That’s More Like It

My first 24 hours in Amsterdam left me feeling disappointed by the Netherlands. I knew coming in that the city and it’s culture, at least a lot of it, would not appeal to me. But in the past 24 hours I’ve pushed to find the other side of Amsterdam… Even if that meant leaving it.

Last night after posting I headed out for dinner and for some reason a three-story Chinese restaurant right on a busy corner caught my eye. It might’ve been the decorations left from New Years or the happy people eating by the windows but in I went. Immediately after being seated I was pleased with my decision: I was on the third floor, by the window, next to the heater. The trifecta. I hadn’t felt so warm in weeks. It’s hard to see, but here’s my cozy little view, complete with swans in the canal if you squint.

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I ordered spring rolls (TripAdvisor reviewers raved about them) and shrimp chips. I’d seen these advertised in Chinese restaurants all over Europe but had no concept of what they were, maybe I’m the only one? It’s like a cross between a baked Lays potato chip and a rice cake… But shrimp flavored. I loved it! And it gave me something to munch on while people watching… For two hours.

This morning I ran, showered, and headed to the train station. My EUrail pass allows me to train as much as I want on any five days within two months so I used my second day today. I wasn’t going far, just 20 minutes outside the city to Zaanse Schans. This is an adorable village that is home to old-fashioned windmills. The residents still use them and take pride in their other traditional handicrafts too.

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I was in heaven as I wandered around the quiet village with only a few other tourists. There was a main museum that explained the history of this village and the people who live here. Attached was a tour of the Verkade pavilion. I didn’t know, but they are big manufacturers of chocolate and “biscuits” (cookies) in the Netherlands. My first stop after the museums was the cobbler, where we could read about and see tons of wooden shoes! SO cool 🙂

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From there I checked out the coppery and a few of the mills below the windmills. Then I went into the cheese shop. Here again, there was a great video explaining the process and we could watch through glass as a vat of curds and whey were being stirred. In the store we were given unlimited samples of all the different kinds of cheese too, yum!

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Then it started to rain so I figured that was my queue to head back to the train (but not before one more windmill picture, below). I’d also been out there a while and had a few other things to do back in town! Once back, I grab a quick “toast” for lunch and went in a few shops for souvenirs. I didn’t go crazy but did pick up a decorative pair of wooden shoes. I passes on any authentic delft blue pottery because the hand-painted items start at $75… For a teacup. They are awesome to look at and I wish I had time to visit the factory but if I ever come back in the spring to see the tulips, I’ll plan to go then!

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That’s all for now and from the Netherlands. I’m happy to report that my opinion of this county as improved greatly this last day 🙂 I’m off to Belgium tomorrow which is my last official stop, although I’m taking a few side trips from there. Later!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Belgian Trifecta | Rays of Funshine

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