Tag Archives: Amsterdam

Water Flowing through Amsterdam

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Welcome back to this travel blog! It’s been some time. We’ve had bathroom renovation in our place, what a mess! We stayed at my mom’s during the ten messy weeks, while she was in Poland. Otherwise we would have to pee in a bucket in the kitchen, take a shower in a shed in the yard and cook… no, no cooking. So we took the cats, some clothes, cameras and went exile. It was better then the staying at home option, but not sleeping in your own bed for over two months is not nice. And when we got back, the internet was dead. What a joke!

Now we are back, the internet is back and the bathroom and fresh, new and nice. Pretty good. And I’m back on the blog! Have we been travelling, while on exile? Have we seen some world heritage sites? Oh, yes! We went to Amsterdam and visited several sites in Holland and I was to Budapest with my work for a day. So let’s go!

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Water everywhere

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City of cheese

Amsterdam, what a city. We went there quite early this Spring, considering Spring being pretty late this year. I think it was the first weekend with sunshine and you could actually eat outside and just enjoy the warming rays of the sun. With a jacket on, but still. We decided what we wanted to do and see, we bought a flight ticket and friends told us where to stay. And all the nice, cozy and cheap places where crowded, booked, finito. It was some kind of youth event in town and some concert. And all the cheap hotels? Forget it! But after some searching we fond a five-star hotel close to the train station with one cheap room left. It was supposed to be a small room, a shead, but still a room.

When we arrived at the hotel we were told: “We’re really sorry, your room was taken we have to upgrade you to our luxury site. No extra cgarge”. To bad breakfast was not in the price. But minibar was with free refills. And Nespresso machine with as much coffe as we could drink. Pretty good deal.

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Pretty city

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City of bikes

We started out with visiting the tulip fields. I’ll write another post about it. In Amsterdam we strolled around a biit. We had some beer, coffee and food. Mostly meat, nothing special and the most wonderful pancakes. And more beer. One night we found an African restaurant and had kudu and springbock and Savanah Dry. Oh, how I long for Africa! We passed several shops with cgeese and had to try some. Great cheese!

In Amsterdam there were bikes everywhere. The city is pretty flat, so it was easy to ride a bike, but we didn’t. We walked. And walked, and walked. It was a very cute city with old buildings and smiling people. The building were often leaning and were not straight at all. I wonder why?

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City of channels

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City of weed

We took a boat tour, of course. We saw the city from the water, going through the channels, exploring the city. We looked at the leaning houses, beautiful places and seeworthy museums. Places to visit on foot and places that could be good. The tour was very nice and we met an American couple, that was travelling around Europe. Some people say that Americans are stupid that go to several European countries in a few weeks, but I think that’s a perfect thing to do. If you don’t have much time, you should still make the best of it. Take all the best gems, the rest is for later if more time and money would show up. All my respect to these eople!

More walking in Amsterdam took us to the red light district that was more sad then happy, coffee shops and shops with weed. Maybe I’m too old but I was not impressed. I was not really impressed by people that was stoned and gone. And the smell of weed was not so nice either.  Some things are magnets for wrong kind of people and that’s nothing to be proud of. That’s my opinoin.

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Gay city

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Amsterdam by night

We visited also a cat gallery. It was a wonderful place with paitingsof cats, sculptures of cats and three living, attention demanding cats. So cool! We didn’t visit any more museums. It was just a lazy weekend. We walked across the town day and night. We walked across the channels, streets and squares. The city made us feel good and embraced us, made us feel welcome. We found gay streets with rainbow flags in every shop, pub and hanging from every house, showing that everyone was welcome here, no matter who he or she liked.

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Another night view

Amsterdam is a pleasant city. You can walk or hire a bike and public transportation is cgeap and every where. I liked it!

Link: Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht.

Grade for the Amsterdam channel system:

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Strong Wind, Windmills and Spring in Kinderdijk

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As I wrote in my previous post we went to Amsterdam to welcome Spring and make our annual visit-a-European-city-in-Spring-weekend. It was some kind of youth festival in town, so all the hostels, cheap bed-and-breakfast places and hotels were taken, but we found a good deal on a five star hotel, Amrath, near the central station, so it was pretty OK. We booked, of course, the cheapest room we could find.

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Windmill and yellow flowers

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Detail on a windmill

 

When we arrived at the hotel we were told that our room was taken, and they were really sorry, but they had to upgrade us to luxury suite. No extra cost. I wasn’t sorry. The room was great with huge bed, huge bathroom, free minibar and remote for the curtains, but we were not planning on staying in the room, anyhow.

The spring was slowly waking up, sunshine was pleasant, but it was still pretty cold and the tulip fields in Keukenhof were still pretty empty, although the park was nice. I’ll write more about it later, in another post.

On the second day we decided to leave Amsterdam and visit Kinderdijk and see the windmills, a UNESCO world heritage site. Staying almost next to the train station made it easy to just leave. Breakfast was not included in the hotelprice, but coffee in the room was. So we drank coffe and ran off, buying a sandwich on the way.

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Nineteen windmills draining the area

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Windmills and canals

We took a train to Utrecht and a bus from there. Bus went thruoght really cute villages. The roads were narrow and we could not understand how two cars could pass each other, but it worked. And there were of course canals everywhere. And the landscape is flat, really flat. I think when the earth was made, someone came up with Norway and all the fjords and mountains and all the mountains were used, so when it was time for Holland there was only flatness available. No wonder they bicycle everywhere, there is no hills, what so ever.

Finally we came to Kinderdijk and saw the windmills from far away. What a great sight! Nineteen beautiful windmills, some of them still working, one for turistic reasons, as a museum. We visited it, of course, and it was really interesting.

Guess what, it was blowing there. The land is, like I said, flat, and nothing stops the wind, so it’s blowing. I think it was a pertty warm and quite sunny day, but I was freezing. The winds were still cold.

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Close-up

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It’s a world heritage site, yes it is

 

Kinderdijk is a village in the Netherlands. It is situated about 15 km outside of Rotterdam, in a polder. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the best known Dutch tourist sites. They have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

Are the Dutch people proud of this site? I think so. But still they don’t make it super-commercial with pop-corn and candy and ballons, and that’s very good. But the UNESCO world heritge sign is hidden in one of the mills and I don’t know about it, I think it should be more visible when you arrive. And I’m still undecided if I think it’s good or bad that the information is there for those who want to find it, and not right in everyones face.

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Nice view

We loved this site, we were walking, looking at the windmills, looking and small yellow flowers. There were some tourists at the site, but I imagine that there are much more summertime. Do I recommend a visit to Kinderdijk? Yes, I do, for sure.

We left Kinderdijk through Rotterdam and it was not pretty as on the way there.

Link: Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout.

My grade is a very five globes:

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