Garden", is a large public park in the centre of Munich, Bavaria, stretching from the city centre to the northeastern city limits. The Main is a river in Germany. With a length of 527 km, it is the longest right tributary of the Rhine, and the longest river lying entirely in Germany. Beautiful streets Colorful streets, filled with restaurants & pubs.Munich has it all. The Eisbach (German for "ice brook") is a small man-made river, 2 kilometres long, in Munich. It flows through the park known as the Englischer Gartenand is a side arm of the Isar River. A manmade wave has been created on one section, where surfers come & spend evenings surfing.We saw a very talented bunch one evening. The local tram system is so well connected & easily accessible. FC Byern celebration Pretty people of Germany Food We got to try some yummy sausages known as Bratwurst: The name means "farmers' sausage,"Germany has an extremely beautiful culture ! Happy exploringThis post was originally published on Rebel In Transit.
423 Kms from Essen
If you've seen the cult dark comedy In Bruges, you know exactly what to expect in this peculiar city. It's a prominent world heritage site according to UNESCO and that automatically makes it a haven for art connoisseurs. It's also called the "Venice of the North" so you can imagine how many new fairytales of your own you can create whilst walking down the cobbled roads to the whitewashed facades of historic churches. Spring is meant for daffodil carpets spread all over the city.Famous for: Beer and art.Things to do: Climb up the 366 stairs of the medieval Belfry Tower. Admire the flemish primitive artworks at Groeninge Museum.Weather in January: Average temperature is 5 degrees celsius. Remains dry, but nippy.Average budget per head for 5 days (excluding flights): Rs. 62,000For more details, read this.