338 Kms from Oostende
This time gave me the opportunity to explore the beauty of the United Kingdom and ignited the wanderlust in me.
256 Kms from Oostende
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.
258 Kms from Oostende
Last but not the least, Amsterdam is a blessing to check-in and social media fanatics. More importantly, you can stay connected without having to worry about your international roaming charges. More than ninety percent of Amsterdam provides free Wi-Fi with high quality connectivity. This is not limited to coffee shops, cafes, restaurants or hotels. Any kind of public place, even a bus stop provides you with high speed free Wi-Fi.Amsterdam is a must visit place in a lifetime . Once you visit the place you will surely be tempted to visit it again.
269 Kms from Oostende
Paris is another destination that is easily accessible from Swiss. It takes roughly 3 hrs by train from Basel. The Eiffel tower is a must visit by day and by night but be extra careful of your wallets as the place is a center of pick pockets. People will come to you for surveys but these are mostly tactful pick-pockets trying to distract you from your wallets. The Louvre museum is another place where one can go for a day-visit and still not see everything there. A walk through the streets of Champs-Élysées, a ride on the hop-on-hop-off bus and trying the amazing food are some of the activities that can keep you busy at Paris. If you do go to Paris, I would recommend not to miss a trip to Disney Land!
165 Kms from Oostende
History: “Bos” is the Dutch word for forest and “Halle” is the place where it is located. With around 6 square kilometres area, Hallerbos is like one of that purple-blue kingdom coming straight out of a Disney movie film making you question its existence in reality! The uniqueness of Hallerbos lies in its natural phenomenon of blooming blue bells (wild hyacinths) that blossom everywhere in the forest between late April and May making it look like a blue carpet (check my video here).
467 Kms from Oostende
Since we had a comfortable overnight journey, today we were all fresh and ready to have an exciting day ahead. Today, we are supposed to go to Oxford city in south east of London. It is a 2 hour train journey from London and we reach Oxford by 10 am. There was a city bus tour here again, but since we had the entire day to spend in Oxford our preferred choice of exploring the place was by walking around. We took a map of the city from the train station and we labeled the route we had to take, it was a circular walk around the city.The buildings in Oxford demonstrate an example of every English architectural period and its known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings. The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English speaking world. Our walk leads us through the heart of the historic city centre illustrating in itself the history of Oxford and its university and the map in our hand gave us the description of the architecture and traditions of its most famous buildings and institutions. Even though I was not a good student myself or much of a book reader, I felt it was a prolific day spent in Oxford, a city also prominent for its medieval university. Our day ended with some good coffee and we reached back home in London at around 8 in the evening.